What You’ll Need:
5 Pound Mold with Sliding Bottom
Silicone Liner for 5 Pound Wood Mold
Multi-Pour Sectioning Tool
Hanger Swirl Tool
54 oz. Swirl Recipe Quick Mix
7.7 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye (2% superfat)
17. 8 oz. Distilled Water
1.8 oz. Ginger Essential Oil
Sweet Almond Oil (for infusing turmeric)
Large Sealable Tea Bag
If you’ve never made cold process soap before, stop here! I 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, including my newest book, Pure Soapmaking. You can also check out the digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.
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.
COLOR PREP: Disperse 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder into 1 tablespoon of sunflower or sweet almond oil (or any other liquid oil). We used a slightly more concentrated oil dispersion to avoid adding too much oil to the batter. Then in a separate container, measure out 5 tablespoons of the turmeric-infused oil. Set aside. Learn how to make the turmeric infusion here.
FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 1.8 ounces of the ginger essential oil into a glass, essential oil safe container. Set aside.
TOOL PREP: Bend your Hanger Tool so it fits the mold perfectly by length. Insert the Multi-Pour Sectioning Tool into the mold to create three sections. Set aside.
ONE: 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.
TWO: Fully melt the entire bag of Swirl Recipe Quick Mix until completely clear and there is no cloudiness. Shake the bag to mix up all the oils. Measure 54 ounces into your soaping bowl. 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 stick blend until thin trace. 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 3 teaspoons sodium lactate.
THREE: Once you have reached a very thin trace, pour off 16 ounces of batter into a separate container. To aid in pouring later on, a container with a pour spout is recommended, like the Easy Pour Mixing Measuring Container. To the large container of soap, add all the turmeric infused oil and stir with a whisk. The batter will turn a bright orange color.
FOUR: To the small container, add all the dispersed turmeric powder. Use a whisk to fully mix in the colorant. The batter will turn a darker orange than the large container.
FIVE: Add the ginger essential oil to each container proportionally—it’s okay to eyeball it. Use a whisk to fully mix in the fragrance oil.
SIX: At this point, the batter should be a thin to thin-medium trace. The key to the Hidden Feather Swirl Technique is that the batter needs to be thin enough to swirl, but thick enough to layer. If the batter is still extremely thin, give each container of soap a few bursts with the stick blender to slightly thicken trace. Be careful to not over stick blend!
SEVEN: Pour a small amount of the turmeric-infused soap (the large container) into all three sections of the mold evenly. This first layer should be small, but large enough to support the first layer in the “feather.”
EIGHT: Very carefully, pour a thin layer of the turmeric-powder soap (the small container) into the middle section of the mold. You will be creating three layers of turmeric-powder soap in the center of the mold, and using some of this soap on top for the swirl. Keep this in mind when pouring each layer. Be careful to not break through the first layer of soap. Pouring very thin lines of soap until the first layer is covered is a good way to prevent breakthrough.
NINE: Pour more of the turmeric-infused soap into the two outside sections of the mold. Then very carefully, pour a layer of the turmeric-infused soap into the middle section of the mold. Be careful to not break into the layers below.
TEN: Carefully pour a second layer of the turmeric powder soap into the middle section. As the soap becomes thicker, layering the soap will get easier. But be careful to not break through to the layers below. Pour slowly and gently.
ELEVEN: Gently cover the turmeric-powder soap in the middle section of the mold with a layer of turmeric-infused soap. Pour more turmeric-infused soap into the outside sections to keep all the sections filled evenly.
TWELVE: Cover the middle section with a third (and last) layer of turmeric powder soap. Keep in mind that you need a small amount of the turmeric-powder soap leftover to create the swirl on top at the very end. Fill the outside sections of the mold with turmeric-infused soap if necessary to keep the sections even. If the sections are filled unevenly, one section of soap may cover the other sections when the dividers are pulled out. Keep in mind you need more of the lighter, turmeric-infused soap to cover the top.
THIRTEEN: Slowly and carefully, pull the two dividers straight out of the soap. Set them aside. Tap the mold gently on the counter to help settle the soap. This action is what creates the upward design on the outside of the “feather.” Remove the two pieces of the divider set on either end of the mold. You can also leave them in the mold if you’d like. You’ll just need to slice the divider pieces off when the soap is unmolded.
FOURTEEN: Cover the top of the soap with the lighter, turmeric-infused soap. Use a small spoon to evenly distribute the top layer if necessary.
FIFTEEN: Insert the Hanger Swirl Tool into the center of the soap so that the tool goes through the layers in the middle section of the mold. This motion is what creates the downward design in the center of the “feather.” Once the Hanger Tool reaches the bottom of the mold, drag it along the bottom to one edge of the mold. Keep the Hanger Swirl Tool along the side of the mold while you pull it up and out. To get a better idea of what this motion looks like, watch this video of Handmade in Florida (the tool is inserted @2:20).
SIXTEEN: Pour a line of the turmeric powder soap down the center of the mold. Then, use a chopstick or dowel to create loop-de-loops down the length of the mold. Do not insert the chopstick or dowel all the way into the soap—only swirl the very top so you don’t disrupt the swirl inside.
SEVENTEEN: Wood molds insulate very well, causing the soap to become quite warm. Our soap went through gel phase, which makes the color more vibrant. If you live in a very hot area, you may want to keep an eye on the soap for the first hour or two to make sure the top does not crack. If a crack forms, place the soap in the fridge to prevent further cracks. If you don’t live in an extremely hot area, leave the soap at room temperature (do not insulate). Allow the soap to stay in the mold for 2-3 days, remove, and cut into bars. Allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks before use. Enjoy!