Friday, October 5, 2012

Peppermint Funnel Swirl

Peppermint is synonymous with winter and the holiday season for me. When I was a kid, my grandmother would hang candy canes on the Christmas tree. My cousin and I would scope out all of the gifts under the tree, always with candy canes hanging out of our mouths.

Another memory: When we lived near Clearwater, FL, my parents and I went to the town's Christmas parade one fiercely cold Saturday morning. We must have looked particularly miserable standing around in the freezing temperature, waiting for the parade to start, because a policeman on a motorcycle stopped and gave us a handful of round Starlight mints, saying that the peppermint would warm us up.

Both of these strong childhood memories have things in common: cold weather, Christmas, and peppermint. Nowadays, Christmas has to include not only ginger cookies but also something peppermint-y. Sometimes I make peppermint bark, peppermint cookies, peppermint cake, or peppermint brownies. I'm happy with any dessert-based medium as long as it includes peppermint.

Don't get me wrong - peppermint is also a perennial favorite. I will love peppermint anytime you put it in front of me, whether it's December or June. Peppermint is warm and soothing in the winter, and brisk and refreshing in the summer. And it's pretty darn good in the spring and autumn, too.

I love desserts and I love soap. And the two intersect quite a lot for me during the holidays. Such is the case with peppermint. No Christmas is complete without peppermint baked goods and peppermint soap.

For my peppermint soap, I wanted to do a variation of the funnel swirl. I thought it would be fun to do the funnel swirl in a round mold, so I tried out my new column mold from Bramble Berry for the first time. This mold comes with a custom liner so that unmolding the soap is a breeze. (I got my inspiration from Bramble Berry's Anne-Marie, who did a twist on the faux funnel pour technique to make her Circle Swirled Soap with the column mold.)

Wrong.
NOTE: If you purchase this mold, please do yourself a favor and read Bramble Berry's helpful usage tips near the end of the product description. I am embarrassed to admit that I dorked things up the first time I used the mold. Evidently, I had the liner in backwards - the edges overlapped (so I taped them together), and my liner ended up being too short for the mold (something I somehow paid attention to only after making the soap). I know, I know. You would think that either one of those things would have been a clue that I was doing something wrong. What can I say? My brain don't work too good sometimes, and Scooby-Doo isn't always around when you need him. I went back and looked at BB's description and noticed a new tip saying that the edges of the liner shouldn't overlap - if they do, flip the liner around. So I flipped it around the other way, and now the edges meet to make a perfect circle inside of the mold, and the liner sticks up out of the top a bit now. So, there is no need for tape nor is it possible to overshoot the top if the liner is placed correctly. I like to think that I would have eventually figured this out on my own, but who knows? My face is very red as I type this, but I share this with you so that you don't make the same mistake. (And also because you'll watch the video below and think, "What's the deal with the liner?") The good news is that my soap still turned out fine. But next time will be even better! Now that I know how to properly use the liner, I see myself falling in love with this mold. (Brain, you're on notice. Seriously, get it together.)

Despite having a malfunctioning noggin, I somehow managed to properly place my funnel over the top of the mold and actually make soap. (I did forget to add my sodium lactate, though, so my soap was a bit sticky. Strike two, brain.) After I made my main batch of soap - scented with Bramble Berry's Peppermint essential oil - I split the batch into three equal portions and colored one portion with brick red oxide, another with Merlot Sparkle mica, and another with titanium dioxide. Then I poured each color for a count of three through the funnel - alternating between red, white, and pink - until the soap was gone.

Here is a video I made of the process:


This pour produces bars with pretty rings of color emanating from the center, almost like a cut tree trunk. I like that no two bars look exactly the same.



Since this is my first go at round soaps, this is also my first time packaging round soaps. My bars are usually rectangular, and I just put a cigar band label around them. Cigar bands don't work so well with round soaps, so I needed to come up with something else. I had heard of soapmakers using coffee filters to wrap their round soaps in, so I gave that a shot. It worked beautifully.

Using coffee filters to package round soaps
I used regular 8-12 cup filters, and they fit around the soap perfectly. I chose white, but you could also go with the brown filters for a more earthy look.

Wrapping round bars with coffee filters is very easy: Place the soap in the middle of the filter. Pull the edge of the filter close to the bar and fold it toward the center. Keep folding the edges in, working all the way around the soap and keeping the folds taut. Once you get all of the edges folded in, secure the center with a piece of tape and carefully place your label.

I picked up some 2.5" round white labels, which also fit the soaps perfectly. (I've seen the labels in the clear and brown kraft variety, too.) I used two labels per bar, but you may be able to get all of your info on one.

I am very pleased with my Peppermint bars, and I think the packaging is cute. These will make great Christmas gifts!

How many of you are peppermint fans? What sorts of peppermint goodies (soap or otherwise) are you planning on enjoying this holiday season?

Another note: I am publishing this blog post a bit early this time because I am heading out of town for a little while. I'm not sure what kind of internet connection I'll have while I'm gone, so I may be away from Blogland for a few days. I will do my best to respond to all of your lovely comments promptly, but if I am slower than usual checking in, that's why. Thanks so much for reading, and I will pop in as often as I can during the next week and a half!

