Polka Dot Winners

April 2021 Soap Challenge

Our guest teacher for the April challenge was Tatiana Serko of Steso Tutorials and Creative Soap by Steso.  Tatiana is a well-known soapmaker and teacher and has been our guest teacher for special techniques several times over the years.  She loves to come up with innovative design ideas!  This month’s challenge required members to create symmetrical polka dot patterns all the way through their soaps.  Tatiana shared her method, but also encouraged members to get innovative with their techniques.  It was a very technical challenge, and also quite difficult!

Our sponsor this month is Babassu For You.  They provide organic certified and unrefined babassu oil from Germany to the world that is directly imported from the community in Brazil. It makes a great substitute for palm and coconut oil. They will be shipping their babassu oil directly to the top three winners in the beginner and experienced categories, as well as the Sponsor’s Choice winners in these categories plus one Sponsor’s Choice winner in the bonus category (shipping included)!

For the experienced category, members could create their polka dot design using any small shape, as long as they had at least seven on each bar of soap and the placement of the dots was vertically symmetrical.  Colors did not have to be symmetrical.

The grand prize winner is Marina Baranov of Creamy Obsession in Kentucky!  Marina created an incredible Sunset design with over 2200 tiny polka dots in these nine bars of soap, which hardly seems humanly possible!!  Of course, I had to give her the Best Technique award as well for her efforts – 17 grueling hours of dot filling with a needle syringe in 20 different colors!

Sunset by Creamy Obsession

Congratulations to Marina for winning 2 kilos of babassu oil with shipping included from Babassu For You!  The photo is linked to her Instagram post where you can read more about her process and see her inspiration photo.

Second place goes to Wan-Ting Gonzalez of Tile Soaps in California for her complex Tribal Inspired Pattern soap, with detailed shapes made from extruded soap dough!  I love the brightly colored designs, and the beautiful soap canes that are perfectly placed:

Tribal Inspired Pattern by Tile Soaps

Wan-Ting wins 1 kilo of babassu oil from Babassu For You – fantastic!  Check out her Instagram post with another photo of her soap and a short video of her process, linked to the photo above.

In third place we have Lauren Pulz of Single Barrel Soaps in Maryland, with her signature rainbow design in polka dot form!  Lauren had problems getting her dots filled, and ended up filling up the majority of the holes with soap dough to finish out her design.  It’s really incredible!

Neon Lights by Single Barrel Soaps

Lauren’s prize is also a full kilo of babassu oil from Babassu For You – so awesome!  This photo is linked to a short YouTube video of her making this soap.

For the Sponsor’s Choice award in the experienced category, Martin of Babassu For You has chosen Christina Biehl of TraumBubbles in Germany/Bavaria for her lovely Juicy Hearts soap.  Martin says, “The world need more of this: colorful hearts and a lot of them. Perfect arrangement, clear cut.”

Juicy Hearts by TraumBubbles

Wonderful job, Christina!!  She wins a 1 kilo of babassu oil – woo hoo!  Click on the photo to see a speedy video of her process on Instagram.

Next up are the rest of the Recognition Awards for the experienced category.  The Best Use of Color Award goes to Julie DeNicola of Simply Original Soaps in Florida for her super cool Pac-Man soap!! These soaps look just like the arcade game, don’t they?  Excellent use of black and white, as well as the colors for Pac Man and the ghosts.

Pac-Man by Simply Original Soaps

Be sure to click on the photo for more information about how she made her soap, plus another soap she made for the challenge on her Instagram post!

The Best Presentation Award is for an entry with fantastic photography and beautifully displayed soaps.  Amy Bautista of Elysian Acres Soap in Colorado has such excellent contrast in her soap, and the way she lined up the dots between the cut bars really spoke to me!  The photo is well-focused and well-lit, and the neutral background really allows the soaps to pop:

Pretty in Purple by Elysian Acres Soap

Click on the photo above to see Amy’s Instagram post more photos of her soap and information about how she made it.

The last recognition award is the Best Soap Newbie Award.  This one goes to someone who has been making soap for less than a year and has made fewer than 50 batches.  I was very impressed with Sayani Biswas’ complex soap design as well as her beautiful photography and presentation skills.  Even as a newbie, I’ve seen her soapmaking skills progress and her confidence grow in the few months that she has been participating in the Club!  She’s certainly not afraid to take risks in her design!

Gharchola by Sayani Biswas

Click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more information about what the gharchola is and the rich meaning behind it, plus another soap she created for the challenge!

