Can't quite figure out how to swirl

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gdawgs

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I keep seeing all these pictures of beautiful swirls you all get, so I keep trying and can't quite figure it out. Here's my latest attempt. The red is overpowering. I should have used more yellow and base. I think my batter was probably too thin. Maybe would have looked better if it was a bit thicker. I liked the look of the top and bottom, but when I cut it, not quite what I was expecting. A couple of them kind of look like flames, so I guess that's kind of cool. And as you can see, it was a bit soft when I cut. I waited over 24 hours and it still seemed a bit soft compared to batches I've made in the past. I used citric acid in this batch. Does that keep it softer longer?


Top


Bottom


Cut bars
 

snappyllama

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I think it looks very pretty. What effect were you looking to achieve?

I do not believe that Citric Acid should make your bars softer - unless your measurements were off when you compensated for the lye consumed by citric acid. I use a different chelator though (EDTA), so hopefully someone with practical experience with your additive will show up.
 

nikkisessence

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Your work is beautiful. You have some points to go off of to make something more in line with your vision. I often wait two days before cutting when I swirl as I use a soft recipe. I haven't used citric acid in my soaps so I can't say how that would affect hardness. I love your soap - your swirl is lovely! Personally, I'm a big fan of red and your soap looks like fire. Maybe wait another day to cut? I'm a big fan of what you've done! Sorry if I repeated snappyllama above or said anything out of line. Best of luck and just keep swirling!
 
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shunt2011

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I think it's they are very pretty
 

gdawgs

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I think it looks very pretty. What effect were you looking to achieve?
I guess I was envisioning larger features, more like the bottom or the end piece. When I cut it, the grain was much finer than I thought it was going to be.
 

dibbles

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Your soap looks great even though it might not be what you envisioned. That is often the case for me, and I have learned to embrace it for what it is. And try again. The amount of colors to use will come with experience. I generally like a lot of white/base color, and have found that I'm better off with more of that than I think I will need. I like black as an accent, and have found that with black or other very dark colors a little goes a long way and I will need less than I think I will. This doesn't always work, but it's a helpful start.

Were you trying to achieve a particular technique (ie, mantra swirl)? Sometimes the direction the bars are cut makes a huge difference.
 
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jules92207

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I think it's very pretty, have you watched any swirl videos? That's a great way to start envisioning what your going for. I'm a fan of the drop swirl and spoon swirls myself, I'm still an amateur when it comes to swirling though so I understand the surprise when you cut cause I don't always know what's going to come out of it. If you want to understand swirls better I would definitely begin looking at soap swirl videos, even check out some of our challenges, they all have videos to learn the technique, etc.

But it is a nice soap.
 

navigator9

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I think your swirls are really pretty! As someone who is definitely swirl challenged, the only technique I've ever had any real success with it the Celine swirl. You can watch her do it here... https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=7CepZH1ZWmg Not sure if this is the type of swirl you were looking for, but I've found this one is the least challenging of all the techniques I've tried.
 

Steve85569

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Very nice looking swirl. If you were looking for a less fine swirl the batter was just a bit too thin.
If you use a lot of vitamin C it will make the bars soft. It changes the chemistry of the soap making it thirsty so it takes in water. DeeAnna or TOMH can give you the scientific explanation for it.
 

dixiedragon

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Gorgeous! Looks to me like maybe you did "too much" back and forth swirling? I put "too much" in quotes b/c I think your soap is beautiful! I have the opposite problem - I tend to do too little back and forth and end up with a few streaks. My suggestion would be to watch a lot of swirling videos to observe how much they are doing.
 

TeresaT

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I think they are pretty just the way they are. However, personally, I would have cut them horizontally instead of vertically. You would have gotten a much different type of swirl pattern if you had done it that way and I think you would be more pleased with the outcome. If you haven't tried it, perhaps you should do it the next time you swirl. Just do your swirling exactly as you have this one, but cut it differently.

