Saturday, July 7, 2012

Soap curls

You know those cute little curls you see on the perfect fluffy, sparkly, gorgeous artisan soaps? The ones that seem so elegant and perfectly shaped, sliced through at just the right spots for a beautiful soapy strata.

Photo from Intentions on Etsy

I've admired those darling curls from the very beginning of my soaping days, but for some reason I never could churn em out. I can't even shape the melt and pour jelly roll type swirls.... not without unsightly wrinkles and dimples anyway. I'd tried the vegetable peeler on cold process soaps more times than I care to admit, but just never got it right. Any CP soaps I decided to discard or shred, I first sentenced to death by peeler. My soaps were too soft. My soaps were too hard. My peeler swiveled too much. The curls were too thick. The curls were too thin. My peeler swiveled too much. I used too much pressure. I didn't use enough pressure. And did I mention my peeler swiveled so darn much?!?

Since I had all these extra unfragranced soaps lying around after my batch of color testing, I decided to chop some up for embeds and to give curling another go. I also pulled out some older soaps that I wasn't happy with for one reason or another for my experimenting. First one night at the kitchen table for an hour or so, then again the next night on a towel in the living room floor so I could watch Jim Cavaziel (aka crime prevention Jesus) and shuck away at soap simultaneously. O.o

Two days, and half my honey's thumbnail later (bet he won't be offering to help with that again....), I think I finally got the curling right! Or at least acceptable. Of course all the pieces didn't just slide right off into perfect delicate, wispy curls. I used a pencil to shape most of them, just by wrapping the pieces around and pressing gently with my fingers so that they would hold form. I'd still like longer pieces, and not so chunky, but I can only do the best with the soapy specimens and peeler that I have for now.

My new Pink Berry Mimosa soap

Part of my box o' soap curls!

I know a long loaf of soap would be best suited for the look I want, but I don't want to use any more of my oils on soaps made just for curling. I do, however, have two long blocks of Bramble Berry's LCP white melt and pour base (low-sweat) in my supply closet that I really wasn't using for anything. So I assaulted one with my peeler, in quick strokes down the longer length of the block, and it worked really well! The shreds were much longer, obviously, and thinner, and still required a little shaping. But they were much easier to handle and less time consuming to make, especially considering that I didn't have to make an actual batch of cold process soap first. Definitely more cost effective as well.

Mmmm, smells so good!!

Here is the soap I topped with the curls from the melt and pour block. I really like this look! Much more circular, bullseye sort of shapes versus the cinnamon stick look. Very similar to the project featured in this month's newsletter from Otion. (You can sign up for the newsletter on the front page of their website, near the bottom!)

I posted photos of these recent soaps on a Facebook group I am a member of, and I got a few questions about the how-to's of making soap curls. Looks like I'm not the only one who'd found the technique a bit challenging! So I guess the moral of my story is practice practice practice, and the longer the surface side of the soap you are working with the better! By no means am I an expert quite yet though!

So how does everyone feel about soap curls? Cute, fun, overdone, functionally unneccessary? Do you have experience with soap curling or any pro tips?


  1. I was just admiring your soap curls! In fact, I was showing your green soap to my hubby and said, "Now THAT's a soap you could sell for good money!"

  2. Aww thanks Amy! Maybe I can swap you some after it cures for some of your awesome laundry soap! ;)

  3. I haven't played with soap curls myself, but I love the look. Using M&P base is a great idea if you don't have extra CP soap around. I love the colors in your Pink Berry Mimosa, and the swirls and curls are perfect. The green and yellow soap is also gorgeous - I like the M&P curls, too. They look like flowers.

  4. Thanks Jenny! Flowers was what I was thinking too.

  5. Love the soap curls Laura, I have yet to try, but you've got me anxious to do it. Question...Not sure I understand your comment about "then again the next night on a towel in the living room floor so I could watch Jim Cavaziel (aka crime prevention Jesus)"

  6. Thanks Deb!

    Is it the towel part or the Jim Caviezel part? If it's the first, I meant I spread a towel on the floor to contain my curling mess from the carpet.... so I could watch a tv show starring Jim Caviezel (I misspelled his name the first time oops!) called "Person of Interest," in which he tries to prevent future crimes from happening. And Jesus because his last big movie role before this was playing Jesus in Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" film. =D

  7. Love your soap curls. Wish I could get mine to look as good though.

  8. You can do it Cynthia! I've seen how lovely your soaps are!