August 2023 SMF Challenge: Shapes!
Welcome to the August 2023 SMF Challenge, where this month’s theme is…. SHAPES! If you've always wanted to be shapely, this one's for you. Seriously, this will be much easier than "getting in shape." You will simply make a cold-processed or hot-processed soap, and incorporate a recognizable shape into your design. This is a super flexible challenge that can go in so many different directions. Come and join the fun!
SMF Challenge General Rules
- To enter, you must have been an active SMF member for at least one month and have a minimum of 50 posts at the time the Challenge is posted. “Fluff” posts written with the sole intention of boosting post numbers do not apply. Sorry, there are no exceptions to this rule, except that the time and post requirements are removed for (do not apply to) Supporting Members. All eligible members may sign up and submit an entry at any time before the entry thread closes.
- Your soap must be made after the monthly challenge has been announced. Your entry must consist of bars made from a single batch of soap poured into one mold. In other words, your entry cannot include bars from different batches.
- The sign-up list will be posted in this thread. Please add your name to the sign-up list if you’d like to participate. You don’t have to enter a soap at the end if you don’t feel happy with what you have made. Still, we hope you will post about your experiences here in the main Challenge thread, along with non-entry photos (be prepared to be encouraged to keep trying).
- In the spirit of advancing our soap making skills, all members who sign-up for the SMF Challenge do so with the expectation that they will make every attempt to submit an entry. We do understand that life happens, and that you may end up without an entry. However, signing up with no intent to participate and only to vote goes against the spirit of the challenge and is not allowed.
- Throughout the month, we encourage you to use this general Challenge thread (not the Entry thread) to ask for advice, discuss techniques with other members, upload pictures of your non-entry challenge attempts, and provide helpful hints you learned along the way. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but please keep your comments polite.
- A separate Entry thread will be created towards the end of the month. Please do not post photos of your entry until the Entry thread is opened. Breaking this rule will disqualify that soap from this Challenge. The Entry thread is for challenge entries only; please don't post any comments there.
- Your entry photo must include at least three bars of soap from your entry batch. We encourage (but do not require) you to include in your entry post a description and additional photos demonstrating how you made your soap: the process, the technique, the fragrance, any special meaning behind your selected colors or design, etc. This gives voters a better understanding of, and appreciation for, what went into creating your soap.
- Entries must be posted to the Entry thread (not to this general Challenge thread) before the closing time on the closing date. Late entries will not be accepted. If you miss the Challenge deadline, please upload pictures of your soap to the general Challenge thread instead. While it won’t be part of the voting, we always love to see anything you have created!
- There is no prize attached to this Challenge. However, this is still a competition. If your entry is deemed non-compliant, you will be given the opportunity to amend your entry if there is time to do so before the Entry thread closes. Otherwise, your entry will be excluded from voting. The challenge mods have the final say as to whether any given soap, photo, or registrant is eligible for entry and voting.
- All eligible registrants who have signed up before the Entry thread closes will be eligible to vote, even if they do not submit an entry. A password-protected voting link and password will be sent to eligible registrants only, by private message via SMF conversations. Please check your SMF messages/conversations when the voting begins.
- Note: all times listed below are Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It is your responsibility to convert times to your own time zone. You can use World Time Buddy or a similar time converter.
* The entry thread will open on August 24, 2023 by 11:59 PM GMT.
* The entry thread will close on August 28, 2023 at 11:59 PM GMT.
* The voting survey link and password will be emailed to all registered participants shortly thereafter.
* The voting survey will remain open until August 30, 2023 at 11:59 PM GMT, or until all registrants have voted, whichever is sooner.
* The winner will be announced no later than August 31, 2023 by 11:59 PM GMT.
Specific Rules for this Challenge
The soap can be made via CP or HP, and must be poured into a loaf or slab mold, with at least two colors (one of which may be your uncolored base). The design of the soap must include a recognizable shape of some kind. This could be a geometric shape such as a square, circle, rectangle, etc. It could also be the shape of an object, like a tree, animal, building, vehicle, flag, etc.
You may use other molds (column molds, PVC pipes) to make embeds for your shapes, which can be made from M&P. You can also create your shapes using scraper tools, extruders, soap dough, drinking straws, shreds of older soap, special design techniques, or some other creative method that you concoct.
The shape must go throughout your soap. In other words, we must be able to see your shape when looking at the front face and back face of each entry bar. That means the following do not qualify as “shapes” for purposes of this Challenge: textured surfaces, piping, soap carving, impression mat designs, soap stamps, or embeds that primarily sit on the surface of the soap. You are welcome to use any of these in your entries, but they don't qualify as a “shape” as defined by the rules of this Challenge.
Have fun making something that appeals to you, or that has special meaning for you! Below are a few inspirational pictures and videos to jump-start your creativity - including some from our own SMF members that I found to be particularly fun and unique.