Dancing Funnel Soap Challenge

green 2 close

My first entry in a Great Cakes Soap Challenge! I decided to enter the natural category with a yellowish-green color theme using spirulina, moringa and activated charcoal as the colorants.

I used spirulina and moringa infusions for the solid yellowish-green circle fill and added some of the spirulina sludge and a touch of activated charcoal for a slightly speckled dark outline.

My infusions had been soaking since April and the filtered oil looked a lot like motor oil jars(infusion in middle jar, moringa sludge right jar, spirulina sludge left jar). I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The process went smoothly with no trace issues with my recipe of: Sweet Almond Oil Infusion of Spirulina and Moringa Powders, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Oil scented with an essential oil blend of eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and anise.

I mixed with the lye solution and oils around 105F in San Francisco where summers are notoriously cold and my soaps generally resist gelling. I even used my stick-blender and added kaolin clay since I am impatient and knew that pouring at too thin a trace would merge into a muddy mix of colors. Even with stick-blending, the first dots and outlines didn’t hold their shape and I had problems with dripping. The color mixing is evident on the bottom layer of the unmolded soap.


With a little fiddling, I discovered leaving some headroom at the top of the squeeze bottle created a vacuum when the pressure was released that helped with the dripping. By the second or third layer the trace thickened enough for me to create defined circles! After about an hour of squirting, I was done. The batter was starting to thicken which caused a bit of a layered effect. I tried to level the layers by tapping the mold but was scared off when the colors started to swirl. My husband’s comment on the soap at this point: pickle slices!

layers pickels pregel

The finished batter was put in the oven at 170F for 45 mins yet still refused to gel. Worried about overheating, I lowered the temp to 120F for another 30 mins. The soap finally took on the translucent vaseline appearance of gelling. My husband’s updated comment on the soap at this stage: zucchini layers!

vaseline pickles 3

I wrapped in an old towel and let the soap finish setting up overnight (matching green was total coincidence). The next morning the suspense was killing me and I couldn’t wait to unmold and cut. I was surprised at the effect gelling had in firming up the soap which not only allowed me to unmold faster but created an incredible smooth, almost waxy texture. My ungelled soaps usually have a bit rougher of  a surface when cut.

Cutting pictures:

Overall, I’m very happy to learn this technique and love my soaps. Many thanks to Tatsiana at Creative Soap by Steso and Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Club for holding this challenge and sharing the secret of the Dancing Funnel Technique.




17 thoughts on “Dancing Funnel Soap Challenge

  1. Oh, yours is so pretty! I had nothing but one fiasco after another! It just wasn’t my month but I’m glad I at least gave it a try. Definitely zucchini slices, btw 😉


    1. Thanks so much! After the soap cooled back down and solidified, the circles were back to the “pickle” look until I planed off the surface. 🙂
      I admire your tenacity in mastering this technique, your multiple batches must of taken hours. The Crisp Apple Rose version showed amazing growth. Did you enter it into the challenge?


      1. I did, even as ugly as it was, because I hoped that others would read my blog and learn from my mistakes if nothing else. Also, I had already gone that far…I felt like I had to see it through. I know it wasn’t a winning soap by any means, but it was certainly a learning experience.


  2. Renee:
    Great looking soap!
    Your hubby sounds just like my sweetie-pie….If I made your soap, he would say the same thing…Gotta love those cave men!!
    Beautifully done and nice blog write up too!


    1. Thanks Sly! My first blog post and first soap challenge. Learned a lot through this experience. The husband is a good and generally supportive man… although I think he’s growing increasingly concerned by the mushrooming collection of oil bottles and curing soap bars on every available horizontal surface in our small SF condo.

      Your entry is amazing! The bright colors make me happy just looking at the picture. Nice work!


  3. Such beautiful soap, Renee! Congrats on your first (of many, I hope!) challenge and first blog post! Will you be doing more oven processed soaps in the future then? I love the texture of gelled soap!


    1. Yes! Also hoping this is the first of many challenges! So much fun and learned so much. Thanks for running such a great event!
      I will be experimenting with OPCP going forward and may even publish the findings in my blog.😀


  4. Beautiful colors and fabulous design, Renee! This was my first time using moringa and I wasn’t overly thrilled with the results. I was hoping for a darker, more olive green. From what I just learned from you, I will be adding charcoal next time. Thank you for such an informative blog post – and congrats on a beautiful soap and fantastic first Challenge Club entry!


    1. Debi, thanks for such a warm welcome! The interior yellow color was definitely bolstered by the combination of the spirulina and moringa infusions. The one bar that was exposed to light (no pics yet) faded quickly. The addition of the spirulina and charcoal powders definitely helped with the contrast, but be prepared for speckles. I’m waiting for my bars to cure to see if the moringa infusion has the magical medicinal skin benefits described in multiple websites. Wonder if anyone else has experienced anything special from a moringa infusion soap?


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