Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- Spinning Swirl

This month, the Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club was asked to make cold process soap using the spinning swirl technique! As always, the wonderful host, Amy Warden, guided us through the challenge!

This technique was first seen here:


For this particular technique, a slow-moving recipe and a fragrance that wouldn’t accelerate was key. Usually, I’d make a recipe over 50% olive oil (not pomace) to play it safe. However, I decided to try a new recipe that included :

40% olive oil with avocado oil, apricot oil, palm kernel flakes, a little coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter and castor oil.

I was a bit nervous about the percentage of hard oils but figured if I stopped blending at emulsification using full water everything would be fine! 🙂 

I also decided to test out some new colorants- WSP’s neons! And then, for black and white, I used the usual- activated charcoal and titanium dioxide. 

 Since summer is coming up, a nice light citrus essential oil blend seemed appropriate :). The blend included:

Orange 15x, grapefruit, lavender and peppermint!

Special tools

-Slab mold (rectangle or square shape). My slab mold is an acrylic mold from an online shop in Japan, Cafe de Savon


1. Weighed my oils, lye solution (I have a masterbatch solution that contains 50 water/ 50 lye), and extra water.

2. Melted hard oils and mixed with the soft oils.

3. Premixed my colorants using my mixed oils.

4. Mixed my oils, lye solution, and extra water at room temperature.

5. Stick-blended in short bursts until emulsified.

6. Stirred in fragrance.

7. Divided soap batter into the premixed colorants and stirred well.

8. At this point, I imitated the YouTube video above. I poured soap batter, alternating colors, in each corner of the mold. (I literally poured the batter, not just near, but into each corner).

9. After all the soap batter was poured, I spun the mold clockwise about 90 degrees at a time, just like the YouTube video. I made this spinning movement a bit strong like the force of a ticking of a clock to get the soap moving properly.

I usually take more pictures during the process but I was too focused and needed all the time I could get! I had no idea if the new blend of essential oils or recipe would cause acceleration.

Luckily, everything went smoothly! And here are the results:         AFTER THOUGHTS

When planning for this, I wasn’t quite sure how much and how hard to spin the mold. And at what thickness should the batter be? I knew it had to be at very light trace but not so light or else you run the risk of colors getting muddy. But, imitating Amy Warden and the YouTube video above worked! I’m really happy with the blend of thick and thin lines! 

Thanks to Amy Warden for another exciting challenge! And thanks, all, for reading!


Collecting Soap Notes on Glycerin Rivers

After making two back-to-back batches of cp soap that resulted in unwanted glycerin rivers (see pictures below), I decided to do some research.

How to prevent Glycerin Rivers

In short, here’s what I gathered from multiple sites:
(Please note, these are just notes that I’ve gathered to help myself and hopefully others. I like keeping my notes all in one spot! ;))

1. Use less water (AuntieClaras uses 1.4 water:1 lye ratio, as opposed to a “full” water amount)

(Excellent blog
posts: Auntie Clara’s first experiment and Auntie Clara’s follow-up experiment)

2. Soap at low temperatures (SoapQueen suggests working at 10 degrees less, others suggests working at room temperature)

3. Mix colorants, powder, and clays well (use a mini mixer to fully blend into oils. For example, WholeSaleSuppliersPlus explains that some soapers “…put a small amount of their oils into plastic beakers or disposable mixing cups. They then add the pigment (titanium dioxide) to the oil and mix well…They then add the liquid pigment to their soap batch prior to fragrance”.)

4. Don’t use too much colorant (especially titanium dioxide), powders, clays. (Follow retailers recommended amounts)

5. Make sure the environment is not too hot and insulation is not too thick (Perhaps you should remove the insulating towel but leave your mold in a box? Or try not to induce heat all together if you know your recipe will heat it up enough. Also, check your mold! Try silicone instead of wood.)

6. Avoid gel phase (Put mold in freezer)

7. Reconsider your spicy or floral fragrances and sugary liquids such as milks, that can cause heat. Or, just be aware of these wonderful, but possibly-troublesome ingredients, and follow the tips above.

9. Many soapers in forums I’ve read swear there’s a link between Palm oil and glycerin rivers (Some suggested keeping palm content less than %40, some suggested keeping the palm oil warm rather as opposed to room temperature).

10. Removing oils that tend to heat up. (GreatCakesSoapWorks informed readers that rice bran oil made her recipes heat up and crackle.)

I’ll keep adding to the list as I find more info.

Helpful links on glycerin rivers: ModernSoapmaking



Scientific Soapmaking