Cucumber and Aloe Circling Taiwan Soap
The Circling Taiwan Swirl is a twist on the classic Taiwan Swirl. The design involves swirling soap down the length of the mold and then swirling around the edge of the mold. That pulls the soap in a circular motion and creates a beautiful and delicate look. See the technique in action in the How to Create a Circling Taiwan Swirl video. The Circling Taiwan Swirl is an advanced technique because it requires a good understanding of trace. It’s best to use a slow-moving recipe with plenty of liquid oils and a fragrance that doesn’t accelerate.
This recipe uses aloe vera liquid in place of distilled water. When lye is added to room temperature aloe vera liquid, it turns a light amber color and has a slight smell. This is completely normal. The lye scorches components of the liquid, causing it to change color. We found that didn’t have a huge effect on the colors in the soap. Feel free to use distilled water for this recipe if you prefer.
- Skill Level: Advanced
- Time to Complete: 2 hours
- Kit Yields: 3 pounds of soap
Olive Oil - Pure - 1 lbItem#:IB002448 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Aloe Vera Liquid - 1 lbItem#:IB000007 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Sodium Hydroxide LyeItem#:IB002149 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Green Chrome Oxide Pigment - 1 ozItem#:IB002537 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Aqua Pearl Mica - 1 ozItem#:IB002269 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Titanium Dioxide Pigment - 1 ozItem#:IB002531 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Black Oxide Pigment - 1 ozItem#:IB002545 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Green Tea and Cucumber Fragrance Oil - 1.75 ozItem#:IB001106 Varient/Quantity/Set: 0
Cucumber and Aloe Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap Project
This cold process project is inspired by Cucumber Garden Fragrance Oil.
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
Multi-Pour Sectioning Tool for 10″ Silicone Loaf
3.3 oz. Avocado Oil (10%)
8.3 oz. Coconut Oil (25%)
3.3 oz. Squalane Oil (10%)
9.9 oz. Olive Oil (30%)
8.3 oz. Palm Oil (25%)
10.9 oz. Aloe Vera Liquid
4.6 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
1.75 oz. Green Tea and Cucumber Fragrance Oil
Green Chrome Oxide Pigment
Aqua Pearl Mica
Note: This project was originally made with Cucumber Garden Fragrance Oil and Cucumber Seed Oil, which was discontinued. Green Tea and Cucumber Fragrance Oil and Squalane Oil creates a similar product, but is different than the original photographs that were taken.
FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 1.75 ounces of Green Tea and Cucumber Fragrance Oil into a small glass container and set aside.
COLORANT PREP: Disperse 2 teaspoons of the titanium dioxide into 2 tablespoons of sunflower or sweet almond oil (or any other liquid oil). Use a mini mixer to get rid of any clumps. Disperse 1 teaspoon of Green Chrome Oxide Pigment into 1 tablespoon lightweight liquid oil. In separate containers, disperse ½ teaspoon Aqua Pearl Mica and ½ teaspoon black oxide into ½ tablespoon lightweight liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get rid of clumps.
Optional: To ensure the titanium dioxide blends smoothly into the soap batter, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. Use a coffee grinder to break up any clumps of color and prevent streaks of white from showing in the final soap. We like to use a coffee grinder that has a removable stainless steel mixing area for easy cleaning.
MOLD PREP: Insert the two end pieces of the Multi-Pour Sectioning Tool into the 10″ Silicone Loaf Mold. The side with three sections should be facing out. Insert the three long dividers into the two end pieces to create four equal sections of the mold. Set aside.
SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.
Slowly and carefully add 4.6 ounces of lye to 10.9 ounces of aloe vera liquid. Gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved. The liquid will turn a yellow color and have a light smell – this is normal. Set it aside to cool. If you’d like a harder bar of soap that releases faster from the mold, you can add sodium lactate to the cooled lye water. Use 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate per pound of oils in the recipe. For this recipe, you’d add 2 teaspoons sodium lactate.
In a large glass bowl, combine and melt 3.3 ounces of avocado oil, 8.3 ounces coconut oil, 3.3 ounces squalane oil, 9.9 ounces olive oil, and 8.3 ounces of palm oil (remember to fully melt then mix your entire container of palm oil before portioning). Once the lye water and the oils have cooled to 130 degrees F or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye water to the oils and stick blend the mixture to a very thin trace.
Split the soap batter evenly into 4 equal containers – it’s okay to eyeball it. Each container will be about 350 mL. Add the following amounts of dispersed colorants to each container, and use a whisk to mix in thoroughly.
Add the 1.75 ounces of Green Tea and Cucumber Fragrance Oil evenly to each container of soap – it’s okay to eyeball it. Use a whisk to thoroughly mix in the fragrance.
Begin pouring each color into the 4 sections of the mold in the order of dark green, white, light green, and black. Pour a small amount of each color in equal amounts to keep each section filled evenly. If one section is completely full and the others are empty, the soap can leak into the other sections.
Continue pouring each color into each section, trying your best to keep them filled equally. Work carefully but quickly.
Carefully, pull the 3 long divider pieces up and out of the mold. Try to do this as cleanly as possible. The swirl looks more crisp if there are no drips of color. Pull out the end divider pieces as well.
Insert a dowel or chopstick into the bottom of the mold and swirl back and forth down the length of the mold.
Clean the chopstick/dowel and insert it into a corner of the soap all the way to the bottom of the mold. Begin swirling the chopstick or dowel around the outside of the mold in a circle. Continue this motion over and over again to pull the swirls in a circular motion.
Continue moving the chopstick around the mold until you’re happy with the look. The more you swirl, the more curved the design will be. Eventually, the swirl will stop moving – this is a good place to stop.
Spritz the top of the soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol and cover the soap to insulate if you’d like to promote gel phase. Allow the soap to stay in the mold for 2-3 days. This design benefits from a horizontal cut – that’s what we did. The Wire Soap Slicer makes this process incredibly easy. Once cut, allow to cure for 4-6 weeks. Enjoy.
Photographer: Amanda Kerzman, Christina Becker
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