Three Color Mantra Swirl

I hope everyone had a relaxing midweek holiday! Thankfully, Jamisen, slept right through all of the bangs and booms from the fireworks (and there sure were plenty!). I’m back in the office today, refreshed after a full day off, and super excited to share this tutorial with you. The mantra swirl is a gorgeous, delicate “dance” of a swirl that looks great no matter how many colors are used. For this technique, an additional splash of a contrasting color adds interest while a quick modify to the mold gives to soap an extra kick!

15.5 oz. Canola Oil
3.1 oz. Cocoa Butter
12.4 Coconut Oil (76 degree)
12.4 oz. Olive Oil
6.2 oz. Palm Oil
3.1 oz. Palm Kernel Flakes
9.3 oz. Rice Bran Oil
8.62 oz. Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
20.5 oz. Distilled Water

0.7 oz Vanilla Bean Fragrance Oil
0.7 oz Island Coconut Fragrance Oil
2.6 oz Lime Fragrance Oil

1 teaspoon Cappuccino Mica
1 teaspoon Titanium Dioxide
1 1/2 teaspoons Violet Oxide
1/2 teaspoon Ultramarine Blue Oxide
4 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
12 mL Diluted Lime LabColor

5# Wood Log Mold

Silicone Liner for 5# Wood Log Mold
1- 14 ounce Condiment Squirt Bottle

Buy all of the ingredients you need for this project at the click of a button!

If you have never made cold process soap before, I strongly suggest getting a couple of  basic recipes under your belt before diving in. This is an advanced recipe and should not be attempted without first doing some basic recipes. Check out Soap Queen TV on Cold Process if you want to get started with cold process. It’s a 4 part series that will take you through the basics (and be sure to watch the episode on Lye Safety). And for all of you bookworms out there, Bramble Berry also has some helpful reading on cold process soap making or a Beginner’s Kit for $36 here.

Color Prep: Pre-mix the Oxides into any light-weight oil (I used Sunflower Oil) at the rate of one teaspoon of colorant to one tablespoon oil. Use a mini-mixer. Make sure to saturate the powder in the oil before you turn on the mixer, or you’ll get a messy poof of powder!

Mold prep: Using cardboard, cut two dividers that snugly fit down the center (lengthwise) of the mold. Cardboard brackets on either end can help with stability.

ONE: GLOVES and GOGGLES (!!) on and make sure you have all children and pets away while you are soaping. In a well-ventilated area, slowly and carefully add the lye to the water (never the other way around!) and stir until the lye is fully dissolved. Be careful not to breathe in fumes. Set aside to cool.

TWO: In a separate heat-safe container, melt and combine Palm, Palm Kernel Flakes and Coconut oils. Add Cocoa Butter, Canola, Olive and Rice Bran Oils. Stir until Cocoa Butter has melted; you may have to stick the container back in the microwave for a few more seconds.

THREE: Once the oils and lye have both cooled to 120 degrees or below, carefully the lye water to the oils and pulse your stick blender until just incorporated and a super light trace starts. Tip: Before pouring the lye water into the oils, insert your stick blender into the oils. Pour the lye water down the shaft of the stick blender to reduce the amount of bubbles in the soap batter!

FOUR: Split the soap so that you have 3 batches of 4 cups each. Pour the excess soap into the condiment squirt bottle.

FIVE: Color the soap in the squirt bottle with 12 mL of Lime LabColor and 1 teaspoon of dispersed Titanium Dioxide. Place a gloved finger over the tip of the bottle and shake to incorporate the color. Point the tip away from yourself when you remove your finger (there may be some backsplash!).

SIX: Color each batch of soap as follows: 2 teaspoons of dispersed Brown Oxide in one, 2 teaspoons of dispersed Titanium Dioxide in the second, and all of the dispersed Ultramarine Violet and Ultramarine Blue in the third.

SEVEN: Add .7 ounces of Island Coconut and .7 ounces of Vanilla Bean fragrance oils to the brown colored soap, and 1.3 ounces of the Lime fragrance oil to the white soap and the purple/blue colored soap. Mix well. If necessary, switch to a whisk to keep trace from accelerating.

EIGHT: Grab a pouring buddy for this step! Pour all three soap batters at the same time into the soap cavities you created with the cardboard dividers (one of you take two of the containers of soap, the other take one). Whoever is only pouring one soap can use the free hand to ensure that the dividers stay in place. To achieve the same look as I got, pour the white soap in the middle section of the mold.

NINE: Slowly and carefully remove the cardboard dividers. With the squirt bottle’s nozzle close to the top of the freshly poured soap, squirt the lime green soap down the length of the mold, on either side of the white strip right where it meets the other colors.

