I know this useful tool hit the soaping-sphere this last year (or year before?). I’ve been a bit absent due to focusing on our non-profit, Lovin’ Soap Project.

Kathy White did a tutorial using a gear tie to swirl soap in an issue of Soap Collaborative Magazine.

How to Make Lavender Pumpkin Gear Tie Swirl Soap

I finally got my hands on a gear tie and wanted to put it to use! You can find gear ties at the local hardware store. They’re used to hang stuff and organize things (especially in the garage). They are perfect for creating swirling tools for soap because you can bend them to fit your mold. Here is what I’m talking about.

This recipe features pumpkin puree!

lavender pumpkin soap

pumpkin puree soap

Lavender Pumpkin Gear Tie Swirl Recipe

Coconut Oil – 10 oz.
Shea Butter – 4 oz.
Olive Oil – 12 oz.
Rice Bran Oil – 6 oz.
Lye – 4.5 oz.
Pumpkin Puree – 9 oz. (canned puree works great, DO NOT get pie filling)

Purple Mica – 2 teaspoons

Lavender Essential Oil – 1 oz.
Pumpkin Fragrance Oil – .5 oz.

Mold – This soap fits in a 10″ Silicone Mold from Bramble Berry (affiliate link http://www.brambleberry.com/10-Silicone-Loaf-Mold–P5199.aspx?bb=5).

Safety Warning: This recipe is for soapmakers who have a basic knowledge of the soapmaking process and know the correct safety procedures to use when handling lye. If you are new to soapmaking, visit lovinsoap.com or soapqueen.com for more detailed beginner instructions. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves while soaping.

Step 1 – Weigh out the lye into a container. Set aside.

Step 2 – Weigh out the pumpkin into another container.

pumpkin and lye for soap

Step 3 – Sprinkle the lye onto the pumpkin. Stir. The lye will liquify the pumpkin puree.

pumpkin puree soap

pumpkin puree soap

Step 4 – Weigh the coconut oil and shea butter into a container and melt.

Step 5 – Add the liquid oils to the melted oils. This helps to drop the temp. Add your fragrance and essential oil to the oils.

Step 6 – Wait for the oils and lye solution to drop to 90F. You can put the lye solution in the fridge or in an ice bath to drop the temp.

Step 7 – Prepare your gear tie and mold. Bend the gear tie to fit into your mold as shown. Cut cardboard to create two dividers the length of your mold.

gear tie soap

cardboard divider soap mold

Step 8 – Once temps have dropped to 90F or below, pour the lye into the oils.

pumpkin lye solution

Step 8 – Stick blend until emulsion has been reached.

stirring soap

mixing soap

Almost there…but there are still oil streaks.

oils streaks in soap

Here we have emulsion. No oil is floating and the mixture is consistent in color.

emulsion in soap

Step 9 – Place a containers on the scale and hit tare. Weigh out 15.2 oz. of soap batter.

pumpkin soap

Step 10 – Add 2 teaspoons of purple mica and blend by hand.

purple mica in soap

purple mica in soap

Step 11 – Pushing down on the cardboard dividers, pour the soap into the mold. Pushing down helps to make sure the mixture doesn’t flow under. It helps if you have someone help you pour the soap all at one time. I couldn’t take pictures and pour at the same time. 🙂

dividers in mold

Step 12 – Lift the dividers straight up and out of the soap.

lift out divider

Step 13 – Insert your gear ties all of the way down into the soap. Move the gear tie from side to side while pulling up.


gear tie to swirl soap

Step 14 – If you want to swirl the top, use a wooden Popsicle stick or something similar to swirl.

popsicle stick to swirl soap

Step 15 – Spray with alcohol to combat ash.

pumpkin lavender soap

Step 16 – Let the soap sit overnight to saponify. Unmold and cut the next day. Cure for a minimum of four weeks.

pumpkin lavender soap

The purple turned a bit brown because of the pumpkin and vanilla in fragrance. But I still like it! This technique is really quite easy to do. You could even do a three color swirl.

Happy Soaping!

-Amanda Gail