The January 2016 Soap Challenge Competition is the Circling Taiwan Swirl. The challenge is run by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks.
The objective in this challenge was to create a lotus flower pattern when putting two end pieces side by side, mirroring each other.
The lotus flower is the national flower of both Vietnam and India. In India the lotus flower has made its way deep into religious beliefs and in national folklore. The lotus is one of the eight auspicious symbols and is considered to be a symbol for the progress of the soul through muddy materialism, all the way to bright and sunny enlightenment.
I chose both the colors & scent for this batch because they feel very Asian: Lemongrass essential oil is from a plant native to Southeast Asia and is know for numerous medicinal properties. The Kumquat is added to tame the earthiness of the lemongrass just a bit.
Lemongrass Kumquat with Jojoba Beads (Third Batch):
This is the third batch I made (the first & second batches to follow).
In this attempt, I used a thicker batter and bigger chopstick, with a wider swirl to achieve the lotus flower in the end pieces.
Master batch oils – #2 (see previous blog for recipe):
80 oz/ 2268 grams of oils
11.332 oz/ 321 grams lye
25oz liquid/ 709 grams = 116 oz soap
47 grams Sodium Lactate
5 lb Mold:
1.5 oz/ 42 grams BB Lemongrass eo
2.5 oz/ 71 grams BB Kumquat fo
I poured off 32 oz for another project and added all of the fragrance to the batter, then divided & added color. The dark green got very stiff, but there was no acceleration with the others.
20 oz of each color:
Dark green (BB Leftover green)
BB Fizzy Lemonade yellow (with green jojoba beads)
TKB EZB Lakeside light green (with green jojoba beads)
BB Tangerine Wow orange
The beads in the yellow have made it look greener.
Top and bottom of loaf out of the mold:
The lotus flower:
The opposite ends of the loaf are very different.
Other cuts of soap:
Sunshine Orange Yuzu (Second Batch):
In this batch, I was going for an especially bright, sunny and happy soap.
I used my 3 lb mold with dividers and put it all in a miter box to prevent the middle from bowing out. I also put masking tap on the dividers to make them easier to grip when pulling them out – which worked great!
This was my plan…
Use Master batch oils – #2:
42 oz/ 1191 grams of oils
5.949 oz/ 169 grams lye
12 .8 oz liquid/ 362 grams = 61 oz soap
16 grams Sodium Lactate
1.5 oz 10X Orange eo
1.5 oz Yuzu fo
With my oils & lye water at about 112 degrees, I stick blended to just emulsification. I pulled out 9 oz for test samples, as I only needed 52 oz for this project.
Color & Fragrance Blend – 13 oz of batter for each:
TD white – .75 oz Yuzu
BB Electric Lemonade – .75 oz 10X Orange eo
BB Tangerine Wow Orange – .75 oz 10X Orange eo
TKB #30 Lake True Red – .75 oz Yuzu
I was really worried about using TD, as it tends to thicken up the batter, and I wanted it to be even thinner than my first batch. I added my colors & fragrances to all the containers, with the TD last and pouring it first.
The 10x orange in the orange & yellow colors darkened them up a bit, while the Yuzu is water white, so there was no change to the white & red colors.
I circled the mold 14 times. With such thin batter, the soap did not curve as much as the other batchs, but the lines were very thin & nicely delineated.
I love the bright & cheeriness of these colors in this soap.
I know I could have increased the pop if I alternated the colors so that there was more contrast: i.e. white, red, yellow, orange – but I wanted them to gradually flow into each other like a sunrise.
The mirrored end pieces from each side of the loaf (cut horizontally) for the lotus flower effect.
Slices from the middle of the loaf:
These are actually the bottom side of the soap, which I really like too:
I do like this batch the best, but I felt it did not meet the requirement of a lotus flower in the soap, which the previous batch did.
(For another try at this soap, see Blog Post June 13, 2016 –
Sunshine Orange Yuzu in Circling Taiwan Swirl).
Lavender soap (First Batch):
I used 55 oz of Master batch oils #2 for 80 oz of soap; with 4.5 oz of BB Lavender fo, in a 5 lb mold with 4 dividers.
I mixed the fragrance in the oils before adding the lye water and stick blended to emulsified.
Colors used – 20 oz of each:
BB Radiant Plum
BB Aqua Mica
TKB EZB The Fox Purple
BB Ultraviolet Blue
After pouring into the four divided areas and swirling with a small chopstick, I realized I was so intent with what I was doing that I forgot to take any photos of the process.
Top of the soap (in the mold) after circling and the bottom design (out of the mold):
I circled the mold 12 times to get this effect.
I had wanted more of a blue-colored aqua, rather than the greener aqua I got and realized I should have used BB Neon Blue Raspberry instead. But the Aqua does brighten the soap up a bit more.
The mirrored ends of the loaf, for the lotus flower effect:
I love the colors in this soap batch, just not happy with all the soda ash. Even after steaming and planing it off, it seems to permeate the bars like tiny ice crystals.
This horizontal cut slice is from the top of the loaf – I like that it has flow & texture – both from the colors & pattern and also from the soap itself. The top edge is a bit wavy and the face of the soap is not completely flat, but also curves & sways:
More slices…even the bottom of the bars have a nice pattern…
Pat yourself on the back for making it all the way to the end of this post….it was a long one! Thank you so much for checking out my blog!!
There were 177 soapers that signed up for this challenge – with the option of submitting soaps for judging split into two categories: “Newbie,” for those who have been making soap for less then 2 years and “Experienced,” with more than 2 years of soaping. Since I have been soaping for 3+ years, I entered in the experienced category, although I and certainly no expert and feel there is still so much more for me to learn.
59 newbie’s and 51 experienced soapers submitted their soaps for judging. I think the newbie’s soaps were even prettier than the experienced soapers entires, which made it even more difficult to pick out the superstars…but then it’s always very tough to choose the winners!