Monday, 11 June 2012

Banana Cream Soap Challenge

Shelley and I really are quite sad, this is the last of the Great Cake Soapworks soap challenge, we are a week late posting, but here is the last of our new challenge soaps.

Our challenge this week was to make soap with natural ingredients.  Well, again, this is a bit strange for us as we always use as many natural ingredients in our soaps as we can.  I decided to try a fruit pulp soap as I have never made one of these, I also wanted to give my soap embellishment skills an additional boost by trying something I have never done before.  So, as a combination of new skills, I felt this was suitably challenging!

I decided to use bananas, mainly as we have a new banana fragrance oil that I use to make Puro Soaps Banoffee ice-cream cupcakes and it smells yummy.  In addition we use a banana soap slice on each cupcake (see above), I normally hand paint each one and wanted to try a technique that would give us an endless supply of slices.

If you have ever got interested in making things out of polymer clay, you will probably be familiar with the technique of Millefiore, it is also often used to create beads and interesting jewellery.  Essentially you start off with a large version of the form you want to create and stretch it, sounds easy doesn't it?  How to make it in soap though?  The object is made as a short fat cylinder, much bigger than you finally want and stretched one way to alter the dimensions and make the object appear much smaller than you originally started off with.  The pattern should also appear when the lengthened cane of soap is cut through at any point along its length.

My banana model in the background and the three different colours of soap needed to make a banana cane
So I got on with it and made a fairly successful cane of banana, not quite as accurate as objects made of polymer clay but I think that is because soap has very different properties.  It took quite a long time so Im not sure how time saving it would be in the long run but I did enjoy the task.

then I put the soap together and made this video whilst doing it.........


When cut up the soap was very strange, it was seeping a bit of oil (definitely not lye - I think it was vitamin E) and along the length between the white 'cream' soap and the tan coloured 'banana' soap there was a strange cave-like structure which I have never seen before.  I have no idea what this is or how it was created but overall I am very happy with the finished result.  The soap itself is very, very creamy with a rich double cream like lather, it smells really good too.  It came out of the mold quite wet, not actually sticky, but feeling heavy and wet.  I put this down to the banana pulp adding weight and moisture to the soap mix.  It is already curing nicely and has an interesting speckled finish as well as the strange cave effect.  The oils have all been re-absorbed and it seems pretty solid and stable.  I'm really looking forward to using it.

All that remains is to thank Amy Warden for organising this brilliant Soap Challenge, I know I speak for both myself and Shelley when I say how much we have enjoyed it.  I think what it has shown us is that there is never any end to what you can learn and how much you can push yourself with the amazing craft of natural cold process soap making.  We hope to still be challenging ourselves in many years to come!!

Check out this link to Amys site to see other soapmakers challenge results, you will be amazed.  Unfortunately this blog was a little to late to get into the week 11 line up but there are lots of superb soaps there to look at.  We are planning a photo modeling shoot for all the soaps we have made during this 11 week marathon, so watch out for that.

Please, please let us know what you think of our latest creation, pass on the site and make sure you sign up to our facebook and Twitter pages, this is where you hear our news first.

thank you for following us......

Ishbel and Shelley


  1. How cool!!! I have no idea how you created your cane of banana. I know roughly how the polymer clay works - but soap? That's just amazing! The caves look like an overheating issue, perhaps? Lots of natural sugar in banana...

    Thanks so much for all your hard work during the challenges! You ladies really outdid yourselves!

  2. looks fab Ish- can't wait to try one!! Shell

  3. That's incredible! I can't believe you made a soap that looks that delicious. =)

  4. I am amazed at the banana sunday cupcakes, so yummy looking. The cave effect I have seen before in photos and the consensus was the loaf overheated and escaping air causes these structures. Just another theory to throw into the pot!