August 2016 Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge – Dancing Funnel Soap


Hi Blog-verse 🙂

August has rolled around far too quickly for me. I’m another year older (Gah!) but on the plus side I finally got a Bud Cutter for my birthday! Yay! 🙂 I love it 🙂

And my darling hubby took me out to dinner at The Lighthouse Restaurant where we had an amazing seafood dinner. The next day, my friends took me to our favourite Vietnamese restaurant and brought along a cake! I blew out candles. I had a great time. 🙂


birthday cake

How lucky am I?


Now to soap . . . For Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club during the month of August, we were tasked with creating a Dancing Funnel Soap. I luuurve dancing. I’m thinking I could actually dance while making it! lolol. 🙂 Well, maybe not while pouring the lye. This technique produced a soap which looked absolutely amazing. The original creator of this technique, Tatsiana Serko of Steso Soap, made the Dancing Funnel technique look so easy in the tutorial! But don’t be fooled. It isn’t that easy.

I knew straightaway I was going to attempt a natural soap. *Cue me rubbing my hands together and my imagination thinking it’s about to have a field day.*

I have been meaning to juice the fruit from the mandarin tree in my backyard and add it to soap. I’ve done it before and the fruit produces a lovely mandarin colour. However, this time I’d use activated charcoal as the border colour and mandarin essential oil for a lovely fresh scent.

My tree

mandarin tree

mandarin tree 1




It’s Winter here and the mandarins are such a lovely colour. They’re also organic. Now, I’d read somewhere (I read way too much!) that getting a nice green with staying power from a natural colourant was difficult. I’ve worked with spirulina before, and it’s a beautiful deep, earthy green, but not the type of green I wanted for this colour palette. After I plucked the mandarins from my tree, juiced the fruit whole and froze the liquid, I decided to add a little bit of alkanet infused olive oil to my activated charcoal border.


mandarin juice and lye


I sprinkled lye on top of frozen mandarin juice but also added full fat Greek Yogurt. I love the creaminess that yogurt lends to soap. Yes, there’s a little brown bit from the mandarins, but I strained that out.  There were some considerations: I needed to use white oils. I wouldn’t add anything that wasn’t natural to this soap. I’d try for a recipe that was slow to trace. I wanted a soap with skin-loving benefits.

For scent: The style of the soap would suit something fruity, but I wanted a hint of brightness in there.

Here are some notes on mandarin essential oil:

Its aroma is described as intense, fresh, sweet, fruity, juicy, sharp, tangy with elements of candied orange and a delicate floral, neroli-like undertone.

So I figured the mandarin essential oil would be enough.

Now that I was truly excited about the scent of my soap and could imagine myself actually using it, not just because of the scent, but from the skin-loving properties added to the batter, I hunted around in my kitchen for what else I could use to turn the batter orange. I could have used my annatto infused olive oil, but instead I used this:


red canola

It is like a type of red canola and palm oil.


charcoal and alkanet

Charcoal and alkanet infused oil.


first part of steso pour

First part of the pour.


almost ready to go in the oven

Almost ready to go into the oven!


Note: This is actually my second attempt at the Dancing Funnel Technique. The first time, a layer of oil sat on top and I had to stick blend it all. That soap ended up being black from the charcoal and I realised I was using the wrong type of squeezy bottles. This technique needs a specific type. You can’t really use the recycled sauce bottles, unless they have a clear open hole at the tip.


Now to more pictures of Dancing Funnel soap #2

oven ready mandarin soapOut of the oventhe backedgeunmouldedsoap

I considered attempt #2 somewhat of a success! But I couldn’t stop there . . . no . . .

So, I made a strawberry, lime, and raspberry soap.


Raspberry, Lime and Black Raspberry Vanilla Dancing Funnel Pour

This one was using micas and fragrance oils. I wish I’d taken more photos of the process, but I just didn’t have the time. I used a slightly different recipe than my mandarin soap and the batter set up quickly. I didn’t even really have the time to get everything in order, because the batter was going thick. I wanted a fragrance oil that could really slow things down, so I chose to add in some Black Raspberry Vanilla from Brambleberry that I purchased from Aussie Soap Supplies. I love how the strawberry, lime, and raspberry soap turned out.

