Column Pour Winners

May 2021 Soap Challenge

For the May challenge, I decided to revisit the Column Pour technique.  This was the seventh challenge we did back in December 2013!  Column pours are based on an acrylic paint pouring technique.  This video inspired soapmakers to start experimenting as early as 2010. The full tutorial for this technique is available in the Tutorial Shop.

This month’s challenge is divided into two competitive categories: beginner and experienced.  There are no differences in the requirements between the two except for the level of experience.  We also have the non-competitive bonus category.

Custom Craft Tools is our returning sponsor this month with amazing gift certificate prizes.  They are creators of high-quality, innovative soap making tools, manufactured in-house in Charleston, South Carolina.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out their shop, please do!  They offer international shipping and excellent customer service.  The prizes for our winners include generous gift certificates to the top three voted winners in each of the competitive categories, plus Sponsor’s Choice prizes for these as well as one for the bonus category!

We have so many beautiful entries!  A total of 52 in the beginner category, twice that in the experienced category, plus an additional 70 entries in the bonus category.  Let’s start with the winners of the experienced category…

Congratulations goes to Peech Keller in Colorado, our grand prize winner with her gorgeous Tie Dye Dahlia soap!  Peech did an amazing job on the colors and design of her soap, using a combination of ombre colors with black outlines, a radial swirl for the petals, and a hurricane swirl for the center of the flower. The sheer size of the batch is also impressive:

Tie Dye Dahlia by Peech Keller

Peech wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – so awesome!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post where you can see more photos of her process and find more info about it.

Second place goes to Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana for her column pour soap titled “Sublime.”  Teri found her sweet spot for the color palette with vibrant sunset colors paired with black and white.  This was her fifth batch out of six.  The result truly is stunning:

Sublime by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – woo hoo!  Click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more gorgeous photos of her soap as well as a link to YouTube, showing how she made each of the first five batches.

In third place we have Edgar Kameraki in Mexico, who has created a fantastic ombre-inspired flower pattern with purple petals and a light blue background, divided by several black and gold lines:

PÉTALOS by Edgar Kameraki

Edgar’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – way to go!  This photo is also linked to his Instagram post.

For the Sponsor’s Choice award in the experienced category, Alex of Custom Craft Tools has chosen Rachel Casamassa of SOAPothecary in California for her fabulous Peacock Tales soap.  Alex says, “Love the distorted waves in the pattern. And the colors are truly peacocking!”

Peacock Tales by SOAPothecary

Wonderful job, Rachel!!  She wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – truly wonderful!  Click on the photo for more information about how she made this unique patterned soap in her blog post!

Next up are the Recognition Awards for the experienced category.  Best Technique goes to Marty Johnson in Minnesota!  The goal of the technique is to create beautiful, contrasting lines of swirled colors.  It’s all about keeping the soap fluid throughout the pour without having the colors get muddied. Marty did such a great job of this!  Even with some of the more intricate swirls, the colors remain pure and show excellent contrast:

Blue Citrus by Marty Johnson

Great work, Marty!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post where you won’t find a lot of information about her soap except that she was grateful to be able to complete it this month after facing some personal challenges.

The Best Use of Color Award goes to Corrine Shewchuk of Wildflowers Soapery Inc in Canada for her Rainbow Kaleidoscope soap!  I love the darker tones combined with a few neon colors to create a unique rainbow palette.  All of the colorants are well-mixed to create smooth, solid colors in the soap:

Rainbow Kaleidoscope by Wildflower Soapery Inc

Be sure to click on the photo for information about how she made her soap on her Instagram post!

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with awesome photography and beautifully displayed soaps.  My choice for this award is Bluebird Landing by Irina Beketova of IB Organics Skincare in Texas.  Irina made a simple switch in arranging her soaps that really impressed me.  They are not laid out for the photo the same way they appeared in the mold, but the switch creates an interesting shape to the swirls that better represents the feather effect she is going for:

Bluebird Landing by IB Organics Skincare

The photo is also well done with excellent lighting and focus and minimal shadows.  I also appreciate how the square soaps are set in a diamond shape, centered in the photo. Click on the photo above to see Irina’s Instagram post that includes her inspiration photos as well.

