Winter Landscape Soap

022016_18103wp4The Great Cakes Soap Challenge this month involved creating a winter wonderland themed soap that had to include an element of snow. The first thing that came to mind was to attempt a snowy landscape of some kind. Having never done a landscape soap of any kind, I spent quite a bit of time planning it all out. I really had no idea if it would work, but the whole process was a lot of fun. Given the amount of time it took, I’m glad the first try was a success. In the end, it took a combined 3 recipes of soap layered over 3 days and finally cut on the 4th day.  :)

We had the option of entering our soap in either the All-natural or the Synthetic category. I chose the all-natural. Here’s my recipe and a list of the ingredients:

Olive Oil – 40%
Coconut Oil – 25%
Shea Butter – 15%
Sunflower Oil – 7%
Cocoa Butter – 5%
Avocado Oil – 5%
Castor Oil – 3%

Sodium Hydroxide & Distilled Water (amounts determined with a soap calculator and using a water discount)

Indigo Root Powder infused Olive Oil – various blues in the sky and blue-gray layers in the snow
Black Walnut Hull Powder mixed with distilled water – the brown tree trunk
Spirulina Powder – green trees
White Kaolin Clay

Peppermint Essential Oil

In order to create the big tree in the foreground, I used the reverse hidden feather swirl technique (with a gear tie as my swirling tool). I watched a tree swirl video by Jenny Rose of I’d Lather be Soaping and also read a post by Anne-Marie Faiola (The Soap Queen) to help me figure out how to do the reverse hidden feather swirl. I did make my tree slightly different by adding a brown tree trunk.

I divided the soap into 3 parts – the base layer of snow, the hill and little trees in the distance, and, finally, the big tree and sky. I spaced the parts out over 3 days, letting each part firm up before starting the next, and then cut the loaf on the 4th day.

I made a video of the entire process…

While I was editing the video, it began to snow. I live in Southern Middle Tennessee, so snow isn’t something we see a lot. Here’s the little Instagram video I made that day. :)

A video posted by Holly (@holly_au92) on

I’m really thrilled with how this soap turned out. Thrilled and still shocked, actually. My only regret is using spirulina powder for the trees. I’ve done tests with it and know that it will not hold that beautiful dark green color for very long. If I ever make this soap again, I’ll definitely use something else for the green tree color.


Thanks for reading my post!


48 thoughts on “Winter Landscape Soap

  1. I’m loving your soap, so much detail and such patience. And your video…I could watch it for hours, it’s a joy to watch you at work <3


  2. I’m in awe of all the details and beautiful landscape you created with this soap!! Truly amazing and gallery-worthy! The video was great to watch – especially seeing how you made the big tree! Obviously a labor of love right here!! :)


  3. Holly:
    Wonderful! Wonderful!! Wonderful!!
    That took so much work & patience and they are so beautiful!
    Your video was one of the best I’ve seen.
    You are so talented!
    Good luck on the vote (I’m not doing the challenge this month – otherwise you would have my vote!0


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  5. Oh my gosh! I am just stunned at the process and final product! This is one of the best videos I’ve ever watched as far as showing instructions. What a lot of work but, man is it ever worth it! I am lucky if i can get myself to swirl a couple of colors in my soap ;) Congrats on your win!


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    • I actually guessed at how much soap I would need for each layer. The bottom and middle layers were about 350 grams of oil while the top part (tree and sky) were about 550 grams of oils. I used a 3 LB mold and just divided the recipe into 3 parts. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)


      • Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast. When I saw your beautiful Winter soap I instantly fell in love with it and have to try it. Thank you Holly for the great lesson.


  7. Great job, so beautify and creative. May I have a question about the infused oil colorant. How do you know the quantity to add for each color ? And so there will be extra oil in the batch that may not be saponification ?


    • Thank you! My oil infusions are typically very strong in color (and I usually add even more of the dried herb to the infused oil to boost the color more), so I don’t need much in order to get the color I want. I also keep my superfat percentage lower when doing a soap like this. My special soaps like this have always turned out fine and still very bubbly. But if I do have a lot of soap to color or want a super dark color where the oil infusion will just be too much added to the recipe, I will usually divide the recipe into parts and subtract the oil from the different parts. Thanks so much for asking!


  8. Pingback: Feather Swirls in Cold Process Soap | Kápia Méra Soap Company

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