Breaking In My New Mold: Taiwan Swirl Challenge

It’s amazing to me how excited I get when time for the Soap Challenge Club rolls around each month! I rather impatiently awaited the opening of January’s soap challenge, signed up right away, and eagerly planned out my batch using this month’s Taiwan Swirl technique.

My excitement this time around had a lot to do with this:


My new slab mold!

Thanks to this (and my handy husband):


My hubby’s newest toy!

Matt’s Christmas gift of a new miter saw really worked out in my favor! (Wink, wink, nod, nod.) He loves his new saw and was honestly excited to make me some new soap molds, and to my specifications. Awesome, right?!

Anyway, on to the challenge!

In hopes of getting a very slow-moving, fluid soap to work with, I used a basic recipe of 68% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, and 7% castor oil with 7% superfat. To make an even more moisturizing soap, I replaced about a third of the water in the lye solution with yogurt and whey (added to the melted oils). I worked with my oils right around 90 degrees and my lye solution at room temperature. Satsuma was my fragrance du jour because it has always behaved very well, and because I completely sold out of that soap just before Christmas. I adore this scent. It’s so fresh and bright and invigorating. I just feel happy when I smell it!

After blending my oils and lye just to emulsification, I split off one cup of soap into neon citrus colorant and another cup into a beautiful blend of neon mango, coral mica, and neon pink. I was going for a gentle shade of orange and a brighter tangerine orange to match the sweet citrus smell of the fragrance.

Much to my disappointment, in the short time it took me to mix the colors, the main batter was already setting up! Should I blame it on the castor oil? Or were my temperatures too high? Could it be the addition of yogurt and whey? Hmmm. I worked as quickly as I could to pour the uncolored batter into the mold. Then I frantically poured alternating stripes down the length of the mold.    


I had to run my spatula down the stripes to try to get the colored soap all the way to the bottom.

Next came the swirls.


First, horizontal swirls.


And then vertical lines back and forth.


I love the look of this raw soap (despite my inability to make straight lines). The Taiwan Swirl is very pretty!

Then a spritz of alcohol, and the soap was put to bed in a 170 degree oven.


This is what it looked like in full gel. So cool! See the color change of the darker orange already?

And here it is! The final product!


Satsuma Soap made with the Taiwan Swirl. As evidenced by the sides and bottom of the soap, several of the colored stripes did make it all the way to through!

Even after much banging and pounding, the soap never did get flat. But I rather like the textured top! It adds a lot of interest to this soap.


Here’s a good shot of the ridges of the textured tops.

Despite my (once again) quickly tracing soap, I really love my results. I’ll definitely keep this technique in my regular rotation!


The colors turned out to be a perfect match with the fragrance!

And did I mention that I absolutely LOVE my new slab mold? So many awesome techniques to try now! And Matt even made me some real, legitimate columns to use for more column pour soaps!

I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the beautiful, artistic soaps made for this challenge. Thanks for stopping by for a peak at mine! Happy Soaping! 🙂

24 thoughts on “Breaking In My New Mold: Taiwan Swirl Challenge

    • Thank you! The originally unintended texture is now my favorite aspect of the soap! I’m still going to try again for a fluid and flat Taiwan swirl, though. I want to figure it out! 🙂

    • Thanks! Matt made me a few new loaf molds as well! I’m practically giddy! Thanks again for a great tutorial. I’ll have to continue working and practicing to find the perfect consistency of emulsification. You had a great explanation! 🙂

  1. Oooh this looks beautiful – perfect combination of scent and colours, and the textured top is lovely. Funnily enough I also added Castor oil to the OO/CO recipe Amy recommended and had a very similar issue with thickening batter. I definitely blame it on the Castor 🙂 (Mind you, I do have a tendency to overmix, even though I tried really hard to stop at the point of emulsion this time).

    • Thanks, Vicki! And ditto to your overmixing comment! What can I say? I just love my stick blender! Hehe. I’m glad to know that the same thing happened with you. Though I was trying for fluid (aka flat), I like the results anyway!

    • Thanks, Maya! It smells bright and summery, too. I’m going to have to figure out how to make a household “everywhere” spray with this scent. It makes me so happy, I want to smell it all the time! 🙂

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