Tag Archives: Hanger Swirl

My M.I.L.’s New Favorite

Since I’ve known my my mother-in-law (nearly 8 years), her all-time favorite scent has always been lavender.  But ever since I gave her Honeysuckle soap last year, she has declared it as her new favorite.  Poor lavender.  She hasn’t given it a second glance since she fell in love with the heady and sexy honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle 2

I have never smelled the real flower, so I don’t know if what I have is the real deal.  I bought several honeysuckle fragrances from various suppliers, and they all smell different.  I made a blend of the ones that I like and added a little bit of other floral elements to bring everything together.

Honeysuckle 3

I think this is my 4th time to make Honeysuckle, and so far this is the best looking.  I love the bright colors and the soap batter was behaved enough for me to make hanger swirls.  Typical of most florals, this usually becomes thick quite fast, and in the past, the yellowish fragrance oil had a tendency to turn pink into peach.

Honeysuckle 1

I thought I was not into florals, but it is becoming apparent that I am wrong.  To my surprise, many of my top picks are florals, including honeysuckle.  What’s your favourite floral? 🙂


Black Vetiver

Looking at my empty racks, I jumped right back to soaping on January 2.  But this time, it was at a leisurely pace. When I don’t soap for a couple of weeks, I feel rusty and my hands and arms seem heavier!  And it’s the same with blogging for me. Consider this my New Year blogging warm-up. 🙂

Here is Black Vetiver, a dupe of Jo Malone’s Black Vetyver Cafe, described as “a bitter coffee bean steeped in earthy notes of vetiver and temple incense.”  I have not smelled the original, but I mighty love the way this one came out in soap. I don’t smell coffee, but I detect woods, vanilla, and incense – making for a complex, sensual and mysterious scent.

I made 3 batches late last year, all using the hanger swirl technique, each with its own unique look. I had a hard time parting with them, but since my stock was running low, I eventually just kept 2 bars for myself.  I will definitely be making a new batch soon.

Black Vetiver 1


Black Vetiver 3


Black Vetiver 4

Black Vetiver



Lavender Mist

Even though we don’t have Black Friday sales here in the Philippines, I still get excited to check out the deals online. I was behaved and made just one purchase, which will take 2-3 months to reach me.  It’s quite a wait – a good practice in delayed gratification. 😛

I hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving weekend! Did you snag some good bargains? 🙂

No soap making for me over the weekend, just a lot of packing. One of them was Lavender Mist – a big, bold and beautiful lavender scent. The first time I made this, i used 2 tones of violet mica.  I changed it up to blue and violet, and I must say I really  like this new combo.

Lavender Mist 1

Lavender Mist 2

Lavender Mist 3

Lavender Mist




Before I begin, let me just announce that this is my 100th post! 🙂  To everyone following my blog, thank you so much for reading and leaving comments. I hope to keep things interesting and I look forward to the 200th blog post!

Can you believe it’s 34 more days until Christmas?  I still have not made my Christmas list.  Mentally, I have, but with the way I keep on misplacing my phone and keys, it does not amount to much.  This year though, I was early with my Christmas soaps in anticipation of my trip to Japan at the end of October – where I met up with Tokyo-based Maya, the creator of Infusion‘s ethereal soaps.

We spent the morning and lunch together, and talked non-stop! I am not exactly the talkative type, and I don’t think Maya is either, but it felt natural and easy to connect with her.  And you know what, our conversation was probably only 10% about soap!  We were supposed to go to Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, but because of a recent bout of dengue fever incidents, the park was temporarily closed.  We ended up chatting away in a Tully’s coffee shop until it was time to meet my husband and a friend for lunch at Maya’s favourite sushi boat restaurant.  Had the park been open, perhaps we would have remembered to whip out our cameras.  But with Japan only 4.5 hours from the Philippines, there will definitely be more visits to Japan and I am hoping Maya will find her way to our shores.  By then we shall have photos taken together! 🙂

Back to soap, the ones I made in September are mostly gone.  I have been busily making new soaps and remaking favourites since I came back from my trip. Last year I only had 2 holiday-themed soaps, but this year, I have been bitten by the Christmas soap bug. You may find here the first set that I made, and here’s another one….


A warm and rich blend of juicy mandarin, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood and spices. The colors are inspired by the beloved Christmastime ballet performance, The Nutcracker.

I made 4 batches and they all have different colour intensities and patterns.  For some batches, I poured the coloured portions on one side only, and for the others, I poured in the middle.  Which do you prefer?

Nutcracker 1

Nutcracker 2

Nutcracker 3

Nutcracker 4

Nutcracker 6

Nutcracker 5






Zahida Map is undeniably the queen of butterfly hanger swirls.  She has inspired me to try her technique of moving the hanger not just up and down, but sideways and round about too. Because of her, I am more hooked than ever on the hanger swirl.  There is an element of thrill in that you never know what you’re going to get until you cut the soap.

For this technique to work, the soap batter has to be just the perfect consistency. Too thin and the swirls won’t look well-defined; too thick and the swirls won’t look fluid and there will most likely be air pockets.

Earlier this year I made soap called Puppy Love – scented with neroli and grapefruit.  I am partial to both neroli/orange blossom and citrus scents for their fresh and uplifting quality.  They are also imprinted in my olfactory memory – bringing me back to childhood scents that I’ve never grown tired of.

