DIY Soap: Churning Ocean

My sister-in-law loved the little heart soaps I gave out in February so much that she commissioned a batch to give out at her business. In fact, almost every woman I’d given soap to over the holidays spoke highly of the gifts so I decided to keep working on it and try more advanced designs. The internet turns out to be absolutely chock-full of homemade soap artisans doing amazingly artistic work  with simple soap.

Translucent soap fascinates me. There are some very cool effects that can be done with layering and mixing, giving 3-dimensional depth. I wasted a lot of base materials learning. In early March I found an herbal oil and fragrance mix called Ocean Breeze. Sounds like a perfect excuse to play with layering, swirling, and “froth”.


Using a 5lbs slab mold. I really like using this over doing individual bars. It’s easier to have consistency between the final products when poured as a single slab. 


I tried shaping the layers as they hardened. The wave effect looks pretty good in my opinion. 

I wanted to simulate water depth with deeper hues and the churning of currents and waves below the water line. The first layer of water had blue, green, and purple mixed to make a deep aqua color. Apparently the colors weren’t deep enough as it looks almost the same as the later layers. One thing I would like to try next time is pouring with air bubbles trapped inside the layers.

I didn’t have dyes appropriate for sand, so I mixed a dirty yellow and added a scattering of sea salt and pink salt crystals to simulate rocks on top of the sand. I carelessly poked too deep when swirling the white soap and pulled up some of the base in one bar. I kind of like it because it looks like a strong current underwater whipping up sand. 

I’ve read that melt and pour soap sets quickly and doesn’t produce swirls as nicely as cold process, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! Let the base layer cool to ~125 F. Heat the layer to be swirled to 135 F, pour, and lightly swirl or poke wtih a pencil, knife, or whatever tool you’re using. I didn’t have an accurate thermometer when I made these bars, but you can see the swirls started to form.

Finished product. The soap smells wonderful and looks really good when lit from behind and the layers really stand out. 



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