Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge March 2017 – Hidden Feather Swirl

A break from exams!

So that means time to soap and better still… time for a challenge!! The first since July 2016!

I’ve done a hidden feather swirl before which had gone really well so figured this would be a breeze! Here’s the first and only other feather I’ve attempted – gonna go ahead and say it was beginners luck!


So onto this challenge. I used my go to slow moving recipe and used a FO that I’d read behaved – Lavender and Cucumber. Achieving emulsion was easy enough but my soap took forever to get thick enough to pour and I made the mistake of pouring my first layer for the feather when it was still too thin so it just sank right down to the bottom of the soap. I left it to get a little thicker before trying again and the rest of the pour seemed to go ok but I wasn’t in love with the result. Plus because I knew I’d done a much better feather in the past I knew I could do it again.

Here is attempt #1:


I like the colours but it’s not a feather

So onto attempt #2

I used the same slow moving recipe as the last attempt but used a different FO this time – Black Raspberry Vanilla from Mad Oils which is a beautiful FO! Turns out this also behaves VERY well and meant my soap took forever to get thick enough to pour again. I was a lot more restrained this time though and managed to hold back from pouring until it was ready to go! I used colours I thought would ‘POP’ and went which black (AC), white (TD), neon pink/orange and a very pale orange base using neon orange with a little TD. On my first attempt the dividers I was using for the feather had started to move so I was careful to keep topping up the sides this time to stop the dividers from slipping outwards. I finished pouring and felt it had gone really well but time would tell. Attempt #2 will be my entry for the challenge.


I’m happy with this one 🙂


But then I had another plan!

I wanted to try something a little different so thought I would try to create 2 feathers within 1 bar – 1 each way up by pushing my tool down through one feather and up through the other. I fashioned myself a set of dividers out of plastic and cardboard so that they were all one unit – I figured it would make them more stable verses having 4 individual dividers. Used my usual slow moving recipe and selected colours – turns out I don’t actually like the colours I chose which is part of the reason I’m not using it as my entry. I decided to stickblend a little longer this time to try speed up the process but as is usually the case my FO (gin & tonic) decided it was going to do that job for this soap! So I had to move quite quickly this time to pour but thankfully I didn’t have to try and control the dividers. Apart from the soap being thicker than I would have liked it seemed to go to plan but I knew I wasn’t in love with my colours – that will teach me not to plan my colours in advance! And here it is:

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And that’s the end of this month’s challenge and as usually here are a few more images!!


It’s been waaaay too long!!

Catch up time!

The last time I was here was back in September when I posted about my entry for the Great Cakes Soapworks challenge – the Clyde Slide, that was a fun technique.

Fast forward to now and a lot has happened since then:

  1. I’ve finally passed the accountancy exam I’d just sat in September – though I failed that sitting, I passed it when I sat it again in December (that was the 3rd sitting!). Also sat and passed (first time) the next exam so am now exactly halfway through my journey to become a chartered accountant.
  2. I’ve moved house but don’t have the soaping room in the garage, YET! Love our new house! Also just got a new car!
  3. But, most importantly – I’ve made lots of soap!!

September to present day soaps

This is going to be a very quick journey through the soaps I’ve made since my last post along with brief details of each.

First up was the hidden feather swirl for which I did a tutorial for the SMF October challenge. It was my first attempt at this technique so I was very happy it turned out!


The tutorial for the technique can be found here: SMF October challenge – hidden feather

And that was the last soap I made in 2015 before we moved.

Onto 2016!

The first soap of the new year was my first castile, made on the 3rd Jan with plans to let it cure for 12 months. No colours or fragrances, just water, olive oil and lye.


Also in January I took part in the SMF January challenge which was black and white soaps. There was no specific technique to be used for this challenge so I attempted to make some black embeds but my FO caused massive acceleration  and my base colour was so thick I could pour it around them very well – as a result the tops came off on some of them.

I had another go and decided to stick with a simple hanger swirl – I was happy with this result.

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One last soaping adventure in January was the tutorial for the Feb SMF challenge – the spin swirl. I had many issues recording this tutorial ranging from the memory on my phone getting too full halfway through filming (and not realising until I finished!), dropping my phone in the soap and acceleration! As a result I think I ended up making 4 batches = lots of soap to be given away still!

Here are the various batches:

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The tutorial for this one can be found here: SMF Challenge Feb 2016 – spin swirl

Fast forward to March where the SMF challenge was whipped soap, the unique property of this soap is that it floats!! Whilst my soap did fit the brief of the challenge and floated, I didn’t like how it looked so I rebatched and added some as confetti. It still floated in its rebatched form.

The tutorial for this unique soap can be found here: SMF Challenge March 2016 – whipped soap

I have a friend with sensitive skin that can’t really use most of my soaps but after a fair bit of research I formulated a recipe I think she will be ok with, it has 20% neem oil – boy does that stuff stink! She has a horse though and they use neem on the horses apparently so she doesn’t mind the smell! Good job really as the EO blend of lemongrass, cedarwood and tea tree don’t really mask it! Did an ITP swirl for this one.

I can’t actually remember what technique I was going for here, I just know it didn’t work because the FO caused a fair bit of acceleration!!

I really like this next soap, everything about it makes me happy – the swirl went exactly as planned and the FO is sherbet lemons – it smells amazing!!

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My mum came to visit for the weekend in March so we made soap together. the idea had been to do a drop hanger swirl but the soap got a little too thick to really get the movement in the swirl I’d been hoping for. I liked my mum’s colour choices though.


We’re almost upto date now! Next comes the April SMF challenge which was a specific type of hanger swirl, we called it the Petra hanger swirl after the soaper that inspired it. I had 3 tries at this technique and felt I didn’t truly achieve the look I wanted – I wished my butterfly was a bit more substantial, instead it was quite flat. I still managed to place 3rd!

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The tutorial for this technique can be found here:Part 1 – SMF Challenge April – Petra hanger

Part 2 is here: Part 2 – SMF Challenge April – Petra hanger

And that is me upto date. I have signed up for the Great Cakes Soapworks May challenge which is the teardrop soap. I will be back very soon with the details of how this went for me!