Friday, March 20, 2015

Landscape Soap

This month's challenge was to make a Landscape-inspired soap. My kids have been begging me for some time to make an ocean soap, as I had tried before, but with mixed results. This time, much brighter colors and and a fairly compulsive approach really paid off! :)

Here is my inspiration photo (we're allowed to do seascapes, just nothing not found in nature):

My daughter helped with this one, as it was really hard to keep track of all the colors. And yes, it's really this bright in person! I took more pictures of it, but could only get the colors to look right in two of them. :(


I made the cold process sun in a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe lined with freezer paper, taped shut at one end. It's mostly white (TD), with a pinch of True Yellow (link). After unmolding it, I shaved one side flat with my homemade soap planer.

I tried making the birds out of cold-process in dark purple (Soapberry purple, link and black oxide), but they were too fragile to use. So, I switched to melt and pour for them, pouring two in zig-zag folded freezer paper, and the rest as long free-form strips that I shaped by hand. I tried photographing them, but they didn't look like much of anything. And at one point, I almost threw them away, thinking they were leftover scraps!


On the same day, using the same batter as the sun embed, I made the ocean using squeeze bottles, inspired by Anne-Marie's Rainbow Squirty Swirls (link):

Except I used 10 colors (combinations of the sky colors, below, some mixed with TD and some with brown oxide), as I wanted the ocean to reflect the sky's colors, and to look frothy. I gradually squirted the lighter colors narrower and narrower in the center as the mold filled up, to reflect the sun. (my inspiration photo has a different sun reflection, but I wanted to add some perspective)

I'd say the most time-consuming part of it was actually cleaning out all the squeeze bottles afterward!

A day later...


To make the rest, I used only four colors, but swirled some of them together to help soften the transitions. Here are the layers, from the horizon up, which were very gently spooned on top of each other:
  1. Orange (I *think* it was actually Yellow Lake #6, link)
  2. True Yellow (link)
  3. Yellow swirled with orange
  4. Orange swirled with bright pink (Cosmic Caroline, link + Red #27, link)
  5. Bright Pink
  6. Pink swirled with purple (Soapberry Purple, link + Red #27, link)
  7. Purple
The embeds were dipped in rubbing alcohol and then gently inserted along the way. I was worried I might get air trapped under the birds, so I put them in point down, then rotated some in place.

I don't love the tops, as I think the other colors detract from the sky effect, but I just couldn't bring myself to plane them off!

Recipe & Fragrance

I'm currently experimenting with Soybean oil, not because it's cheap (OK, so that doesn't hurt), but because it's one of the few that can penetrate the skin (link):
  • 35% Coconut Oil - $20/gallon from Amazon (for popcorn, link)
  • 34% Palm Oil - Wholesale Supplies (link
  • 27% Soybean oil - Smart & Final
  • 4% Castor Oil - Wholesale Supplies (link)
  • 1.5:1 water:lye - discounted to minimize rivers (link) - DIY pre-mixed
  • 1 oz/ppo fragrance oil - Abalone & Sea - Wholesale Supplies (link)
  • 0.5 oz/ppo 60% Sodium Lactate to harden bars - Wholesale Supplies (link)
  • 0.5 oz/ppo 1:1 Simple Syrup to increase bubbles - DIY (link)


Cool -- I actually won this one! :) $100 at TKB Trading should keep me in colors for quite awhile!


  1. WOW!!! So beautiful. I love your entry!

  2. OMG, I love it! Your soap looks so beautiful! And I love your color choices. I've had a similar idea for the challenge, but my result doesn't look as nice as yours. :)
    Really amazing! Very cool inspiration too.

  3. This is lovely. You've captured it perfectly and used loads of different techniques. Love the colours too. :)

  4. What a work of art!! The colors, the textures - all of it! The birds are such an integral part of the whole thing - I'm so glad you didn't accidentally throw them away! LOL!

  5. Wowsers! This is fabulous. I love the birds, they look great. The colours are beautiful. Love it :-)

  6. Absolutely stunning! I'm not sure if I told you this before, but you have an amazing eye for color. Truly a work of art!

  7. What a beautiful landscape soap. The colors are awesome, the interpretation of your photo is superb.

  8. Absolutely amazing!! Thanks for walking through your process!

  9. Absolutely amazing!! Thanks for walking through your process!

  10. Amazing! I love everything about your design, especially the squirty waves and the birds. Just lovely!

  11. wow wow wowwww Amazing colour, design and technique. I can't stop looking at your soap. Well done

  12. This is stunning!!! So creative and absolutely beautiful!

  13. Congrats, Claudia! I knew your soap would win. It was so beautiful and well done. And a great explanation of your process as well.

  14. Congratulations Claudia and Madeline! Your soap is so vibrant and beautiful, the colours are spot-on and the little birds are amazing. :)

  15. Congratulations Claudia and Madeline! Your soap is so vibrant and beautiful, the colours are spot-on and the little birds are amazing. :)

  16. OMG! This is gorgeous, Claudia!

  17. Inspiring! I make soap and will someday get this good. Congrats on the win!

  18. Wow! That is just amazing! I love how you did your soap, and I also really do appreciate your taking the time to explain the process so thoroughly - it just fascinates me! Really wonderful job!

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