Peacock Swirl

I joined Amy Warden‘s Soap Challenge Club because I so enjoyed learning some new swirling techniques through participating in her Soap Challenge 2013. In fact, I even designed a soap that is shaping up to be a real keeper in my regular sales line.

I’ve watched tutorials on how to do the peacock swirl, but I had never tried it. I made three soaps in an attempt to learn how to do this swirl. While I’m not 100% happy with the look of any of them, I do think it was a valuable learning experience, and I would not rule out trying this kind of swirl again some time.

The first one I made had a gorgeous blue and green paired with black and white and was scented with Celestial Waters by Bramble Berry. It smells absolutely divine, but my black soap ran a little and the resulting soap looks a little smeary to me: more like streaks of gray instead of defined black and white.

2013-06-10 19.02.05Still, even though it didn’t turn out with the perfectly defined swirls I have seen other soapers produce, the results are nice. I am in LOVE with the Celestial Waters fragrance, too. It smells absolutely gorgeous.

I decided to try again to see if I could produce more defined swirls. I chose some brighter colors this time.

2013-06-09 16.58.14The swirls are still not as defined as I had hoped.

2013-06-10 19.17.59I scented this one with a scent described as “base notes of raspberry, cantaloupe, and watermelon, middle notes of jasmine and violet, and fresh top notes of grapefruit and kumquat.” It smells amazing, and the colors are a perfect match for the scent. I’m going to call this one Yummy.

I put the glitter on it because my daughter Maggie happened to comment when she saw it that she liked when I put glitter on soaps. I think the glitter kind of “makes” this one. But like I said, it still wasn’t quite right. So, I thought maybe I could try again and get it perfect.

2013-06-10 21.00.20Well… not so much. I even tried a different recipe. No luck. The soap just seems to want to run together too much. And it was at a fairly decent trace before I dragged the comb through.

2013-06-10 21.00.34You can see it sort of starts out defined.

It smells AMAZING, by the way. I used 10X orange essential oil for the base layer, and I used litsea cubeba essential oil for the orange and yellow parts and peppermint essential oil and spearmint fragrance for the green and white parts. It actually smells really, really fantastic, and I like the colors for this soap. Maybe with a different design next time.

2013-06-10 21.00.46And there are spots where it stays defined. I’m liking the look of this bar after a little while in the fridge.

2013-06-10 22.52.17In fact, this whole half is not too bad.

2013-06-10 22.52.07But the swirls are not defined throughout like the others I’ve seen.

2013-06-10 22.52.30I admit I’m stumped.

So, I feel frustrated at this point because I feel like there is something obvious I am just not getting. It took me quite a while to learn to swirl my soap, and someone pointed out to me that I shouldn’t discount the water if I want to swirl. Voilà, I was able to swirl just fine. Now I very rarely have any trouble swirling.

But I am stumped. I watched about three tutorials. I soaped cool. I chose tried and true recipes that have worked for other soapers using this swirl. I used colorants that other soapers have tried and that have worked for me before. Perhaps I need to let the soap sit and get to a thicker trace.

Pros Cons
Even if you don’t get a defined swirl, it still looks pretty cool. It seems to be pretty hard to get a defined swirl, and a defined peacock swirl definitely looks better.
I tried out some really interesting scents that I would use again. All of them. I can’t help but feel that if I had used a tried and true design, the overall effect of the soap would have been nicer, and I would have been happier with the results.
This was great swirling practice, and I always like learning something new. This technique was really, super hard to clean up because of the bottles with yorker caps. The soap was really hard to get out of them completely.

So what’s the verdict?

I don’t think that this technique is worth the trouble for the effect. It is really gorgeous, but so are other types of swirls. I am not saying this just because I wasn’t happy with my results. I think I’d be saying it anyway for cleanup alone.

I plan to submit my Citrus Mint batch, the third batch, for the contest because I think it turned out the best, at least on half of the bars.

I really wish you could smell that Citrus Mint. Oh, it’s incredible. Mmmm! That mix of essential oils and fragrances is a keeper, for sure, but I think a different design next time.

Ooooh, I so had my eyes on that 18-bar birch mold! Oh, well. There is always the next challenge. Bring it on!

11 thoughts on “Peacock Swirl

  1. You are a champ! I can’t believe you tried it 3 times. I get so discouraged. I feel the same way though- I don’t know that it will become a regular technique of mine as the clean up is a bit much. My batch became muddled looking too. I took a sliver of the tops and the peacock swirl actually came through. Amathia Soapworks made did a free hand comb through because she thought the combs skewers were too close together and were causing the muddy mess- I think I might try the free hand approach should I decide to do this again. Pretty soap nonetheless.
    Rustic Relevance recently posted..Soapers are ResourcefulMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I was determined to try to make a pretty peacock swirl! The clean up was crazy! It almost took longer than the soapmaking! I am still not done! I finally had to soak my bottle caps. You might be on to something about taking a sliver off the tops. Hmmm… Perhaps my skewers were too close together.

  2. I’m not an expert on this technique – YET. But I’d like to help you figure this out. The key is to keep the soap VERY fluid. You definitely don’t want it to be a thicker trace. What were you using to disperse your colorants? Did you get them fully dispersed ahead of time? Those might be key issues to look at first.
    Amy Warden recently posted..Registration for Soap Challenge Club Closing Soon!My Profile

    1. Thanks for your help, Amy. I used sweet almond oil to disperse the colorants, and I did it well ahead of time, but it is a fact that I often have trouble with my titanium dioxide no matter how far in advance I try to disperse it.

    1. I know! And I still didn’t get it! That is how bad I wanted that mold. Guess I’ll have to buy it!

  3. I think they all turned out fabulous….you have a real knack for choosing pretty color combinations! I have to admit that I was not brave enough to attempt this challenge, so I really give you credit for tackling it 3 times!!!
    Cee recently posted..This Weekend’s ProjectMy Profile

    1. I did this a while ago, but I think I did do short side to short side. I gave up on this swirl as a bad job. I just can’t get the hang of it.

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