This is a video on how to make a horizontal cut. Of course, you've got to go to the end to see how to make the cut. But watching the whole video is worth it. The tutorial is good. You can also do the pour without the funnel (faux funnel pour). But you may have already known/seen this information.

http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-b...ow-to-make-funnel-pour-soap-on-soap-queen-tv/
 

gdawgs

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Ok. Looks like I have some questions to answer.

I'm pretty confident I have my citric acid numbers correct. I triple checked that before I started. I added 1% of oils. My recipe was just shy of 400 grams of oil, so I added 4 grams citric acid. The lye compensation is .624 per gram of CA. So that came out to be 2.5 ish extra grams of NaOH.

I have watched lots of videos, but many tend to be slab molds and I'm using a loaf mold. So you are cutting in different directions. And many of the videos don't show you the cut product. :( So I saw one that looked like it would work and gave it a whirl.

As far as what I'm looking for. I was hoping for a little more wispiness. All the grain in mine is straight. I may have to tackle that hanger technique. That Celine swirl looks pretty easy. I may give that a try next.

I'm always worried about over doing the swirls as well, so I didn't think I did that many. I think I did 6 in each direction.

I'm thinking I may need to make a slab mold now.

What I'm finding amazing is that when you look at some soaps they look incredibly tough to make. I wonder how on earth they were made. Then you see a video of how they did it, and it's usually pretty simple. Kind of like magic tricks.

Thanks for the positive feedback. The more I look at it, the more I like it. It's just not at all what I was expecting.
 

artemis

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Ok.
I have watched lots of videos, but many tend to be slab molds and I'm using a loaf mold. So you are cutting in different directions. And many of the videos don't show you the cut product. :( So I saw one that looked like it would work and gave it a whirl.
It sounds like you were lookng for a swirl inside the bar. Try looking for videos with a "hanger swirl."
 

newbie

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You can use your loaf mold as a slab, if you like the dimensions of what the cut bars will be. Just calculate using the dimension of the mold and the thickness you'd like your bars in the end to get the amount of oils you needs

LxWxH (height would be how thick you want your bars)x 0.4= oils needed.

If you had cut on the horizontal, your pattern would have looked more like the top. If you cut a horizontal pattern vertically, you can certainly find some cool patterns, but it won't look like the face up version of what you made. There is something about the texture of the top that make me think the soap gelled fairly hot but not so hot that it separated. If your batter was very thin to begin with, sometimes the texture of a hot-gelled soap will be soft for longer and the soap a bit oilier.

I like fire colors a lot so I'm a fan of your bars.
 

gdawgs

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You can use your loaf mold as a slab, if you like the dimensions of what the cut bars will be. Just calculate using the dimension of the mold and the thickness you'd like your bars in the end to get the amount of oils you needs

LxWxH (height would be how thick you want your bars)x 0.4= oils needed.

If you had cut on the horizontal, your pattern would have looked more like the top. If you cut a horizontal pattern vertically, you can certainly find some cool patterns, but it won't look like the face up version of what you made. There is something about the texture of the top that make me think the soap gelled fairly hot but not so hot that it separated. If your batter was very thin to begin with, sometimes the texture of a hot-gelled soap will be soft for longer and the soap a bit oilier.

I like fire colors a lot so I'm a fan of your bars.
I have actually done that before(using loaf mold as a slab). I had a little extra batter one time, so I dumped it in a bread mold and it was maybe 5/8" thick. It worked, but then I only get 3 bars of soap out of the deal.
I'm not sure if this batch actually gelled. I made it in the evening and kept peeking at it for two or three hours and it didn't gel yet at that point. Then I went to bed. So maybe it did after that, but usually in the past, my batches have gelled by that point.

I guess I have more experimenting to do. :)
My wife is getting to the point where she rolls her eyes a bit when I start making a batch. I know I have no inventory compared to many of you (but I'm new and have no plans of ever selling), but I was getting close to having 200 bars of soap laying around. So my wife keeps wondering what the heck we're going to do with it all. We went "back home" for July 4th and I gave a LOT of it away to friends and fam. So now I can make more I guess.
 

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