SMF March 2022 Challenge - Column Pour Technique

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dibbles

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Welcome to the March 2022 SMF Soap Challenge! For this month’s challenge, you will make soaps using the Column Pour Technique. This is a fun technique, and the finished soap can have many unique looks depending on how you choose to swirl (or not swirl) your batter.

Please read the general rules (there have been some changes lately, so really, PLEASE READ THEM) and the challenge specific rules below and let’s have some soapy fun!

SMF Challenge General Rules

1. 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 but no exceptions on this). Supporting Members can enter immediately, the time and post requirements are removed.

2. The only members eligible to vote are those with their names on the sign-up list - regardless of whether or not you have submitted an entry. The sign-up list will be posted in this thread.

3. This month’s voting will be password locked. Passwords will be sent by private message (via SMF conversations) to registered participants ONLY, so please check your messages when the voting begins.

4. A separate entry thread will be created and this is where you will post photos of your entry soap. Please do not post photos of your entry until the entry thread is opened. Post pictures of your entry soap in the challenge entry thread only.

Non-entry photos are always welcome and may be posted in the general challenge thread. The challenge thread should be used to upload pictures of any of your challenge attempts (other than your entry) where you can ask for advice and discuss the technique with other members, and provide helpful hints you learned along the way.

5. Your soap must be made after the monthly challenge has been announced.

6. In the spirit of advancing our soap making skills, all members who sign-up for a SMF Challenge do so with the expectation that they will make every attempt to make a soap for the challenge. Writing about your experience in the challenge is encouraged. By doing so, each participant has a better knowledge of your process when voting. We do understand that sometimes things come up in our lives and interrupt our plans, however, signing up with no intent to participate and only to vote is not in the spirit of the challenges and is not allowed.

7. Please add your name to the sign-up list if you wish to participate (you don’t have to enter a soap at the end if you don’t feel happy with what you have made), but please do post your experiences in the main Challenge thread and be prepared to be encouraged to continue trying.

8. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but please keep your comments polite.

* * * *
Competition entries must be uploaded to the separate entry thread before the closing date.
  • The entry thread will open on March 21 at 11:59pm GMT (Please follow the challenge specific rules as to what you need to enter).
  • After the closing date on March 27 at 11:59pm GMT the winning entry will be chosen using Survey Monkey. Voting will be open from March 28-30 and the winner will be announced on March 31. There is no prize attached to this challenge.
  • If you fail to make the challenge deadline, you are still welcome to upload pictures of your soap onto the general challenge thread, but your entry will not be eligible for voting. We always love to see anything you have created.
  • Even though there is no prize, this is still a competition. If your entry is deemed not to fulfill the general rules or the rules specific to the challenge in any way, then you will be given the opportunity to amend your entry. If this is not possible, your entry will not be included in the voting.
  • All the challenge mods reserve the right to have the final say on whether a soap is eligible for voting.
* * * *
Specific Rules for this Challenge


1. The challenge this month is to make soap using the Column Pour technique.

2. You may use any method you choose to make your soap, but cold process (CP) or cold process/oven process (CPOP) is the method that will work best.

3. You may use any mold you choose, but a slab mold definitely will work the best. If you don’t have a slab mold, a box, drawer or something similar lined with freezer paper or a plastic food storage container are a few options. You can also make a slab mold out of foam core or cardboard.

4. Your entire soap batch must be poured over an object(s) placed in the mold. (An exception to pour a small amount of batter into the bottom of the mold before you start your design will be allowed.)

5. You must use at least two colors (obviously). Using uncolored batter for one of the colors is acceptable.

6. Pulling the object you poured the soap batter over out of the mold will likely leave a muddled area. You may use a small amount of batter to cover this area if you want to do that.

7. If you want to use an embed as a column to pour your batter over, which will be left in your final soap, that is allowed.

8. If you would like to pour a small amount of one color into the bottom of the mold to start before you begin your column pour, that is allowed. This can help if you are using a small mold or pouring over more than one column.

9. The slab should be cut into bars for your entry photo. You may include from one to all of the bars in your photo, arranged in any way you like. If you choose to include more than one photo of your soaps in the entry thread, please post the photo you would like to have used for the voting survey first.

* * * *
Tips:


1. As the batter depth rises in your mold, the item you are using to pour batter over might begin to move or float. Either weight your pour-over object with something (fill a bottle with water, rice, etc.) or dip it in melted cocoa butter to anchor it to the mold (allow time for the cocoa butter to solidify if you do this). Soap dough will also work to hold your item in place. I once used a plastic drink bottle cut in half, and weighted it by wedging some less than desirable soap bars into the bottle. It worked, and the soap put inside the bottle was fine after doing this. Just be careful that whatever you are using can’t slide out – I don't really recommend doing this, but it can work.

