4 Color In-The-Pot Swirl Soap Tutorial

By on 4-04-2013 in Cold Process Soap, Tutorials

This 4 Color In-The-Pot Swirl results in a beautiful layering of colors, and is quite photogenic if you plan on listing your soap online. We used black, pink and green in this swirl, but any color combination works. Choose colors that contrast with each other for the best results.

Although this technique looks complicated, don’t be intimidated! By pouring three contrasting-colored batches of soap into one larger batch without overmixing them, an intricate-looking swirl emerges that looks like it took hours to create but really only took one  swirl of a spatula.

This recipe is the second of two that come with the quick start guide in Bramble Berry’s brand new Business in a Box kit, and the second of many that are possible when you purchase the full kit. Let’s get started!


54 oz Lots of Lather Quick Mix Oil

18 oz Distilled Water

7.8 oz Sodium Hydroxide

1/2 Tablespoon Titanium Dioxide

1/4 teaspoon Ultramarine Pink

1/8 teaspoon Black Oxide

1/4 teaspoon Green Chrome Oxide

3 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil (or any liquid oil)

4 oz Rosehip Jasmine Fragrance Oil

5 pound Wood Mold with Sliding Bottom

5 pound Wood Mold Silicone Liner

For those of you that don’t have a Quick Mix oil blend at home, a 3% Castor, 30% Coconut, 30% Palm, 34% blend of Canola and Olive is where I’d start with this project. You can use the Lye Calculator at BrambleBerry.com to figure out recipes via percentages or do it from scratch using this blog post.

SAFETY FIRST: Since you’ll be working directly with lye, suit up for safety. Put on long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection. Block off the area to prevent kids or pets from accidentally coming in contact with the lye water, and eliminate any tripping hazards. Always soap in a well-ventilated area because lye water can create a steam that can irritate your lungs.

COLOR PREP: Disperse the oil soluble colorants in sunflower oil as follows:

  • 1/2 tablespoon Titanium Dioxide in 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  •  1/4 teaspoon Ultramarine Pink in 3/4 teaspoon oil
  •  1/8 teaspoon black oxide in 3/8 teaspoon oil
  •  1/4 teaspoon Chrome Green in 3/4 teaspoon oil.
  •  Mix well using a mini-mixer, but make sure to saturate the pigment in oil with the tip of your mini-mixer before blending otherwise the color will turn into a messy cloud of pigment!

1: Slowly add the lye to the water and stir gently until clear. Set aside in a safe place to cool.

2: Heat the bag of Lots of Lather Quick Mix and stir to ensure all oils are fully mixed. Measure the appropriate amount of oil into a heat-safe container.

NOTE: You’ll want to reheat the entire container of Lots of Later Quick Mix before each use. Separation can occur with the different ingredients, causing unequal amounts of oil to end up in your recipe if they aren’t melted down and mixed properly.

3: When the lye water has cooled to 130 degrees or below (and is within 10 degrees of the oils), add the lye water to the oils. Grab your stick blender and mix until you achieve a light trace. Avoid bubbles in your soap batter by pouring the lye down the shaft of the stick blender and then “burping” the stick blender by tapping it on the bottom of your container before turning it on.

4: Get ready to add your colors by splitting the soap into 4 separate batches. Three batches will contain 2 cups each and one batch will measure 4 cups. Tip: Pour the three, 2 cup batches first, and you’ll be left with about 4 cups in your original container!

5: Add the 2 tablespoons of dispersed Titanium Dioxide to the larger, 4 cup container of soap batter. Add your colors to the following batches as follows:

  • 1 teaspoon of dispersed Ultramarine Pink to the first 2 cup portion
  •  0.5 teaspoon of dispersed Black Oxide to the second 2 cup portion
  •  1 teaspoon of dispersed Chrome Green Oxide to the third

Mix all of the colorant using a whisk. Tip: Mixing the colors from lightest to darkest allows you to reuse the whisk so you don’t have to clean it in between mixings!

6: Using the whisk, mix in the Rosehip Jasmine fragrance oil into each of the batches as follows:

  • Use 1.6 ounces in the 4 cup batch
  •  0.8 ounces in each of the 2 cup batches.

7: Now it’s time to do the swirl! Begin by pouring the Black Oxide colored soap into the Titanium Dioxide colored soap in 4 places: 12:00 o’clock, 4:00 o’clock, 8:00 o’clock, and center. Repeat with the Ultramarine Pink and Chrome Green colored soaps. You’ll want to pour from a high point so the soap penetrates down to the bottom of the container, which will create a swirl throughout the soap. Using a spatula, chopstick or dowel, swirl the soap by running the tool through each of the entry points once. Be careful here, because this is where you can accidentally ruin your swirl. You want to swirl the soap so the colors stay separate and defined.

8: Keep the pouring container in one place as you gently empty the soap into the mold. Tap the mold on the tabletop to eliminate any air bubbles.

9: Your soap is almost finished! The last step is to spray the entire top with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. This prevents soda ash, which is essentially a salt that precipitates to the surface of the soap. It’s not harmful to the soap, but it just doesn’t look as pretty! Now cover and insulate the mold for 24 hours and unmold after 3-4 days. Allow the soap to cure for 4-6 weeks and then enjoy. You’ve completed the 4 Color In-The-Pot-Swirl!