SMF May 2022 Challenge - Infinity Swirl

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earlene

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Welcome to the May 2022 SMF Soap Challenge! For this month’s challenge, your goal is to create a soap using the Infinity Swirl technique as described in the following and linked instructions & tutorials.

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 May 22 at 12:00am GMT (Please follow the challenge specific rules as to what you need to enter).
  • After the closing date on May 28 at 12:00am GMT the winning entry will be chosen using Survey Monkey. Voting will be open from May 28-30 and the winner will be announced on May 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 Infinity Swirl technique. This technique requires a tool that is moved through the entire depth of the soap mold (not just the surface of soap top infinity swirl).

2. You may use any method you choose to make your soap, but I suggest cold process (CP). I believe it is possible with a fluid hot process method, but I have not tried it myself. If you use this method and so desire, please join in! Experienced melt & pour (MP) soapmakers may be able to master an Infinity Swirl, but I know it would be very difficult if I were to make that attempt, and I would expect different results. However, if you want to give it a try, please share, because I know we have some very experienced MP soapers here at SMF.

3. You will use a loaf mold with removable lengthwise standing dividers. If you don’t have a mold with pre-fitted dividers, you can easily make some with cardboard, or similar material. (I made mine by cutting the pieces from 3-fold foam-board.) The tutorials & videos linked below show different dividers, both the purchased kind as well as paperboard ones and a a couple of different ways to remove them.

4. Choose a minimum of 2 colors, or as many as 4 colors for your Infinity Swirl soap. Using uncolored soap as one or your colors is acceptable. (Examples of 3 & 4 color soaps below.)

5. You may use any colors you desire, of course.

6. To prepare the mold, insert the dividers lengthwise along the mold. They should be tight fitting enough that they don't float of move during the pour.

7. After coloring your soap in individual pouring vessels (a pour spout is helpful, but not required), pour each color lengthwise into the mold between the dividers, keeping one color per divider. It helps to alternate the colors incrementally, in order to fill the container and have the least opportunity for the batter to move the dividers or leak under the bottom. (See videos which show this technique.)

9. Carefully remove the dividers, and set them aside. Take up your swirling tool and starting at one end of the loaf, start the infinity swirl as shown in the tutorial below. As mentioned before, practice ahead of time if you desire or haven't done this technique before. Be sure to move the tool through the entire depth of the soap mold the get the swirl throughout.

10. When you soap is ready to be cut, to reveal the design inside the soap cut the soap in a transverse or horizontal cut. You can choose to do the horizontal or transverse cut of the entire loaf first (like with a log-splitter), then cut into individual soap sizes. Or you can cut the loaf into fat chunks to be later turned on their sides in order to reveal the design with the horizontal cut. (See video tutorials & examples below.)

11. Your entry photo must show a minimum of 2 soaps from your batch. Your first photo in the entry thread (which will be posted later this month) will be the one used for voting. You may choose to include pictures of you process if you desire, but the entry photo for the voting should be the 1st photo you place your entry post, please.

12. Enjoy yourself!

* * * *
Tips:


1. Use a slow moving recipe that will remain fluid enough to color, pour and swirl, particularly if you have not done this technique in the past.

2. If you have not done an Infinity Swirl before, it may help to practice the swirl technique ahead of time using pen and paper (or paint & paint brush or other similar tools.)

3. The swirling tool should be a very thin dowel, chop stick, skewer or similar long thin tool. You can use a slightly thicker tool for a somewhat different look, if you don't like the wispyness of the thinner tools, or if your batter has thickened up too much.

4. Be careful about how you cut this soap. Don't use a multi-cutter as you will not reveal the design properly. You can use a log splitter to cut on the horizontal first, if you have one.

Example soaps:

My recent Infinity Swirl with 3 colors:
1651431415524.png




Anne-Marie Faiola (Soap Queen TV) 4-color Infinity Swirl:
1651431648561.png

See link below under Tutorials & Videos.



David's Kumquat & Lime (Aussie Soap Supplies - David Birch):

1651432277983.png

See link below under Tutorials & Videos.



Tutorials & videos:

Soap Queen:

Tutorial:


YouTube Video:



David of Aussie Soap Supplies:

Recipe & Instructions:


YouTube Video:



Cutting on the horizontal (some examples):





Resulting swirl when batter is too thick & a very thin swirl tool is used (a thicker swirl tool may have helped):



Foamboard dividers (from the 3-fold foamboard I bought at the Dollar Store):
1651436792636.png

These dividers came out fairly clean & intact. I can use them again & again in this same mold.

Good Luck, everyone!
 
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1. AliOop - I love this technique!
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1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) . looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
 
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earlene

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Sign up list:

(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunitta B .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time

@Sunibee, I see you were thrilled that we have soap challenges, per one of your other posts, and here you are signed up! Fabulous.

