hanger swirl! This technique has been around for a while, but I never gave it a try. Honestly, I think what held me back was the idea of having to get out the pliers and alter a coat hanger to fit my mold. I can make soap, but I'm otherwise not very crafty or handy.
Then I found this hanger swirl tool from Great Soap Shop on Etsy. It fits Essential Depot's RED silicone mold - I have the natural-colored RED mold with the stainless steel basket - and it looks like Michelle offers a hanger swirl tool and straight dividers that fit the RED mold, the Crafter's Choice 1501 or Bramble Berry's 10" silicone molds. (She sells lots of great soaping tools - do check out her shop!)
Celine, the lovely and talented soapmaker behind iamhandmade.com, created a tutorial to demonstrate how to do the hanger swirl and I followed her tips.
For the soap, I used a palm-free recipe from Amanda at Lovin' Soap that includes olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, and rice bran oil. (It's Recipe 1.)
To color the soap and to add a touch a luxury, I used activated charcoal and red Moroccan clay. The scent is a combination of grapefruit and geranium rose essential oils at a 4:1 ratio. I added the EOs to the cooled oils before adding the lye, and then split the batch in two after reaching trace. One half was colored with the charcoal (1 tsp per pound of oils) and the other with the clay (1 Tbsp per pound of oils). I mixed each with a little glycerin to avoid clumping. Be careful not to overdo it with the charcoal - too much can make your lather gray and possibly stain your washcloths.
I wanted the soap at about a medium trace so I could layer it. Starting with the black soap, I poured a thin layer maybe a half-inch thick. Then I spooned a pink layer on top of it, being careful not to let it break through the layer beneath. I repeated that process, alternating the colors, until I had built up six layers.
Next came the fun part! I took my very special hanger swirl tool and carefully pushed it into the soap and onto the bottom of the mold along the side farthest away from me. With the tool on the bottom of the mold, I moved it just a tiny bit toward myself. Then I lifted it straight up, moved it a tiny bit toward myself again, and then pushed it straight down to the bottom again. I repeated the movement until I had traveled all the way across the mold. Then I reversed course and did the same, only pushing the tool away from me this time. I also tried to lift and sink my tool in between the lines I had already created, hitting different spots to maximize the effect.
When I had moved all the way to the other side again, I was done. I had reserved some soap, and I drizzled it over the top of the loaf. Using a spoon, I texturized the tops, being careful not to disturb the swirled layers beneath.
Here is a video I made of the process:
I really like the hanger swirl technique! It's a fun, easy way to create a gorgeous and unique soap bar. I'll be revisiting this method, methinks.
And the lather on these bars feels so nice! Activated charcoal and red Moroccan clay are supposed to be wonderful for the skin. These bars should be quite luxurious!
Have you tried the hanger swirl technique? Do you like it?