Pour/Pull Through Techniques

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Welcome to the May Challenge Club!

Thanks so much for joining us this month! You have so many options to create your soap this month, and I can’t wait to see what you will make! Please be sure to read through the entire tutorial so you don’t miss anything.

Attention! We are starting over with a NEW Facebook group! This is a great place to ask questions and interact with the other members. All posts in the group should be about the current challenge. I just ask that you don’t post any photos of soaps you plan to enter – that’s what the link-ups are for!

UPDATE 5/13/19: Here’s the recording from the Facebook Live video tonight, going over the guidelines, drawing a winner for the soap planer giveaway, and a special announcement: WATCH VIDEO NOW

Everything you need for this challenge can be found in the Members Only section of this website – this tutorial, the link-ups where you will add your entry May 13-26 and vote May 27-29, as well as the Helpful Tips!


Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps is our guest teacher for this technique since it is based on an acrylic paint fluid pour method and she is also an acrylic paint artist! You can learn more about her on this Q&A page.

There are several different types of acrylic paint pour methods that use objects like a colander, sink strainer, etc. that have multiple holes in them and allow the paint to flow in interesting patterns. You can see some interesting ways that soapmakers have translated these techniques in the More Resources section below. Here is the soap Joanne created for the video tutorial, regular category:

Here’s the soap I created for the advanced category:

(Keep scrolling after the videos for more information and guidelines to enter your soap in the challenge!):

Part One:

Part Two:

If you would like a written copy of the tutorial to keep, download it HERE. You may also download the videos: Part 1, Part 2. (Right click and “Save Link As”) You will not have access to the tutorial once the challenge is over.

  1. Check out the Slow Tracing Recipes and tips for Controlling Trace in the Helpful Tips section! This should help you keep your batter fluid as long as possible for your pour. I used Cucumber Melon from Nature’s Garden for my fragrance and it was very workable!
  2. Ideas for “Found items” to pour/pull your soap through: walk around your local hardware or home improvement store for screens, vents, peg board, etc. Try dollar store items like colanders, sink strainers, cooling racks or rug backers…
  3. Ideas for “Items you can create” to pour/pull your soap through: Cut shapes in a flexible cutting mat, drill holes in a piece of plexiglass or other material, use a Cricut or similar cutting tool to create a design, weave together pipe cleaners or plastic coated wire, knit or crochet a loose weave pattern…
  4. The pattern in the soap is best seen on the face of the bar. Either pour the soap one thickness in a log or slab mold and use a soap planer (recommendations in More Resources below) or knife to shave the soap and help the pattern stand out, OR pour double thickness and cut the soap horizontally. (It is helpful to pour the soap a little bit thicker than usual so you have some extra to shave off if you are only pouring one thickness.)
  1. REGULAR CATEGORY:
    Your entire soap must be made with cold process or cold process/oven process only featuring a design on the face of the soap created by pouring soap through a found object with holes in it, or pulling a found object with holes in it up through the soap once poured. No other decorations may be added.
    ADVANCED CATEGORY:
    Your entire soap must be made with cold process or cold process/oven process only featuring a design on the face of the soap created by pouring soap through an object you create with holes in it, or pulling an object you create with holes in it up through the soap once poured. No other decorations may be added.
    2. The soap you enter must be made after registration opened (Monday, May 6th).
    3. Entry photo guidelines: The photo you upload directly to the link-up should feature cut soap(s) from ONE batch only with a neutral background (blurred backgrounds are fine as long as we can’t really see what is in the background). No props or people in it. No watermarks on the photo or business logos stamped into your soap. Lighting and color adjustments may be made to best represent what the soap looks like in real life, but editing photos to alter the appearance of the soap is strictly prohibited. Check out the Photography and Presentation Tips page to make the most of your entry photo.
    4. Since we all learn from each other’s experiences, I highly recommend that you create a social media or blog post about your soap to tell us more about how you made it and what type of object your used to pour your soap through. You will be able to link to it from your entry. This is where you can share other photos of your soap, the process, or other batches you made with this technique. Please visit the instructions on How to Create Your Link to Submit Your Entry.

You will have 14 days to get your soap entered in ONE of the link-ups (May 13-26). The deadline is 2pm CDT on Sunday, May 26. Do NOT wait until the last minute in case you have technical difficulties. If your soap is not within the guidelines, you will be contacted and allowed to try again if there is time before voting begins, otherwise your entry may be disqualified.

Here are some fun videos of soaps made with Pour Through (or Pull Through) techniques:

Granite Soap – From Grace to You
Peg Board Pull Through – From Grace to You
Screen Lift Swirl – SNIF Natural Soapmaking
Sink Strainer Soap – Little Pipestone Soap Co. (with credit given to Joanne Watkins)
Pickle Strainer Soap – Marie Nadeau

Looking for a quality soap planer? Try Custom Soap Stamps. Looking for an economical soap planer? Try this one from Ebay.

(All will occur at 2:00pm CDT). You should receive an email notification for each; however, the email system isn’t always reliable. Please be sure to mark your calendar as well!

May 13-24 – Blind Link-up for submissions will be OPEN (This means you can submit your entry, but you won’t be able to see it or any of the other entries)
May 24-26 – Visual Link-up will be OPEN (This means all the entries will be visible, starting in the order they were submitted. You will also be able to see your entry as soon as it is submitted.)
May 27-29 – Voting will be OPEN
May 30 – Winners will be announced!

Our sponsor for both the regular and advanced categories is Nature’s Garden. They will provide the following prizes for both categories:

Grand Prize: $50 gift certificate
Second place: $35 gift certificate
Third place: $25 gift certificate

Recognition Awards
In addition to the voted prize winners, I will also choose entries to receive the following Recognition Awards in both categories:
1. Best Use of Color (excellent color palette)
2. Best Technique (excellent pattern from “screen”)
3. Best Presentation (following the advice in the Photography & Presentation Tips)
4. Best Soap Newbie (only those just starting their soapmaking journey may qualify!)

Remember: The main objective here is to learn and have FUN!!!