Waves of the Sea Cold Process Tutorial

This soap reminds me of relaxing ocean waves gently lapping against a luscious, soft sand beach. Strategic use of uncolored soap along with cool blue and gray-green create an abstract scene. If you’re loving this soap, stay tuned next week to find out how to get a free gift with purchase containing ingredients to make this very project! Looks like April Showers are on the horizon…

Waves of the sea


23 oz Basic Quick Mix Oil

3.3 oz Sodium Hydroxide (lye)

7.6 oz Distilled Water

Ultramarine Blue Pigment

Sea Clay

1.4 oz Herbal Essences type Fragrance Oil

2# Wood Mold with Wingnuts

2# Wood Mold Silicone Liner

Chopstick or Skewer (for swirling)

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

Psst: Want to create your own recipe and not use a Quick Mix blend? I’d go with a 25% Coconut, 25% Palm, 40% Canola or Rice Bran, 7% Shea or another butter, 3% Castor. The reason I’m not using Olive Oil is because I want to avoid the more green or yellow look that often comes with Olive Oil for our perfect beachy color scene.

Waves of the Sea

COLOR PREP: For easy mixing, disperse the Ultramarine Blue Pigment in oil and Sea Clay in water. For the Ultramarine Blue, disperse 1/2 teaspoon pigment in 1/2 Tablespoon Sweet Almond Oil (or any liquid oil). For the Sea Clay, disperse 1 teaspoon clay in 1/2 Tablespoon water. Mix both using a mini-mixer, but be sure to saturate the powder in the liquid by pushing it under with the mini-mixer turned off or you’ll get a messy cloud of pigment or clay. You use water for the Sea Clay so the water wicks up the water and doesn’t pull it out of your recipe, causing your soap to accelerate or crack.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices! Long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection are necessary when making cold process soap. Be sure that kids, pets, and other tripping/distraction hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.

If you’ve never made Cold Process soap before, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet! However, I still 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, as well as digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.

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

TWO: Melt the entire container of Basic Quick Mix Oil and shake to evenly distribute oils. Measure 23 ounces into a heat-safe container. If you’re using a traditional recipe and not a Quick Mix Oil blend, just measure and blend your oils at this point.

THREE: Once the oils and lye water have cooled to 120 degrees or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), slowly and carefully pour the lye water into the oils and stir gently with your stick blender turned off. Turn on the stick blender and bring the soap to light trace.

Adding lye to oils

FOUR: Add the Herbal Essences type Fragrance Oil and stir in with a whisk. Split the batch into three about-equal parts (it’s okay to eyeball it).

Adding FO

Split soap

FIVE: Color one of the split batches with 1 teaspoon of dispersed Ultramarine Blue, another of the batches with all of the dispersed Sea Clay, and leave the third batch uncolored. Use a whisk to mix in the colorants.

Coloring Soap

SIX: Decide on a color order and line up your containers accordingly. I went blue, green gray, white. Starting with blue, pour a single line of soap down the center of the mold. Repeat with green gray, pouring right down the center of mold and the line created by the blue soap. Follow the green with the white soap. Pour from a high vantage point so that each subsequent layer of soap is breaking through, and periodically tamp the mold on the table to spread out the soap and fill the mold. Repeat the process until most of the soap has been poured, continuously pouring down the center line created by the previous soap. Don’t worry if your aim is a little off, it will just add more interest! Reserve about 1/8 cup of soap of each color for a top swirl.

Poured soap

Poured soap

SEVEN: Using the reserved blue soap, create an “S” curve going lengthwise down the mold. Just next to the blue “S” curve, create a green “S” curve, and next to the green, a white “S” curve. Repeat until all of the reserved soap is in the mold.

S-Curves on top

EIGHT: Using a chopstick or skewer inserted into just the top portion of the soap, drag the swirl perpendicularly to the lines created by the soap “S” curves. Without removing the chopstick from the soap, curve back up toward the side of the mold you started at, staying parallel to the first line. Repeat this motion, going back and forth down the  short side of the mold without removing the chopstick or skewer to create the swirl. Spray the top with 91% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol to prevent soda ash. Cover and insulate the soap for 24 hours, and unmold after 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Split Soap

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  1. Zala says


    I would like to try this recipe, but I do have a couple of questions.

