Friday, 17 April 2015

April Spin Swirl Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge

Here is my spin swirl entry for April's Great Cakes Soapworks challenge.

My entry is scented with orange, lime and patchouli essential oils to match the orange and green colouring.

This was a hard one for me, I like to try to do something a bit different when it comes to the challenges and to think outside the box; but I was really short on ideas. I had three attempts, and have decided to enter my second attempt.

I used a lard soap recipe as I find it traces fairly slowly.

Lard 40%
Olive Oil 20%
Sunflower Oil 20%
Coconut Oil 20%
Scented with 3% Orange, Lime and Patchouli EO

I coloured the layers with yellow iron oxide, dragon blood red mica (mixed with yellow to get orange) and olive green mica. I mixed up my powdered colourants with a dash of olive oil to make sure they would blend properly into the soap batter. (The last thing you want is loads of little spots where you have unblended colourant ruining your design). I only used a 3% superfat so the tiny amount of extra oil wouldn't affect the final product.

I decided to use a lazy susan to help me spin my soap as I thought it would be easier to control. I glued the plastic soap mould onto the centre of the lazy susan with some blu tack to hold it in place. I didn't want it to go flying mid spin! I also bought a small plastic tub to use as a mould as my big wooden log mould makes huge batches and the guidelines said we needed to be able to cut the soap in half to show the internal design so it had to be a double batch. I didn't want to be overrun with millions of bars of soap!

I decided to do a column pour to fill my mould so I used an empty vitamin C tube and a facial serum tube that were about the same size to pour the batter over. Then, when there was a small amount of batter left, I drew a star shape on the top with an orange blob in the middle to look like the sun. I wanted to see how much the straight lines would curve as I spun the mould.

I then spun the mould. It is hard to tell whether you have spun it enough times as the top of the soap doesn't move as much as the inside. It is a case of trial and error and fingers crossed that something looks nice inside. I am a control freak, so I find this very unnerving! I managed to succeed with only minimal splattering.

I left the soap to harden for a few days before unmoulding and cutting. I was really pleased with the inside of this one compared to the others, I felt like I achieved a wide range of patterns across the slab. I especially like the one that looks like little flames, and the ones that look like tree knots.

Amy's instructions were to make a double thickness layer of soap and cut it in half to reveal the swirled pattern inside - here are mine:

My first go at this was pretty dismal. I used grey as a background colour instead of white and had too much grey compared to the orange and green colours, so it looked drab. The swirls weren't very well formed either so I won't bother uploading pictures of those.

I also had an attempt trying to 'think outside the box'. I made some cardboard rings and inserted them into the soap batter after pouring the colours in stripes into the mould. The idea was that the card would guide the soap batter during spinning and turn the straight lines into concentric curves. It certainly looked different when I unmoulded and cut it, but I didn't feel like it demonstrated the technique adequately. My original regular spin swirl had more life to it so that is the one I chose to enter.

I think the key to getting nice swirls with this technique is to keep your batter very fluid, so you need to work very quickly once you have started and not over mix your colourants into the batter.

As always the challenges push me to try new techniques that I wouldn't otherwise have considered. Thank you Amy. I look forward to the challenge next month.