Color Soap Naturally – Calendula and Paprika, Layers and Swirls

This is an advanced soap design using natural colorants.  It includes calendula and paprika for color and texture and swirling and layering techniques.  I’ll also show you how to do the thin cocoa line you can see between layers.

Bring your soap to a stable emulsion.  You don’t want to see trace or you won’t have enough time to separate out your colors and swirl. 

Divide your soap into three containers.  The amounts are up to you but I did about 2/3 for the bottom base, 1/6 for each top swirl color.  Add a pinch of calendula petals to the base container and stick blend to a thicker trace.  Stick blending with the calendula helps break the petals up a bit so they aren’t so big in your soap.  Pour the base mixture into your mold and spread evenly.  Drop your mold down onto a counter or the floor to help the soap flatten out. 

Add 1/8 teaspoon of paprika to one of the swirl containers.  Do not stick blend these as we want them nice and fluid so we can do a swirl.   

Next we’ll do a cocoa line.  I like to use a tea strainer to help sprinkle on the cocoa.  Cover the bottom layer of soap with a thin line of cocoa.  Don’t completely cover the surface or you might have soap with layers that separate.  You can see plenty of the bottom soap surface peaking through.  It will still look like a solid layer when you cut.

Now we’ll do our swirl on top of this layer.  Since we brought it to a thick trace before we poured it into the mold we shouldn’t have any problems with it supporting the top layer.  But just to test, gently spoon some soap onto it.  See if it stays on top or if it breaks the surface.  If it breaks the surface let it sit for a bit longer. 

Spoon enough soap to completely cover the surface.  Then simply rotate pouring the two different swirling colors until your fill your mold.  I poured in lines all going the same direction. 

You can leave it as it is or you can take a skewer and swirl the top.  We don’t want the skewer to break the cocoa line and mess it up so make sure you don’t insert the skewer that deeply.

And there you have it!  A beautiful soap design using natural colorants.  I love the way the calendula doesn’t just provide color but also provides texture. 

When you cut this soap be sure to lay it on it’s side and cut in that position.  That way you won’t drag the cocoa line.

Happy Soaping!


17 Responses

  1. Pamela

    Very nice! Love the natural colorants!

  2. t.a. helton

    Thank you for posting this! I have been wondering how people were getting that tiny line in their soap. Knew it wasn’t just a layer of soap itself…but didn’t want to come out and just ask 😉 I’ll be trying it out in my next batch, for sure.

  3. Jessica S.

    Wow, Amanda. That is beautiful. I am absolutely loving this series! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Gerti

    Thank you for the tutorial. Looks beautiful :)


  5. HapaGirl

    Thank you for posting this wonderful series…I LEARN sooo much from all your helpful hints/tutorials. You break the steps down very simply…it looks doable for me, and it builds my soaping confidence to try it.



  6. Ewenique

    Thanks for sharing your photo tutorial. I will have to try the cocoa line sometime now that I see how it’s sprinkled with the tiny strainer.

  7. Briana Arch

    Can you replace the cocoa powder with mica colours or clays to have the same effect?

    • Amanda

      Hi Briana,

      Yes you can use any type of powdered colorant that you want. Good luck!


  8. Marilyn S.

    Amanda, I am lovin your thread about natural colors. I thank you for all your hard work and experimentation! The soaps look beautiful!

  9. Pat Potter

    Amanda, I just subscribed to your blog and I LOVE the simple instructions you give. You make it sound so easy. Your soaps are beautiful. I will have to try the cocoa line. I had heard of using black mica, but cocoa powder sounds so easy.
    Pat P

  10. claudia mold

    I like your soap, and the natural colours. I love your ideas!

  11. Frieda J.

    Hello Amanda,
    I also am a new subscriber of your blog. Discovered it by searching for natural colouring in soaps.
    Thank you so much for all this interesting examples, tips and explenations. You are opening a new world for me!

  12. Jeanette

    yes, thank you for posting how you did the thin line in the middle. That is something I have been wanting to try and think I am ready to try it now.

  13. Patrice

    Great tute as usual Amanda! I use a used spice container with strainer holes to sprinkle my cocoa powder. The spoon thing never works for me. I guess I’m a little too heavy-handed.

    Briana-I’ve used shredded loofah in place of powdered cocoa and have gotten the same wonderful effect, so yes, you can replace the cocoa with other powdered additives:)

    • Amanda

      Thanks, Patrice!

  14. Kathy

    Great tutorial! I’m just getting starting with natural colorants and have to try paprika. The soap is beautiful!

  15. Cheryl Taylor

    Thank you for the tutorial, I can’t wait to try it!