Friday, August 12, 2016

Dancing Bubbles

This month's soap club challenge is the Dancing Funnel, which is basically a series of overlapping circles. It looks really easy to do, but, like so many others, turns out not to be.

Tatsiana presented the technique using a super thin, hand-stirred batter that I wasn't able to master. When I tried it, the colors ran together and the circles distorted into odd shapes.

I was trying a much softer recipe than I usually use:
  • 40% Costco Mediterranean Blend
  • 38% Lard 
  • 20% Coconut Oil
  • 2%   Castor Oil
Plus 28% water and 1t ppo of my go-to decelerating fragrance oil (White Tea & Ginger from Nature's Garden). 

It seemed like it took forever to harden -- I'm used to unmolding after 4-6 hours -- and the circle definition was terrible.

For the next batch, I dropped the water to 22%, and switched to a neutral accelerating FO (White Tea & Ginger from Crafter's Choice). This worked much better, as it started to set up as I went, allowing better definition as I got to the top:

I intended this to look like bubbles, so the circles are small and monochromatic, and colored with different intensity levels of the same blue mica.

(My daughter, Maddy, says she loves this soap, but pointed out that bubbles aren't actually blue. So, next time, I'll be sure to make them transparent... ;)

FWIW, the color levels I used (of Tropical Teal from Nurture Soap Supplies) were:
  • Dark: 1 t/ppo
  • Medium: 1/2 t/ppo
  • Light: 1/4 t/ppo

One of the best things about this technique (IMO) is that the design goes all the way through the bar, which always makes me happy.

On the sides, the circles are flattened and look a bit like chrysanthemum petals. Even the back looks pretty cool, which doesn't often happen:

I wish I had had more time with this technique, but summer vacation followed immediately by back-to-school prep on top of work made it hard to squeeze it in.

I'm not making excuses, though.

OK, I clearly am, but still! :)

I hadn't been planning to submit this, as I felt I could have done better, but my husband pointed out that I was being a big baby, so here it is!


  1. Claudia:
    Love your dancing bubbles! Please enter it in the challenge.
    I haven't found a way to subscribe to your blog (any help there?), so I just check back now & again to see if you have posted something new...I'm sure there are many people in the contest that would also enjoy reading your blog.
    Thanks so much!

  2. I'm so glad you changed your mind about entering!! I love the effect of the tiny bubbles!! Really pretty color palette too - bubbles can be any color actually, depending on how much excess mica you add to your soap - right?

  3. Sly, I just added a Subscribe by Email box above my picture. Please let me know if you have any trouble with it!

  4. Looks like it worked!
    Thanks Claudia!

  5. I think your soap is amazing, Claudia! I really love it. It's visually stunning and the bubble design is perfect.

  6. Absolutely stunning Claudia! I love the tight formation of bubbles and also love the colors, my favourite turquoise :)

  7. Gorgeous as always Claudia! Stunning bubbles, I love the smaller size!

  8. So very glad you decided to enter! The intricacy of the smaller bubbles make this an even more beautiful design! Beautiful job!

  9. Great design and colours! I love the blue bubbles :-)

  10. Claudia, I love the way you used smaller circles to create those little bubbles. The intricate design is so beautiful, and the color palette is absolutely perfect. Your soap is really beautiful.

  11. You used this technique in a very creative way and I'm glad you decided to submit it, I love it!

  12. Congrats on such an amazeballs job, you definitely deserve it doll!

  13. Thank you, everyone! I was shocked when it placed, let alone won, so it was a good lesson learned...

  14. delightful cleanser, and the hues are awesome. I adore your blue and white and blue cleanser the whirls are incredible.


  15. Hi Claudia! Very impressive soap! May I ask you a question? After the first try you have decreased water and next attempts were more successful. Why do you think water discount is helpful for this technque? Why did you decide to try water disciunt& Does not water discount accelerate the trace? My best regards, Oksana (Moscow)

  16. Claudia your soap is stunning! I love the colours and finished soaps. Gorgeous!

  17. Thank you, Oksana. Decreasing the water made the batter less runny, so the bubbles could stay small and distinct. It's a balancing act, though, as you don't want it too thick!

    As for the water and trace, they have very little to do with each other. I soap 1.5:1 water:lye, and make lots of complex swirls with that. I have seen others do 1:1, which I also plan to try.

    I got the idea of lowering the water from Auntie Clara's blog, where she showed that you are much less likely to get oxide rivers with lower water, and was also surprised that it didn't affect trace. If you read Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin Dunn, he says the same thing.

    Another benefit to lower water is the my bars cure in half the time! And when I use sodium lactate, I can un-mold and cut after 4-6 hours. :)

  18. Claudia, many thanks for your reply and explanations!!!! Really interesting!!! I am looking forward for seing your next wonderfull soaps :)

  19. This soap looks amazing! thanks for sharing the recipe, gonna try it

  20. ❤ So cute tiny bubbles. Thank yo for sharing all your experience and the recipe for this soap. ❤

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