Charcoal Lavender Mint Soap using the Dancing Funnel Technique


The Great Cakes Soap Challenge this month involved learning the Dancing Funnel Technique.  This technique was invented by Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso and Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques.  Tatsiana was also our guest teacher this month and did another amazing job explaining and demonstrating this technique for us.  We were able to enter our soaps in one of two categories: all natural or synthetic.  I chose the all natural category.  I’m sure you are all astonishment. ;)

Note: If you’re a beginner or want to learn more about soap making, check out these helpful videos:
Soap Queen TV – LYE SAFETY:
Amanda Aaron of Lovin’ Soap – BEGINNER SERIES:

My entry soap was actually my 4th attempt at this technique.  In my first attempt, I ran out of my outline color.  My second attempt was just plain ugly. And my 3rd attempt ended up looking like a camouflage pattern due to me using way too much outline soap.  In the first 3 attempts, I stirred the oils and lye solution by hand to reach emulsion. However, in my final attempt, I decided to use the hand blender sparingly along with stirring in hopes of speeding up the process just a bit. Thankfully, it worked out really well, and I was able to get all the circles poured without the soap thickening up on me.

I decided to use a recipe similar to ones I’ve used in past challenges where we needed a slow tracing soap. The only difference is that I replaced the organic palm oil with lard:

Olive Oil – 45%
Sunflower Oil – 10%
Coconut Oil – 25%
Lard – 15%
Avocado Oil – 5%

Lavender – 4 parts
Peppermint – 1 part

For my colors, I decided to go with a white outline filled with a dark soap. The white was just the plain soap batter. The dark gray and black colors were created using activated charcoal mixed with sunflower oil. I used dark gray to fill all but the very top layer. For the last layer of circles, I used a bit more charcoal for the black.

Activated charcoal mixed in sunflower oil – approximately 1 tsp per cup of soap







Good luck to all the participants in this month’s challenge!

Thank you for reading my post!


54 thoughts on “Charcoal Lavender Mint Soap using the Dancing Funnel Technique

  1. What a stunning piece!!! I’ve been waiting for it!!!! I almost panicked earlier as I could not see a “Holly style” soap in the natural category. But I checked one more time before going to bed and there was the Black Beauty, I knew right away it was yours, now I’ll be able to sleep well as my addiction to your videos was fed :)
    PS: I was shocked to find out you chose the natural category :O


      • Hi Holly. I would like to know how much of each ingredient I would need to make the soap? Dont understand well this Olive Oil 45% and all say % how do I know the exact amount? Thank you


  2. Holly:
    Such a beautiful soap! Another winner!
    I would like to see your other 3 too.
    Thank you for including a video also.
    I love your photography…I have grown out of my little camera and am looking for something new. Can you make any recommendations? Do you use a light box too? Thanks so much.
    Best of luck in the contest!


    • Sly, thank you so much! I always forget to take pics of my failed batches. I do have one of them left (the “camo” soap) that I’ll try and add to this post. As far as my camera, I use a Canon DSLR and natural light from a window. I also use a remote flash (attached to my camera via cable) so I can move it around. I don’t use much flash…just enough to brighten up the shadowy areas.
      Best of luck to you, too! Your dancing funnel soaps are just amazing. :)


  3. Beautiful detail as always. This is so elegant! It looks like fine Italian black marble.Your videos are so well done. Thank you so much for sharing!


  4. Love the black on top, looks like a winner for sure. I’m needing to purchase a slab mold would you mind giving me information on where you bought this mold.


  5. I almost decided to not enter the Natural category because I knew I would be going up against you, lol!

    I had no doubt yours would be stunning. I had considered doing a black and white one, too but am so glad I didn’t. I know I would never have had such a creative thought to do a slight variation in the color – only on the top. That was pure genius, Holly! It is amazing how such a simple change can completely alter the design. Another fabulous job!

    PS – I agree with Sly. I want to see your other soaps too -mostly because I am not convinced that you EVER make ugly soaps! :D


    • Oh, Debi, that’s so sweet of you to say! I’ve been back to your blog post several times to look at your soap. It’s just amazing! As always! Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hi Holly, I’ve been a silent follower of your blog forever and agree your soaps never disappoint! Another elegant stunner. The darker black in the last layer is a stroke of genius, just beautiful.


  7. Gorgeous, dramatic and very clever! The darker circles on the top really pop and draw your eye without looking out of place. I had a little black dress party a few months ago, and this design would have been perfect for my after-party detox soap favors. You even used the same EO blend, which is one of my favorites!


  8. Beautiful! Great job! I agree with many of the other commenters…that was a great idea to add a bit of variety with the slightly darker fill color on the top layer.


  9. I am sorry to leave my comment that late) but it was too much work this time)) Holly, your soap is beautiful as usual, I was waiting to see what is your color decision)) And it it as always simple and elegant))) Great job, soap, video and photos)) I wish you the very best luck with it!


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  11. Hi! I just want to know what benefits that we can get from that soap? :) i mean their ingredients are good what will they give us?


  12. Hi Holly. Have you ever got soda ash deep inside the soap for soaping at 85 degrees? I thought that was a little too cold…
    And is emulsion needed only for this recipe?
    Also, do you usually subtract the oil amount used with the colorant(charcoal powder in this case) from the soap batter?
    Thank you!


    • Hi Sarah,
      I often soap at room temperature (75º). I do have to watch my recipe when I’m soaping that cool due to possible false trace. Soda ash is something that occurs on top of the soap when exposed to fresh air during the first 12 to 48 hours. While the soap is still saponifying, if exposed to fresh air, unreacted sodium hydroxide will become sodium carbonate (what we call ash).
      Emulsion (instead of going all the way to trace) is needed for this recipe due to the length of time it takes to make this soap. You need a very fluid recipe and a long working time. It was a really difficult soap challenge due to getting the exact consistency without going too far or not far enough with the blending.
      As long as it’s a small amount of oil I’m adding to the batch (max of 2 tsp per cup of soap is my personal rule), I won’t subtract my colorant oil. If I have to add a lot of colored oil, I will divide the recipe into parts and subtract the oil.
      Hope this helps!


  13. Thank you Holly. I used this recipe and soaped with 72 degrees lye( solution sit in icy water too long) and 98 degrees oil. The soap has some consistent white streaks inside. It’s not tiny air bubbles and I ruled out the possibility of lye pocket via pH testing. When I searched online. Some suggested stearic acid while other thought soda ash. I thought stearic acid was more likely because of lye water temp. Any ideas?
    Thank you very much for your help!


  14. You can replace your usual soap with charcoal soap if you have very dry skin. This will help hydrate the skin and shrink the pores. Using charcoal soap for acne will have overall benefits on your body, as it will help cleanse your skin deeply and remove blackheads. It will also help tighten your skin and keep it firm, making you look younger even as it clear wrinkles on your face and make you glow. You can visit my site to get into the details


  15. Hi Holly!

    As usual, I love your artistry and this is another fine example of it! Curious, did you apply a water discount? Superfat?

    Thanks, Karen


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