How to Make Taiwan Circling Swirl Soap
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Yield: 10 Bars
- Prep Time / Clean Up: 30 Minutes
- Perform Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 2 Hours
- Cure Time: 4-6 Weeks
- Extra Long Disposable Nitrile Gloves (easily found in dishwashing section at local supermarket)
- 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl or Microwavable Plastic Bowl
- 3 x Funnel Pitchers
- Digital Thermometer or Infrared Thermometer
- Stick Blender
- Mini Mixer (Optional)
- 10” Silicone Loaf Mold with Dividers
- Measuring Spoons
- Skewer or Chopstick or Wooden Dowel
- Small Glass Bowls
- 3 x Ziploc® Bags (2 Pint and 1 Quart freezer bag if possible, but not necessary, use what you have)
- Fine Mesh Strainer (Stainless Steel)
- Heating Pad (Optional)
- Timer (Optional)
- Cardboard Box That Fits over Mold (Optional)
- Paper Towels
- 10 oz Olive Oil (30%) (plus a little extra for mixing colorants)
- 8.4 oz Coconut Oil (25%)
- 7.4 oz Palm Oil (22%)
- 3.4 oz Sweet Almond Oil, Sweet (10%)
- 3.4 oz Cocoa Butter (10%)
- 1.0 oz Castor Oil (3%)
- 6.7 oz Cold Distilled Water (20% Water as a percentage of oil weight)
- 4.7 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) (6% Super Fat/Lye discount)
- 2 teaspoons Sodium Lactate (Optional) (Helps soap to harden and release from mold sooner) (1 teaspoon per pound of oils)
- 2 oz Green Irish Tweed Fragrance Oil or any other well behaved fragrance oil (1 oz. per pound of oils)
- 1 Tablespoon Chamomile Extract (Optional) (If not using, add 1 Tablespoon (0.5 oz.) of water to the water amount)
- 1/8 teaspoon Yellow Oxide
- 1/16 teaspoon Brown Oxide
- 2 teaspoons Titanium Dioxide
Step 1 – Prepare Colorants and Additives
This can be done in advance. Measure 1/8 teaspoon Yellow Oxide and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and put into Ziploc® bag. Measure 1/16 teaspoon Brown Oxide and 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil and put into Ziploc® bag. Measure 2 teaspoons Titanium Dioxide and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and put into Ziploc® bag. (You can also use a taller small glass measuring cup or shot glass with the mini mixer, but I prefer the first option for Titanium Dioxide.) Use fingers to incorporate colorant the particles in the bags completely. Take your time and make sure all particles are dissolved. The titanium dioxide can be tricky, but if you don’t want white specks in your soap, it is worth taking your time on this. Next, measure the fragrance oil and chamomile extract into separate small glass bowls.
Step 2 – Make Lye Solution
Measure cold distilled water into one of the funnel pitchers. Now put on your safety goggles, gloves, long sleeves, and long pants. Work in a well ventilated area that is free from distractions. Measure the lye into a glass bowl and then sprinkle around 1/3 of it into the water, stir gently to avoid splashing. Make sure to avoid breathing any fumes. Repeat until mixed and dissolved; always add lye to water and not the other way around. Measure sodium lactate and add to lye solution when solution turns clear (later), then strain.
Step 3 – Make Oil Solution
In the mean time, melt palm oil in its original container until completely clear. (The reason for this is that palm oil is made up of hard and soft fatty acids. They melt at different rates. If the hard [saturated] acid doesn’t melt completely it can cause white spots in your finished soap.) Use 30 second bursts in the microwave to melt, mixing in between bursts.
Measure the coconut oil into your large mixing bowl, and melt in 30 second burst. Next, measure the melted palm oil into a funnel pitcher. Then, pour that oil into the melted coconut oil. Measure and cut cocoa butter into small pieces and stir it into the warm coconut/palm mixture. If it doesn’t melt completely by stirring, microwave in 15 second bursts until melted.
Continue measuring the olive oil, sweet almond oil, and castor oil, measuring each separately, and pouring each into the other batch oils as you did with the palm oil. Zero the scale for each measurement.
Step 4 – Prepare Mold
Make sure your mold is ready to go with 2 dividers (3 sections).
Step 5 – Make Soap
When the temperatures of the lye solution and the oil solution are within 85°- 95° F, carefully (with safety gear still on) pour the strained lye solution into the oils, pouring down the side of the container to avoid incorporating bubbles.
Insert stick blender at an angle to the bottom and shake it a bit to release any trapped air before turning it on. Blend in short bursts until emulsified (when the oils no longer separate from the lye water). You want it to still be thin. At this time remove the stick blender, stir in the chamomile extract, and separate batter into 3 funnel pitchers, around 15 oz into each.
Step 6 – Add Color and Fragrance
Add 1/2 teaspoon titanium dioxide mixture to two of the pitchers. Next, add 1/8 teaspoon of the yellow oxide mixture to one of those pitchers, and 1/16 teaspoon of the brown oxide mixture to the other. Then, add 1.5 tablespoons of the titanium dioxide mixture to the remaining pitcher. Next, use a spatula to completely incorporate the colorant into each pitcher of batter. Finally, thoroughly stir one third of the fragrance oil (19g/0.7 oz) into each of the pitchers. If the batter is still very thin, you need to blend or whisk until thin trace (like the consistency of a runny milk shake.)
Step 7 – Pour the Batter
While holding the dividers down with one hand, pour batter a little at a time into each compartment, pouring the white batter in the middle section. Once you have filled each section as full as possible, carefully remove your dividers. I find that it is easier to remove one divider, put it in your batter bowl, and then remove the end pieces and the other divider all at the same time.
Step 8 – Swirl the Soap
Turn mold parallel to you. Insert swirling tool (I used a skewer) into the lower right corner all the way to the bottom. Drag along that edge to top (far) edge. Next, drag sideways approximately a half inch (Measurement is not important. Just try and keep the length between lines uniform.)
Continue as shown below.
Next, starting in the lower left corner drag skewer along outside of mold a few times.
For this batch I did 3-4 circles around, but you can go around as many times as you’d like as shown below.
Step 9 – Put Through Gel *
Turn on the heating pad to medium and set mold on top. Next, cover with box and then insulate with blankets/towels. Set the timer for twenty minutes. When timer rings, slide your hand up under the box and feel the air. If the air is warm, turn off heating pad. If it’s not warm, keep going in 20 minute increments until the air in the box feels warm, then turn off. At this point, make sure it is snug and keep covered for 48 hours.
*You don’t have to put your soap through gel; you will get soap no matter if it goes through gel or not. The benefit of putting soap through gel is because it releases from the mold easier, it is harder, the colors are often more brilliant, and it avoids partial gel. Soap usually heats up in the middle anyway. Even when you soap at room temperature and put it in the freezer to avoid gel, you still often get partial gel. Ambient temperature matters also. If your house is warm you probably won’t need the heating pad.
Step 10 – Unmold and Cut Soap
If the soap releases from the mold easily without sticking to the sides, it’s ready to unmold. If not, let it sit until ready. (It doesn’t pay to rush unmolding.)
Mark soap top every 2 inches and cut soap it into 5 pieces.
Next, cut each of those in half horizontally to show the beautiful swirl.
You can wait a day and bevel the edges with a vegetable peeler if desired. Finally, allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks and Enjoy!
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