Dec 2016 Soap Challenge – Advanced Tiger Stripe Swirl

In this challenge we had several choices on how to do the Tiger Stripe swirl. I chose the wall pour method, done on YouTube by Carmen Iclodean of Earth’s Raw Beauty:

This is the photo entered into the soap challenge (See exciting results at end of blog):


Smokey Bay Leaf with Vetiver & Black Tea. Photo entered into the Experienced Soaper Category (soaping for more than 2 years or 50 batches)

First Attempt:
Smokey Bay Leaf with Vetyver & Black Tea

I wanted to try a blend of 3 Bramble Berry FO’s that are sadly not very popular in my circle, but I think they are wonderful hidden gems:

  • Tobacco & Bay Leaf: A masculine scent with top notes of bay leaf and fir needle mingle with cedarwood and bergamot to reveal a warm tobacco base note. The fragrance has a fresh, clean aroma with well-balanced natural notes. No A, Discolors tan.
  • Vetyver: Has top notes of Lemon & Rosemary. The middle notes contain florals, Sandalwood and Patchouli and finally, the luscious blend finishes off with musk and vetyver. CP: performs wonderful, stays water white.
  • Black Tea: smoky tea leaves with tobacco overtones; top notes of bergamot, Sicilian lemon, & orange; jasmine, cedar wood, amber, musk. CP: amazing, does not discolor.

The Plan:
Modified Tiger swirl using wall pour with squeeze bottles in 2 lb mold.

Master Batch Oils #5: 28 oz Oils; Plus 1.5 oz Almond Butter = 29.5 oz oils; 42 oz soap
(Run through lye calculator)
(Blog: Oct 10, 2016 Master Batch Oils)
Oils: 28 oz/ 794 grams
Almond Butter: 1.5 oz/ 43 grams
Lye 5% SF: 4.15 oz/ 118 grams
Distilled water: (1.74oz disc): 8 oz/ 227 grams
Sodium Lactate: 8 grams (into Lye liquid at 130 degrees/less)

Batter/Colors/FO – 1 oz Tobacco; .4 oz Vetyver, .4 oz Black Tea blended & added to all colors
8 oz BB Activated Charcoal Black
8 oz BB Aqua Green
8 oz BB TD White
8 oz BB Zippy Blue
8 oz BB Radiant Plum

Mixed the Lye-water & oils; stick blended to emulsified; divided into cups; added colors & scents and put into squeeze bottles. The batter stayed very fluid throughout the whole process, which was quite long, as I poured very fine lines:


Half way through the pour and still very fluid


Top before swirling

The top was too pretty to do anything to it, but give it a swirl:


Swirled with a toothpick


Close up of the details in the top swirl

I put away to gel – covered in towels, in a warm room with a little heater.


The Cut:


Some close ups with a different background:

Second Attempt:
Cool White with Milk & Cream and 3 Butters: Coffee, Cocoa, & Shea

Fragrance – BB Winter White: spearmint, peppermint, water mint, chocolate, hot cocoas, vetyver, vanilla. CP: Discolors brown, 7% Vanilla, performs beautiful. Discontinued scent.

The Plan:
Modified Tiger swirl using wall pour with squeeze bottles in 2 lb mold with one color thicker.

Master Batch Oils #5: 28 oz Oils; Plus 1.5 oz Coffee Butter = 29.5 oz oils; 42 oz soap
Oils: 28 oz/ 794 grams
Coffee Butter: 1.5 oz/ 43  grams
Lye 5% SF: 4.15 oz/ 118 grams
1:1 Frozen Milk & Cream & Distilled water: (1.74oz disc): 8 oz/ 227 grams
Sodium Lactate: 8 grams (into Lye liquid at 130 degrees/less)

Batter/Colors/FO – 2 oz Winter White:
20 oz Black with all FO
11 oz TD White, no FO, VS
11 oz Light Blue, no FO, VS

The reality:
I added my lye to frozen milk & cream with some distilled water. The temperature got much higher than I had wanted: 156 degrees, and the lye-liquid turned a yellow-orange. I put in an ice bath and mixed until it decreased to 106 degrees, then stick blended with 104 degree oils.

The oils got too brown with the addition of the coffee butter,  and it was difficult to get a white. I expected my white & blue to be the thicker of the colors, as the addition of Vanilla Stabilizer has done that in the past. However, they stayed very thin (which created an unusual pattern in the soap).

When I added my FO to my black batter it started accelerating. I kept mixing by hand and waiting to see if it would stop, but it just got thicker & thicker to the point of barely getting it into the mold with a splash of a drop swirl of other colors and a quick hanger swirl. (I have learned that when fragrances get old, they sometimes accelerate, which I think is what happened here.)


The Cut:





Third Attempt:
Sparkling Snowdrop with 3 Butters: Sal, Cocoa, & Shea

In this batch I wanted to create the design that Carmen of Earth’s Raw Beauty did on her ReLeaf YouTube video, but to do that, I needed one color that was thicker than the others. My hope was that I could do this with my white by adding more of the fragrance, as it has a slight acceleration.

BB Sparkling Snowdrop FO description: A bright, frosty floral fragrance. Sparkling top notes of Valencia Orange, Bergamot and wild berries are followed by a heart of wild primrose, violet petals, clove leaf and purple lilacs. A base of fresh twigs and white musk finish off this wonderfully crisp scent. No Discolor. Mild Acceleration (3 reviews said no acceleration).

