Wood Grain Soap Technique

Howdy, soapy friends! It’s been a while since I last participated in the Soap Challenge Club (and I have a good reason, I promise!), but I couldn’t resist participating this month! The wood grain technique in soapmaking is just so cool! Soap that looks like wood!?! And multiple ways to make it look real!?! Amy shared a pretty simple technique in her tutorial this month, and she also compiled several YouTube videos of other soapmakers’ different techniques. I chose to try out Amy’s squeeze bottle technique for the challenge, but I’m looking forward to trying out several of the other techniques in the near future as well.

I recently had a friend ask me to make Sandalwood soap with activated charcoal, and this provided me with the perfect opportunity to create! I used a very sexy Sandalwood fragrance oil, along with cocoa powder and activated charcoal as colorants in a very slow-moving recipe that Amy shared a few years ago inside the club: 35% olive oil, 30% lard, 25% coconut oil, and 10% rice bran oil.  I also added silk, goat milk and colloidal oatmeal to this luxurious soap. Working at room temperature with this recipe gives me the most time; my soap batter was fluid throughout the squeezing! SCORE! (I’m a bit overly excited because I have never had much luck with squeeze bottles.) I blended the oils and lye just to emulsification, and then I divided the soap evenly into 5 squeeze bottles. I added different ratios of cocoa powder to 2 bottles, charcoal to one bottle, a combination of cocoa and charcoal to one bottle, and I left one bottle uncolored.


Squeeze bottles shaken, not stirred. 😉


The Bramble Berry 9-bar slab mold was the perfect choice for this technique. I was able to squeeze lines of each color over and over again down the length of the mold to create that wood grain look.


My squeezing got a bit messy towards the end!

When all of the soap was squeezed in, I used a skewer to follow those lines, then I swirled at least one “knot” where each bar would be.


I might have gotten a little over-zealous with the knots… but it’s just so fun to play with soap!!

I added in the handy dividers that came with the mold and sprayed the top with 91% alcohol.


Dividers in and ready for bed!


I am so excited about this soap!



Even the backs/bottoms and sides of the soap look cool! These bars will have a new design with every use!


The wood grain technique is awesome!

It looks amazing and smells amazing.


I’m certain the men in my life are going to love the looks (and smell) of this new soap.


I’m going to try out a few of the other techniques as well, like making soap in a log mold with a “bark” edge! How fun, especially for the upcoming winter season! I’m thinking maybe a crackling birch fragrance, or a lovely evergreen scent.

I am continually impressed and inspired by all of the fabulous, creative soap makers out there. This is such a fun craft!! Thanks, Amy, for another great tutorial, and thanks to Kenna of Modern Soapmaking and Anne-Marie of Bramble Berry for sponsoring this month’s challenge.

And because I just can’t resist, I’ll let you know what’s up in my life that’s been keeping me from posting this summer…I’m PREGNANT…AGAIN!!! We’re only days away from becoming a family of SEVEN MESSY BABIES!!! And you’ll never guess…20160520_182208

Our girls are ecstatic! God is GOOD! Have a blessed day, friends!

17 thoughts on “Wood Grain Soap Technique

  1. Congratulations! Sounds like your going to have to keep changing the name of your blog – maybe just call it The Dirty Dozen!
    Your soaps are lovely – great colors and nicely done with keeping the batter fluid enough for the whole batch (not an easy feat!)

    • Thanks, Sly! 🙂 The Dirty Dozen…LOL! That’s great! Yes, I’ve been brainstorming new names for the blog. I skipped right over baby #6, and now I’m glad I did since it would have changed again anyway!
      That slow moving recipe at room temp is seriously so easy to work with. Until that recipe, I had a hard time keeping soap fluid for any length of time.

  2. What a lovely soap you have created, Katy! The colours are beautiful and the woodgrain pattern is on point. Thanks so much for sharing your process and congrats! on your big news 🙂 All the best!

  3. Congratulations!!!! I was excited to see you were back in the challenge club again, and now this news….I’m even more excited!! Your soap turned out really great – love the colors and the grainy textures!!

  4. Woot woot! Beautiful soap…and your choice of colours did the technique justice. Congratulations on your BIG announcement. Prayers for safe delivery and looking forward to baby pics 🙂 God IS Good.

  5. You never cease to amaze me, Katy! Not only do you make the most amazing soaps, but the fact that you even have time to do anything besides taking care of a huge family is astonishing! Raising our twins was such a colossal undertaking, we were scared to death to have any more. Even now that they are 18, I am not sure how we all made it through, especially the teenage years!

    I digress. Your soap is really beautiful and authentic looking. Congratulations on your return to the Challenge Club, an amazing entry, and most of all, on your upcoming (male) arrival!

    • Haha! Debi, come find me rocking myself in a ball in a corner when all my kids are teenagers…at the SAME TIME basically! I’m not sure I’ll be sane enough to make soap during those years, but I’m hoping they’ll catch the crafting bug like me and want to help out by then! Thanks for the sweet words about my soap, too. 🙂

  6. What a beautiful job – I really like that you tried to have a burl in every bar (something I wish I’d remembered to do). And congrats on the new little one on the way! I don’t know how you do it all, and these challenges, and all the rest. Supermom, clearly. 🙂

    • Not supermom, Michelle…just surviving and doing what I have to do most of the time, with some fun things like Soap Challenge Club thrown in so I can keep my sanity! 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Love your soap!! The colors contrast so nicely next to each other and congratulations!!! 7 babies!! how much fun!! 🙂

  8. Oh))) Katy, you are a hero mom!!!! I have only ONE, but we are in the middle of our teethaching maraton, so I am almost dead)))) Can imagine to have 6 or 7 at once))))))

    As for your soap, it turned out very beautiful, especially I like the fall colors of the wood))) Your photografy is also very proffesional. Thank you!

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