But I still hadn’t had enough yet. I wanted to try a multi-coloured Dancing Funnel pour using all-natural ingredients.

I actually managed to take more photos this time. I went back to my original recipe. And I had a lot of fun. 🙂

Some pics of my coloured oils:


Top left colour is 1 tsp of yellow clay dispersed in lemongrass eo and 1 tablespoon of annatto infused oil.

Top right is 1 tsp of purple clay dispersed into 2 tablespoons of alkanet infused oil and lavender eo.

Bottom left is 1 tsp of pink clay infused with rose geranium eo with 1 tsp of madder root dispersed in 1 tbs of sunflower oil. I added a little white soap batter to this to turn it pinker.

Bottom right is 1 tsp of spirulina mixed with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and lime eo.

The border colour (not pictured here) was white with 1 tsp of kaolin clay dispersed into 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and spearmint eo.

I’m going to add some videos just to show you how fluid my batter was, even though I stick blended it. Now, I don’t have a tripod. I had to hold my phone in one hand, so bear with me, please 🙂 I’m also doing this outside just for the quality of light. However, I realised halfway through that my table is on a slight lean which changes the look of the soap. Having a level surface is important with the formation of this soap. The mandarin soap had a level surface as I made it on the kitchen bench when it was covered with newspaper.

This is the pink clay, madder root and rose geranium eo. I strained the mix into my containers because of the speckles.


This is my attempt at pouring with all-natural colours.

video of dancing funnel

And sorry, but I had to trim the video. However you get the general idea. 🙂 Hopefully, you can watch it, but if not, that’s okay. I just wanted to include some footage.

Here is a picture of the finished product 🙂


But I still didn’t think it was good enough. The soap has a tie-dye kind of look to it, but the green (from spirulina) has already faded. I guess from CPOPing in the oven.

So I decided to enter my Strawberry & Lime soap as a contestant to the Soap Challenge Club!

Thank you Amy and Tatsiana for such a fun challenge!

Cheers X



  12 comments for “August 2016 Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge – Dancing Funnel Soap

  1. Sly
    August 13, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I like the strawberry lime the best!!
    Just wondering….Do you know what the Ph is on the Mandarin soap? I had read about using citrus in soaps and that it didn’t work because of the Ph, but I’ve never tried it and I can’t remember what happens to the Ph. Thanks!

  2. Naomi Fraser
    August 13, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Hi Sly,

    I don’t have Ph strips here. I did keep a jar of juiced red/purple cabbage in the fridge to test the ph of soaps. But I used the juice in a soap recipe! haha. It turned the soap a lovely creamy shade.

    I followed Anne Watson’s recipe for basic citrus soap. It set up wonderfully. I learnt the value of discounting water for a cleaner release from silicone moulds from her. Using the soap was okay, but she has other recipes for citrus as well, and I used them as a springboard.

    I know how the citric acid can eat up the lye, but that hasn’t bothered me at all. The soap is firm. I do use a fine mesh sieve for any thing with fruit or yogurt or milk. After my first time of working with yogurt I had lumps that looked like undissolved lye. It was just the yogurt. I haven’t had another problem since using the sieve. You might see some of the citrus juice sort of as a different hue or texture or colour in the soap. It’s darker or lighter. Anne Watson’s grapefruit soap is divine and it uses avocado oil.

    Plus, I have eczema on my hands. It’s really bad sometimes and a higher superfat is so lovely for me. I’m still trying to work with formulas/additives to help. So far I’ve noticed Kaolin Clay helps.

    So yeah, I got my recipes from her to begin with and then I just add citrus, but I also add yogurt and that might help as I think I read that yogurt becomes sodium lactate in the saponification process which would lead to firmness. Now that I think about it, I have always added yogurt or milk to my citrus soaps. I will definitely test the ph levels after 6 weeks, and I probably won’t even use the soaps until around 12 weeks cured. I like how they feel when they cure for a lot longer.

