Juicy Orange & Sweet Rose Cold Process

I’m a huge fan of fancy swirled tops, but for this recipe I decided to switch things up. This orange-scented soap is piled high with orange peels and rose petals, and the rich orange color comes from paprika — yes, the same paprika that’s probably in your kitchen!

Herbs, botanicals and spices as colorants are some of the best kept secrets in soapmaking, and you can learn more about using them in cold process soaping here. Finally, be aware that although the orange and rose topping is beautiful, they are natural items that will wilt or even mold if left in the shower and in wet conditions long enough.

What You’ll Need:

9.9 oz. Coconut Oil

9.9 oz. Olive Oil

9.9 oz. Palm Oil

3.3 oz. Rice Bran Oil

4.6 oz. Sodium Hydroxide

10.8 oz. distilled water


Titanium Dioxide

Ribbon Cut Orange Peels

Rose Petals

1 oz. 10x Orange Essential Oil

10″ Silicone 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: To ensure that the Titanium Dioxide blends smoothly into the soap batter, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. To micronize colorant, simply use a coffee grinder to blend the colorant 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. Then, disperse 1 teaspoon of the colorant into 1 tablespoon of Sunflower or Sweet Almond Oil (or any other liquid oil). Finally, disperse 1 teaspoon paprika into 1 tablespoon of light liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get the clumps of color worked out smoothly.

NOTE ABOUT THE TOPPING: Keep in mind that although the rose petals and orange peel make for a beautiful top, they will mold if left in the shower or other moist environment. They are purely for decoration. Just like with any organic material, they will wilt and fall off, and unfortunately there is no way to preserve them. If you plan on making this soap to sell, that’s definitely something you’ll want to tell your customers! Just tell them to pick off the herbs on the top – they’ll naturally fall off after a few washings anyways. =)

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 Coconut, Olive Oil, Rice Bran 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. For this recipe, you’d add about 2 tsp. Sodium Lactate.

THREE: Once you’ve reached a light trace, pour about 2 cups of batter into a second container.

FOUR: Add 3 tsp. dispersed Titanium Dioxide to the original container and 3 tsp. dispersed paprika to the newly poured 2-cup container. Mix in the colorant with a wire whisk.

FIVE: 10x Orange Essential Oil will heavily color soap a bright orange color, so only add it to the paprika-colored batter. Mix in with a wire whisk. Citrus essential oils tend to break up trace, so give the batter a good stir.

SIX: For the in-the-pot swirl, start by pouring the orange-colored soap into the white-colored soap in 4 places: 12:00 o’clock, 4:00 o’clock, 8:00 o’clock, and center. Pour from a high point so the soap penetrates the entire depth of the pot, which will create a swirl throughout the soap.

SEVEN: Using a chopstick or dowel, swirl the soap by running the tool through each of the entry points once. Only once! You want to swirl — but not mix — the soap.

EIGHT: Pour the swirled soap into the mold, keeping the pouring container in one place as the soap fills the mold. Tamp the mold on the tabletop to eliminate any air bubbles.

NINE: Garnish the top of the soap with rose petals and orange peels.

TEN: Unmold the soap after 3-4 days and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks. When you’re ready to cut this soap, turn it on its side to avoid pulling petals or orange peels through your soap and accidentally creating deep drag marks. Enjoy!

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  1. Céline says

    Hi! I made this soap recently and got quite a bit of soda ash between the rose petals. What could be a solution for that? Spraying the soap with alcohol before you decorate w rose petals? Also, (not related to this soap) how to prevent soda ash on a soap that’s sprinkled with a little mica on top. Thank you so much:)

  2. Tracy says

    I received the final ingredients today, and couldn’t wait to get home after work and make it! The recipe called for 1oz of fragrance, is that correct for the 3lb recipe? Just checking. probably something to do with the 10x orange?

  3. Susan Mack says

    Nice soap, mine turned out looking like yours, but I left out the orange peels after reading all the moldy reviews. and Wow, I have never used sodium lactate, what a difference. It completely changes the texture of the soap. Un-molding was incredible!! Thanks AM your the (bath) bomb!! :)

  4. Gen says

    Hope this is not a repeat question, but if you don’t want to ruin the pretty topping by adding saran wrap & placing the mold under a towel, will the soap suffer because of that?
    Thanks so much!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Gen!

      While we didn’t insulate this soap, I believe the flowers should be OK! You may want to make sure the saran wrap is not right on the flowers, as that may smoosh them. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Jenn!

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the flowers from turning brown. Because they’re a natural ingredient, they will go brown no matter what.

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  5. says

    Very pretty soap… I recently had a request for a soap with both orange & rose fragrance oil in. Although I wasn’t sure of that combination…it turned out great & later made some for myself.
    Thanks for your info as always.

  6. Bjorn-Ake says

    That soap looked so wonderful, I just had to make it! It turned out just like the pictures!!! Had to “tweak” it a little as I had no Rice Bran oil, so I used Jojoba.

      • Martina says

        Hi, I was just wandering if I could use Sweet Almond oil instead of Rice Bran Oil? I have everything else. What changes in the recipe would I have to make?

        Also, would it work to make it like this- divide it in 3. Color 1 part white, color the other orange w/ paprika, and leave the third plain, but add some ground oatmeal in it for interest and exfoliation? How much oatmeal for a third of the batter? 1/4 cup? 1/2?
        Thank you!

          • says

            Hi Martina!

            When you substitute oils in recipes, you just want to keep in mind the general usage rate for both oils, and if they are similar or not. The more similar their general recommended usage rates are, the better the substitution! The blog post below, Common Soapmaking Oils, is really helpful because it lists average usage rates for common soapmaking oils. I would recommend taking a look at that oil to find a substitution that works best for what type of soap you’d like to make :)

            That being said, whenever you make substitutions in recipes, you always need to run the recipe through the lye calculator again to make sure you have the right amount of water and lye.

            Common Soapmaking Oils:

            You could definitely change up the design as well! I would recommend adding only a few tablespoons of oatmeal to a third of the batch. A little goes a long way, and you don’t want the batter to be too thick :)

            -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  7. Michelle says

    Would soaking those petals in dissolved citric acid help preserve them any? I know we use citric acid in canning to hold the color of the fruits and vegetables better. I just wondered if it would keep things from molding.

  8. says

    WAH! That soap is so pretty! I especially like the rose and orange peel… I’m sure that they could be arranged to look like leaves in an autumn inspired soap along with some lemon peel and perhaps some type of bark.

    They do mold in the shower though. YUCK :)

    I wonder if the color from the paprika migrates at all. Do you know?

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