Tag Archives: Holly Swirl

Holly Swirl: My First Soap Challenge

Ok, here it is, my entry to Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club!   I’m so excited to be participating in my first ever soap challenge! The one I’m submitting is my second attempt at the Holly Swirl.  My first and third tries looked interesting but did not look like a Holly Swirl.

The black base is colored with charcoal and scented with an herbaceous green tea.  The pink swirl is red lab color with a drop of blue for a deeper pink, and it’s scented with Japanese cherry blossom.  The cream part has a small amount of T.D. (I tend to be very light handed with it) and scented with green tea and pear.  I find Japanese cherry blossom too powdery and floral for my taste, but mixed with green scents, it smells very pretty, delicate and feminine, with good staying power.

Oils used were olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, and castor oil. I’d say this combination is a slow to medium tracer.  I noticed that without castor oil, trace is at a much slower pace.

My inspiration for the design was a dragonfruit, that’s why I added a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.  But because of the fragrance combination, I decided to name it Japanese Spring.  While the sesame seeds add a nice touch, I would not use it again in the future because after a few days, it discolored the area around it.

dragonfruit 1dragonfruit 2dragonfruit 3

japanese spring

Thank you Amy for being so gracious in bringing together the global soaping community with your Soap Challenge Club! Learning and sharing has never been this fun!  🙂

Honey Sunrise

I am practicing the Holly Swirl for this month’s Soap Challenge Club.  My first try was a black and green tea soap, nothing contest-worthy, but it was cool to see an image of a dog’s face formed by the swirls.

Here’s another one I made for practice:

honey sunrise

The bottom, colored with cocoa powder, had already hardened by the time I poured the upper part. I lost my chance to make a swirl within a swirl, but I love how delicious it smells!   The brown part is scented with honey and vanilla f.o.’s, and the orange-cream part with lavender and grapefruit.  Because of the colors and cheerful smell, I think it would make a wonderful “wake me up” soap. I am thus naming it Honey Sunrise.

I soaped this batch using olive, coconut, rice bran and castor oils.  While I am pretty sure it was the honey and vanilla f.o.’s (maybe the cocoa powder too?) that accelerated trace for the brown portion, I think the castor oil had a hand in it too.  The lighter portion traced a bit faster than a previous batch I made with a similar recipe that did not contain castor.

It’s a Dog on My Soap!

For the first time ever, I am joining Great Cakes Soapworks‘ Soap Challenge Club!  I have long admired the beautiful soaps that participants submit for the monthly contest, and it’s such a fun and exciting way to learn a new technique especially for beginners like me.

I was so thrilled when the Holly Swirl was announced as the theme for this month.  I am a great fan of Holly’s (Missouri River Soap) gorgeous soaps, and one of my favorites is her Green Apple and Rose.  I have not personally tried it, but I just love the way it looks and sounds.  I had watched her video on how she made it, but never got to do it until now.

As you can see, my first attempt at the Holly Swirl was not very successful.  I should have waited for a thicker trace before pouring the black and white swirl into the black base.  I needed oils that were slow to trace, so I used olive, coconut and rice bran.  It took forever to trace, even after I added all the colors (activated charcoal, TD, and green chrome oxide) and fragrance. I used BB’s Black Tea, the most well-behaved f.o. I have ever come across.  I love the way it smells: strong smokey black tea balanced with the fresh scent of citrus and sweet raspberries.

The big surprise came after cutting the soap. There is an unmistakeable image of a dog on 2 of the soap bars!  With its big eyes, I think it looks like a pug, or maybe a cross-breed because it has long ears.  🙂

green and black tea 1

Do you see the image of a dog?

green and black tea 2

Mirrored image of a dog on Black & Green Tea Soap.