Soap Curl Designs

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Welcome to the November Challenge Club!

This should be a fun technique for all! Please be sure to read through the entire tutorial so you don’t miss anything.

Join our private Facebook group HERE! 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! (And please keep the content family friendly.)

UPDATE 11/6/19: Here’s the recording of the Facebook Live going over the guidelines and a few questions about the challenge. Please watch if you plan to submit an entry this month! (Skip to 1:30 for the main part of the information. About 12 minutes long at that point.): VIDEO

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 Nov 4-18 and vote Nov 19-22, as well as the Helpful Tips!

The technique for this month’s challenge is not a new one! Soap curls have been around for so long, I have no idea who to give credit for this design element. I found the best information from a blog post by Cathy Winsby of Soap Making Essentials. Cathy has some great design ideas as well as recipe tips that were very useful! Here is the soap I made for the regular category, using a cheese planer and a soap planer to create the soap curls:

Regular Soap Curl Design by Amy Warden

This is the soap I made for the advanced category, just using a soap planer to create the soap curls:

Advanced Soap Curl Design by Amy Warden

Take a look at the video tutorial, then check out the tips and tricks, guidelines for making your soap, and more resources below!

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

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

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, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 (Right click and “Save Link As”) You will not have access to the tutorial once the challenge is over.

Recipe Formulation for soap curls:

  • This is the recipe I used for the advanced category that I liked best

40% olive oil
30% coconut oil
25% shea butter
5% castor oil
7% superfat
33% lye concentration
0.5 oz fragrance per pound of oils (optional)
Do NOT add sodium lactate

  • Be sure to force gel phase. This makes the soap more pliable. I chose to oven process by turning on my oven to the lowest setting (170 degrees F), then putting the soap in, turning the oven OFF, and the oven light ON for about 4 hours. I left the soap in the oven overnight with the light off so it would cool slowly.
  • You can cut the soap into curls the next day, or wait another day. Adjust the water amount or superfat just a small amount higher if you prefer a tackier soap and want the curls to hold together (i.e. for a paper quilling technique).


  • A soap planer will create very thin soap ribbons
  • A cheese planer will create thicker soap curls.
  • A vegetable Y-peeler can also create soap curls (I haven’t tried it though!)
  • If your soap doesn’t curl on its own, you can curl it around various size objects from a small bamboo skewer, to a pencil or a spoon handle. If my soap hadn’t been as long, it probably would have curled better on its own.

1. REGULAR CATEGORY: Your entire soap must be made with cold process or cold process/oven process only in a log/loaf mold featuring soap curls in the main part of the soap or as a top decoration, or both.
Your entire soap must be made with cold process or cold process/oven process only, featuring soap curls as the main design in the face of the soap.  You may create bars of soap, or use an entire slab to create your design. The curls must be fully embedded in your soap base, and the face of the soap should be cut or planed smooth. No other added embellishments.

2. The final soap you enter must be made after registration opened (Monday, October 28th).  The soap for the soap curls could have been made previously.
3. Entry photo guidelines: For the regular category: The photo you upload directly to the link-up should feature cut soap(s) from one batch. For the advanced category: Your photo can feature cut soap(s) from one batch OR the entire slab. For both categories: The photo should have 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. 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.

Only ONE entry per person. You will have 15 days to get your soap entered in the appropriate link-up (Nov 4-18). The deadline is 2pm CST on Monday, November 18. 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.

Ideas for soap curls in the top of the soap (regular category): – actually made with MP, but could be made with CP

Ideas for soap curls embedded in slab mold (advanced category):

Search Paper Quilling Images – RESULTS

First to do quilling design in soap (that I know of!):

Creating Soap Curls from Existing Bars of Soap

You don’t necessarily have to start with fresh soap to make your soap curls. Check out this short video by Nora’s Soap Shoppe:

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(All will occur at 2:00pm CST). 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!

November 4-18 – Link-ups for submissions will be OPEN but will remain blind until the deadline.
November 18 – Link-ups will become visible and all the entries will appear in the order they were submitted.
November 19-22 – Voting will be OPEN
November 23 – Winners will be announced!

Our sponsor is Custom Craft Tools. They will provide the following prizes for both categories:

Grand Prize: $100 gift certificate
Second place: $75 gift certificate
Third place: $50 gift certificate
Sponsor’s Choice: $100 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 contrasting, well-blended colors)
2. Best Technique (excellent use of soap curls)
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!!!