Peacock Swirl in Cold Process Soap (Video)

Presenting another Soap Queen Short video that we quickly put together to show how to do the Peacock Swirl technique. I’ll admit that my design was a little large and loose so the ‘peacock’ didn’t turn out perfectly but if you tighten up the design, it’ll be peacock-spot-on. The Peacock Swirl is a marbling style that has been around for centuries and the technique has become very popular in the soapmaking community. This is an advanced technique so be sure to brush up on the basics of cold process soapmaking on Soap Queen TV and pay extra attention to the lye safety video. I hope you enjoy my demonstration of the basics of this beautiful swirl variation.

For colorants I used natural infusions of Alkanet and Annatto as well as Seaclay and Titanium Dioxide. To learn more about how to make and use infusions, check out my book and video on infusing herbs and seeds.

How to do the Peacock Swirl in Cold Process Soap from Soap Queen on Vimeo.

These ingredients were used in this video:

 

  Get everything you need to make the Peacock Swirl Soap project with the click of a button!

 

Donna asked a great question in the Comment section below: “How did you cut the soap? Did you add the dividers when you was finished?”. Below is one of my (better-than-the-video!) practice attempts at the Peacock swirl technique. I’m super happy with how it looks in the mold.

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Then, I added the dividers. The dividers pulled the swirls out and around, making them wider and more distorted. It’s still a pretty look but it’s not exactly the same look.

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For the Peacock Swirl technique, I recommend cutting the soap with a sharp, non-serrated knife after cure time.

51 Responses to “Peacock Swirl in Cold Process Soap (Video)”

  1. What a great technique -I’m going to have to get some squirty bottles and give it a go! You always make it look so EASY Anne-Marie, great instructions! :) ~Becky

    p.s. I just did my first video today featuring Brambleberry’s Fresh Bamboo -my new FAVORITE fragrance oil! ;)

  2. Deby Coles says:

    I love the colour combination. I’m a new soaper and my colours seem to fade and are always lighter in the finished soap than I thought they would be.

    I aim one day to get something as vibrant as this !

  3. Sara says:

    Thank you for doing this. I really appreciate the drawing on paper, too, just to reinforce what the lines should look like. Question: Are you able to re-use the squirt bottles?

  4. Catherine says:

    Just curious…. I’ve never seen anyone go back and go over each color with more of that color… what does this help accomplish?

    • Going back over each color with more color, helps to develop a thicker swirl that goes more into the soap and gives it depth and an incredible vibrancy and brightness to colors.
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  5. Jenny says:

    Fantastic tutorial! I will have to add the peacock swirl to my list of techniques to try.

  6. Donna says:

    Ann Marie how did you cut the soap? Did you add the dividers when you was finished?

    • Great questions Donna! You can add dividers but if you do, it really pulls the soap to the sides. If you look back at the blog post, she added pictures to explain exactly how she did it. For the Peacock Swirl technique, we recommend cutting the soap with a sharp, non-serrated knife after cure time.
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  7. You ABSOLUTELY read my mind, Anne-Marie!

    I’ve been staring at peacock FEATHERS
    that I bought in Delhi,India for many WEEKS
    trying to figure out how to make some kind
    of semblance thereof…and just imagining several
    FAILS before any kind of theory emerged. You know
    how I hate to waste any kind of precious materials
    and worse than that- sell UGLY soap!

    Thank you my sweet Soap Queen!

    Hugs to you and that adorable baby….;)

  8. Michelle says:

    What a great video. Thank you, great idea to draw it our on paper afterwards so we can see the design again. Your a great teacher :)

  9. sky says:

    I notice that you use palm oil in your soaps…Did you know to make way for Palm plantations millions of hectares of tropical ecosystems such as Rainforest, grasslands, swamps and peat bogs throughout South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Africa are being cleared, drained and burned annually. This destruction has a devastating effect on the natural balance of our global environment, contributing to global warming, the extinction of many already endangered animal and plant species and human abuse. This has already affected the orangutans & their habitat. I hope you consider deleting this ingredient from all future soaps.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Hi Sky,

      Yes, I do know about the Palm Oil issue. It is horrible, isn’t it? The beauty industry accounts for less than 3% of the Palm utilized in the world but even with that small amount, we are doing our part to ensure that all the Palm Oil we use is sustainable sourced. We source from vendors who belong to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and have applied for membership ourselves to the group. Additionally, we donate money yearly to a group that purchases tracts of land to provide orangutan habitat, permanently.

      Here is some additional information (apologies for the formatting) on using sustainable Palm Oil:

      Many international organizations,
      including zoos and orangutan foundations, do
      not recommend boycotting Palm oil, as they
      believe it would be ineffective, especially since
      you would have to boycott an awful lot of
      products and companies. It is now the most
      widely produced edible oil. Instead use certified
      sustainable palm oil.
      Why is using certified sustainable palm oil
      better than boycotting its use?
      • Since palm oil makes 10 times the
      amount of oil per unit area as soybeans, grape
      seeds or sunflowers, it is actually more environmentally
      friendly to use because of this.
      • Poverty stricken Indonesia and Malaysia
      rely on palm oil for their economies. Boycotting
      would devastate these communities rendering
      many people unemployed.
      • If you boycott one type of oil, another
      will just take its place. Whereas using a
      sustainable oil is a win-win situation.

      Thank you for helping to get the word out on this important issue.

      • Lila says:

        Anne-Marie,

        Thank you for that explanation. I had read about the ecological issues surrounding the use of palm oil and have been devising recipes to avoid its use.

        After reading your response, I will reconsider that decision.

        Thank you for your thoughtful response to the question and for your efforts at conservation.

