Tiger Stripe “Hanger” Swirl Tutorial

Have you checked out Bramble Berry’s brand new Brazilian clays yet? These natural colorants work excellently in cold process soap and are available in an amazing range of colors. They’re even available in a sample pack so you can test them out before purchasing a larger size!  To keep with the natural elements of the clays, I used a delightfully herbal essential oil blend for fragrance.

To create a two-color tiger stripe effect, I modified Bramble Berry’s 2 pound Wood Loaf mold. If you have some cardboard lying around from holiday packaging, here’s your chance to reuse it for some soapy goodness. We’re keeping it green on Soap Queen!

Tiger Stripe Hanger Swirl


1.1 oz. Avocado Oil

6.6 oz. Canola Oil

1.1 oz. Castor Oil

4.4 oz. Coconut Oil

3.3 oz. Olive Oil

4.4 oz. Palm Oil

1.1 oz. Palm Kernel Flakes

3.06 oz. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

7.7 oz. Distilled Water

1 oz Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil

0.4 oz Basil Essential Oil

0.3 oz  Patchouli Essential Oil

Purple Brazilian Clay

Natural Brazilian Clay

 2 lb. Wood Loaf Mold

Add To Cart

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

If you have never made cold process soap before, I highly recommend you get a couple of basic recipes under your belt. Check out this (free!) 4-part series on cold process soap making, especially the episode on lye safety. Bramble Berry carries quite a few books on the topic as well, including this downloadable book on making cold process soap.

SUIT UP: Get on your goggles and gloves, and make sure you’re wearing long sleeves. Keep kids, pets and other tripping hazards and distractions away from your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.

COLOR PREP: Disperse those clays in some water using a mini-mixer. You’ll want to use a ratio of 2 teaspoons of clay to 2 Tablespoons of water per color. Make sure that the clay is saturated by the water before turning on the mini-mixer, or you may end up with a messy cloud of clay! Why water? Clays are very absorbent, and tend to accelerate trace when added dry or cause the soap to crack as it cures if used not-dispersed. Dispersing them in water before adding them to soap not only helps them mix in better, but also keeps them from accelerating trace.

ESSENTIAL OIL PREP: Create the herbal natural scent blend for this project by mixing the Lavender, Patchouli and Basil Essential Oils.

MOLD PREP: Line the Wood Mold with freezer paper shiny side up. This technique requires a bit of a mold modification in order to work, but it’s fairly quick and easy (and worth the results)! In this tutorial, I used an early-release exclusive-to-Bramble Berry silicone liner for the 2 pound molds.


Mold Prep Mosaic

1. Gather supplies for the modification. Scissors, an exacto knife, tape, cardboard, and a lightweight dowel or reed.

2. Cut two pieces of cardboard the width of the mold. Tape the pieces to either end of the mold, with just a little bit (less than an inch) hanging over the cavity.

3. Cut a slit the thickness of a piece of cardboard in the middle of the pieces from step two. Make sure the slit goes all the way to the edge of the mold.

4. Fit a third piece of cardboard into the slits, perpendicular to the short sides of the mold, to create a divider. Make sure that it touches the sides and bottom of the mold and the fit is snug.

5. Cut a second slit the width of your dowel or reed in the pieces from step two. The second slit should be as close to the wide edge of the cavity as possible.

6. Crack the dowel or reed in two places, with the length between the breaks fitting the width of the mold cavity and the lengths after the breaks fitting the height of the mold cavity plus about an inch. Leave a bit of fiber still connected at the breaks, or if the pieces fully separated, reconnect with a bit of tape. A thin wire hanger can also work for this step.

7. Fit the dowel or reed into the second set of slits. Now you’re all set to go!

ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water and stir until clear. Set aside to cool.

TWO: Melt and combine the Coconut and Palm Oils and Palm Kernel Flakes. Add the Avocado, Canola, Castor, and Olive oils and mix well.

THREE: Once your oils and lye water have cooled to 130 degrees or below, slowly add the lye water to the oils. To prevent air bubbles, I like to pour the lye water down a spatula or the shaft of my stick blender. Blend the mixture until light trace.

Adding Lye to Oils

FOUR: Split the batch into two equal parts, about 2 cups each. Fragrance each of the batches with the essential oil blend, using a whisk to mix so not to accelerate trace.

Adding EO

FIVE: Color each of the batches with the dispersed clay. Add all of the dispersed Purple Clay to one, and all of the dispersed Natural Clay to the other. Keep using with the whisk until the clays are well mixed.

Coloring Soap

SIX: Grab each of the containers of soap, and pour into the modified mold at the same time (each color going on either side of the cardboard divider). Reserve a little bit of each of the soaps for step nine!

Pouring Into Mold

SEVEN: Slowly remove the cardboard divider from the soap, pausing just after it’s fully out of the soap so the excess can dribble off. Remove the two smaller pieces of cardboard from the sides of the mold.

Removing Cardboard

EIGHT: Drag the reed or dowel vertically across the mold, gaining height with each pass, until the reed or dowel is just below the surface of the soap. Repeat the back and forth motion going down, and then back up again. Remove the dowel or reed entirely from the soap.

Removing Reed

Optional Decorative Top: Pour a thin stream of reserved purple soap over the surface of the soap, creating S-curves parallel to the length of the mold. Follow the lines created with the purple soap with the natural soap, pouring just next to the purple lines. Using a chopstick or skewer dipped into the first 1/8″ or so of the surface of the soap, drag the tool perpendicularly to the long edge of the mold, creating S-curves down the length of the mold. Next, use the swirl tool in a curly swirly motion parallel to the length of the mold to create a psychedelic swirl.

Swirling Top of Soap

TEN: Allow the soap to sit in the mold for 1-2 days. Unmold, cut, and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks. Enjoy!

Tiger Stripe Hanger Swirl

Click here for a printable PDF of this tutorial.


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  1. Wansada says


    I made this soap 2 days ago I have a little concern my soap is wet at the button and have pocket of water and very soft and did not hard than well.
    What should I do? I don’t want to throw the soap away.
    I am not sure I will be able to re-milled soap again or not.

    Thank you very much :)

  2. Margo says

    I love that you have made a PDF file available for us. I also love the soap and can’t wait to try it.

  3. says

    I am interested in sampling your new Brazilian Clays. but am wondering how to get more info on how to use them. What amount and type of oil do you suggest mixing them with? How much do you use per pound of soap made? Thanks!

    • says

      Good afternoon, Shelly!

      We would love for you to try our our new Brazilian Clays, we absolutely adore them and can’t wait for others to try them out. When we mixed them, we actually didn’t use oil, but distilled water to mix it (we didn’t find that oil worked very well). Our ratio was 2 teaspoons of clay to 2 Tablespoons of water per color. And, for any of our clays, it is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), but we suggest 2 teaspoons of clay per 16 ounces of oil. We also have our Brazilian Clay Sampler pack that you can try out so you can sample all of our new clays. :)


      I hope this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  4. Nickie says

    Cool! Would be neat to make a set w/ the “tiger stripe” bath bomb 😉 I’ll try this technique soon…when I get more supplies.
    When is AM going to announce what she’s having?


    • says

      Hi Nickie!

      What a great idea! This would be a great addition to a set with the Tiger Stripe bath bombs. You’ll have to post pictures on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page when you end up making the set. Happy Soaping!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      P.S. A-M is finding out within the next week or so if she is having a little girl or boy. We are just so darn excited to find out. =)

  5. says

    What a beautiful bar of natural soap! It’s amazing how the clay colors change in the cured/cut bar.

    What do the Canola and Palm Kernel Flakes add to the recipe? I’ve never used those two ingredients before.

    Also – do you use cornstarch to help hold the essential oil scents? I’ve heard that helps but haven’t tried it because I’m afraid of it accelerating trace.

    I’m looking forward to trying the new clays.

    Great job, as usual, on this tutorial!

  6. Lynda says

    I’m trying to figure out what the dowel rods purpose is but cant tell from the pictures. Can you please tell me.

    • says

      Hi Lynda! The dowel rod is used to create that fun “s” swirl design. :)

      This part of the instructions covers it: Drag the reed or dowel vertically across the mold, gaining height with each pass, until the reed or dowel is just below the surface of the soap. Repeat the back and forth motion going down, and then back up again. Remove the dowel or reed entirely from the soap.

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  7. says

    This looks great. That Purple Brazilian clay looks great. What does this EO combination smell like? I have all these EO’s and think I’ll have to try it out. Thanks.

    • says

      Good morning, Michelle!

      If you are a fan of earthy and herby scents then this is definitely the blend for you. The Patchouli and Basil blend well together giving it a very down-to-earth and deep scent and the Lavender 40/42 brings it back up with a soothing and relaxing smell. We’d love for you to try it and let us know what you think of the blend. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry