Mastering the Taiwan Swirl

You know how doing something new with a group of people is more fun than doing it alone? Well, it’s the same with making soap. It’s just more enjoyable when you can interact with other soapmakers, compare experiences and share the achievements.

Don’t have any other soapmakers that live near by, you say? Well, welcome to the age of the internet and pull out your stick blender! Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks coordinates monthly soap challenges that let soapmakers from all over the world create beautiful soap together virtually. She even featured a technique that I blogged about for one of her challenges.

This month’s challenge was the “Taiwan Swirl”, so-called because of this video that introduced the technique to soapmakers. It surprised me how simple it looked, considering how intricate the swirl can be.

I was intrigued. So this month, I joined in and gave it a go. In fact, I gave it three “go”s because it took me that long to really get satisfied with a batch. At least they were little one pound batches that were quick to make.

My first try had a nice swirl, but it was a bit light and hard to see. That’s because I poured too much of the green soap from up high and it sank into the base color. There was so little left on the top that it was very faint.

I scented it with Pineapple Cilantro FO from Bramble Berry (one of my favorite scents and it’s so easy to work with) and colored with micas.

Sirona Springs Handmade Soap Blog

So on the next try, I held back more of the swirl soap for the top. But this time the soap had started to get just a bit too thick and didn’t move very well when I swirled it with my chopstick.

I used Yuzu FO (from Bramble Berry) and colored with micas.

Sirona Springs Handmade Soap Blog

Well, maybe this technique isn’t as easy as it looks!

Finally, I decided to try once more with two swirl colors. (Oh, yeah. I was feeling confident now.) I scented this last batch with Sensuous Sandalwood FO (from Bramble Berry) and colored with micas.

I didn’t over mix it, so it stayed thin. And I poured enough so that the swirl soap was visible on the top of the bar. I’m really happy with how this last batch turned out.

Sirona Springs Handmade Soap Blog

Sirona Springs Handmade Soap BlogSirona Springs Handmade Soap Blog

If you want to see how all the other soapmakers’ Taiwan Swirls turned out, keep your eye on the Great Cakes Soapworks blog for photos. And a┬ábig “Thanks a bunch” to Amy for inspiring all of us every month!

UPDATE: Wow! My Sensuous Sandalwood swirl was voted into second place in the Soap Challenge. So thrilled! Be sure to read about the other winners and see all the entrants here.

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41 thoughts on “Mastering the Taiwan Swirl

  1. All of them look absolutely gorgeous! My entry looks closest to your second try. I still soaped at 37% lye concentration. I will add more liquid next time. Your entry looks perfect! :-)

  2. I will admit this was the most difficult technique for me! I think I did 6 batches total. Wish I had made a video of my 2nd practice batch, as it was one of my favorites. I love your feathery swirls!! Thank you for joining the challenge and promoting it as well!

  3. It took me three tries as well! It’s much harder than it looks, but so worth the effort. All three of your soaps are beautiful, but I especially like the last one – it really stands out !

  4. Love the swirl, so elegant looking and agree with the comments that it’s not as easy as it seems :)
    My batters are usually very thick, but managed a fluid one for mine, but did take 3 attempts, but certainly not in your league :)

  5. They’re all beautiful, Ruth! I love how feathery the 1st and 3rd batches look …… and completely agree with your observation about not overmixing for this technique.

  6. All of your taiwan swirl soaps turned out well, but the sandalwood soap is just so beautiful. It jumped out from the computer screen on the line-up page. The color and feathery lines are just so nice!

  7. thanks so much for all the demos and good advice. going to give it a try. beautiful soaps! Barbara & Janet –took you boot camp Oct 2012

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