  10. Thank you for shedding additional light on the palm oil issue.

    I am really glad you voiced BB’s policies on this because I have been asked by potential retailers about this.

  11. Is there a source you use for more info on this topic, AM?

    I would like to quote you on this, or have a source that is not em “biased” unduly to address with my audience(s). Or alternately, may I quote you?

    Thank you!

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Go for it – I got the second part from a recent Saponifier magazine and the first part, of course, is from us.

  12. Liz says:

    Hi, I had a question. I have been making soap for many years but always have a seizing issue. What temperatures where the oils/lye before combining them to keep them liquid for so long? Mine always get hard fast and I can’t seem to get the colors to swirl like this. I get a marbled effect in the soap(opaque and clear running through the soap). Thanks for your help!

    • To slow down trace, you can do a couple of things:

      1. Work at lower temperatures. Try mixing your lye up in advance so it has time to cool, some soapers mix the day before and have everything at room temperature when they soap.

      2. Don’t use your stick blender as much (try just whirling it for 10 seconds and then using the blender like a spoon and whirling again intermittently as needed) .

      3. Make sure your recipe has a majority of oils that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil or canola oil.

      4. Make sure you know if your fragrance oil accelerates trace. To find that out, just check our website and we list it under the description of the FO!

      Hope this helps!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  13. hi anne-marie,
    absolutely beautiful soap & very cool technique! i absolutely LOVE the colors. i was wondering what the darker vibrant purple was. it looks like in the raw soap the light grey/purple was bright pink to begin with then turned the light grey/purple in the unmolded soap, which makes me think that’s the alkanet & wonder what the vibrant purple is. Any thoughts?

  14. HI. I am intregue, and excited about all of your soap works..I jus love all your creations in soap making etc. except for one thing i have not seen your recipe on how to make or get your soap to turn out very clear or clear base. Please could you Email me your recipe for that transparent or clear soaps? I will gladly apreciate that.Thank You.LORAN MAXWELL.

  15. [...] recipe, and other tips (like cut with a knife, don’t use your dividers!). Get it all right here. You may also [...]

  16. Diane says:

    Very nice, I also use all natural colors in my soaps, beautiful idea with the peacock swirl soap :-)

  17. Pelin says:

    How much of the soap do we need to spare for squeeze bottles?

  18. Anita says:

    I just love the looks of your soaps! The peacock swirls and the heart swirls are my favorites!

  19. Even though I’ve been making soap for over a decade, I’ve never mastered swirls at this level.

    One reason is that I can never find the answer to the most basic question about swirling — what about the amount of water used in the recipe? For all of my soaps, I do a 20% water discount. Am I correct in assuming that when you want time to work with an intricate swirl that you should use absolutely NO water discount? Seems to make sense, but like I said – have never been able to find the answer to that question.

    • Hi Gregory!

      You are correct! Water discounts tend to give you a shorter amount of time to work with the soap. If you are wanting to swirl, we’d suggest trying the full amount of liquid with no water discount and that should give you that extra time to get those swirls done. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  20. Tierney says:

    What did you use for the grey coloring?

  21. Annie says:

    Two questions 1 I still do not understand how you pour the soap for the peacock swirl.6-7 lines of one color than next to that 6-7 lines of another color until you fill the box–and do you pour a second layer?

    • Hi Annie!

      This technique can be slightly confusing if you’ve never done it before, but we are here to help you out! =)

      Using one color at a time, make lines of soap lengthwise down the mold. All these lines will go in the same direction. Once you’ve made the lines of colored soap, it is time to grab your soap pick and drag it in lines that are perpendicular to the direction you just squirted the soap in. Once these lines have been drawn you take the soaping pick and make “s” patterns along those lines.

      For an more in-depth look at the Peacock Swirl, and a technique that would get the design throughout the entire soap, you can check out this blog post from the most recent Soap Guild Conference.

      http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/hscg-conference-guest-post-peacock-swirl-class/

      In the video on this blog post, the design is only on the first inch of soap instead of the entire soap like you are asking. If you check out the link, you will find out how to do it throughout your entire batch.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if there are any other questions that I can answer for you.
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  22. Annie says:

    another question the peacock swirl I want to do the whole soap not just the top..My last question might make more sense. Thanks Annie

  23. Question…I make mostly goats milk soap and love your method for cold processing it to achieve the rich true colors in it. Could I use this recipe in say like your peacock soap challenge as well. Simply because my consumer base wants goat milk soaps and that is what I’m looking to come up with, but I want to participate in your challenges as i learn. Thank you.

  24. Renee says:

    Excellent video!

    Oh yes, I will be putting this on my calender to make in a couple of weeks. You can tell that the Soap Queen really likes making soap

  25. […] Peacock Swirl in Cold Process Soap (Video) […]

  26. […] Peacock Swirl in Cold Process Soap (Video) […]

  27. Amanda says:

    Just wondering about the fragrance that was added. how many ounces of it did you add? i was thinking about adding a different brand of fragrance to mine, does it really matter how much you pour in the soap? thank you i really like how simple this recipe is.

  28. Tara says:

    I’m so excited to try this! I’m curious, I have a canola, grape, olive oil mix that I love using. Can I replace the 17.5 oz olive oil with palm oil? Can I use this recipe with

    14 oz canola,grape,olive oil mix
    21 oz coconut
    17.5 oz Palm Oil
    9.9 oz lye
    23 oz water

    Is there a formula I can use to figure out how much of each oil to use, for certain effects? I really like how canola oil makes the soap super sudsy!

    Also,
    I’m curious, how do you know which fragrances will give you more time to swirl? I usually buy fragrances that say they do not accelerate, and have low vanilla to not change the color.

    Thank you!

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