Oil & Glycerin Swirls

I’m back in the saddle, the Soap Challenge Club saddle that is! This month’s challenge (put on by Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soapworks) was to add colored oil and/or glycerin swirls to the top of soap, and…Wait for it…Big surprise coming…

I’ve never done this before!

I know. You’re shocked, right?! Ok, not so much? 😀

I say that nearly every single month! That’s why I love these challenges so much. I’m introduced to or reminded of techniques that I’d like to try, and I learn something (or LOTS of things) every time.

This time around, I needed to restock on Satsuma soap, so that was the scent du jour. It’s an awesome sweet tangerine scent that doesn’t accelerate trace, perfect for any type of design I want to create (which is why I make something different with it every time I use it)! This was also the perfect opportunity to practice some previous skills learned in the club and use my awesome slab mold.

I created a column swirl soap by alternating pours of uncolored soap, neon tangerine soap, and neon mango mixed with a bit of neon pink. Those colors just seem to be the perfect fit for this lovely citrus scent. Since my mold is so big, I used 2 columns, effectively dividing the soap and giving me 2 different areas to play with when it came time to make my swirls on top!

Satsuma Soap column pours

Satsuma Soap being poured over 2 columns

On one half of the poured soap, I created what looked like the spokes of a wagon wheel by alternating stripes of gold mica dispersed in oil and pink mica in oil. Then using a bamboo skewer, I started in the middle and spun around the circle in an outward motion, expanding until I reached the outer edges. Then, I wound my way back toward the center between the lines created in the first round.

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Mica in oil drizzles and dots!

On the other half of the soap, I placed drops of gold and pink randomly about, then I drug my bamboo skewer through the middle of the drops randomly as well.

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Complete with swirls!

I went ahead and oven processed this soap, and I cut it just 24 hours after making it. It was a bit soft, but the oil swirls on top had already completely absorbed into the soap. My only mistake was leaving the soap on the counter to find my camera and get my cutting utensils out. One of the triplets got up on a stool and couldn’t resist touching the beautiful sparkles on top! She smudged it around in a few places before I caught her, and she was oh-so-happy with the beautiful pink and gold glitter sparkles on her finger! NEVER a dull moment around here.

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Satsuma Soap

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this soap turned out. I would have been perfectly happy to leave the beautiful column swirled soap alone, but adding the mica/oil swirls on top gives it extra interest (which obviously greatly appealed to my three-year-old). The column pour made some really cool stripes throughout each bar of soap, and the scent is amazing! AND, it’s my mom’s favorite fragrance, made just before Mother’s Day (though she’ll have to wait a bit for curing). 😉

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Lots of interesting things to look at here from the stripes running throughout each bar to the glittery mica swirls on top!

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These Taiwan-esque swirls are curvy and fun thanks to the circular pattern.

Because this was so fun, I just had to make a second soap as well! I wanted to make glycerin swirls, too, and I wanted to try my hand at another Taiwan Swirl soap (also a previous challenge technique). My slab mold was already out, and I was feeling inspired.

This Green Clover & Aloe soap was made using uncolored soap as the base with pours of light green and dark green (made by mixing yellow and blue oxides). After pouring the greens from on high, I used a dropper to add gold mica stripes and white stripes of titanium dioxide in glycerin. The glycerin stripes started to separate and bead up almost immediately, which turned into some really pretty swirls. Here’s what the process looked like.

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I was a bit messy with my pours. Oops!

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The glycerin started beading up immediately!

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Vertical swirls being added now.

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The final raw soap just before putting it to bed. Ooooh! So sparkly!

And the result?

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Green Clover & Aloe Soap with oil and glycerin swirls

So fantastic! I love the way this turned out! AND, it’s my dad’s favorite scent! So, one for mom and one for dad in the same week. 🙂 Though I’m not too sure how my dad is going to respond to the sparkly tops. Hmmm.

I left this soap in the mold for 2 days as it took longer for the glycerin to absorb into the soap. The oil and glycerin swirls left behind some really cool texture on the soap tops, and the swirls are really feathery and beautiful.

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Here you can really see the textured tops. Deep crevices were left behind when the glycerin absorbed into the soap.

Now I’m left wondering which soap to enter into the challenge! I think I’ll go for the first soap since it’s so bright and cheery. Which would you choose?

As always, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s awesome creations! Thanks so much, Amy, for putting together such great info and connecting all of us together under the banner of learning more about this artistic and fun craft!