  3. Sly
    August 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the great explanation – that makes so much sense to use the yogurt – I bet it neutralizes the acidity from the citrus. (I remember now that it was on Soaping101 where they showed a fail with lemon juice – but I think that was all that was used for the liquid.) And thanks for the tip about using a sieve. I have been wanting to try yogurt and it sound like without straining it could be an issue.

    RE: Eczema – how frustrating! Have you ever tried Pink Himalayan Salt bars? I think they are a miracle worker and everyone I know that has tried them with skin issues (including psoriasis & eczema) has had great results. I have some blogs on it, if you want to check it out:

    If you make some PH Salt bars, I would love to know if it helps your eczema….Thanks so much!


  4. Naomi Fraser
    August 13, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Hey Sly,

    Thank you so much for the links! I will definitely check them out 🙂 Anything to help my hands is much appreciated!

    I have tried Pink Himalayan Salt bars, but I have been meaning to try again as I don’t think I did it correctly. I used a Soap Queen recipe, but with a coarser grain of salt and it made my skin too tight after a shower. It also stung my hands. I have dyshidrotic eczema and if I have cuts on my hands, they hurt with the salt. That being said, I do soak my hands sometimes in Epsom salts, because it helps stop the pain.

    My mother gave me a huge block of Pink Himalayan Salt, and I had to try and grind up the grains myself. I got my kids to help, too. But after the soap was made, my son, bless his soul, came out to me and showed me a bar of the salt soap I made and said, “Mum, this soap has pink glass in it.” lol. So now the only two people in my house who use it are my teenage daughter and husband. My daughter uses it to exfoliate when she’s made a boo boo with the self tan and my hubby uses it sometimes when it’s been a really muddy week at work (he’s in construction).

    But as I said, I’ve been meaning to try again with a much finer grain. I use mostly holistic therapies for my hands, like soaks, gloves, acupuncture, managing my diet to avoid triggers. I once used a calendula soap with kaolin clay with sweet orange scent and the eczema calmed down considerably.

    I honestly can’t wait to have look at your site and the blog links to try again. Thanks again for the suggestion.

    With the yogurt and citrus, I always do the lye and water the night before. I learned that from the Aussie Soap Supplies recipe formulary site. I do this so the lye doesn’t scorch the yogurt or milk and I can add silk when the lye gets hot. So for example if I was using 215g of sodium hydroxide and 430g of water, the night before I’d dissolve 215g of sodium hydroxide with silk or whatever other additives I wanted to use, plus 215g or 230g of water. Then the next morning, I’d stir into the cooled lye water a 50/50 % mix of frozen citrus and yogurt that amounts to 200g. So all up that would equal 430g of liquid.

  5. August 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you so much for such a detailed and documented post, Naomi! It’s so fun to learn about the different processes that other soapmakers use and what works and what doesn’t! That said, I agree with Sly – the strawberry lime soap is the most visually stunning with the high contrasting colors and more rounded circles. Well done! I look forward to seeing more of your soaps in future challenges! (Happy belated birthday!)

  6. Naomi Fraser
    August 14, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for stopping by and for the birthday wishes! I, too, thought the Strawberry & Lime looked the best. Just the colour combination seemed better. The colours also reminded me of the cider drink, Rekorderlig, that is Strawberry and Lime flavoured.

    With the detailed post, I kind of can’t help it. lol. I’m a writer, so I like to expand on ideas and tell stories. And I just love the Soap Challenge Club! Everyone is so friendly and encouraging. The support is incredible. 🙂 I can’t wait for the Piping Soap Challenge.

  7. August 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    They are both incredibly beautiful, Naomi! Thank you so much for such an informative post, too!

  8. August 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Beautiful soap great job Naomi! And Happy Birthday!!

  9. Naomi Fraser
    August 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Thank you, Debi!

  10. Naomi Fraser
    August 14, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you, Vivian!

  11. Christine Bean
    August 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Love the strawberry lime soap too!

  12. Naomi Fraser
    August 16, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Thank you, Christine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *