Dandelion Zebra Swirl

For everyone in the throes of the winter cold snap, today’s cold process recipe offers a little taste of spring. I made this Dandelion Zebra Swirl for a Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge. The colors are reminiscent of warm days, green grass and freshly sprouted tulips. The key to this technique is having a recipe that moves slowly and stays at a thin trace to get a beautiful layered swirl in the middle.

What You’ll Need:

. 9 oz. Argan Oil
9 oz. Canola Oil
3.6 oz. Castor Oil
13.5 oz. Coconut Oil
9 oz. Palm Oil
9 oz. Sunflower Seed Oil
6.3 oz. Sodium Hydroxide
14.8 oz. water
Fired Up Fuchsia
Ultramarine Violet
Hydrated Chrome Green
Aqua Pearl Mica
Fizzy Lemonade Colorant
Titanium Dioxide Pigment
Brown Oxide Pigment
2.8 oz. Sweet Pea Fragrance Oil
4 lb. Wood Loaf Mold

Click here to add everything you need for this project to your Bramble Berry shopping cart!

If you’ve never made Cold Process soap before, stop here! I highly recommend checking out our FREE four part SoapQueen.tv series on Cold Process Soapmaking, especially the episode on lye safety. And if you’d rather do some reading, Bramble Berry carries a wide range of books on the topic, including my newest book, Soap Crafting. You can also checkout the digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices! That means goggles, gloves and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, and 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.

COLOR PREP: Disperse 1 teaspoon of each colorant except the Titanium Dioxide into 1 tablespoon of Sunflower or Sweet Almond Oil (or any other liquid oil). Prep a double batch of the Titanium Dioxide by mixing 2 teaspoons of colorant into 2 tablespoons of liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get clumps worked out smoothly. Prepping your colors in the beginning will allow you to work quickly and give you more time to work with your soap.

TOOL PREP: This swirl is achieved by pouring colored layers of soap diagonally down a flat piece of cardboard or other surface. We used a stiff piece of poster board and cut it about 15″ in length to fit snugly into our mold.

MOLD PREP: Before you begin, be sure to line the mold with freezer paper (we’re always looking to add products to our line, and a silicone liner for this mold is definitely on the list!). For now, click here to learn how to line the mold yourself.

ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Set aside to cool.

TWO: Combine the Argan, Canola, Castor, Coconut, Sunflower and Palm oils (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 or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye water to the oils and stick blend until thin trace. 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.

THREE: Once the batter has reached a thin trace, pour off one half cup each into four containers.

FOUR: Add the dispersed colorants to the cups at the following rate:

  • 1/2 tsp. dispersed Hydrated Chrome Green plus  1/2 tsp. Aqua Pearl plus 1/2 tsp. dispersed Titanium Dioxide in one cup
  • 3 tsp. of dispersed Titanium Dioxide in a second cup
  • 1 tsp. dispersed Titanium Dioxide plus 2 tsp. dispersed Fizzy Lemonade Colorant
  • 1/4 tsp. dispersed Brown Oxide in the fourth container

Mix in the colorants with a wire whisk or spoon.

FIVE: In the main batch, add 3 tsp. dispersed Ultramarine Violet and 2 tsp. Fired Up Fuchsia. Mix in with a wire whisk or spoon.

 SIX:Roughly divide the fragrance between the five containers. Eye balling is okay! Mix in with a wire whisk or spoon.

 SEVEN: Pour about 2/3 of the the pink batter into the mold. Tamp the mold on the surface several times to disperse bubbles.

EIGHT: Insert the tool into the soap. We leaned ours at an angle for a more interesting effect. Then pour each color down the board, allowing it to run down into the pink soap below. Experiment pouring from different heights as that will affect the thickness of the layers. We poured yellow first, green second, white third and brown fourth. When you’re done pouring, slowly pull the board up and out at the same angle so as not to disturb the swirl. Keep a small amount (1/4 cup) of each colored batter for the top design at the end.

NINE: Use a square silicone spoon or round silicone spoon to gently plop the remaining pink soap into the mold over your swirl. Be careful! You don’t want to break through the colored layers below.

