I’m constantly blown away by the talent and innovation in the soapmaking community. There are so many amazing ways to manipulate soap to create various effects. One of the most impressive techniques that I’ve seen in the past few years is the Sculpted Layers technique made popular by Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap. When I first stumbled on Claudia’s Winter Wonderland Soap made with this technique, my first reaction was “HOW!?” I had never seen any soap quite like it before.
Claudia graciously shared her technique, which involves creating sturdy shapes that slide across the length of the mold to “sculpt” firm soap, leaving behind various shapes. The next layer is then poured on top, allowed to harden, and sculpted with the accompanying piece. Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks hosted a Sculpted Layers challenge in June. The entries were amazing. It’s a bit of a tricky technique to describe, so I recommend watching this video by Love Is Sweet Shop, this video by Kapia Mera Soap Co, or this video by Earth’s Raw Beauty to see it in action.
If you watched the videos above, you already know this technique is quite advanced. Between making the sculpting pieces, prepping the ingredients, and waiting the correct amount of time to sculpt each layer, it’s a long process. My team and I (thanks Caitlin!) came up with a fairly simple horse design which only required two sculpting pieces and three layers. The horse head template is already sized to fit inside the Silicone Liner for 5 lb Wood Mold; just download and print! To help the horse silhouette really pop, I chose a deep black color against swirls of white, pink, blue and yellow soap. Apple Sage Fragrance Oil gives the bars a sweet scent, and works great for this project because it gives you plenty of time to swirl.
The only downside to this technique (in my opinion) is it does result in a lot of “extra” soap. The technique requires you to scrape away soap to leave behind a shape. This requires you to make a lot of soap that you ultimately remove from the mold. If you want to save the soap that is scraped away, I recommend having an extra mold nearby to plop the soap into. My bars made with the leftover soap weren’t the prettiest (rainbow swirls and black soap mushed together is an interesting look) but they were still wonderful bars of soap!