Tall and Skinny Shimmy Challenge (featuring major fails)

Whew. This month has been a bit of a whirlwind. I have made 12 batches of soap this week. Yikes. That is some kind of a record. This all happened because I just about sold out of everything I had on hand last week. Since I needed to make a TON of soap, I had a lot of opportunities to practice the tall and skinny shimmy, which is the technique for this month’s Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club.

First Batch: Scented with Tobacco and Bay Leaf; colored with activated charcoal, mica, and titanium dioxide

I watched the tutorial and dreamed of stunning rain drop shaped loveliness adorning my newest creation. I pictured a beautiful thin line of black to separate the white from the other colors. It would be fantastic–the technique looked pretty easy.

Somehow, I just never quite executed the look I was going for. First, I had to make a tall and skinny mold. Tatiana Serko presented a wonderful tutorial which left me wondering why I had never fashioned my own molds before. It looked so very easy in her capable hands.

Unfortunately, my hands are a bit clumsier. 🙂 I made a mold using regular foam board (couldn’t find coroplast). Once the mold was ready, I whipped up my favorite slow tracing recipe and began to pour. NOTE TO SELF: if you make a mold and plan to use it at light trace, it’s a good idea to test for leaks first. Guess how I figured this one out?  So, the good news is that most of the soap stayed inside and that a slow leak creates some cool swirly patterns in the soap. Bad news: soap all over the counter. To make matters worse, my three year old got a hold of my phone and erased the video of the making of this soap. I have only the cutting portion to post. Bummer. Anyhow, here’s how these turned out:

_TSM6280  _TSM6277

And here is the cutting video:

I really liked the colors and the shimmy pattern from that batch. But, hey, it was only my first try. Surely I could improve upon it? One would think. Well, the second, third, fourth and fifth batches were all disasters for one reason or another. Some accelerated from my use of a new fragrance (Ahem, I believe we have discussed this already–apparently some people never learn.) Others became too thick for unknown reasons. I am including some photos and videos of the errant batches here to publicly document these astounding fails. Astounding because it’s hard to believe one person can make the same mistake so many times!! Don’t get me wrong–all the batches are usable soap, and they are each pretty in their own way. I guess I must be feeling a little resentful for the unrelenting way each batch thickened up so fast. Oh well, there’s always next month . . .

  • Untitled so far (fragranced with Little Black Dress FO from Rustic Essentuals):

_TSM6297 _TSM6302

  • Goat Milk and Wine Soap (this one thickened up so fast it was just plop and go.

_TSM6296 _TSM6291

  • Lavender and Lemongrass:

_TSM6317 _TSM6313

  • Pure Soap (using the ghost swirl technique from Auntie Clara)

_TSM6308 _TSM6305

For me, this challenge was especially challenging. It looks so simple, but I had a hard time getting it right. It was great practice and now I have a bunch of soap that will be ready in a few weeks!

23 thoughts on “Tall and Skinny Shimmy Challenge (featuring major fails)

  1. I was impatient to read your new post. It is such a pleasure to follow your adventure and you are really making a lot of fun! Life is never dull with you, is it? Tatiana made it look deceptively simple indeed… But your entry is bang on the scheme, with bold colours. As usual! Love it!


  2. Teresa:
    All your soaps look pretty – I love that you tried something different with each one.
    I always look forward to your Blogs….It’s also fun to know that there is a Soaper that lives nearby (I used to be off of Smokey Hill & E-470, but have since moved to the country….a Bennett address but closer to Kiowa.)
    I hope that someday I can say that I sold out of all my soaps, as this year I’ve been so prolific, I don’t know what I will ever do with them all!)
    Anyway, TMI, I’m sure….I love you’re soaps, blog, & videos!!


    1. Thank you for reading my blog, and for your kind comment! Selling out was a shocker. I had a craft fair, a ladies’ night at the store where I have a shelf, and taught two soap classes in a period of three days. I also received two 25-bar orders that week. AND, my husband was out of town! It was very exciting to sell a lot of soap, but I was scrambling to fill orders–which is stressful. I try to make this business stress-free. It is a hobby. As soon as it feels like “work” I will have done something wrong. I bet you will be glad you have been making so much soap. It all seems to disappear around Christmas.
      You are pretty close to me! Maybe we should make soap together some time?


  3. Teressa, I was looking forward to reading your post and seeing your soaps! Indeed, this challenge was so fun but so chalenging! Your entry is beautiful, love the choice of colors also!


  4. Awwww, I feel your pain!! So glad the first one turned out so very lovely! I appreciate you sharing the others as well. I get hardheaded about using new fragrances too. Who has time to test? LOL! None of your soaps is actually a failure – they are all perfectly great soap with beautiful designs. Glad you will be able to sell them!


  5. This month’s challenge was a challenge in every sense of the word! I did five batches before I found one that worked for me, though my fails were from under-traced rather than over-thickened. You still have some mighty pretty soaps here, though!

    (Also – You’re in Parker, CO? I’m in Boulder – are you ever up this way?)


  6. Teressa, thanks for another refreshing read! I so hope you keep soaping strees-free! Getting sold out of soap is great and I hope your soaps get even more popular as they all look so lovely! I love the color combos of all the soaps you showed above but especially that of your entry! Cool.


  7. Beautiful soap once again! What you ended up with was exactly what I was trying to achieve but failed miserably! I truly love your color combinations on all of your soaps, especially this one!


  8. Thank you for saying all the things we all have been thinking through this challenge, and adding a bit of humor to it!!! Your soaps are lovely. Congrats on your successful craft show!!


  9. I honestly think you were transported right into our kitchen, we had similar issues and of course didn’t realize what the problems were (stirring way too much) until we were on batch 4 and it was still a fail! Love reading your blog, it made us grin as we totally related! Beautiful job on your entry, great colors and a shimmy for sure! good luck!


  10. Dear Teressa,
    I like your soaps very much, especially a pure soap! My first atempt was also a ghost-swirt-technique of Clara, but it was so dreadful, that I couldn”t show it. Yours is like a silky one.
    In your other posts you have also many interesting soaps!
    I am very glad to find your blog 🙂
    Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s