The beginner category has some really impressive polka dot designs as well!  For this category, only members who have been making soap for less than a year or have made fewer than 50 batches could participate.  Their designs had to be made with circular dots only, also with vertical symmetry for the placement of the dots only.  Colors did not have to be symmetrical.  Congratulations goes to Jessica Dotts in New Hampshire for her grand prize winning Dot by Dot soap!  The perfectly placed, dual-sized dots and ombre color pattern earned her the Best Technique award as well.  I’m tempted to say something silly like, with a name like Dotts, we would expect great things…but oh dear, that’s a horrible joke for a beautiful soap!

Dot by Dot by Jessica Dotts

Jessica wins 2 kilos of babassu oil – how cool is that?  Click on the photo for more information and photos of her soap on Instagram.

Second place in the beginner category goes to Aparna Kumari in California for her amazing Heirloom Emblem soap, inspired by Bandhani from India, a process of dying fabrics.  The bright, contrasting colors and beautifully symmetrical design make a stunning combination:


Heirloom Emblem by Aparna Kumari

Aparna’s prize is one full kilo of babassu oil!  This was her sixth attempt at the technique, and she has posted more photos and information about her soap and inspiration on Instagram – just click on the photo to see them!

In third place we have Sabina Allegretti in Italy who created these two-faced red and white polka dot soaps for her entry.  She has essentially doubled her work by creating a double layer of soap with opposite colors, and they are so perfectly placed:

Opposites Attract by Sabina Allegretti

Sabina’s prize is also one kilo of babassu oil – hooray! Be sure to click on the photo to see her Instagram post with more information and photos!

The Sponsor’s Choice award in the beginner category goes to Maribel Marin Flores in Spain for her soap titled “Feria de Sevilla” (Sevilla’s Fair).  Martin likes the choice of vibrant colors and the contrast of the neon with the dark blue.  He says it is “strong but calm in the same moment”:

Feria de Sevilla by Maribel Marin Flores

Maribel wins a kilo of babassu oil – way to go!! This is Maribel’s first time participating with the Club!  (Photo not linked.)

Now we get to see the rest of the Recognition Awards for the beginner category!  For the Best Use of Color award, I am excited to present this to Katelyn Watkinson in Canada for her fantastic Light Bright soap!  This is also Katelyn’s first time to participate in a soap challenge, and I was very impressed by her work.  I remember playing with the light bright set when I was a kid, and her colors and pattern are very reminscent of one of my favorite toys!

Light Bright by Katelyn Watkinson

Such smooth colors!!  Be sure to check out Katelyn’s Instagram post with more photos of her soap by clicking on the photo above!

For the Best Presentation award, I’ve chosen Spring Vibes by Elena Tan in Malaysia.  My favorite part of the photo is how she shows the sides of her soap with the polka dots going all the way through, while showcasing the incredible color pattern she created on the face as well.  The soap bars are perfectly spaced with a generous amount of background preserved around them:

Spring Vibes by Elena Tan

Elena has more information about her soap and more photos of her process on her Instagram post which is linked to this photo.

Finally, we have the Bonus Category Sponsor’s Choice award!  This prize goes to Silke Johns of SoaKind in the UK for her Dotty About You! entry.  Martin says the soap is a “well done combination of form and color in a joyful picture.”

Dotty About You! by SoaKind

Silke’s soaps truly are beautiful and heartwarming! She wins one kilo of babassu oil with shipping – woo hoo!  Click on the photo to read more about she crafted this design on her Instagram post.

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

Registration opens up for the May through August challenges on Monday, May 3rd!!  I hope you are excited about the techniques, guest teachers, and sponsors that I’ve lined up:

MAY Column Pour, Sponsor: Custom Craft Tools

JUNE Hybrid Stained Glass Designs with guest teacher Sharon Czekala of Great Lakes Natural Soap Company, Sponsor: Voyageur Soap & Candle Co.

JULY Abstract Art Designs, Sponsors: Japan Design Soap Association and Soap Stamps For You The survey responses after our completely blind challenge in March were pretty clear – most of you want to do more of them. So the July challenge will be another completely blind one. No names attached to the entries during voting, and no posting anything about your entry anywhere on the internet until the winners are announced.

AUGUST Sqwiggle Pour with guest teacher Lisa Cunningham of I Dream in Soap, Sponsor: Micamoma

You’ll have the option to sign up for May only for $12.95, or all four months for $44.  Check out the Upcoming Challenges page for more info and to sign up for notifications!

The rest of the Bonus category submissions can be found HERE.  Check out the Experienced and Beginner submissions in the order they were voted below:

Experienced Category




Beginner Category