Clamshell Swirl Soap | Soap Challenge Club

032020_43755entry For this month’s Soap Challenge Club, we learned a fun technique called the clamshell swirl.  The Challenge Club is hosted by Amy Warden, and our guest instructor was Teri of Tree Marie Soapworks.  Teri makes really beautiful soaps and also has a YouTube channel where she uploads amazing videos. She did such a wonderful job teaching us the clamshell technique that I couldn’t seem to stop trying it.  I’ll talk about some of those attempts here, and I also made a video about my entry soap (linked at the very bottom of the post), in case you’d like to see that, too.  :)

If you’re interested in more details about this technique or would like to try the recipe that Teri provides in the tutorial, be sure to check out the Soap Challenge Club Tutorials where you can purchase access to all of the past tutorials.

For this challenge, there were two categories we could enter.  The regular category involved pouring about a 1″ layer of soap in a loaf mold (where the top of your soap is the design) and cutting the soap horizontally into bars.  The advanced category entries were required to pour an entire batch and cut it vertically (as you normally cut a loaf of soap).  I chose to enter the advanced category.

032020_43761bwpAfter my initial practice batch you see here (regular category), I tried this technique 4 more times, from a too thin trace to a medium trace.  If I had not been short on time, I’d probably be looking at 6 or 8 batches. LOL It’s such a cool technique and so satisfying to watch the soap as you pour it into the mold. Once I (mostly) had the pour technique down, experimenting with trace was a lot of fun, too.

I also tried different water amounts, as well, and will mention those below.  For each batch, I used the same CPOP (cold process oven process) method (preheated my oven to 170º F, covered the batch with a lid and towel, then turned the oven OFF, and placed the soap inside). I left the oven light on for another 4 hours or so, and I let the soap stay in the oven until the next day.

COLORANTS
I’ve listed the colorants below each soap. I also have more details on the colors for my entry soap listed in the video (if you’d like specific amounts). The other soaps (1, 2, & 4) had similar usage rates, but you can probably tell where I used less or more charcoal.

SOAP #1
These soaps were poured at a really thin trace. When stirring the soap and testing the trace, I could just barely detect it (and I really had to look for it). I knew as I was pouring that I should have waited for the soap to thicken more.

032020_43772wp2   032020_43758wp3
I used a 31% lye solution for this batch (water = 2.2 x NaOH). The soaps have a more translucent appearance compared to the other batches.

Orange:  orange illite clay plus some paprika infused sunflower oil
Green: indigo root powder, activated charcoal, & a little green oxide
White:  kaolin clay

SOAP #2
These were poured at a bit thicker trace (still thin) and were almost my entry soaps. When testing the trace, the soap would leave a thin line you could see and then very quickly disappear. I really liked them, but I wanted to try for more definition in the design.

032020_43801wp2

For this batch, I used a 33% lye solution (water = 2 x NaOH).

032020_43782wp2

Orange:  orange illite clay plus some paprika infused sunflower oil
Green: indigo root powder, activated charcoal, & a little green oxide
Blue:  indigo root powder plus activated charcoal
White:  kaolin clay

SOAP #3 – MY ENTRY
My entry soaps were poured at a light to medium trace (a trace of soap would remain on top much longer). For these, I used a 36% lye solution (water = 1.8 x NaOH). They still went through gel phase, however they appear much more opaque in appearance. I also used more charcoal which darkened the colors a bit more. I much prefer the brighter colors above. I did use titanium dioxide (1/3 tsp per cup of soap) for these.

032020_43790bwp2    032020_43755dwp2

032020_43818bwp2

Orange:  orange illite clay plus activated charcoal
Green: indigo root powder, activated charcoal, & a little green oxide
Blue:  indigo root powder plus activated charcoal
White:  titanium dioxide

SOAP #4
Finally, my last batch was poured at a medium (and getting thicker by the second) trace. This one was very hard to perform the clamshell swirl without soap running down the back of the mold. I kept going anyway (thanks to Teri’s instructions!) and ended up with a neat looking soap anyway. This one was also a 36% lye solution (water = 1.8 x NaOH).

Screen-Shot-23-AM   Screen-Shot-22-AM
Screen-Shot-21-AM

Orange:  orange illite clay plus activated charcoal
Green: indigo root powder, activated charcoal, & a little green oxide
Blue:  indigo root powder plus activated charcoal
White:  titanium dioxide


MY ENTRY SOAP VIDEO – SOAP #3

 

Thank you so much for reading my post!

holly-name

7 thoughts on “Clamshell Swirl Soap | Soap Challenge Club

  1. Fascinating results!! I love seeing your various experiments – especially with the water amounts! The entry soap definitely has a nice feathery look without being too thin and quite consistent shell shapes. Thank you so much for sharing your results – I’m so glad you had fun with this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love watching your videos! They have such a calm and therapeutic quality and you do such beautiful and stunning work. Thank you so much for sharing! This challenge was certainly harder than it looked.

    Like

  3. I just love all of the experiments you tried, Holly! I can’t stop thinking of different scenarios I’d like to try. I have a feeling I could make a batch every day for months on end and get different results each time! I love all of your attempts but your entry is true perfection – based on what we were going for with this particular technique. Thanks for sharing all the details with us!

    Like

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