Tip: I poured my lime green stripe at a super thin trace. Vigorously shake your condiment bottle (with a gloved finger over the tip) if you want the lime green soap to be a thicker trace before you pour it.

TEN: Using a chopstick or dowel inserted all the way into the soap, swirl the soap in a figure 8 pattern.

The tops and bottoms of the “8”s should touch the sides of the soap mold. Here’s a quick illustration of the swirl without soap:

ELEVEN: Allow the soap to sit in the mold for 24-48 hours. When it’s time to cut, you can cut the loaf in the traditional way, but I find that the swirls really shine when I cut the bars horizontally. Cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy!



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  1. says

    Anne-Marie, I know you won’t want to publish this comment on your website, but I wanted to suggest that you start selling these molds that I’ve ordered from Taiwan. You could probably have dividers made locally that would make it so much easier to do the mantra swirl and Taiwan swirl.

    • says

      Good morning, Michelle!

      Thank you so much for the suggestion! We love hearing about cool new products. And, you can always email future suggestions to info(at)brambleberry(dot)com =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  2. Irene says

    Hi, Im wondering, I would love to make CP soap for children.
    So I have some questions as below:

    1. Which recipe is safe for children beside castille soap?

    2. On what age?

    3. Is this CP soap recipe safe for children?
    Coconut Oil 30%, Palm oil 35%, and olive pomace oil 35%, no FO, with cocoa powder as colorants.

    4. Is CP soap recipe using a little bit cocoa butter or castor oil safe for children? (without FO nor colorants)

    5. Which FO and colorants are safe for children?

    Thank you so much!! =))
    Can’t wait to make children soap!

    • says

      Good afternoon, Irene!

      Thanks for stopping by the blog with such great questions. We are super excited for you to start making soap and we can’t wait to hear more about your products. Typically, you will find that recipes without synthetic additives (fragrance oils and colorants are the most common allergens) tend to be the safest and most gentle on their sensitive skin. Each child is so different so eliminating as many potential allergens as possible is the best way to go (that’s why so many people like the 100% castile recipes). Your recipe is great for anyone with sensitive skin (adults included). =)

      You can try asking the advice of a pediatrician on safe ingredients for children. However, it’s been our experience that using the least amount of ingredients as possible is best, as is sticking with natural ingredients (like essential oils) instead of synthetic ingredients. Some parents prefer all natural ingredients in their children’s products, while others don’t have that preference. But “safe” can really only be prescribed by a doctor on an individual, case-by-case basis. Here is a great starter recipe for people with sensitive skin:

      Baby Soap: Buttermilk Bastille Baby Bar:

      Cocoa Powder is not actually a synthetic ingredient, but colorants in general fall under that ‘extra ingredient’ category. If you want to try something that isn’t processed, you could try something like beet or carrot juice for color. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’d be more than happy to help you out!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  3. says

    I did this tutorial tonight and i’m so mad at myself because all turned out well, mostly anyway but when i did my swirl i didn’t put my dowel all the way into the soap. I only ended up swirling the top. Now when i cut it i won’t have the pretty design. I also see why you recommend pouring all three colors at the same time. I didn’t have a helper and had troubles with my dividers moving around. Guess i will see how it turns out in a couple days. :)

  4. nicole says

    What a wonderful job you did with the technique tutorial! It makes me smile that everyone is getting so much pretty soap made with my mantra swirl :-)

  5. Laura says

    Where did you purchase that HUGE class measuring cup shown in the Mantra Swirl instructions? It would be wonderful if Brambleberry carried it. :o)

  6. jabones sulayr says

    Cada dia contigo uno aprende mas gracias por el titorial, la mezcla de colores me han gustado mucho.
    Saludos de JABONES SULAYR.

  7. Vionette says

    Hi!I love this technique is so gourgeous!!! And I like to know what % of superfat did you used in this recipe? Thanks in advance,


  8. says

    Love this technique and have been dying to try it for months. I finally was able to get a helper the other night so I finall got to try this! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  9. Candy says

    Hi, can you suggest alternative oils to sunflower and rice bran since these two only have a six mo shelf life. I assume the soap wont last as long because of the short life of the oils. I keep reading about soap going rancid – dreaded orange spot.

  10. heidi says

    Oooh I do like this project. The colours are very trendy. Just a generalized question about CP soap.
    How long do you wait B4 covering the soap?(putting it to bed) Covering it with plastic or a towel, would mess up the beautiful swirl, or to prevent this do you not fill it all the way to the top of mold?

    • says

      Hi Heidi!

      This recipe is not going to fill all the way to the top of the mold so sticking a towel or piece of cardboard over it isn’t going to be messing up the swirl. And we “put it to bed” as soon as we are done swirling and making our designs. I hope this helps!

