We incorporated a variety of techniques based on acrylic paint pours in this month’s challenge. I asked Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potions Handmade Soaps to be our guest teacher this month since she is also an acrylic paint artist and she is known for using paint pours for soap techniques. Members were given quite a few ideas for methods to pour their soaps, and the results were so varied and fun! All you need is an item with holes for the soap to flow through, and of course the options are endless! Those who entered the regular category could use found items that already had holes, or that they were able to alter and upcycle. For the advanced category, the items had to be created from raw materials. These ranged from 3D printed designs, to cardboard or plastic sheets with shapes cut out, even items made from Shrinky Dinks or hot glue!
Our sponsor for this month’s challenge is Nature’s Garden. They are known for their HUGE selection of quality fragrance oils at reasonable prices. For soapmakers, each fragrance has notes about performance in cold process soap which is super valuable information!
Same as last month, we had exactly 17 entries in the advanced category! The grand prize winner is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in BC, Canada!! Belinda’s Kaleidoscope soap is a stunning example of a pull through technique. She created a vector shape, then 3D printed her design, and pulled it through her soap after pouring:
I also chose Belinda’s entry for the Best Technique award in the advanced category since her results were so stunning and amazingly consistent. The varying shades of blue give such a gorgeous effect! Belinda’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden – congratulations!! Click on the photo of her soap to see her Instagram post that includes more photos and information.
Second place goes to Sonya Mulholland in the UK who had been taking a soapmaking hiatus and came back full force with her Pop of Pink! soap:
You can click on the photo of her soap to read all about her process on her blog post – from the first batch she made that didn’t produce the results she was hoping for, to the adjustments she made to achieve the award-winning soap you see here! Sonya wins a $35 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden – woo hoo!
In third place we have Lucie Steblova of the Czech Republic, a brand-new member of the Club, who created her “Wild Swamp” soap with a 3D printed design and a spin swirl. What a fun and interesting result!
This photo is also linked to Lucie’s Instagram post with photos of her process and 3D printed design. Congratulations to Lucie for winning a $25 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden!
Next, I have a few more recognition awards to present to some other members who entered the advanced category! Best Presentation award goes to Charlie Nielsen in Denmark for her “Little Bug Skelleton” entry:
The soap is very nicely cut and beveled, the colors have excellent contrast, and the black background matches the black accents in the soap. I love that the soap is well-lit, with the hint of a reflection in front, while the background remains black. The photo is sharply focused on the soap, and the slight off-set gives a bit of whimsy to an otherwise perfectly symmetrical subject. Well done, Charlie!
The Best Use of Color award goes to Debi Olsen of Me Do it Meself in Fort Collins, Colorado. Debi’s bright color palette really stands out from the rest of the entries, and the mix of neons with regular micas and a touch of white really makes her soap pop off the page:
Click on the photo to read about Debi’s process (using Shrinky Dinks!) and other soaps she has made with similar techniques on her blog post!
The Best Soap Newbie award goes to Christine Johnson of Tallow and Suds in South Carolina. Christine has been making soap for less than a year and made fewer than 50 batches. I’m always impressed when someone so new takes on the advanced category! Christine chose to create a star pattern in her soap with a wire she bent and pulled through her soap:
Feel free to click on the photo to read more about Christine’s soap on her Instagram post!
Now for the regular category awards…. Congratulations to our grand prize winner: Holly Shelton in Tennessee! Holly’s beautiful soap is another round one, this time made with a basket that she cut and adapted to pull through the soap:
Isn’t it stunning? Holly wins a $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Photo not linked.
Second place goes to Leah Stinman of Delta Tule in California for her Fishnet soap! No, she didn’t use a fishnet to create the pattern, but doesn’t it look like it?
Click on the photo to see Leah’s Instagram post and let her know what pattern you see in her soap! Leah’s prize is a $35 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden – yahoo!
In third place we have Jerry Merritt in South Carolina with these beautiful flower designs created from sink strainers – an original acrylic paint technique:
Even as a fairly new member of the Club, Jerry has consistently participated and shared his creations with us! This is his first time placing in the top three, and he wins a $25 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden for his efforts. Congratulations, Jerry!
Recognition awards for the regular category are up next! The Best Technique award goes to Linda Whitcomb of Island Spring Soapworks in Washington State for her Haight-Ashbury 1968 soap creation:
Not only do the colors flow beautifully and unmuddied, but I was super impressed with the multiple gadgets Linda put together to create the flow. You will definitely want to click on the photo to read all about it on her Instagram post!
Best Presentation award goes to Irina Beketova of I.B. Organics in Texas. Irina has a great eye for photography and presentation as you can see from the photo of her Mandala – Fire & Ice soap:
Everything around the soaps is blurred as the soaps themselves are perfectly focused. Your eyes are drawn to the swirls and patterns within the soap and nothing else. Well done, Irina!
I’ve chosen Leila Hazou of Mad Soaper in Pennsylvania to receive the Best Use of Color award. Her Ouroboros soap proves that you don’t have to use a lot of different colors to create a stunning result:
The first thing I look for is that the colorants are all well-mixed into the batter without any spots or streaks. I also think Leila’s color choice works well with the dragon scale theme of the soap, and the nuances and various shades of the colors really enhance the design. It is well balanced with just the right amount of contrast.
Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award goes to Matt Cox in Idaho for his soap named “The Amelia.” As a new soapmaker, he has been making soap for less than a year with fewer than 50 batches under his belt – but slowly working his way up, as he made three batches just for this challenge!
I appreciate the way Matt documented his “failed” batches and his persistence to get the results he wanted, as you can see by clicking on the photo to see the progress on his Instagram post. The colors of the soap work really well together and created such an interesting design from the sink strainer pours. Great job, Matt!
The rest of the entries from both categories are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post.
Are you ready for the next challenge? Registration will open Monday, June 3 for the June through August challenges. The challenge for next month is to use Food & Drink Ingredients in our soaps! I created this soap for the advanced category, using 100% fresh squeezed orange juice in the lye solution, and pureed pears, carrots and beets as the food portions of the soap:
I’m very excited that our sponsor for the June challenge is Mountain Rose Herbs, as they offer such a wide selection of edible herbs and teas!
The challenges for July and August will be equally fun and interesting, as we have Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks guest teaching Pointy Layers in July, and we tackle Brush Embroidery designs in August. Be sure to check out the Current Challenge page for more information and to sign up for notifications!
And now, here are the rest of the entries for May: