Wednesday, 23 September 2015

SMF Discolouring Fragrance Challenge

SMF Soap Challenges

I help to organise a monthly challenge on I ran the August challenge which tackled inverted stamping.

You can find the challenge thread and read about everyone's experiences along the way here

and you can find the thread with all the lovely entries here

There is also an SMF challenge youtube channel with tutorial videos for all the challenges, including my inverted stamping one, along with other tutorials by SMF members that you may find useful.

As long as you have been a member of the forum for a short period and have posted 50 times, then you can participate in the challenge. Come over and find us on SMF, we are a friendly bunch and always willing to accept new members into the fold.

Discolouring Fragrance Challenge

This month was a discolouring fragrance challenge run by GalaxyMLP, the basic rules of the challenge were to use a fragrance that discolours and incorporate that into your soap design. You also had to choose a colour scheme for a famous brand or sports team and incorporate that into your design too.

Below is the original challenge thread if you would like to read the full challenge criteria and see people's discussion of their experiences of the challenge

Here is the entry thread

And here is my entry.

I chose to use Wimbledon as my theme as I love the combination of purple, green and white.

I used a basic slow moving recipe at a 5% superfat of -

25% Palm
25% Coconut
25% Sunflower
25% Olive

The discolouring fragrance I used was porridge oats from gracefruit which I used at 3%. The description  says it discolours to a dark tan.

I wanted to try a sort of different butterfly swirl with this challenge. I tilted the mould slightly to one side, then filled it with 1/4 of the discoloured batter, then I alternately poured the white purple and green until the mould was half full. I then used a hanger in a circular motion to create the bottom half of the butterfly. Then I poured in some more discoloured batter and drop swirled the colours in on top to create the top wing of the butterfly.

Here is the soap when it was first cut

And here is my final entry after 3 weeks of discolouration

I hope you like it. If you are interested in the challenges please pop  over to and see what is going on this month.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Great Cakes Soapworks September Challenge - The Clyde Slide

Here is my entry for this month's Great Cakes Soapworks challenge. This is my attempt at a Clyde Slide.

This was a hard technique for me. It took me several attempts to achieve the feathering which is the signature of this technique. I am pleased with my entry though in the end!

I wanted to do something a bit different with my pour for this challenge. My aim was to pour the white base colour in at the back of the bowl and simultaneously pour the brown and green so they met in the middle. The aim was to produce a soap that had a different colour on each side rather than a homogeneous mix of colours, which I feel I managed to achieve. I quite like the symmetrical look that it creates.

Here is a picture of the bowl as I poured. I used a washing up bowl to pour into as I found that using the regular jug that I make soap batter in didn't seem to have a big enough surface area. I was trying to find something similar to the big round bowl Clyde uses in his videos. I waited until I had reached a medium trace before pouring.

I propped the left hand end of the log mould up slightly by about an inch and poured in one solid sweep from left to right, then laid the mould back down flat.

I chose a standard recipe with palm, olive, coconut and sunflower oils. I have been thinking about making Christmas soaps recently which is why I chose the colour scheme, it reminds me of peppermint creams so I scented with a peppermint fragrance oil. I used brown and green mica from White Ape Pigments and titanium dioxide.

Here is another attempt that I made that I was quite pleased with

I cut the top off one of the soaps to trim it down and it looks like there are some lovely feathers in the horizontal plane too. It might be cool to try cutting the soap that way next time instead to see what is revealed.

I think the one on the right looks like an angel. 

I feel like I should write a separate blog post called  'How not to do a Clyde slide' as it took  me quite a few attempts to get the technique to work how I wanted it to! Here is a run down of what I learnt the hard way if you are interested in reading it.

Amy's tutorial said that pouring the batter too thick would prevent the feathers from developing. I think I took this too literally with my first attempts. I poured them so thin that the autumn coloured soap which started out as several lovely shades of red, orange and yellow, turned into an unpleasant homogeneous brown.

My second blue attempt was slightly thicker trace, but I still didn't achieve any feathers. I think the soap still turned out fairly pretty though. I poured the grey base background, then poured pools of dark and light blue on alternative sides of the pot to try and achieve a soap which was half dark and half light, similar to my entry soap but in a jug. The soaps are really pretty and I like them a lot, but they don't demonstrate the feathering at all. I think this was because the batter was too thin and the jug too cramped.


My third attempt was a green, blue and white soap. This time I waited much longer before pouring and I chose to use a mixing bowl with a much larger pouring surface area than the plastic jug I had originally been using. This is the first time I actually achieved any feathers at all. I think this shows that the type of container you use to make your pour into is very important, you need a large surface area. I think you also need your trace not to be too thin or you end up with too much mixing and the
feathers won't appear.

I think these bars look like they have smiley faces.

I will definitely be using this technique again. I love the way it produces such different results each time, and I always seem to be able to see images and pictures in the bars. Thank you to Amy and Clyde for bringing us something really  new and different to try.