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.

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39 thoughts on “Spinning Swirl Challenge Soap

  1. Really cool looking soap!! I just love the movement and fluidity of the swirls with this technique. I think the 5 pools of soap was just right for your mold – even if you never use a shoe box mold again in your life! LOL!

    • A shoe box mould will never again see the light of day in my workshop Amy, that’s for sure – oh, unless you have more slab mould challenges coming up in the near future 😀 I do think it’s something I’ll have to invest in soon though.

  2. Your soap’s swirls and colors are soft and warm–just what you were going for. Bravo! I love your shoe box slab; I have several and can’t bring myself to toss them out now that I have a couple wooden slab molds with dividers. The humble shoe box is a loyal, trusted servant.

  3. This really is so pretty Vicki, and I bet the fragrance is just amazing. The creamy honey fragrance you describe would go perfectly with these wispy swirls. I know what you mean about the woes of cutting a slab of soap though. I did the horizontal cut of mine using a wire cutter, which I am so thankful to have!

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m thinking of getting a slab mould now, but its the cutting that’s making me delay, though the dividers do seem to work well. Hmmmmm…

  4. You poured this really nicely and got those lovely thin swirl lines. I think this technique works really well when you do that as it gives the bars lots of interest. I like the colour choice (partially because I chose Orange and yellow for mine too!)

    • I’ve been trying to leave a comment on your blog too but having problems – will try again tonight when I get the laptop out. It’s gorgeous by the way – and I love the improv mould – more successful than mine 😄

    • Oh thank you Cee! So looking forward to your tutorial for the next challenge! I’m not sure I’m going to have the time to create an entry this month, but I’ve signed up nevertheless so we’ll see 😀

    • Definitely give it a go if you get the chance – was fun to try something different 🙂 Look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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