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Cold Process Soap Designs

Cold Process Soap Designs

*We will keep updating this list as we create more fun designs and learn new tricks.

If you're in to artisan soap, then you'll know there are countless ways to be creative when it comes to cold process soap. With several techniques and inummerable colorants and additives, deciding on a soap project can be overwhelming. Here's a compilation of some of the cold process soap designs we've made, including tips based on our experience.  

Be sure to choose a design before starting. Prepare all the ingredients and tools you will need. If you're a control freak like my sister, draw your design and write down your steps and arrange your tools accordingly. If you're happy-go-lucky, like me, just visualize your process in your head! If you panic while making your soap - that's normal.


Difficulty level: Beginner

Ideal working trace: Thin ~ thick

Notes: Perfect for beginners and for testing soap recipes. You can leave the bar uncolored and unscented. You can also use a fancy mold or spice it up using a crinkle cutter for a rustic look.



Difficulty level: Beginner

Ideal working trace: Medium ~ thick

Notes: Making layered soap is simple, yet time-sensitive. You have to make sure the previous layer is already set so the next layer will not break through. Pouring the soap batter over a spatula, and not directly on the base layer, can help prevent this. You can also divide the oils and lye and mix one layer at a time to achieve the right consistency. Once the base layer has set up, you can also texturise it (however you want it to appear - e.g. mountain, waves, etc) if you are not after straight or even layers.


Difficulty level: Advanced

Ideal working trace: Medium

Notes: This can be technique-sensitive. If you soap at a thin trace, it could muddle the design. In order to achieve the kaleidoscope effect, you need to soap at medium trace, pouring at the center of the mold (and keeping it at the center - I'm still working on this). Also, it would really make a difference if you use a ketchup bottle (and extending the tip with a plastic dropper) to be able to pour as close to the base as possible. This will help avoid breaking through the previous layers and ruining the design.

It can be challenging at first but it can also be addicting once you get the hang of it. This is my favorite at the moment - the result is always a mystery :p

Tools needed: Pull-through toolColumn mold



Difficulty level: Beginner

Ideal working trace: Medium

Notes: This is pretty simple to make. Just layer your soap batter (minimum of 2 colors) and "swirl" the hanger tool in various directions. You can create your own tool using a flexible hanger (I have yet to try this). In the photo below, I used a glass stirring rod and swirled it from the top in a slanting position.

Tools needed: Hanger swirl tool/Stirring rod



Difficulty level: Intermediate

Ideal working trace: Medium

Notes: This is usually done in a slab mold. I like to think of it as an abstract painting. You simply pour two different-coloured batters at the same time while letting the spout touch each other (hence, the name kiss pour).

Tools needed: Easy pour cups for easy pouring (but any cup/container will do)


Difficulty level: Beginner

Ideal working trace: Medium

Notes: This technique requires dividers to separate the colors. You can make your own using a cardboard or purchase the mold with dividers. Pouring each color halfway through first can help prevent seeping on the bottom. After carefully pulling out the dividers, insert a stirring rod or a popsicle stick down to the bottom and start swirling. You can swirl as thin or as thick as you like and even run the rod around the entire mold (starting at a corner) to create a circling Taiwan swirl.

Tools needed: Mold with dividers, Stirring rod



Difficulty level: Intermediate

Ideal working trace: Thin

Notes: This technique can be really trace-sensitive. You have to maintain a thin trace the entire time to achieve smooth transition. When making an ombre soap, it's very important to choose a fragrance oil that does not accelerate trace. In the photo below, the soap batter thickened halfway through.


Difficulty level: Beginner

Ideal working trace: Medium ~ thick

Notes: This involves cutting up bars of soap into small chunks and mixing into a solid-coloured base - perfect if you have failed (design-wise) soap bars that you do not want to go to waste.


1) Always pre-mix your colorants ahead of time. This is important especially when you need to soap at a thin trace. This way, you won't need to stick blend the colorant in, which can accelerate trace.

2) When working with trace-sensitive designs, choose your fragrance oils wisely. I have had several soap failures due to rising after adding the fragrance oil. I would recommend testing the fragrance oils beforehand to see which ones accelerate trace and which ones doesn't.  


In-the-pot swirl, Clyde Slide, Spin Swirl, Drop Swirl, Confetti. Anything I missed? Let us know in a comment below!

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