Let’s take a look at the winners from the beginner category next!  In order to enter this category, members had to be under one or both of the following benchmarks: one year of cold process soapmaking and/or fewer than 50 batches.  Congratulations goes to Suzanne Melville in Sweden for her grand prize winning Forest Brook soap!  It’s a magical looking swirl, combining various hues of blue with white that flow in a circular pattern in the center:

Forest Brook by Suzanne Melville

Suzanne wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – how cool is that?  Excellent job!!  (Photo not linked)

Second place in the beginner category goes to Aparna Kumari in California for her Pride column pour soap with a bold and bright rainbow color palette!  The lines and colors are exceptionally smooth with beautiful fluid swirls:


Pride by Aparna Kumari

Aparna’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools!  She shares a quick tip on her Instagram post as well as extra photos of the cut bars and the wet soap in the mold – just click on the photo!

In third place we have Debora Bonney in Indiana who created this gorgeous column pour hurricane swirl called “Birth of a Dragon” for her entry.  It’s such a dramatic design!

Birth of a Dragon by Debora Bonney

Debora’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – hooray! Be sure to click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more information!

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the beginner category goes to Lauren Voelker in New Hampshire for her Blue Zebra soap.  Alex says, “Using just two colors played very well for this technique. The soap turned out very elegant.”

Blue Zebra by Lauren Voelker

Lauren wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – way to go!! Click on the photo if you’d like to check out her blog post with more information about this soap and one more that she made for the challenge.

Now we get to do Recognition Awards for the beginner category!  For the Best Technique in this category I have chosen Ocean Waves by Brigid Allen in New Zealand.  The tight swirl pattern is fantastic, with very minimal mixing of the colors.  Truly impressive design! 

Ocean Wave by Brigid Allen

Click on the photo to see her Pinterest board with more lovely photos of this soap, including the wet soap in the mold!

Next is the Best Use of Color Award, and I am happy to present it to Madison Mckendrick in California for her magnificent Riddler’s Rising entry!  Not only are the colors well-mixed and smooth, but the color palette is the perfect combination of bright and dark contrasting colors:

Riddler’s Rising by Madison Mckendrick

Such a beautiful soap!!  Be sure to check out Madison’s Instagram post with more information about her colors by clicking on the photo.

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen Ladyblues by Cristina Macia Orio in Spain.  I really like the arrangement of the soap bars, showing all the various sides and angles.  They are all nicely beveled and planed and appear to be the same size (which is not always easy to accomplish when cutting up a slab of soap!).  All of the soaps are in focus, and the dark background really helps the bright colors of the soap shine.  

Ladyblues by Cristina Macia Orio

I’m very happy to see Cristina’s progress as she has participated in the challenges over the past several months.  The photo is linked to her Instagram post.

Finally, we have the Bonus Category Sponsor’s Choice award!  Alex says, “For the bonus category it is hard to not pick the Watermelon one. It’s refreshingly beautiful.”  Congrats to Wan-Ting Gonzalez in California for winning this award!

Watermelon by Wan-Ting Gonzalez

This design is truly incredible!! Wan-Ting wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Craft Tools – excellent!  Click on the photo to read more about this soap and see her pouring video on her Instagram post.

The rest of the entries for the Experienced and Beginner categories are at the bottom of this post!

Registration opens up for the June challenge tomorrow!!  We will be doing Hybrid Stained Glass Designs with guest teacher Sharon Czekala of Great Lakes Natural Soap Co. Here’s one of the soaps she made for the video tutorial:

Hybrid Stained Glass soap by Sharon Czekala

Our sponsor is Voyageur Soap and Candle in British Columbia, Canada. They carry thousands of products including raw materials, cosmetic packaging, essential oils, cosmetic bases, natural soaps and kits for making and enjoying your own bath and skin care products, mineral makeup, nail polish, natural wax candles and more. 

You’ll have the option to sign up for June only, or the next three months.  Check out the Upcoming Challenges page for more info and to sign up for notifications!

Check out the Experienced and Beginner Category submissions below:

Experienced Category



Beginner Category