The Plan:
Modified Tiger swirl using wall pour with squeeze bottles in 2 lb mold with one color thicker.

Add more FO in the white to take advantage of the mild acceleration. Soap at low temps (90 degrees)

Master Batch Oils #5: 25.8 oz Oils; Plus 1.2 oz Sal Butter = 27 oz oils;  39 oz soap
(Less oils that the previous batches, as that was the last of the batch)
Oils: 25.8 oz/ 731 grams
Sal Butter: 1.2 oz/ 34 grams
Lye 5%: 3.8 oz/ 108 grams
Distilled Water: 8 oz/ 227 grams
Sodium Lactate: 8 grams (into Lye liquid at 130 degrees/less)

Batter/Colors/FO – 2 oz Sparkling Snowdrop
19 oz BB TD White 1 oz FO
5 oz BB Hydrated Crome Green 1/4 oz FO
5 oz BB Queens Purple 1/4 oz FO
5 oz BB Zippy Blue 1/4 oz FO
5 oz BB Ultramarine Blue 1/4 oz FO

When both my lye-water and oils were at 90 degrees I stick blended them together to emulsified, added my colors & FO and poured into squeeze bottles:


Clockwise: Ultramarine Blue, TD White, Hydrated Chrome Green, Queens Purple, Zippy Blue


Top before swirling


Swirled top


Close up

I was such a cold day (-14F/-26C in the morning), that I put this batch in a 150 degree oven, turned the heat off after 1 hour and left it for 6 hours. When I pulled it out, it was still slightly warm, and I wrapped in towels.


The Un-molding:


I thought the bottom and sides of the loaf looked cool.


The Cut:


Despite steaming twice, I still have a touch of ash.


An Aside:
I had fun with the leftovers too.

First Batch: (with leftover scented batter), continuing the tiger swirl in one bar:

Second Batch: Using leftovers of colored, unscented batter to test some other scents:

  • Lemon Verbena in Oval Celtic with VS
  • Butter Mints in Rectangular Celtic with VS

Third Batch: I tried to “paint” soap with squeeze bottles onto the designs in Victorian Heart mold:



Important Update on Soaping Challenge:

I won 3rd place in the December Soap Challenge Contest – First time ever placing in the top three!! (See photo, complete with logo below)


I have done 12 soap challenges in the past 17 months and have made it to 5th place twice, 7th place, and 9th a couple times (including last month). I’m always so grateful if I make it into the top 10…the challenges have grown from the first one I did, where there were 168 participants, to almost 400 in Nov and 349 members in December.

I am SO thrilled to win 3rd place!!
Here’s what Amy had to say:

“Third place goes to one of our most supportive members who has been part of the Club for about a year and a half. She has not only given me valuable feedback about the Club, but she is always very encouraging to the other members and gives out helpful advice on our Discussion Board. Congrats goes to Sylvia (Sly) of Soaps by Sly in Colorado for her mesmerizing Smokey Bay Leaf soap made with the tilted tiger stripe method:”



18 comments on “Dec 2016 Soap Challenge – Advanced Tiger Stripe Swirl

  1. Amy Warden says:

    I must say the colors on your entry soap are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing about the other two batches also – I like the marbled effect from the thin colors with the black. Glad you were able to get it in the mold AND look pretty! 🙂


  2. Sly, Amazing soaps ! I love the color scheme and modified design of your entry soap. Your other soaps are great as well Awesome job !


  3. soapsbysly says:

    Thanks Rhonda! That means so much to me!


  4. Belinda says:

    Wow! Amazing work – how did you choose a submission? They are so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your work and process 🙂


    • soapsbysly says:

      Thank you Belinda!
      I chose the first soap to submit because of the very find & detailed lines…and I love the way the top turned out. But of course, in hind sight, I look at one of the pics from my third soap – which looks unique to me (the tops butted together) and think that one is nicer and I should have submitted that.
      I wish I knew which one was the best….it’s hard for me to pick one of my babies!!


  5. Sara Golding says:

    So gorgeous!! That’s a lot of detail in the colors and lines. I like that you used a toothpick to swirl the top, I never would have thought of that!


  6. soapsbysly says:

    Thank you so much!
    I was wondering why I never thought of or heard of using a toothpick for swirling before either!!


  7. Helene Glemet says:

    Your soap is mesmerizing!! Thank you for sharing your process; a very interesting read! I must say I love what you did with the leftovers.. those are great!! Good luck! 🙂


  8. I can see the struggle between your first and third attempt. Both show beautiful lines of color. Wow!


  9. Aruna says:

    Gorgeous colours and the stripes are so perfect and vivid. Love them!


  10. Debi says:

    Goodness, Sly! These are absolutely gorgeous, as usual, all three of them. I can’t believe how many different variations this method can give. You couldn’t have gone wrong entering any of your “babies”. All three of them are incredibly beautiful. I especially love the effects you got from the leftovers on your first batch.


    • soapsbysly says:

      Thank you so much – that really means a lot to me!
      I missed your blog, but totally understand…Dec can be so crazy – I had a tough time getting mine written. I’m so glad you have an Instagram page – I always look forward to your soaps.


  11. Savie says:

    I love the cool color combo and the rippled wave effect. For some reason, the stripes remind me of gentle waves. Very relaxing 🙂


    • soapsbysly says:

      So sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your comment – some how I missed it until now.
      Thank you for your kind words – I appreciate you taking the time to write them.


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