      ~Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. Candy says

    this soap is so cool! I ran it through a soap calculator ( I am a beginner and was looking for a way to compare the different recipes I see). The hardness is 34 (versus a basic recipe of 33% each coconut oil, olive and palm oils – Otion class). If the basic recipe is a hardness 49, how much softer will a 34 be? Will it get hard? I find the basic recipe is drying (but love the lather!). It has a conditioning number of 47. Will the 3 Mantra recipe at 61 be noticably moisturizing? thanks!

    • Anne-Marie says

      The soap gets hard – yes – and I suspect you’ll find it more conditioning than the basic recipe.

      I don’t use INS numbers when I formulate. I’ve found it’s far too easy to game the INS system and relying on its numbers doesn’t always make a better bar of soap.

      That said, if you find the basic recipe a little drying, this one will be definitely more luxurious on your skin.

  12. says

    Uh-oh . . . this looks neat and I definitely want to try it, but I live alone. I need to find a soap buddy to help me pour!

  13. Tony says


    I know this is a swirling section, please forgive me.

    I’ve been researching CP soap for a while & made a few batches. My concern is that I am interested in making soap that is moisturizing, takes care of my dry & somewhat sensitive skin issues and isn’t too harsh. I stumbled upon 2 recipes that had cleansing factors of 17 & 22 but an INS of 164. Although the INS number is high, will these soap dry out the skin since the cleansing factors are higher? A recipe I personally made up was superfatted at 8%,has an INS of 141 & a cleansing factor of 7. Does the cleansing factor contribute to dry skin if the INS number is high?

    • Anne-Marie says

      Hi Tony,

      Your question so inspired me that I just spent 2 hours drafting a blog post on the subject. To answer your question, I don’t use INS values. I don’t find that they work very well for a predictor of a great bar of soap. You can easily game the system by superfatting or water discounting. They do work well as a predictor of what recipes will trace easily (the closer to 160, the easier the recipe is to get to trace, stay homogenized and harden up quickly). I wouldn’t worry at all about your recipe that you found that was 164. My favorite recipe is around 165 and I love it =)

      A couple resources if you want to explore it more: has how to calculate INS. has a great downloadable spreadsheet that gives INS values for all oils (first tab).

      • Tony says

        Hi Anne-Marie,

        Thanks for getting back with me! I didn’t mean to carve 2 hours of your day but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the blog post! I got so nervous that I just did not want to make another batch of soap until I found some answers since I’m a beginner. I’ll check out the links too!

        Again, I appreciate your time!!

  14. says

    That is an awesome looking soap! I LOVE the colors. Great job…I think I see a new project in the near future for me 😀

  15. says

    Oh what a lovely swirl! Do you melt the cap mica in oils or water? What an outstanding color it is!

    • says

      I’m not Ann Marie but when I use mica’s- I disperse in the oils or if your working with a familiar fragrance- I have used my SB or my frother to disperse.

    • says

      Hi Pam!

      You can add your micas and oxides into any light-weight oils (like Sunflower Oil) at the rate of one teaspoon of colorant to one tablespoon of oil. Then you can use a mini-mixer to blend.

      One tip is to make sure you saturate the powder in the oil before you turn on the mixer or you are going to get a poof of powder all of the place!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  16. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! So beautiful! I’m going to try this for sure – I’ve already given my soap buddy (aka my husband) a heads up. :)

  17. Toni says

    I can hardly wait to make this soap and how does it smell after it cures? When taking the cardboard dividers out is there a lot of soap wasted or sticking to the cardboard? it looks like there is nothing sticking to your cardboard dividers, and is the blue in the picture solid soap just above tip 1?

    • says

      I covered my cardboard with clear packing tape and find that I can use them a number of times before replacing them. Soon I plan on visiting my local TAP plastics and have some permanent ones made.

  18. says

    Can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing! And where on earth did you find such a large glass mixing bowl!!?? I have been looking for one but the largest I can find only holds 8 cups, which looks like the smaller bowl you are pouring into.

  19. Teddi says

    This looks fabulous! How will the Lime Labcolor look in a few weeks? Will the lines smooth out and now look as crisp as they do now? I’ve used LOTS of Labcolors, but never together with ultramarines or micas. BTW … who does the dishes with those giant measuring cups?!? 😉

      • Anne-Marie says

        The three colors used (blue, white, brown) are non bleeding but the green is a bleeder; it will get less crisp but in this case, we designed it that way – and what you’re seeing in the photos is about 4 weeks of bleed time.

        Labcolors always bleed. Ultramarines/Pigments/Oxides never do. Micas usually don’t bleed and remain stable (for about 75% of them).

  20. says

    So nice! I love this technique but have never tried three colors. I’m going to have to find a soaping buddy to help me pour! :)