November 2016 Soap Challenge: Cosmic Swirl

The November Soap Challenge, put on by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks, was taught this month by guest instructor Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso. Unlike last months challenge, this one had very strict guidelines – most importantly, that you could only use 15% of your total batter for accent colors, the other 85% must be of your base color.

This is the soap I entered for the Challenge contest:

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To see how I made it, you can skip down to the Second Batch.

First Batch:
Lavender Bouquet

Here’s the description of BB Lavender Bouquet FO:
Nice and strong with hints of lilac, carnation and baby’s breath. Holds very well in CP soap with no discoloration.

The Plan:
Make 54 oz of soap. Pour off 8 oz (for other projects) and use 46 oz of batter for the cosmic wave.
Use 9-bar slab mold (hand cut into 8 slices).

Master batch #5 oils: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
Lye 5% SF: 5.37 oz / 152 grams
Distilled Water: (1.54 oz disc): 11 oz / 312 grams (Used 304 grams)
Sodium Lactate: 11 grams

Batter/Colors – 15% total accent colors/2.5 oz FO
39 oz TD White
2.3 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue
2.3 oz CC Purple Play Date (same as BB Radiant Plum)
2.3 oz BB Aqua Pearl

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Mixed colors (clockwise): Aqua Pearl, Ultraviolet Blue, Purple Play Date, TD

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Colored batter ready to pour

I stick-blended my lye-water & oils to emulsification and measured out my colors and added scent. The batter was a perfect light trace when I started my design.

Since this was the first time doing the Cosmic Swirl, I tried out all three pour techniques, plus another one I had seen on YouTube. Halfway through I went with Tatiana’s preferred pour, as it seemed to give me the best swirl.

I did forget to do a slight spin swirl in the end, but fortunately that was an optional guideline. However, I think it would add more flow to the design.

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Top of 9-bar slab mold

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Close up

The Cut:

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An Aside:
Using my 8 oz I poured off at the beginning, I continued the cosmic swirl (without the color percentage restrictions) in two individual heavy duty heart molds. It was a great way to practice the pour and I would recommend this at the beginning to get the swirl down. Of course there isn’t a cosmic swirl, as the bottom of the mold is the top, but I think they turned out well (check out the design on the sides). This is a great technique for individual molds, to get a fun swirl throughout:

Version 2

Lavender Green Tea on left, Lavender Bouquet on right

Check out the swirls on the sides:

(Lavender Bouquet on left, Lavender Green Tea on right)

Conclusions:
This batch turned out to be more of a Ribbon swirl than a Cosmic swirl. I poured from too high above the mold and too fast.

I do like the color mix achieved when using individual molds.

Second Batch
Relaxing Milk & Cream

Here’s the description of BB Relaxing FO:
A relaxing blend of French Lavender and Fir Pine, enhanced with Egyptian Jasmine and sweetened with pure Vanilla, softened with delicate Musk. This is a “mature, grown-up vanilla. Discolors dark brown. 9.3% vanilla.

The Plan:
Make 54 oz of soap. Pour off 8 oz (for other projects) and use 46 oz of batter for the cosmic wave.
Use 9-bar slab mold (cut into 8 slices).

Master batch #5 oils: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
Lye 5% SF: 5.37 oz / 152 grams
Frozen Milk & Cream: 11 oz / 312 grams (plus 1.4 oz water discount)
Sodium Lactate: 11 grams

Batter/Colors/2.5 oz FO
39 oz Activated Charcoal
2.3 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue (mix up 3 oz of each color for leftovers)
2.3 oz CC Purple Play Date (same as BB Radiant Plum)
2.3 oz BB Aqua Pearl

In this batch, I used the same accent colors as before, but a black base instead of white.

I broke up my frozen milk & cream and added the Lye. The highest temperature reached was 105 degrees. The mixture seemed thick, so I add back 1.4 oz of the water discount I had planned.

I strained the lye-milk mixture into 114 degree oils; stick blended till emulsified, and weighed out my batter: 8 oz for later projects, 2.3 oz for each color, and the rest for the base color.