30 comments:

  1. Jenny, those look fantastic! I have got to try this! My column mold should be here any day now, so I'm glad I saw your comment about the liner. :)

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I really like how the funnel pour turned out. I also love the column mold now that I have the liner positioned correctly! I think you will love the mold, too. Can't wait to see what you do with it - have fun! :)

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  2. Hi Jenny, this soap looks great! I never tried this kind of mold, but you sure have given me reason for trying this some day...
    Beautiful job.
    Greetings Carol

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    1. Hi, Carol, and thank you for your comments! I appreciate your kind words. BB's column mold is wonderful, especially when you put the liner in correctly! I had always shied away from PVC-type molds because I had heard that they can be difficult, but BB's custom liner makes unmolding easy.

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  3. Wow, Jenny, this is a perfect soap, you managed very well this technique!I really like this soap of yours and it's always a pleasure to read your posts,thank you!

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    1. Hi, Natalia! Thank you for your comments and kind words. I am very happy with how this soap turned out, too. The funnel pour technique worked really well with the column mold!

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  4. Beautiful soaps, Jer! And the packaging is so pretty -- really a good idea to use coffee filters. Despite your intermittent noggin malfunctions,your new column mold did a fantastic job!

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    1. Thanks, Mom! I really like these soaps, too. I had heard about other soapmakers using coffee filters to wrap their round soaps, and it worked out great. I think the packaging is cute, too, and I really like the round labels that I found at the office supply store. Now it would also be really cute if my brain would quit malfunctioning so often! :D

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  5. cool cool cool! those turned out fabulous...and the labels are cute too!

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    1. Thank you, Kalla! I am very pleased with how these soaps turned out, and I like the packaging, too. :)

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  6. That must have been such a fun soap to cut, what a great technique! I loooove your packaging too Jenny....so adorable!

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    1. Thanks, Cee Gee! I still get excited just before cutting a soap, especially when I try a new technique. It's fun to cut into a soap with high expectations and find a lovely pattern within! And thank you for the kind words about the packaging - the coffee filters and round labels worked out well.

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  7. So so so cool, Jenny! I love everything about it--the shape, color, and the packaging. And I can even smell it from here! (Or maybe that's my own batch of peppermint that I'm waiting to cut.) :) ....and speaking of peppermint goodies, I really want to try to make peppermint marshmallows this year; I've never tried them before....

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I appreciate your kind comments. Sounds like you've kinda got smell-o-vision with your peppermint soap sitting nearby! It's funny - I've got batches of Hot Cocoa, Gingersnap, Peppermint, and Fresh Snow soaps sitting out curing right now. One moment I'll smell one scent and then smell another the next. And peppermint marshmallows sound amazing! Yum!

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  8. Such unique soap design and the packaging is really beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Gordana! I checked out your blog and your soaps are lovely, too! Thank you for your kind words. :)

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  9. looks great & I love the coffe filter idea, I heard but never seen it done but I would have liked the sopa to be more Red, just me! haha

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Santana! The coffee filters worked out great, and I like how the funnel pour turned out. This was my first time trying that technique, and I love how it worked with the column mold. I want to try the funnel pour in a log mold someday, too. :)

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  10. The soap looks wonderful will have to try it sometime never worked with peppermint before but I will soon love the mold and the packaging.

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    1. Thank you for the compliments, Destini! Peppermint is such a wonderful essential oil - I think you'll love it. And I am a big fan of BB's column mold, especially now that know how to use it correctly! :)

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  11. Just beautiful !! Love the soaps, love the video! Now I want to try it! :)

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    1. Thanks for the compliments, Nancy! I am glad that you enjoyed the video. The funnel pour is a lot of fun, and I really like how the soaps turned out. Definitely give this technique a try!

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  12. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the soaps turned out Jenny! Pretty cool!
    I am also embarrased to admit that I also had the liner in backwards and did not realise it till I read your blog!!! LOL! Obviously I did not read the directions - he he he! - Roxana

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    1. Thanks, Roxana! We all make mistakes. The good thing is that we can all learn from each other. I hope your soap turned out okay, too! The column mold is really nice, and I enjoy using it.

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  13. Those look so great Jenny! The circles are so perfectly neat, and I love the color variations. Thanks for the coffee filter packaging instructions, I'll definitely be using those!

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    1. Thank you for the compliments, Laura! I really like how the circles turned out, too. The coffee filters worked out great for wrapping the round soaps. They fit the soaps perfectly!

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  14. It's so cute, I really love your interpretation of the funnel swirl. And, what super cute packaging! It would totally fit into our Make It Monday: #Packaging Challenge we are having. :)

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    1. Thank you, Anne-Marie! The funnel swirl was really fun with the column mold. I will check out the Packaging Challenge - I have a couple of photos that I think would make good entries. I'm away from my PC right now, but when I get home in a couple of days, I'll have to find them on my computer and submit them. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  15. A bit late, but I'm just now looking at blogs (am packing to move). This is the prettiest soap, Jenny. I love the funnel swirl and the packaging both...very creative :-D

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    1. Thank you, Suzy! I am very happy with how these soaps turned out, and the coffee filters worked great for packaging. Best wishes to you on your move!

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