I can't swirl

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Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2020
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Upstate SC
Newbie here, trying my hardest to learn how to swirl.

I've watched months of you tube videos and I've been experimenting with known recipes from Brambleberry, and WPS. I have 10 bars curing with dreadful swirls. I've tried the spoon swirl, drop and hanger swirl.

I've tried to make a thinner recipe (more water) and I've tried lighter trace. I'm just not getting it.

I don't understand how folks are getting a perfect taiwan swirl soap on the first try.

Thanks for any advice
Does it feel like the batter is getting too thick to work with? Your fragrances might be speeding things along. You could always try an unscented batch.

Are you using enough colorant?

I'm just shooting in the dark here because I don't know where the problems are showing up. A recipe and photos would help us trouble shoot.
I prefer to do my drop swirls at a light/medium trace and use a 33% lye solution. If I use a thinner batter, my swirls end up looking like an in the pot swirl. It also depends on the number of colors I'm using. If I'm just using 2-4 different colors, I can usually manage at a lighter and even towards medium trace but if I want to use a whole rainbow I try for emlusion/very light trace.

How many colors are you trying to use for your swirls and what type of ratio to your base color?

Have you tried an ITP swirl? It's pretty foolproof. As long as you don't stir the pot too much.
I don't understand how folks are getting a perfect Taiwan swirl soap on the first try.

I really do not think anyone gets a perfect swirl the first time. Also, a perfect swirl is in the eyes of the beholder. What you think is perfect I might think is not. It simply takes practice, patience, and persistence. Check out Todd's thread titled Success, Finally.

A trace that is very thin or just at emulsion can run together or a trace that is to thick can simply be very hard to swirl. You just have to find the sweet spot.

We simply cannot all do what some can do, so do not stress and just enjoy finding the swirls you can make. There is a swirl called the Ione swirl that some can do beautifully, looking at Irishlass, that I cannot do to worth a darn. We just cannot all do what some can. But on the other hand, I can do butterflies when I so choose to play and many cannot.
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I also don't think anyone is getting a perfect Taiwan swirl the first time.
I haven't been doing this for very long, but the one I have found the easiest was an in-the-pot swirl -- you hardly have to do anything for it, just make sure your batter is not super thick.

I love watching soaping videos and have learnt from them quite a bit. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect things to go as smoothly as on the video; both because the person on the video has probably been doing this for years, and also because a video is always different. (I used to rock climb and watch rock climbing youtube videos. You watch it for a while and start thinking you could do it better than the person on the video. And then you try it and wow, not even close, by far.)

As the others have asked: what do you think usually goes wrong? Too thick batter? Too thin batter? Colors aren't nice? It's not "swirly" enough? Etc. etc.