I mixed up my colors (with a splash of Vanilla Stabilizer to help stave off vanilla bleed) and added black to the base of the batter, then poured all the FO into the black (as it discolors dark brown).

All the colors stayed at a nice light trace, but the black did thicken up a bit more than the rest. This fragrance was not supposed to accelerate at all, but I feel that I got some light acceleration, so I worked as quickly as I could.

The conundrum I had was that I wanted to use Amy’s recommendation to pour slowly and right on the bottom of the mold and/or last pour, but I had to work quickly. I had my mold on a Lazy Susan, rotating the mold & pouring slowly and this seemed to help speed up the process.

I stopped half way through the pour to take a photo, as I thought this wave was quite nice and I liked the brightness of the Plum color:

Version 2

Half way through the Cosmic Wave pour

I did a bit of a spin swirl and this was the result of the final pour:

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Top of loaf

The Cut:

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Photo submitted in soap challenge

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Conclusions:
I really like this technique, as it is very doable and not too painstakingly time consuming. I prefer soaping methods that are enjoyable to do, which don’t take days to make one loaf. I look forward to do this swirl again and refining my skills.

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36 comments on “November 2016 Soap Challenge: Cosmic Swirl

  1. Amy Warden says:

    This is fabulous, Sly!! Love those dark, rich colors! And you definitely had better cosmic wave results on the second batch! Well done!

    Like

  2. gargarino says:

    This is AMAZING!!! Beautiful work

    Like

  3. Laura says:

    WOW!! Beautiful! Well done. =)

    Like

  4. Leilani says:

    So cool! I reminds me of a black light poster.

    Like

  5. Natalie says:

    Beautiful, vivid colours! They are so eye catching!

    Like

  6. Both batches are beautiful. I love the heart soaps a lot, too.

    Like

    • soapsbysly says:

      Thank you!
      I love to make these heart soaps and I test a lot of fragrance blends with them. They are very popular too.
      I’m glad I have found a new technique that works so well in the single molds (instead of my usual plopping down different colors!)
      Sly

      Like

  7. WOW, just lovely! Love the color combination its very eye catching.

    Like

  8. Cindy says:

    Your soap turned out beautiful! That is kind of what I was going for color wise, unfortunately, mine cosmic wave did not turn out very well! Great job!

    Like

  9. Priya says:

    Such vibrant swirls you have !! I actually loved both your attempts but the cosmic-ness is apparent in the second soap ! 🙂

    Like

  10. I love your second batch! The colours are very rich! Good luck!

    Like

  11. Helene Glemet says:

    Fantastic colours! I love the effect you achieved with the black background. Well done!

    Like

  12. Debi says:

    Wow, wow, WOW!!!! My jaw is still hanging open Sly! These have to be the most amazing colors I have ever seen! Saying I love your soap is such a disservice. These are just stunning. VERY well done!

    Like

  13. soapsbysly says:

    Debi:
    Thank you – that means so much to me that you like them!!
    Sly

    Like

  14. Jamila says:

    I am totally in awe of your dark base and bright colours. It was what I was going for with my soap, with obviously less than spectacular results. It really does look like a black light poster, a super intense aurora borealis, most especially for me it looks like the pictures of super nova’s or deep space that NASA post all the time . Thank you for the advise on where to get base oils at good prices, there is actually a Costco not even 5 min from my house.

    Like

    • soapsbysly says:

      Jamila:
      Thank you for your great feedback!
      RE: Oils – I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but I just feel like Amazon is such a rip off on soaping oils…
      Good Luck in the competition!
      Sly

      Like

  15. Wow, thank you so much for showing us the process you went through to get to the desired result! Your soap is stunning! 🙂

    Like

  16. Sly,
    These are so beautiful. I love how the colors pop against the dark background.

    Like

  17. Diane says:

    Hello Sly, I really like your Lavender and with the second batch you nailed it! Wonderful colors, reminds me of disco in the 80ies 🙂
    Kind regards
    Diane

    Like

  18. That dark base really turned out gorgeous Sly, much more vibrant than my brown base! Great job!

    Like

  19. Lisa Maw says:

    Very dramatic colors, love them. Awesome job, your soaps are beautiful.

    Like

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