TEN: Using the colored batter you saved from the swirl, drizzle the colors vertically in a zig-zag pattern down the length of the mold.

Insulate the soap and place on a heating pad for 15 – 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and let it remain covered overnight. Allow the soap to cure for 4 – 6 weeks and then enjoy!


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  1. says

    I think this soap is pretty. That’s what I love about soap, it’s a usable product! So it won’t be hanging on the wall like a piece of art forever. It’s great to be able to express yourself on a usable product!! And, like everything else, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
    Thanks for giving us great ideas to use!

    • says

      Thank you so much for your comment and awesome feedback. So glad that you like the soap and I’m a firm believer of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Soap offers such a great way to express that creativity. I have to say there are some pieces of soap I will not use because it’s beauty.
      Thanks again for your comment.
      ~Kevin with Bramble Berry

  2. Jahn Dough says

    The pattern is interesting but the combination of colors is rather garish. They’re not at all complimentary. This is something I see with far too many soap makers. If you have no art background at least pick up a book on color theory and a color wheel.

  3. Krissy Ninjah says

    Big fan but beginner 4 dummies is what i need lol :-( i was wondering can you do this soap or any techniques like this with melt & pour im trying to start up a business & get quick prototypes to show & take pics then start the cold process soap where do i start what bulk do i buy 1st i dont know where to start i am so passionate about doing this but have no guidance & am going in blindfolded where do i start i know nothing & have read & watched everything luv luv looovvee ur inspiration btw.

    • says

      Hi Barbara Ann!

      Our favorite way to insulate soap in a wood mold is to simply place a blanket over the soap :). The wood provides a lot of insulation for the soap already, but sometimes we also place it on a heat pad for about 20 minutes if we want to insure gel phase :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. says

    This is gorgeous! First, is that .9 oz Argan Oil?? Just a tip, I pour all my soap in silicone molds, set in a shoe box or other box it fits in. Then I put it up and cover if needed. The box insulates it quite well.
    I use a clean pizza box for the multiple cavity silicone molds. I live in Florida, so it’s usually not hard to get gel phase.
    Thanks for another great tutorial!

  5. Cindi says

    When you mention using 1 T of sunflower or Sweet Almond oil in with 1 t of colorant, is all of that extra oil already included in the lye measurements or do we need to adjust the recipe accordingly?

    • says

      Hi Amal!

      If you don’t have a heating pad, that’s okay, you don’t have to use one. We did so just to ensure this soap went into gel phase to get the brightest colors possible. But you don’t absolutely have to use it :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  6. LuAnn says

    Unfortunately, I missed this challenge, so I didn’t get to see the youtube tutorial. So my question is, when you are pouring the separate colors down the cardboard, is it just a one time pour per color? I think I’ve seen ones with multiple pours, but I like the look of this one! And I LOVE that pink! I’ve been trying to get a pink very similar to this one, now I know how! It reminds me of spring, we’re getting pretty tired of no sun for weeks at a time, so I need to make a cheerful soap!!

    • says

      Hi LuAnn!

      I’m so glad you like this soap, and have found a way to achieve the pink you were looking for! You’re correct, it’s just a one time pour for each color. We saved a bit of each color for the design on top of the soap, so that’s something to keep in mind :) If you give this technique a try, I would love to see a photo on our Facebook page!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  7. Vicki says

    Hi! I was wondering why you included placing the mold on a heating pad for 15-20 minutes when incubating? Wouldn’t this soap gel anyway especially in a wooden mold? Is this just to ensure gel phase? I seem to have more “issues” such as tops cracking or glycering rivers forming between colorants etc. in wooden molds than I do when I use silicone loaf molds. Although I think I am finding a lot of that is realted to various fragrance oils as well.

    • says

      Hi Vicki!

      Good question :). You’re correct, we placed the mold on a heating pad just to ensure gel phase. You certainly don’t have to, we just wanted to make sure the colors were as bright as possible! I would recommend decreasing the heat of your oils, that should help with the glycerin rivers :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Michael!

      So glad you liked this soap, doesn’t it bring images of tulips to mind? We just got a little snow in Bellingham, WA, today as well…I think we are all getting ready for spring! :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

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