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Swirling Melt & Pour Soap

This information is courtesy of Lin Frye - I consider her the queen of Melt and Pour swirling! You can see some of her beautiful creations by visiting her web page. Thanks, Lin! :)

Melt, Pour, & Swirl...
While I am by no means an expert, I'll be glad to share what I've learned about swirling -- a process I love and which took me 8 pounds of M&P base and four weeks to sort of master -- at least get fairly consistent results.

For two colors, I melt M&P in to different containers. Cool until a skin forms, then add scent and stir the skin back in. If my stirring produces bubbles, then I spritz lightly with alcohol. I wait a few minutes (1-2 minutes -- trying to keep from messing with it), and stir one last time. I pour one color from one side of the mold, the second color from the other side -- slowly. As they meet in the middle of my mold, I spritz lightly with alcohol to keep them separate. Then I wait, do the swirling-waiting dance. When another skin forms, I remove this, THEN swirl gently with a knife or spoon to get my two colors to inter-face -- do gently or even this cool, they're apt to blend. That's it for two colors.

For three colors, someone (forgive me I'm terrible at remembering names -- sometimes even my own!) suggested making a triangle out of a medium-weight piece of cardboard to fit into your mold so that you have 3 compartments. After melting your base, scenting and coloring it, and after it cools and thickens (be patient here -- it takes a while -- the thickened-part is after a skin forms, after you stir this back in, and when the base gets a little like "just about to set up jello", then pour each into your cardboard-ed compartments. You can spray them with alcohol to keep the colors separate. Then I wait some more (this is when I was told one does the "swirling" dance - helps keep one's impatient fingers from messing things up -- again forgive my name memory loss). When another skin forms, stir this in. By now the base is getting thicker. You can at this point, remove the cardboard, and gently swirl the three colors together.

I also found that the type of mold I use makes a huge difference. The broader the mold versus the thicker the mold seems to work well. Also the gel colorants placed in the clear portion of one of the colors (that is if you're using clear and opaque colors), seems to make the clear base a bit heavier so that it tends to hold up to the heavier opaque base. Kaila suggested, too, that I could add a bit of clear base to the white to "lighten it" some so that the swirling would work better.

This seems to work for me -- though I find that if I'm too impatient (which is often!), then my swirls won't look as nice. It really is the temperature (in my humble experience) and seems to keep the swirls a swirl and not a blend.

Have you made a beautiful swirl that you want to share? You can submit it to the Swirling Hall of Fame! Just e-mail me and let me know.



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