Monday, June 10, 2013

Peacock Swirl Challenge

I have joined a soap challenge club started by Amy of Great Cakes Soapworks.  The first challenge was to make a soap using a technique called the Peacock Swirl.  I had seen the Peacock Swirl before but had never tried it, so I was pretty excited to do something new.  This technique requires some different pieces of equipment such as some squirt bottles and a rake or comb which I made out of some bamboo skewers and a piece of cardboard.  Here's a picture of some of my supplies that I used.

My first batch seemed to be working okay until I raked it.  The rake sort of blurred the colors in the middle.  So the final look was muddy.  I made some adjustments such as blending less at the beginning, using a fragrance oil which I knew would keep my batter thin, soaping cooler, and raking just the top part of the soap instead of all the way down to the bottom.  My second batch was better, but still had a sort of blurred look in the center.  Not what I wanted.  I was pretty disappointed after the second batch failed.  I made more adjustments and waited two more days to try the third time 'cause I was so worried it wouldn't come out again.  This time, I used a larger mold since I knew a larger batch would be easier to keep thin.  I went back to the fragrance oil I used in my first batch but added it to only the bottom layer, and I decided I needed to make my lines straighter in the mold to get a cleaner rake.  I also made another rake with the skewers a little farther apart.
So for my third and final batch, this is what I used:
36 bar Baltic Birchwood mold from Bramble Berry, but only used half of it
neon pigments from Bramble Berry because I wanted vibrant colors
Lick Me All Over fragrance oil from Nature's Garden since I knew it didn't accelerate or discolor
4 squirt bottles
1 bamboo skewer rake
1 chopstick for doing the swirl
about 1 1/2 T poppy seeds added to the pink base layer
For my recipe I used this:
olive oil, 40%
palm oil, 30%
coconut oil, 25%
sweet almond oil, 5%
I used almost full water and a 4% superfat since I also used additional olive oil to mix the pigments.  I soaped at about 81 degrees.
I don't have lots of pictures while making the soap, 'cause I was trying to work fast and didn't want to stop to take pictures and let my soap set up.  But here's what I have.
my neon pigments
my rake

starting the colored lines
Here's the swirl!
another angle of the swirl
I was so happy and excited when I raked and the colors did not blur like my first two attempts!  I covered it with the wooden lid, tucked a couple towels around it, and let it sit overnight.  I uncovered and unmolded the next day and gave it a good spritz of 91% rubbing alcohol to keep ash away and also give it a nice shine on top. 
cutting bars

Bars all cut up!

I got 15 bars each a little over 5 oz.  They smell really good, all fruity and sweet! 
I had a lot of fun with this challenge, and will definitely be using this Peacock Swirl technique again.  A big thank you to Amy for starting this Soap Challenge Club!  I'm looking forward to the next challenge!
Happy Soaping!
Candy :0)