Welcome to the June 2023 SMF Soap Challenge: Layers!
This month’s challenge is to make a layered soap. With a minimum of two layers and two colors (one of which can be your uncolored base), you can make as many layers and use as many colors as you’d like! Your layers may be straight, pointy, slanted, shaped, symmetrical, asymmetrical, separated by mica lines – whatever floats your boat.
Here is the twist: you must include at least one design element inside and throughout at least one layer. This could be confetti, ciaglia, embeds, your swirl of choice, contrasting additives such as poppy seeds, or ?? You decide! You have the option to add more than one design element in any of the layers. Also, you are free to add optional embellishments such as mica lines, soap stamps, etc. Make this as simple or as wild as you’d like! Please read the more specific rules below for full details.
SMF Challenge General Rules1. To enter, you must have been a SMF member for at least one month and have a minimum of 50 posts at the time the Challenge is posted. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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).
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Entries must be posted to the Entry thread (not to this general Challenge thread) before 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!
9. 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 or registrant is eligible for entry and voting.
10. 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.
11. 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 converter to assist you with that.
* The entry thread will open on June 20th by 11:59 PM GMT.
* The entry thread will close on June 26th at 11:59 PM GMT.
* The voting survey link and password will be emailed to all eligible participants shortly thereafter.
* The voting survey will remain open until June 29th at 11:59 PM GMT, or until all votes are in, whichever is sooner.
* The winner will be announced by June 30 by 11:59 PM GMT.
Specific Rules for this Challenge:
Specific Rules for this Challenge:
- You may use any loaf mold to create your layered soap. Individual cavity molds or cylinder molds may be used only for your in-layer design element, not for making the soap bars.
- The soap may be created using any variation of CP or HP. No M&P may be used for the soap bars. However, you may (but don’t have to) use M&P to make any embeds or shreds that you may wish to use as part of your in-layer design element. While the main soap must be made after the challenge begins, you may use embeds or shreds made prior to the challenge.
- Your soap must include at least two layers, which must be different colors. Use as many additional colors and layers as you wish. Uncolored base, if you decide to use that, counts as one color.
- At least one layer must include an in-layer design element that goes throughout that layer. This must be something more than the shape or placement of your layer, and must affect more than just the surface of the soap. Suggestions include confetti, ciaglia, embeds, your favorite swirl, or contrasting additives such as walnut shells, poppy seeds, or ? That is not an exhaustive list; if you think of another design element for your layer, go for it!
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Design elements that only affect one or more surfaces of the soap, and/or don’t go throughout an entire layer, do not qualify as in-layer design element. Examples of things that are NOT in-layer design elements: slanted layers, pointy layers, shaped layers, mica lines that separate layers, soap carving, soap stamps, swirls/embeds/botanicals on soap tops, and texturing or patterns on any soap surface. All of these are allowed, but none of these will count as your in-layer design element.
- You may add a design element to more than one layer. For example, you could put a swirl in one layer, and an embed in another. You may also add more than one design element to a single layer, e.g., a swirl and an embed in the same layer. Be free to keep it super simple, and equally free to make something quite complex. Either choice will have its own beauty!
- Embeds, if used, must go through the entire length of the soap, and must be mostly inside a layer to count as a design element. This could be small cubes of a contrasting color that are mixed throughout a single layer. You could also use an extruded or column-molded tree embed going through both the ground layer and the sky layer of a landscape soap.
- Your entry photo should be the first item in your Entry thread post, and must show the full face of least two of your cut bars. Per General Rule 7, above, we also encourage you to add more photos and description – but that isn’t required.
Please post any question about the specific Challenge rules in this Challenge thread, so everyone else can benefit from seeing the answer. To get your creative juices flowing, below are some pictures of soaps made with layers, ranging from very simple to very complex. Notice how at least one layer in each of these soaps has an additional design element going throughout that layer, including confetti, ciaglia, embeds, swirls, or additives that provide a nice contrast within that layer.