Help making beautiful swirls in CP soap

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Jenn Lee

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Good morning all!

I have been making cp soap for about 6 months now and it's definitely got me hooked! Every time I try to make swirls I fail in some form or fashion. I've read about starting at a lower temperatures, with a very thin trace, making sure to only use EO/FOs that do not accelerate, etc. Somehow, either I'm pouring too thin and it mixes rather than swirls or it's just a little too thick and the only swirl I get is on the top (see most recent picture of soap in the mold and then after it was cut).

The recipe in the picture is: Olive Oil - 50%, Rice Bran Oil - 16%, Sweet Almond Oil - 6%, Palm Kernel Flakes - 9%, Coconut Oil, 76 - 16%, Castor Oil - 3% for 32 oz of oils, 5% super fat and 9.4 oz of water.

I added the lye to the oil mixture around 90 degrees F. I added Yellow Clay and Indigo Powder in a little of the Almond Oil at trace. I added the EO/FOs which where Cardamom EO, Nutmeg EO, and Vanilla FO after adding the colorants right before pouring into the mold. (I'm still working on getting acquainted with the Indigo powder, as you can see from the pictures.) I also added a pinch of Tussah silk to the hot lye solution and .25 oz of Sodium Lactate to the cool lye solution.

My house is fairly warm as I live in Texas and also fairly humid (yeah, it's great ::unhappy face::), so I usually don't cover the molds as last time I did it cracked. I just put it covered with some parchment up higher until it's done gelling, if that's what I'm going for, and then move it down lower when it's done so it doesn't remain too hot. My house is very tall and so in the summer, it's always a lot hotter a few feet above my head, lol.

Do you have advice on how to gauge the thickness correctly? Will it help if I get a slab mold with dividers or just a log mold with dividers? I don't currently have that.
 

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dixiedragon

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I also struggle with swirls.

Watch some YouTube videos on different swirling techniques - for me, I realized they were stirring a LOT more than I was.

Also, I would try an easier soap colorant. Nurture has free shipping on $30 orders of colors.
Mix the mica or oxide with a bit of glycerin. I like to use a Dixie paper cup for this purpose. You can use a chopstick, skewer or a tiny whisk for this.

Stick blend your soap until just emulsified, then separate and add your colors.

Looking at your picture - I am thinking you just used a skewer or chopstick? You need something that will move horizontally through the soap.

https://www.brambleberry.com/hanger-swirl-tool-p6263.aspx

You can get these at lowe's and Home Depot. They are large-sized gear ties.
 

Obsidian

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I agree, when pouring colors side by side, you need to be doing a hanger swirl. Personally, I have trouble with hanger swirls so I do easier ones.

The green/yellow one is a drop swirl. The black is a in the pot swirl. Look those techniques up on YouTube
 

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dibbles

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How thick you want your trace really depends on the type of swirl you want to do. A drop swirl needs a pretty thin trace and a hanger swirl needs more of a medium trace for example. Here is a link to a video on stick blending to emulsion that newbie made. Watching youtube videos is very helpful, and it takes a bit of practice. I started with in the pot swirls because they are fairly quick and are pretty forgiving. I also have had to move to Plan B when my batter thickens more quickly than expected. I mostly color with micas mixed with oil. Activated charcoal and clays will thicken the batter more quickly, so I stick with a simpler design when I use them.
 

cmzaha

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I love doing hanger swirls, but I simply cannot use gear ties. My hubby made my hanger swirl tool from steel rod which he welded together to fit my molds perfectly. Before you ask, no it does not react with my soap batter. A couple pictures of hanger swirls. Since I do not have much time to play with intricate swirling I either do in the pot swirls or hanger.

:eek: A photographer I am not, that is saved for my oldest daughter :D

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Jenn Lee

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Excellent suggestions! I do own the hanger tool from brambleberry, but I saw some folks using chopsticks so recently I have been using that. All my books show vertical swirl tools, so I've been copying the books and getting it wrong every time. Videos, don't even know why I didn't think of that. I've never tried the in-the-pot swirl either. Every place I read about swirls makes it seem so easy! I thought it was just me.

Thank you all. I'll do some investigation and watching and hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll be able to update with a soap almost as pretty as the ones posted here!
 

dibbles

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I love doing hanger swirls, but I simply cannot use gear ties. My hubby made my hanger swirl tool from steel rod which he welded together to fit my molds perfectly. Before you ask, no it does not react with my soap batter. A couple pictures of hanger swirls. Since I do not have much time to play with intricate swirling I either do in the pot swirls or hanger. QUOTE]
[QUOTE="cmzaha, post: 704614, member: 6100"/quote]

Hanger swirls are my hands down favorite too. And I get excited if I get anything resembling a butterfly swirl. Yours is perfect. Lovely soaps.
 

cmzaha

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^^^I am the same as you Dibbles when it comes to Butterflies, I get so excited if I get even close to one. But in my opinion hanger swirls are just fun and almost always pretty
 
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