Soap Challenge Club: Mantra Swirl

Plum Tea Soap with a mantra swirl. Ingredients: olive oil, aloe vera juice, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, fragrance, castor oil, colorants, goat milk, kaolin clay, activated charcoal, silk.

Plum TeaThis month’s challenge in the Soap Challenge Club hosted by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks was to create a soap with a mantra swirl. There are two ways to do a mantra swirl. One involves putting a divider in your mold pouring two colors in the mold simultaneously, then using a bottle with a yorker cap to squirt a third color in between and using a skewer to swirl the soap. Alternatively, you can put two dividers in your mold and pour one color in each section. When you cut the soap, you have to be careful to cut it so that the design shows. Here is a demonstration of how to do this kind of mantra swirl and how to cut it.

I chose to do a modified mantra swirl because I wanted to use my favorite cutter. Amy warned that it was more advanced, but I thought it looked about the same. Boy, was I wrong!

First things first, here is Kenna‘s demonstration of how to do the modified mantra:

Just a pause to say how wonderful the soap making community is. So many talented soap makers freely share their techniques and recipes with beginners. It is rare to be a part of a community that is so giving, especially when many of us are selling our craft.

I have to confess I committed a big no-no, and I kind of have to wonder when I’m going to learn about this because I do it all the time: I used a fragrance I’d never tried before. It accelerated and thickened up fast, and I was sure I’d ruined my swirl. I was so surprised and pleased when I cut it and found it was pretty.

2013-07-06 12.35.16It is so hot here in Massachusetts that my soap started to gel even after I had cut it. Soap has NEVER done this to me before. I had put this batch in the freezer and then the fridge to prevent gel because I want to avoid it getting so hot that glycerine rivers destroyed the look of the white part. Instead, I have about three pretty bars (you are looking at them above) and the rest are sort of warpy, goopy messes. It’s tragic!

2013-07-06 12.35.52I’m sure the soap is fine to use, though. I don’t think I can sell it. Bah!

It’s a shame, too, because the fragrance is heavenly! It is a beautiful, soft plum fragrance with a tea base note that is just amazing. I definitely love the fragrance.

What I think I might do is show the bars in a YouTube video and ask if anyone wants them, absolutely free. I will definitely be keeping some for myself!

I tried to video the making of this soap, but it didn’t work out because Steve had to drop the camera and help me get the soap into the mold. Poor man even got a glob of raw soap on his ungloved hand, and I sent him off to wash it off so he didn’t get a lye burn. It was a scary few minutes!

I couldn’t be more pleased with how the soap turned out or more disappointed that the gel I tried to prevent happened anyway and made a mess out of my pretty soaps!

Wow, I used a lot of exclamation points in this post. But let me tell you, this was some exclamation point soap.