Monday, January 19, 2015

Great Cakes Works Butterfly Swirl Challenge

Yeah!! Boy, was I excited to hear that January's soap challenge would be on the Butterfly Swirl, created, I think, by the infamous Zahilda of Handmade in Florida. Didn't she win, like, seven challenges in a row? I've stalked her you tube videos quite a bit. I've been trying the technique since last summer with inconsistent results. Every once in awhile, I get those perfect butterfly loops, but not often. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong! How exciting for Amy to show us, step-by-step each nugget of wisdom for coaxing the elusive butterfly out of its soapy cocoon. Thanks Amy--you're the best!

Since I'm re-stocking the soap shelves for spring, I did a practice batch with my Triple Butter Lavender soap in my new tall skinny mold from Nuture Soaps using their Purple Orchid Vibrance mica and Super White titanium dioxide. Each bar of my 11 bar batch was lovely, but only one mirror image set really looked like a butterfly when set side by side. Here it is:

For my actual challenge soap, I was decided on a Gingery Orange soap using Fandago Pink mica, Orange Vibrance mica, Turquoise Vibrance mica, and Super White Titanium Dioxide from Nuture Soaps for my swirl in a base of Cafe Latte Sparkle mica from Wholesale Supplies Plus. I used mostly White Tea Ginger from WSP and just a touch of Brambleberry's White Tea Ginger that I had leftover in a sample bottle which I had never actually used in cold process soap, but I figured it had to be similar. The two scents are so alike; however the devil on my shoulder said, "You know, you shouldn't use a new fragrance oil especially on a soap challenge, but it's just a tiny bit, it couldn't hurt a thing!" Wrong! I used a recipe I've used dozens of times and was surprised it was tracing pretty fast. The portions I had separated out for my colors were really thickening up. I plopped the colors in fast as I could and swirled using the exact motion Amy demonstrated in her video, but I knew this wasn't going to work--it was just too thick! Yikes!

I knew the swirls weren't going to work, but what surprised me the most about this batch was the colors! They totally morphed. Fandango Pink turned orange, Turquoise turned greenish, and Orange Vibrance turned yellow! I was stumped, until I pondered that tiny bit of Brambleberry White Tea Ginger I threw in. Don't get me wrong, Brambleberry has excellent products, but even on their website they warned this scent  could morph in cold-process and that it did. My bad for not checking! The soap, is still lovely and smells amazing--I think it'll sell very well this spring, but I was going to have to try one more time for the challenge.

For me, this technique is very hard to achieve consistently. I tried once again, and apparently, my soap was not thick enough and the swirls were thin, wispy and lovely, but not like my first attempt, so I'm going with my Triple Butter Lavender attempt for the contest. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!


  1. Thank you for posting your results - the good and the bad. It's funny how those practice batches can really turn out amazing! Zahida let me in on a little secret too: her butterfly swirls don't always come out consistently either. :) This is a really challenging technique!

  2. The purple and white is a nice combination of color. I didn't know that the White Tea and Ginger could morph colors, thanks for that heads up. And I agree this was a challenge indeed!

  3. Bummer about the morphing colors, as BB makes my favorite version of that scent. WSP is second place for me, but I use the one from NGW a lot because it's cheap, and I've found that it really decelerates trace. Like too much sometimes. Amazing how different each vendor's version is.

    I really like your purple and white butterfly in the natural base. My husband spotted it over my shoulder on the linkup page -- it was his favorite!

  4. Beautiful butterfly swirl, Cindy! I love the purple and white together. And how interesting about the morphing. The soap still looks great, though. I'll have to give Zahida's butterfly swirl a try someday.

  5. Beautiful soaps. Both of the batches.


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