Category Archives: Challenge

Peacocky! (Soap Challenge Club)

I know it’s been quiet around here the last week or so; I’ve been caught up in preparing for, attending, and then recovering from the Riverfest Marketplace (more about that later). But I did find time to make a peacock swirl soap, which coincidentally was both my planned self-challenge soap for this month AND the inaugural soap for Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club (I do plan to repeat the technique before the month is over, because otherwise I feel like I’m cheating myself of a challenge, somehow).

The peacock swirl is a technique I’ve admired for a long time but never had the guts to try before, so the challenge was just the kick in the pants I needed! Right, on to the pictures, then.

The patterned portion of the soap is only approximately the top 1/3 of the bar. The bottom 2/3 is made up of uncolored soap mixed with light green soap shreds to give it a bit more character. This lower portion of the soap contains the only fragrance in the batch (Mediterranean Silk, a summer favorite of mine, soft and fresh and lightly floral), to make sure the top, colored portion behaved itself nicely when creating the pattern. Then comes the color!

Starting to layer the colors into the mold.

Starting to layer the colors into the mold.

Once all of the blues, green, and white soap had been added, one squiggly layer at a time, I put down a row of gold mica lines on top:

 

Finished adding color.

Finished adding color.

Now it’s time to start drawing. My next step was made with a not-wide-enough comb for the mold, so I had to take two passes, and it created a burble in the middle. But I actually kind of liked the effect.

Color combing!

Color combing!

Then the finishing touch:

Skewer time.

Skewer time.

When I finished making this soap, I just sat there and stared at it for several minutes before I put the lid on and put it to bed. I was mesmerized by it, and I am totally in love with this technique now!

Finished pattern.

Finished pattern.

The next day, when it was time to cut the soap, I was really nervous. I was worried about messing up my pretty pattern by doing something stupid when cutting!

 

Deep breaths . . . cut!

Deep breaths . . . cut!

…but as it happened, I think it turned out all right.

Cutting complete.

Cutting complete. See the soap shreds in the bottom part?

Watch for this soap to show up in the store – it’s already curing nicely, so it probably won’t be long. Drop me a message if you’d like to reserve a bar!


Keeping up the Challenges

The challenges from Great Cakes Soapworks were such a lot of fun, and I learned so much about new techniques, that I decided to set myself some more challenge goals to meet, with techniques I haven’t tried before or which I haven’t successfully pulled off.

I’ll start it off easy; first I’ll take another swing at the Leopard Spot pattern that defeated me at the end of Amy’s challenges. I have a good idea what I did wrong last time, so I think I’ll be able to achieve it, even it it takes me a couple of goes.

Next, I’ll try the peacock swirl. I’ve seen this all over the place, but I haven’t ever given it a shot myself – until recently, I’ve shied away from flat-mold swirl patterns, for no reason I can readily articulate. It’s a really pretty effect, though, and should be fun.

Also in the probable lineup but not in any particular order yet: Mantra swirl (tried this a couple of times with no success yet), drop swirl, and a Very Secret Project that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet – in fact, that one I probably won’t bring up unless and until I manage to pull it off successfully.

There’ll be more, too, but I figure that’ll be enough to keep me busy for a while – I’m hoping to do one a month. Stay tuned!