2. Save a small amount of your batter to cover the area the object used for pouring over was removed from.

3. Choose a slow moving recipe and fragrance or essential oil.

4. Start dividing your batch as soon as you reach emulsion. You want to be working at light trace as long as possible.

5. A few things I’ve used as a column – plastic drink bottle, wood block, a piece of soap cut to about 1 x 1, a cardboard salt shaker, an empty glass bottle – lots of things will work. Just be sure your item is tall enough to allow the soap batter to flow down throughout the pour, and to be easy to grasp to pull out (it will be slippery).

6. Choose colors that contrast.

7. Wipe your swirl tool each time you pull it out of the batter. Swirling this technique is lots of fun. Knowing when to stop might be a challenge too!

8. This technique was the subject of a recent Soap Challenge Club challenge, so there are many YouTube videos and Instagram posts for inspiration.

Pour using an empty glass airless pump bottle (anchored with cooca butter)
column pour 1.jpg

After removing bottle
column pour 2.jpg

Cut bars
Osmanthus Column Pour.jpg

I mangled one of the bars from the above batch when I cut the slab, so I made a soap column with a smaller footprint from that bar (anchored with cocoa butter)
green column 1.jpg

Using two colors, after removing column and covering the center with a small amount of green batter
green column 3.jpg

Finished bars
green column pour.jpg

A few links and inspiration pictures to get you started

Delta Tule made with embed


By Mori Sekken – a beautiful design with minimal swirling


Marie Mousse (radial and hurricane swirl examples)


A stunning example of a radial swirl pulling a skewer both into the center from the edge of the mold and from the center out to the edge of the mold. By Peech Keller
Dahlia column pour by peech keller.jpg

By Lathering Lotus
lathering lotus.jpeg

Hurricane swirl with an embed By Soak Soapworks
soak soapworks.jpg

Good luck and have fun!
 
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3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
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3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
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1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥ Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
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3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
 
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1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥ Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
2. AliOop - How can I resist when Jersey Girl is back??? 🥰🥳
3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
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3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
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3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
8. PepperJack - haven’t much experience with slab molds 🤪
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1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥ Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
2. AliOop - How can I resist when Jersey Girl is back??? 🥰🥳
3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
8. PepperJack - haven’t much experience with slab molds 🤪
9. @KiwiMoose okey dokey I’m gonna do this one.
10. Leanne.reynolds922
 
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To sign up for the challenge, please copy and paste this list into the next post, adding your name with the next number.

Sign up list:


1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥ Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
2. AliOop - How can I resist when Jersey Girl is back??? 🥰🥳
3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
8. PepperJack - haven’t much experience with slab molds 🤪
9. @KiwiMoose okey dokey I’m gonna do this one.
10. Leanne.reynolds922
11. ~Dragonfly~ - first challenge for me. I'm so nervous haha
 

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To sign up for the challenge, please copy and paste this list into the next post, adding your name with the next number.

Sign up list:


1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
2. AliOop - How can I resist when Jersey Girl is back??? 🥰🥳
3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
8. PepperJack - haven’t much experience with slab molds 🤪
9. @KiwiMoose okey dokey I’m gonna do this one.
10. Leanne.reynolds922- sorry for the repeated post I forgot to add my name
11. ~Dragonfly~ - first challenge for me. I'm so nervous haha
12. Microchick - lots of firsts for me...first challenge, first column pour, first time using a slab, first batch since June.
 
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To sign up for the challenge, please copy and paste this list into the next post, adding your name with the next number.

Sign up list:

1. Jersey Girl- Coming out of my cave to try this one. ♥Haven’t used my slab mold yet!
2. AliOop - How can I resist when Jersey Girl is back??? 🥰🥳
3. Vicki C, oh YAY I want to improve my techniques for this 😊🌸🌺🌼
4. Mobjack - will be a first for me!
5. Mx6inpenn - something new!
6. Kathy_VaO - First time with this technique. Can I use rectangle slab mold?
7. Gecko - I am making soap this weekend and have a 6" Slab Mold that I haven't tried yet.
8. PepperJack - haven’t much experience with slab molds 🤪
9. @KiwiMoose okey dokey I’m gonna do this one.
10. Leanne.reynolds922
11. ~Dragonfly~ - first challenge for me. I'm so nervous haha
12. Microchick - lots of firsts for me...first challenge, first column pour, first time using a slab, first batch since June. Hoping being #13 doesn't jinx things!
13. Heather McClain- oh so many ideas already!! Can’t wait!! I have never attempted a column pour
 
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