    1. I do soap for quite a while now, but I’ve never been able to do a decent swirl

  2. Gloria says

    I am having problems getting a true blue or lavender with cold process soaps. I have a customer who loves these colors and would like to be make some soap and get more reliable blues and lavenders. There was an article on another website that recommended using titanium dioxide in the oils before adding the lye mixture. This was in connection with LabColors. But I seem to have this problem even with the oxides. They turn out kind of faded gray-blue. I did use some olive oil to pre-mix the oxide. Any suggestions?

  3. ML says

    Hi There Becky, Thank you for your reply. I did disperse the clay into water. The soap began to thicken & become stiff before I got to the color addition. I was ready to pour it into seperate containers to color and went to put the fragrance into the whole thing when it became so hard very hard to stir. I muscled it for the most part but it was already to thick to work with before I tried to color it. I figured I might as well try since I was going to be glopping it into the mold it would not matter if it was perfectly colored.
    For the second batch I did size it to fit a loaf mold, I have one of the ones that is made of polystyrene. But I wondered if I had made a mistake in my sizing it up which is why I gave you the amounts of my recipe to see if that was where I made my mistake. The first time I made this I had two smaller loaf molds I thought the recipe would fill them both but it did not so I hurried to take the soap from one and then into another, and then the remaining into single molds. That was a bit ago and now that I think on it I believe that batch seized up too. I will see about some pictures late next week, is there anything I need to know to post pictures to the BB page on FB? I am so disapointed to not get to do this style of pour, after making a bunch of soap batches I then wanted to make soap that was pretty too. I seem to be able to make layers or a bit of a swirl in a slab mold but this technique seems to be giving me the trouble and I wanted to make sure it was not the fact that I changed the recipe. In the beginning I would only make recipes that would fit my mold, but I started to branch out. Well I am at a loss now on what to do.

    • says

      Good morning, ML!

      If you want to try this technique out again, I would definitely suggest replacing Canola Oil or Rice Bran Oil with Pure or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Being naturally yellow-green it may have a slight effect on your soap’s colors, but higher percentages of Olive Oil in your recipe can help to slow trace. Another thing you can do give you a longer working time with this design is to make sure your oils and lye are at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Here is a really great blog post that I refer to when I am about to swirl my soap to make sure I will have enough time to make those fun designs:


      All you need to do to post a picture to Bramble Berry’s Facebook page is upload it with a description — I’ll be on the lookout for yours! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  4. ML says

    I made my second batch of this soap yesterday trying to get to do the pouring procedure with no success. The first time I tried the pour with a smaller batch to find that it did not fit the mold I had started the pour in, so I had to quickly take it out and put it in another and put the leftover into single molds that were handy. In hindsight I think I may have had the same problem as the second batch but did not realize it.
    So second time I resized the recipe in your lye calculator, perhaps you can tell me where I went wrong. castor oil 1.44oz, coconut 12oz, palm oil 12oz, rice bran oil 19.2oz, shea butter 3.36, Sodium hydroxide 6.617 oz, water 15.84oz. I mixed up the ultra blue pigment & the clay and had it to the side, also the fragrence for this large batch and I wanted it scented strong so I used 4oz herbal essences. Temps for Lye & oils about 110, hand mixed then slighly with blender to bring to very thin trace. I gathered my containers to split up the batch and when I picked up the bowl to pour I remembered I had not added the FO, I put in my spatula to stir and in those few seconds it had gone to very thick trace, well being a newbie I just figured to go on with what I was doing as I could always glop it into the mold like last time. So with a lot of difficulty I got it split and colored and glopped into the mold. I covered it and left it overnight and while I have not unmolded it yet it looks like the last batch messy and three colored. This was the first time I ever had anything seize up on me, and while it took a lot of muscle power I did get it into a mold. I am glad I established safety when soaping and not pressing my luck because this was the messiest batch ever trying to get this soap in the mold. I had it everywhere but I was geared up and working in an area that was prepared for soaping. I am glad this happened because I could find myself asking myself do you really need all this gear? Well YES you do ML because with out thinking you can have a sloppy mess and find yourself with the raw soap in your hair or clothing. But what did I do wrong when trying to reformulate this recipe? I tried to type everything on here to give you as much info as possible but if there is other info I can give you let me know. I really wanted to make this pour. Thanks for all you do this is a great hobby.

    • says

      Hi ML!

      We are totally here to help you out and troubleshoot what happened with your batch. I know how frustrating it can be when your soap doesn’t turn out how you were expecting and something like seizing happens.

