Time: 2 hrs
Yields: 1400g soap (10″ loaf mold)
Inspired by the name of the soap fragrance, Love Spell, this soap features plenty of magic with a gorgeous magenta swirl in its centre and gold swirling on top. The techniques used here are drop swirling and mica swirl painting.
If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
ONE: First, prepare your lye. Weigh out the caustic soda in a small container. Measure the water in a small pyrex or other heat proof glass jug. Then carefully add the caustic soda to the water and gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Stir in two teaspoons of sodium lactate to make the soap harder. Set aside to cool.
While you are waiting for the lye to cool down, it’s time to prepare your colour and fragrance.
TWO: Add 1/4 teaspoon of Sweetheart Rose mica to 10 ml rice bran oil. Give it a good stir with a little whisk until the colour is well dispersed into the oil. I’m using a little electric mini-mixer to mix the mica with the oil (a little trick I learned from Soap Queen). Set aside for later.
THREE: Measure out 30 ml of Love Spell fragrance and set aside. I love this amazing fragrance. Pure Nature describes this scent as a romantic fusion of cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, peach, citrus and apple, with a touch of blonde wood. I find it a mesmerising fragrance, yet not too sweet or fruity and it performs great in cold process soap.
FOUR: Next, it’s time to get the oils ready. Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until it is completely melted.
FIVE: Add the shea butter to the now-liquid coconut oil and stir until the shea butter has melted. Weigh out and add the olive oil and castor oil.
SIX: Check if the lye has cooled down to room temperature. If it has, it is time to add it to the oils. Make sure you are still in protective gear (goggles and gloves), carefully pour the lye to the oils, avoiding any splashes. Using a whisk, stir until the oil-lye mixture has emulsified. It is important you keep it to very thin trace, so you’ll be able to work with it. Check out the video below to see what a very thin trace looks like.
SEVEN: Pour about one cup (200-250 ml) of the soap into a separate jug for later. I purposefully did not add any fragrance to this, because fragrances can accelerate trace, and we want this to remain fluid.
EIGHT: Add your fragrance to the remainder of the soap in the main jug, and give it a good stir. Stir a while longer to thicken the trace a little more – not quite medium trace, but thicker than before.
NINE: Pour the soap into the mold, leaving a little bit for later. Tap the mold on the bench a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
TEN: Next, it’s time to colour the soap you separated earlier. Give the mica in the oil a quick stir and pour it into the soap.
Mix briskly to disperse the colour throughout the soap.
ELEVEN: Now, from a height of about 30 cm, pour the coloured soap into the centre of the white soap along the whole length. This technique is called drop swirling. The height of pouring will ensure that the poured soap will break through the surface of the soap being poured into. The higher you pour from, the deeper the poured soap will reach into the other soap. Go back and forth a few times and vary the height of pouring, so you end up with varying depths in your soap.
TWELVE: Pour the remainder of the coloured soap in thin criss-crossing lines on the surface of the soap.
THIRTEEN: Take a chopstick (which is why I always keep my unused chopsticks from takeaways!), and sticking it vertically into the centre line all the way to the bottom, do some slight vertical swirling along the length, as if you were tracing a spiral inside the soap, while remaining within the centre of the soap.
FOURTEEN: Now, like you did earlier with the coloured soap, pour the white soap in criss-crossing lines on the surface of the soap.
FIFTEEN: Next, it’s time to prepare the gold mica for the mica swirling technique. Add one teaspoon of Glitter Gold mica into one tablespoon of rice bran oil, and stir it into a very smooth, fluid paste.
SIXTEEN: In drops and very thin lines, drizzle the mica-oil mixture carefully over the surface of the soap.
SEVENTEEN: And now is when the magic happens. I love this part! Using your chopstick, swirl the surface doing little intertwining figure eights along the whole length of the soap. Don’t go deeper than about half a centimetre into the surface.
EIGHTEEN: Spritz the surface with isopropyl alcohol to prevent soda ash forming. You don’t want the soda ash hiding those pretty gold swirls!
You’ll notice the next day, that the soap will have soaked up the oil from the mica-oil mixture, leaving a groove. Pretty cool effect!
NINETEEN: Leave to cure in the mold for a several days before cutting it into bars. The bars will need to cure for a further 6-8 weeks to harden completely.
Love Spell Soap
- 600 g olive oil
- 300 g coconut oil
- 50 g shea butter
- 50 g castor oil
- 141 g caustic soda
- 280 ml water
- 2 teaspoons sodium lactate
- 30 ml love spell fragrance
- 1 teaspoon sweetheart rose mica
- 1 teaspoon gold glitter mica
- rice bran oil
- Prepare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- While you wait for the lye to cool, prepare the colour. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sweetheart rose mica to 10 ml rice bran oil. Stir well.
- Measure out 30 ml love spell fragrance and set aside.
- Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until melted.
- Add the shea butter to the now-liquid coconut oil and stir until it has completely melted. Add the olive oil and castor oil, and give the oils a good stir to blend them together.
- When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and using only a whisk, stir briskly until emulsified to a very thin trace.
- Pour about 1 cup (200-250 ml) of the soap mixture into a separate jug and set aside for later.
- Add the fragrance to the remainder of the soap and stir well.
- Pour the soap into the mold, leaving a little bit for later, and tap the mold a few times on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles in the soap.
- Give the mica-oil mixture you prepared earlier another quick stir, and then add it to the soap you set aside. Stir briskly to disperse the colour evenly throughout the soap.
- DROP SWIRL TECHNIQUE: From a height of about 30 cm, pour the soap in the centre of the soap in the mold. Go along the whole length and back and forth a few times, varying the height of pouring.
- Pour the remainder of the soap in criss-crossing lines on the surface of the soap.
- Using a chopstick, give the soap a spiral swirl along the whole length, but remain within the centre (coloured) portion.
- As you did with the coloured soap, take the leftover white soap and pour it in criss-crossing lines on the surface of the soap.
- MICA SWIRL PAINTING: Prepare the mica, by adding one teaspoon of glitter gold mica to one tablespoon of rice bran oil and stir to a smooth, fluid paste.
- Drizzle the mica in drops and thin lines over the surface of the soap.
- Using the chopstick, swirl the top 1/2 cm of the surface of the soap in intertwining 8 figures along the whole length of the soap.
- Spritz the soap lightly with isopropyl alcohol.
- Leave the soap to cure in the mold for several days, before removing and cutting into bars. Cure for a further 6-8 weeks.