I am including this link to a thread that lists & includes links to SMF Soap Challenges from the past several years, that you may find of interest: SMF Challenges

Just for your information, and others who may follow, when you do sign up, please make sure to use your SMF user name so that when it comes time for the host (that's me this month) to send out the voting links, I can do so without having to look up who Sunitta B is - the message wouldn't go through to @Sunitta B but would go through to @Sunibee.

In case you have not yet had the opportunity to learn how to edit your posts here at SMF, I will be happy to correct it below for future sign-ups:


Sign up list:

(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
5.
 
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(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
5. ScentimentallyYours - Hooray, infinity swirl was already on To-Do list!
6.
 
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(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
5. ScentimentallyYours - Hooray, infinity swirl was already on To-Do list!
6. Soaplover - I am looking forward to this Challenge. Blessings!
 

earlene

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Just wanted to point out a typo in the title of this post. It's showing up as the May 2002 challenge.

I was wondering why so many people were commenting on a 20 year old thread. Silly me!
THANKYOU!!

I will ask Admins to fix the title!

No need, I guess it's been fixed already. See what I mean about proof-reading my own written work!?! I'm awful at it!

No wonder there were lack of sign-ups. Folks refraining from necroposting, I suspect. :cool:
 

LisaBoBisa

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(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
5. ScentimentallyYours - Hooray, infinity swirl was already on To-Do list!
6. Soaplover - I am looking forward to this Challenge. Blessings!
7. LisaBoBisa - great way to kick off summer break!
8.
 
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earlene

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OMG do not try this with an unfamiliar FO! Not soap on a stick, but it waited until I had about 1/3 poured before it went from pretty fluid to paste in a blink. It ended up scraped and globbed in cavity molds. 🤣🤣🤣
For sure! I'd still love to see the soaps you made and hear about the particular FO. Were you able to do the Infinity Swirl on the part that was 1/3rd poured? Or what did you make another batch to pour on top of that soap?
 
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For sure! I'd still love to see the soaps you made and hear about the particular FO. Were you able to do the Infinity Swirl on the part that was 1/3rd poured? Or what did you make another batch to pour on top of that soap?
I smashed what was in the bowl into cavity molds then scooped what was poured out and tried to smooth the cavities out. I'll try again Monday. The FO was Blue Agave from Nurture (which smells lovely btw). It notes slight acceleration, but mine was pretty drastic. 🤷‍♀️ I know better!
 
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(Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.)

1. AliOop - I love this technique!
2. Mx6inpenn - I haven't done this one in a looooong time!
3. Jersey Girl- Another one I haven’t tried. I hope my caterpillar gets here this week!
4. Sunibee (aka Sunitta B) .. looking fwd to doing this again... Loong time
5. ScentimentallyYours - Hooray, infinity swirl was already on To-Do list!
6. Soaplover - I am looking forward to this Challenge. Blessings!
7. LisaBoBisa - great way to kick off summer break!
8. gardengeek - can't wait to try this out
9.
 
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@earlene,
What is the difference between the mantra and infinity swirl? Are the sections in the Infinity Swirl solid colors whereas the Mantra you mix the colors? I got confused when I looked at videos on YouTube because the techniques look the same other than when you lay in the batter. Just want to make sure I understand because I've never tried either technique.

Also, are the sections supposed to be evenly spaced?

Thanks in advance :)
 

earlene

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What is the difference between the mantra and infinity swirl?
I asked the same question.

Are the sections in the Infinity Swirl solid colors whereas the Mantra you mix the colors?
It appears to me as if it has evolved to that, but originally, I believe it started out the same as the Infinity Swirl, and later as soapers became more inventive, the multi-color mix in at least one of the sections began to be the norm.

Also, are the sections supposed to be evenly spaced?
I notice in several videos on the mantra swirl, the dividers are not always evening spaced, but in the Infinity swirl, it looks like they are supposed to be evenly spaced. However, with home-made dividers sometimes a prefectly equal distance is harder to obtain, so it's fine if they are slightly unevenly spaced.

I got confused when I looked at videos on YouTube because the techniques look the same other than when you lay in the batter. Just want to make sure I understand because I've never tried either technique.


If anyone has a copy of the 2009 Saponifier magazine, there was an article that included a tutorial for the Mantra Swirl by Nicole Benitez and you can take a look at that. I don't have access to online copies of Making Soap, which is the name of the magazine now, nor do I have a copy of the 2009 article. But here is a picture of her original Mantra Swirl soap that Amy Warden included in her June 2013 Challenge Club:
1652024459424.png

See this link for more on that mantra swirl challenge: Who Wants to Learn the Mantra Swirl? | Great Cakes Soapworks

And then this one for the November 2021 Mantra Swirl Challenge: Mantra Challenge Winners

You can see the difference in the evolution of the Mantra Swirl in those two challenges.

But for this SMF Challenge, we are doing the simpler Infinity swirl, where the colors in each divider are one single solid color.
 

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