Tivoli is a slightly adjusted version of Puppy Love, but I definitely prefer the colors of this new one better. Looking at and smelling it reminds me of a beautiful garden where children play.  I thought of naming it Secret Garden but somehow it did not feel right.  As I was thinking of gardens, Tivoli popped up in my head one day.  I like the name and it seems to fit better.  I have not been to the gardens of Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy (although I was close to it 2 years ago), but now I have more reason to visit it. 🙂

I made 4 batches and I love the way all of them turned out.  The photos below are from different batches.

Tivoli 1

Tivoli 2

Tivoli 5

Tivoli 3

Tivoli 6

Ginger Persimmon

Yes. It’s another hanger swirl – the third post in a row. If you missed the earlier ones, you can find them here and here, but I promise the next post will be something different. 🙂

I love the way the swirls came out on this one, and I just loooove the way it smells! Finally a pungent ginger that really pops without too much of the earthiness. It reminds me of ginger ale with just a bit of fruity and honey sweetness.  I find the scent comforting and I think it would be a great blender, too.  That said, the scents that I find fantastic are not necessarily the most popular, and conversely, scents that are popular are sometimes not my type.  Where do you find yourself? Does your taste run similar to your customers’?

For the swirls, I used a scant 1/4 tsp burgundy oxide for 400 grams of soap, and 1 tsp (sample size) of peach sunset mica for the same amount of soap.

Ginger Persimmon 1

ginger persimmon 2

Ginger Persimmon 3

Ginger Persimmon 4

Hope your week is going great! 🙂

Hanger Swirl with Natural Colorants

When I like something, I tend to keep on repeating it. That’s the way I listen to music – looping the same set of songs over and over again. I may not be sick of it yet, but others unfortunate enough to hear my music for the nth time are bound to complain! 😀  It’s no different with my soap making, but I hope no one is about to complain!  Since acquiring a wire hanger, I’ve been swirling away with it whenever I could. In my previous post, I used micas, oxides and ultramarines for the swirls. Here, I used all natural colorants.

Moringa and Pink Clay

I used 1 Tbsp (8 grams) French Pink Clay mixed with 10 grams of water for 750 grams of carrier oils to get a nice pastel pink colour. In a previous moringa soap I made, I strained out the moringa powder and used only the infused oil.  It yielded a lovely avocado green colour but it started to fade after 6-7 weeks. Here, I included the powder that has been saturated in oil for a month.  I am sure it will fade eventually, but I think it will stay longer than the one with the infused oil only. The moringa powder provides mild exfoliation while the upper pink part provides a slippery contrast. It is scented with lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus E.O.s.

moringa pink clay 1

moringa pink clay 4

moringa pink clay 2

moringa pink clay 3

Moringa and Pink Clay

Double Eucalyptus

Remember this?

The net yield is very low. Most of it are too tough and fibrous  to be made into a powder with a coffee grinder.

Powdered eucalyptus leaves (left).

A while back, I made my own dried botanicals and infused them in oil. The eucalyptus powder made a green oil infusion, but when I soaped with it, it instantly turned tan, and upon unmolding, it had turned brown. There was no gradual discolouration like most natural green colorants.

double eucalyptus 4

My original plan was to do a charcoal pencil line  The batter was pretty thin and as I was adding the top layer, I knew I was not going to achieve a straight line.  I ditched my original plan and went for my hanger. I am glad of the change of plans because I love the way this came out!  Aside from the oil infusion and eucalyptus powder, it is also scented with eucalyptus and grapefruit E.O.s.

double eucalyptus 2

double eucalyptus 3

double eucalyptus 1

Double Eucalyptus

Hanger Swirl

The Hanger Swirl is such a popular technique but can you believe that it’s just now, after more than a year of soaping, that I am doing it? I’ve been admiring hanger swirl soaps, but for the longest time, I could not find a wire hanger! I finally did a few months ago but it was children-sized and I could not take it apart to make it longer.

I still used it anyway for this Black Amber and Lavender soap I made early in June:

Black Amber and Lavender

Black Amber and Lavender – my first hanger swirl.

Weeks later, I found an old, green plastic-coated wire hanger in my mom’s house – the kind that’s easy to dismantle and reshape into a tool for making soap designs.  Not only that, I was able to buy recently a new set of large wire hangers. And with my new pliers, I was able to stretch it out to 18″ – the size of my molds.  Just when I was thinking where are all the wire hangers in the world – they start appearing everywhere! 😀

Needless to say, I’ve been swirling away with my new toy. Here are some of my recent makes:

Lemon Rose 3

Lemon Rose 1

Lemon Rose 2

Lemon Rose

Lemon Verbena 1

Lemon Verbena 2

Lemon Verbena

I have been soaping quite a bit I don’t even remember if I used a hanger on this purple soap.  I thought I did, but looking at it now, I think I did not.

Purple Orchid 1

Purple Orchid 2

Purple Orchid

For a top (hanger) swirl design, I find that using chopsticks does the job just as well.  This soap was swirled with a chopstick:

Honeysuckle 1

Honeysuckle 2

Lavender Honeysuckle

The oddest thing happened with the above Lavender Honeysuckle soap. When I added the fragrance to the pink portion (coloured with pink lemonade mica), it instantly turned violet. When I unmolded the soap, it had returned to pink. Has anyone experienced this?