In February 2021, I fell in love with the Kiss Pour.
I was introduced to this technique through Amy Warden's February 2021 Soap Challenge Club, taught by Joanne Watkins.
Joanne was inspired by the Kiss Pour Painting technique, a method of combining colors from two different containers by having their spouts "kiss" (meet) during a simultaneous pour onto a surface. What are the results? Magic.
Here's a little 15- second clip that shows the technique better than that descriptor:
Why fall in love with this technique? Simple: it's an exquisite combination of both versatility + unpredictability. Like Forest Gump's chocolates, "You never know what you're gonna get."
I did four small-batch versions of the Kiss Pour to test it's possibilities - for a relatively straightforward technique, there was a lot to unpack.
Attempt #1: Passing Storm Soap
This was created as a single layer "traveling pour" - I started the pour at one end of the mold and moved it to other areas. Look how subtle, yet dramatic those sides came out! One measure of a good Kiss Pour is how delicately "feathered" the pattern appears - you can see how these bars check that box.
I also CPOP'd (Cold Process Oven Processed) my batches, which intensified the colors and made some areas relatively translucent.
Below you'll find the freshly poured, wet soap, then the saponified (after 36 hrs) soap sliced into bars. Yes, the lighting is different but the soap still transforms, color-wise, after the initial chemical reaction of saponification.
Seeing all six bars at once helps visualize the pattern of the pour.
To order a bar or read more about this small batch soap, click here.
Unlike Passing Storm Soap - a single layer Kiss Pour using all the oils + lye at one go, Night + Day has four layers. More time-consuming/complicated from a production point, as it required dividing the oils and lye water from my master batch into 4-parts each.
Why? Because each layer required mixing one portion of lye/oils in sequence, building multiple layers with time in-between for set-up. That is, for layer one, I'd mix one each of the oil/lye portions, add scent, divide out into colors, Kiss Pour it into the mold, then move on to the next set of oil/lye portions while the soap in the mold set.
If oils + lye were added all at once, then divided out afterwards, I wouldn't have been able to control trace (soap thickening speed). The first layer wouldn't be set in time to pour the second layer without muddying the colors. The last layer might be too thick for the feather effect.
Waiting for set-up between pours produces distinct, crisp layers on the bars. Is that more work? Yes. Yes, it is. More math, too.
Below you'll see an example of how I did this technique on the base layer:
- the divided out oils/lye water,
- one of those oil/lye combos mixed, then divided into 4 "day" colors (with scent),
- the colors put into pitchers for the kiss pour:
Here's what the bottom layer of the soap looked like after the pour.
Layering was great fun, trying different styles of pours as well as color variations to see what worked best. The beauty of doing a layered soap is that as the bar wears down, a new design is revealed.
The top photo of Night + Day shows the front, back and sides of the finished bar but I included this side bar photo (L) to compare my first, single layer Passing Storm Soap to Night + Day's clear delineation between layers. Cool, huh?
To order a bar or get more info on this Night + Day Soap, click here
Attempt #3: Day + Night Soap
To make this next version, I took the lessons learned from Night + Day, refined the colors/pour technique, changed up the base oil formulation (from vegan to a palm-free, traditional oils mix), to allow the color to pop more, then refined the design to further highlight the layers.
This time, the "Day" layer was on the top surface of the bar. Here are the layers in descending order:
While the final soap colors shifted (and the yellow shows up better) after saponification, this was great fun to create and wound up being my entry in the February 2021 Soap Challenge. Good News: this was my first time reaching the "podium" (though I had gotten other recognition awards before). I won a Third Place distinction out of 165+ international entries, which was pretty gratifying, given the talent level in that group.
Yeah, I'm happy.
Click here for more information or to purchase one of these small batch bars.
Attempt 4: MesmerEYES Soap
So given the stimulating, yet ridiculous complexity of my last two attempt, I wanted to do one more pass at this technique and see if I could keep things relatively straightforward - no layers, no traveling pours, just a simple Kiss Pour, centered in the middle of the mold. Which was torture for me.
But I did it (that's the little video I included at the start of this post).
Here's what the finished, wet soap looked like vs. the soap after a 36-hr saponification and cut into bars:
Again, the lighting in my work space (wet soap) isn't ideal for photography the way my photo set-up is (bar photo) but there is still a difference in how the color looks after saponification.
Anyhow - whatcha think? Do you prefer one-layered designs or the multi-layered ones? Brighter, cheerful colors vs. a more dramatic palette? Did I get into TMI-territory for the uninitiated soap appreciator? I'd love to hear your feedback - please comment below. Your input helps me figure out what to write about.
For more info or to purchase a bar of these small batch designs, click on the title link at the start of each section.
Thanks for indulging me and reading this far - hope you found this interesting. (Photos help.)
Peace Out, friend -