Soap Challenge 2013 – Mica Swirl

The third project for the soap challenge is creating a soap topped with (hopefully) a lovely mica swirl.  I’ve messed around with mica swirls before and they turned out okay, but knowing the correct proportions of mica and oil sure makes a difference in the end result.  Gotta say these swirls please me a lot!

Shimmery gold mica swirl in the mold.

Shimmery gold mica swirl in the mold.

So here’s the scoop:

  • make your soap and pour it into the mold
  • measure 1 tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil) into a small container
  • add 1/2 teaspoon of shimmery mica to the oil and mix well (shimmery, sparkly micas work best)
  • drizzle the mixture over the top of the soap (you can pour long thin lines or a random pattern)
  • use a skewer or chopstick to create swirls throughout the mica; you may also use a spoon to add texture

The hardest part of this technique is resisting the urge to overwork the swirls!  Make a few swirls and stop to evaluate how it looks.  Needs more?  Add another swirl or two and evaluate again.  If you make too many swirls, they’ll all run together and give your beautiful soap top a muddy look.

A close-up of one of the prettier swirls.  See all the "mini patterns" each swirl creates?

A close-up of one of the prettier swirls. See all the “mini patterns” each swirl creates?

As the soap saponifies, it absorbs the excess oil, leaving behind the gorgeous sparkling mica pattern you created.

So are you wondering what’s below that swirly mica top?  Well, this is Morning Star, named after the planet Venus, which in turn was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.  Said to be born from sea foam, Venus’ sacred colors include pink, red, violet, gold, silver, aqua, light green, and light blue.  Pearls, also born of the sea, are among her favorite gems, and she is very fond indeed of mint plants. So I designed Morning Star with sea colors and pink, of course, for love.  A smattering of sugar pearls accent the golden mica swirl, and it’s scented with a lovely blend of spearmint and peppermint, rounded out with a soft whiff of lavandin.

Here’s the reveal.  I love how all the colors, even the white, seem to flow and swirl like waves washing up gently on the shore.  My photo doesn’t do justice to the sparkle of the mica swirl, though (still learning how to photograph soap in natural light)!

Morning Star (Venus)

Morning Star is on the curing rack now and will be ready by mid-May in my Etsy shop.

I enjoyed this challenge, but unfortunately I missed the deadline for posting it with the other entries (my bad).  But you can still check out all the other lovely mica swirls over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  

The next challenge is Leopard Spots.  Fun!