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The Swirling and Marbling of Soap

July 25, 2010

Swirled or Marbled Soap


Swirling and Marbling of Soap.  

This week  I’ve featured some of my latest soap and a new tool. I’ve been doing what soap makers call swirling soap for at least 3 years and I’m just loving it. All the bars pictured are made by a method called “swirl in the pot” which gets the swirl throughout the bar. I add more lines of colored soap with a squeeze bottle on the top to get two chances for a nice swirl. All six of the bars are made the same to this point. The bars located in the middle of the photo are free form created using a chopstick to swirl the top in a pleasing way. No two bars are alike, no two batches are the same.  

Controlled swirls or patterned swirls are copied from a 500-year-old technique which was once a guarded secret. Combs are used to recreate patterns that can be reproduced. The blue and lavender bar and the green and yellow bar are called zebras; if I add dots of soap, then it is a zebra with spots. This is with just two swipes of my swirling wand!  The other two corner soap bars, one colored pink, orange and burgundy and the other blue, green and seafoam are made with four swipes.  

Swirl Wands made by Rich Bartko


 My wands are made by Rich Barko,, who also makes my slab divider molds. Rich is called mold maker to the stars of soap! He makes molds for some of the best soap makers in the world. I’m honored to own four of his molds.  

The photo makes the top wand looked warped, it is not, and I’ll work to get better pictures. These are prototypes. You can leave the pins loose to change their width or you can use pliers to press them in so they won’t fall out. The top shows a different type of pin and a bar that locks them in. I prefer them loose and hang them on the wall ready to go right above my mold. You want your pins ready to go and no more than you need. Leave them loose at first so you can quickly remove a pin if it gets in the way. Rich will be selling the wands (combs) in sets. The pins are replaceable and really cheap at your local beauty supply.  

 I would recommend buying the  Experience the Magic of Marbling DVD, but I understand there are clips on the internet you can watch too. For over 500 years, artists have been doing amazing marbled patterns. As soapers, our medium is thickening while we work; we will never quite be able to create what artists of marbling do, but I suspect we will continue to discover new uses for the wands.  

 Lori Curry

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nancy Liedel permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:02 PM

    Okay, I don’t need much, but I NEED THESE! You made a believer out of me and I’m off to spend money I probably shouldn’t. 🙂


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