Spinning Swirl Challenge Soap

Despite signing up for them at every opportunity, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve managed to get round to make a soap for Amy Warden’s monthly Soap Challenge Club over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  This month’s challenge really piqued my interest though, and I was determined to give it a go.  The challenge was to create a soap using the Spinning Swirl technique (which I hadn’t come across before) and, after months of making nothing but restocks, I was keen to try something a bit different. This technique involves pouring very fluid soap batter into a slab mould and then spinning the mould itself. Amy provided a great video tutorial, and this one of the soaps that she made to illustrate the technique:

Amy's Spinning Swirl Soap

Amy’s Spinning Swirl Soap

One of the stipulations of the challenge was that the soap had to made in a slab mould, which I don’t own. So my first challenge was to improvise a slab mold. A shoe box did the trick:

Improvised Shoe Box Mould

Improvised Shoe Box Mould

I prepared my colourants. The fragrance oil is described as a creamy, powdery, honey fragrance, and I wanted warm colours to reflect that.  I used Radiant Gold mica, Sicilian Orange mica and Red iron oxide and mixed them with a little of the oils (to which I’d already added the fragrance).

Micas mixed with a little oil from the main batch

Colourants mixed with a little oil from the main batch

I added the lye to my usual oils and butters, and then poured the batter equally into the three jugs, stirred well then stick blended very VERY briefly (as I needed it to stay fluid for as long as possible):

Soap ready to pour

Soap ready to pour

I poured the soap into the mould, alternating colours in a faux-funnel type pour:

Soap mid-pour

Soap mid-pour

Once the soap was all poured, I gritted my teeth, gripped the mould with both hands, and started to rotate the mould as quickly and as firmly as I dared while praying that it wouldn’t all slosh out onto my table. After making probably about 20 full rotations, I swirled the top with a skewer and put it aside to firm up. A couple of days later I unmolded and found this left behind in the diy mould:

Leaked soap!

Leaked soap!

THAT is why I love my silicone moulds so much 😀 Anyway – the unmolded soap didn’t look too promising:

Unmoulded Spinning Swirl

Unmoulded Spinning Swirl

Not only do I not have a slab mould, I also don’t have a cutter that can cope with a big ole slab of soap, so I had to make the first cuts with a Very Big Knife. Needless to say, I wasn’t particularly accurate:

First cuts - spinning swirl

First cuts – Spinning Swirl

And THAT is why I love my single wire Bud cutter 😀 Anyway, I was able to use my beloved cutter for the rest of the cuts:

Final cuts - Spinning Swirl

Final cuts – Spinning Swirl

And, after a little love and attention, I’m really happy with the result:

Spinning Swirl Soap

Spinning Swirl Soap

Many thanks Amy for organising the challenge! It was a real pleasure to try something new and I’m looking forward to seeing what the other entrants come up with.

And the winner is….

Thank you so much to everyone who came up with wonderfully inventive names for my new soap, both here and on my Facebook page. It’s taken me a couple of hours of deliberation, but we have a winner. Now this is a little convoluted, so bear with me!

I was looking for a name that reflected both the fragrance (pink grapefruit, kumquat, orange and cranberry mingled with gardenia, jasmine, and freesia) AND the design, and I wasn’t entirely sure that any of the suggested names quite hit the mark.  However, three people made suggestions that led me to come up with the name I’ve finally gone with. Firstly, two people (Soap N’ StilettosEwenique) suggested names that included the word ‘Sunrise’ which I  think nicely reflects the design.  I also wanted to convey something of the fragrance, albeit indirectly, and Gunilla Stoll (who suggested Tuscan Summergarden) gave me the idea of including a place known the world over for growing citrus fruit (especially grapefruit and kumquat – happy days!) Florida.

I used Random.org to choose a winner from the three entrants above – numbering them 1 – 3 in the order in which they posted on the blog post, and the winner was… *drumroll* Soaps ‘N Stilettos!  Congratulations!! DM your postal address to my FB page here and I’ll send your soap out asap!

And finally, introducing: Florida Sunrise. Available now!

Florida Sunrise

Florida Sunrise

Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to enter – I really do appreciate it! Keep an eye out for more giveaways coming soon.