Back to Basics: Crisp Cotton Swirl Cold Process
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 pounds of soap
This Crisp Cotton Swirl Cold Process Soap is a great project for beginner to intermediate soapers.
  • 10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
  • 10.2 oz. Olive Oil (30%)
  • 6.8 oz. Coconut Oil (20%)
  • 8.5 oz. Palm Oil (25%)
  • 8.5 oz. Canola Oil (25%)
  • 4.7 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 11.2 oz. Distilled Water
  • Ultramarine Blue Pigment
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • 3 oz. Crisp Cotton Fragrance Oil
FRAGRANCE PREP: In a glass, fragrance safe container, measure 3 oz. Crisp Cotton Fragrance Oil. Set aside.
COLOR PREP: To ensure that the Titanium Dioxide blends smoothly into the soap batter, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. Please note this is an optional tip but it does help with the titanium dioxide clumping in the soap =) 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). In a separate container, disperse 1 teaspoon of the Ultramarine Blue Oxide in 1 tablespoon lightweight liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get the clumps of color worked out smoothly. Check out this video to learn how to disperse colorants.
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.
TOOL PREP: Bend the Hanger Tool to fit in the mold lengthwise. It’s okay if it’s a little short, but you want it to fit comfortably within the mold.
  1. 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.
  2. Melt the coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil and canola oil completely (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 begin pulsing with the stick blender. 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.
  3. Alternate between using the stick blender to stir the mixture, and pulsing the stick blender. After about 20-30 seconds, test for trace. Because this project involves swirls, you don’t want it to become too thick, so don’t over stick blend! When a stick blender, whisk or spatula is pulled from the mixture, the trailings should not yet suspend on the top of the soap. Below is a great example of very thin trace; you can see that the trailings fall right back into the batter and do not sit on top.
  4. Once you reach a thin trace, add the 3 oz. of Crisp Cotton Fragrance Oil and use a whisk to stir in. Do not use a stick blender to mix in the fragrance, or the batter may become too thick. Crisp Cotton Fragrance Oil does not accelerate trace in cold process soap. If you are working with a different fragrance oil that does accelerate trace, add the fragrance oil after adding the colorants.
  5. Split the soap batter into two even containers; it’s okay to eyeball it! There will be about 3 cups in each container.
  6. To one container, add all the dispersed Ultramarine Blue Oxide and use a whisk to mix in. To the other container, add all the dispersed Titanium Dioxide and use a whisk to thoroughly mix in.
  7. Pour about ¼ of the white soap into the mold. Tap the mold on the counter gently to release any bubbles.
  8. Pour about ¼ of the blue soap into the layer of white, moving the soap throughout the mold. Pour from a few inches above the mold to cause the soap to “break through” into the white. Don’t worry about making your pour “perfect.”
  9. Continue to pour the white and blue soap into the mold from various heights. As you continue to pour, the soap will begin to swirl itself naturally.
  10. Continue to pour until you have a very small amount of blue and white soap. This remaining soap will be used to create the swirl top. Gently tap the soap on the counter to help release any bubbles.
  11. Line the hanger tool up alongside the length of the mold on the side farthest from you. Insert it all the way to the bottom of the mold. Then, move the hanger in circular motions toward yourself starting at the bottom and spiraling towards the top. After you have completed about 2-3 circles, pull the hanger toward you and out of the mold.
  12. Carefully pour two lines of white soap down the length of the mold. Don’t worry about the line looking perfect. Then, create three lines of blue soap in between the white lines. Tap the mold on the counter to help settle and smooth the lines of white and blue soap.
  13. Insert a dowel or chopstick into the very top of the soap. You only want to swirl the lines of white and blue soap, not the already swirled soap underneath. Drag the chopstick back and forth down the length of the mold. Continue this pattern until you reach the other side of the mold.
  14. Drag the chopstick around the outside of the entire mold. This step is optional, but it gives the swirl a nice finished look.
  15. Spray the top of the soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol to prevent soda ash. Cover the mold with a lid or piece of cardboard to insulate. Insulate for 24 hours. Allow to sit in the mold for 2-3 days before unmolding. Cut into bars, and allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks. Enjoy!
Recipe by Soap Queen at