      The best way to figure out how big of a mold you are going to need for your soap is to find the final yield. The easiest way to figure that out is water + lye + oils = final weight. And, if you are using Bramble Berry’s handy lye calculator (http://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Lye-Calculator.aspx), it will list it there as well. In your case, your yield would be 70.457 which would mean you would need a mold that held 4.4 lbs or more.

      One thing you can do to prevent acceleration is to try replacing the Canola Oil or Rice Bran Oil with Pure or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Being naturally yellow-green it may have a slight effect on your soap’s colors, but higher percentages of olive oil in your recipe can help to slow trace.

      When you were mixing up your clay for your batch, did you make sure to pre-disperse it in water? We suggest doing this because without pre-dispersing it, clay can actually cause your soap to accelerate trace as well, or even crack.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if there are any other questions you have. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      P.S. Your soap should be just fine to use after it has hardened. If you get any pictures of it, we’d love to have you share them with us on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page.


  5. Barbara says

    Hi. It looks like you poured this very thick. On some recipes it looks as if the soap was poured a little thinner. How does someone decide how thick or thin soap should be when you are swirling? I’m new at this.

  6. says

    Yes Becky it did help. But why the two sample sizes when the recipe calls only for the Herbal Essence FO. I just want to make sure I don’t mess this up. Thanks y’all for the GREAT customer care. I’m getting my last big order together for you all to fill and get it to me in record time, even with the slow mail I get my packages here in TN within 4-5 days or less at time. Big kudos to the Brambleberry team!!

    • says

      Hi Wanda!

      We included two fragrance oils in the sample kit because our April newsletter had a recipe for the Rain Cybilla Fragrance. It’s a super fun Shea and Argan Hand Lotion that just feels so good on the skin! We can’t wait for you to get your package, thank you so much for your business. If you happen to get any pictures of your soapy creations, be sure to share them with us on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page.


      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  7. says

    Just received my free April Shower sample kit. How many ounces/pounds will this small amount of color and fragrance can i expect for my final product. Thank you so much so very very much

    • says

      Hi Wanda! We are so happy to hear that you were able to get the April Showers Sample Kit. You are going to have to much fun making soap with it. In the sample kit, you received a half ounce of both Herbal Essence and Rain Cybilla Fragrances Oils. It really depends on how much you are making, but are general usage rates for FO’s are the following:

      Cold Process Soap – .7 oz per pound
      Melt and Pour Soap – .25 oz per pound

      So in this case, you’d be able to fragrance about 2 pounds of M&P and about 1 pound of CP.a

      Check out our fragrance calculator for a list of all of our essential oils and fragrance oils and their usage rates in a variety of products:


      For the colorants, you received about .02 ounces of the Ultramarine Blue and Sea Clay. Typically, we use anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per pound of soap. If you are using the Sea Clay in your CP soap, make sure to pre-disperse it in water beforehand so that it doesn’t accelerate trace or crack your soap. To see how we’ve done that in the past, you can check the beginning of this blog posts and these other fun ones:

      Tiger Stripe “Hanger” Swirl Tutorial: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/tiger-stripe-hanger-swirl-tutorial/

      Hot Process Series: Oven Process Layers: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/hot-process-series-oven-process-layers/

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • says

      We would so love for you to try this out, Emily! There are so many fun color variations you could do with this tutorials and we can’t wait to see what you come up with. =)
      -Beck with Bramble Berry

  8. says

    Very pretty, Anne-Marie! I love those colors. It seems like the Tiger Stripe is all the rage right now – I will have to try that technique soon!

    • says

      We just love this technique and found that there is quite a bit you can actually do with it if you plan the right colors. You’ll have to let us know when you try it so that we can see pictures of your soapy creation. Have fun and Happy Soaping! =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  9. says

    Can the bags/containers that the Quick Mix oils come in be heated multiple times? Like if I used 23 oz in this recipe, can I reheat the remaining oils in the same bag/container, or do I need to pour it out into another container first?

  10. says

    Oh wow, I must be psychic! I was playing around the night before last and did this same pattern. I did one more sweep with my chopstick vertically. My colors were black, white and purple. I will have to post a pic later on the BB FB page. I love that you use sea clay in yours as well.

    • says

      That’s too funny! Apparently you and A-M were having the same soaping vibes hanging around. I saw your picture and I love how it turned out. Thanks for sharing it with us. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry