My Eclectic Mess

March 10, 2014

Adventures in Soap Making: Rorschach Test and Ocean Waves

Filed under: Soap — beth @ 2:18 pm


This is my latest soap making attempt.  I originally thought calling it “Rorschach Test” was a great name for it.  Each section of the cut loaf reveals a different swirl.

But this week we’ve finally started to slowly melt out from under our record breaking snow accumulation and what was once pristine white everywhere is slowly beginning to look much like the above bars. I scented this soap with “Dirt” fragrance oil and it really does smell like freshly plowed farm fields or turned garden beds in the spring. So I’m considering renaming it “Spring Thaw” or something similar.

The black swirl was made with activated charcoal which also gives it purifying properties. This is still a pretty soft bar, it has a large percentage of Sweet Almond Oil in the recipe. But it lathers really well and leaves my skin really soft.  I’m still experimenting with different oils and different recipes. I prefer to not order a lot of exotic oils and to keep my recipes pretty simple with only 3-4 oils. So far I’m mainly using combinations of Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Almond Oil and Lard. I did just recently pick up a small bottle of Grapeseed Oil that I’m going to try in my next batch. I know a lot of my vegan/vegetarian friends will cringe at the thought of lard in soap. But it makes a really lovely soap with nice lather and I can get it really cheap at the local Mexican grocery store. I like to have it on hand for pie crusts too!


Here is a photo of the uncut log. I made the swirl using the funnel pour technique in my new 5# Wooden Log mold from Brambleberry.  I really like this mold and the matching silicone liner. It makes a lot of soap and it really easy to use.  I think I will invest in or DIY a smaller mold because this is really too much soap for me to ever use up for personal use and at this time I don’t intend to go into the soap selling business.


You can see that it was still a little soft when I cut it so it isn’t as smooth as I’d like. I did find a wire cheese cutter board at Goodwill that I’m now using as a soap cutter and it has really helped me get more consistent results.


This is the first batch of soap I made in my 5# mold and using colored oxides. I used the hanger swirl technique and attempted a swirled, textured top. This one is scented with “Sea Glass” fragrance oil. I love it. It smells fresh and clean and the bar gives a really nice soft lather. I love that the colors really do bring to mind sea glass and the top looks like foaming waves. Next time I try this swirl I’ll be a little more vigorous with my hanger to get a more defined swirl.

I’m trying not to go to crazy with soap making because I will end up with more soap than I will ever use in a lifetime. But I do have lots of ideas and inspiration and want to try it all. I’m playing with ideas for more natural soaps with milks, avocado, cucumber, oatmeal, honey, teas and essential oils versus soaps made with all the pretty oxide and mica colors and fancy swirl techniques. Both approaches appeal to me for different reasons. I like to use the more natural soaps and I like to make the pretty ones with all the fancy fragrances.


  1. OMG! Your charcoal soap is GORGEOUS!! I recently attended a soap making class, and now your post and photos really make we want to try my hand at making some soap!!

    Comment by LisaD — March 10, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

  2. I am absolutely loving the soap you gave me for my birthday! It is so smooth and makes me feel so soft. And the scents are just perfect. Lovely, but not overpowering. I’m so blessed to have such an eclectic sister!!!

    Luv, Pam

    Comment by pam — March 22, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

  3. Your soaps are beautiful.

    Comment by Lois H — May 4, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

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