Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November 2019 Soap Challenge

November 2019 Soap Challenge - Soap Curl Designs

My matching bath towel

This month's challenge is to create a soap using soap curls. I chose to make a blue and white design because I really love all things blue and white.


The next decision was to decide if I wanted blue on white or white on blue.... hmmm. Why not both? I decided to try to make a double sided soap where one side would be blue on white and the other side would be white on blue. 

I used the recipe provided with the tutorial for the soap curl soap. I had previously made loaf dividers based on Teri Endsley from Tree Marie Soapworks' tutorial "How to Make Your Own SoapMold Dividers"

I used my 4 section divider and poured alternating blue and white sections. After the soap was set, I split the loaf down the middle which gave me two strips of blue and white to cut curls from. I didn't take any pictures of this because I had pretty low expectations about how successful I would be and I expected I would be repeating the process several more times. Here is a picture of the dividers and part of one of the strips after I had planed off my curls.

I used a soap planer to make my curls. I adjusted the blade to get thicker curls. I wasted quite a bit of soap before I got the curls I wanted but because I had two strips of soap the cut from, it worked out fine. I wanted large, loose, flowing curls for my design. Given that the humidity was around 6% on the day I was soaping (Southern California Santa Ana weather conditions) I don't think I could have made tight curls even if I had wanted to. I found that I needed to shape the curls as I made them or be stuck with a lot of blue and white flat crumbly strips. This is my planer and these are the curls I made shaped the way I wanted them in my soap.

When the strips became too small for me to plane without peeling my knuckles, I used a lip balm tube with the end cut off to cut out little plugs to place in and around my curls as random polka dots. I still had lots of leftover scraps.


I used a portion of my slab mold which is actually a box my dad built many years ago to hold a telescope mirror he made.


I determined the amount of soap I needed to fill my mold half way and made a batch of white soap in this amount. I made marks on the freezer paper so I would know about how full to fill it. I placed the curls in the white soap and semi randomly arranged the polka dots. 

While this layer set up a bit, I made my blue layer.
I oven processed it for a couple of hours but then someone needed to use to oven so I took it out. It still gelled just fine. Unmolding this soap was fun. I scraped off some of the blue soap to reveal the design. I was really happy with how it came out. At first I was concerned that my design was too large and would be lost when I cut the soap into smaller bars but I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

 In the white layer, there are glycerin rivers, mostly on the edges of the curls outlining them. I like the effect.

I like the way this batch turned out and I decided that this soap would be my entry. I have taken oodles of pictures of my soap, trying to learn how to take better pictures with my phone in different light and with different backgrounds. Here is a sample of some of my pictures. My soap is scented with a mix of Black Tea and White Tea and Ginger from Brambleberry. I like both fragrances so I decided to use some of both. 
In my kitchen
Too high of an angle
Most realistic color

I like this one

Too dark but I like the pink
Too dark, the color is off

This one is ok
A little too dark

Way too dark
Way too dark

This one is ok
Stonehenge style

Too many shadows but I like it anyway

This was a really fun technique to learn. I am sure there will be some amazing soaps for this one. I really like doing these soap challenges because it is like taking a class where each month we get some instruction and then we have our assignment and our assignments are so much fun! It's project based learning at its best! I have been a teacher for over 30 years now so I always look at things from a teacher's perspective. This year I have a group of students in my chemistry class that wanted to learn how to make soap after I told them about my hobby, so we formed a little group that meets after school and they are going to learn some soap making. They made a recipe last week and this coming week they will make their first batch of soap. I can't wait to see how they do!


  1. This is such a fabulous design, Marian!! In addition to the opposite color pattern on either side, I love the genius idea to add the round dots cut with a lip balm tube!! They turned out amazing! I love that you continue to play with your photography as well - and that you have chemistry students who are interested in making soap!! How awesome is that?

    1. Thank you so much. It is totally awesome to have kids interested in making soap. They made their soap today, we put it in a lab oven and we will cut it on Monday.

  2. Oh my, Marian! These are truly stunning! I love your creative thinking about getting this look. I had a similar idea with opposite colors but I never thought about making striped curls to accomplish it! Genius idea!

  3. This is a lovely entry! I like a lot how the colours have turned and your tutorial is also great. All the best of luck! Kind Regards,
    Eva Gomez

  4. Wow! Your design is just amazing! I love how you used the striped curls. Such a fantastic idea. Really beautiful, too!

  5. Great idea and really well executed! I LOVE the glycerin rivers that formed around the curls, gives it a cool 3D look.

  6. I absolutely love these! I have same planner and I was nervous to adjust it as it is so perfect to clean my soaps. Was it easy to put back? Thank you so much for your excellent pictures and descriptions. I love your design!

    1. Thank you and I did not have any trouble putting it back. I was a little worried about that too.