Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club Rustic Design Challenge

Salty Kai




April 2017’s edition of Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club brought some new and exciting changes. For those of you unfamiliar with Amy’s challenges, the contest has been set up in a way that allows only fellow Challenge Club members to be involved with the voting process. This month, Amy introduced a different voting method. We still have the option of submitting our entries in the traditional member-voted fashion, but now, we also have the option of submitting our entries to a panel of five jury members. This new option changes the dynamic of the competition quite a bit. This new selection process is for those that want to up their game, so to speak. It’s geared towards those who are a little more deliberate in regards furthering their soaping experience and knowledge. For someone moving towards selling their creations, this is the category to be in.


The Challenge

I have mentioned before, Amy’s challenges have been an amazing teaching tool for me and I have absolutely no doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. This particular challenge proved to be an amazing proof of this.

The focus of this challenge was a little different than usual; this time our challenge was two-fold. First, we had to create a soap that was rustic looking in its appearance. The other part of the challenge was to package the soap in such a way to enhance the overall rustic look. I have to say this particular challenge was the most thought provoking challenge I have yet to participate in. Creating a rustic-looking soap is pretty easy and straight forward. Creating packaging for it, well that opened up a whole can of worms! 


New Beginnings!

For several months, I have been working diligently on getting the selling side of my business up and going. I have been doing endless research on the laws and regulations regarding soap and body products, working out what line of products to sell, figuring out how to package those items, and my hubby  and I have even begun building my very own soap studio! But there has been one part of creating this business that has had me chasing my tail big time – choosing the perfect business name. 

I usually shut off the rest of the world to give my full attention to Amy’s challenges. This particular challenge proved to be perfect timing and provided a perfect opportunity. I decided to use this challenge to finally give my baby a name. My business baby, that is!

(Stay tuned for the big reveal at the end of my ramblings!)


The Idea

I am all about killing as many birds with one stone as I possibly can. For this particular challenge, Amy allowed the option to make our soaps using the hot process method of soap making, as well as the option to use re-batched soap for the design. I have used both of these methods over the years so they didn’t much appeal to my “try new things” side. One technique that has been on my list of things to try is a salt bar. Most of the salt bars I have seen very much qualify as rustic-looking. Another item on my list has been to make soap-on-a-rope. I had a couple of birds to kill right there!

One of my creative outlets before the soap bug bit me, was fiber arts. We own alpacas and I have taught myself to spin and felt the fiber over the years. I have kept some yarn from my earliest attempts at learning to spin and just like soap, I can’t throw any of it out. I decided it definitely qualified as rustic – although some of the more seasoned spinners would say it is very primitive looking!

Our happy alpacas!

Primitive, er….rustic yarn


The Creation

I had recently wandered into a spice shop in our town and was amazed at all the different types of salt they had available. I was especially entranced by one salt in particular; a stunning black variety.

According to Wikipedia: Black lava salt is a marketing term for sea salt harvested from Hawaii plus food grade Coconut shell Activated Charcoal. “Black Lava” is trademarked by Hawaii Kai Corporation located in Hawaii and San Diego. It is created by a proprietary blending formula by Hawaii Kai Corporation. Hawaii Kai created this formula in 2004 and had been the first in the world to create and sell Black Hawaiian sea salt under the name “Black Lava”. The salt is used as a finishing salt.

Isn’t it gorgeous??

I was particularly excited to see the reference to Kai because I had recently acquired an absolutely amazing fragrance oil from Mad Oils called Kai. I have to say this is one of the most intoxicatingly beautiful floral fragrances I have ever smelled in my life! As is typical with floral fragrances, it was a big accelerator. I had tucked it away for the perfect design and was thrilled to finally have a reason to put it to use! Not only that, but the word Kai means sea or ocean in the Hawaiian language. Serendipity indeed!

I knew salt bars tended to be hard and often crumbled easily. I didn’t want to have to drill a hole through the soap after it hardened to attach the rope. I thought it would be best to sink the ropes down into the soap while it was wet so I built a mold and came up with a way to hang the ropes into the soap while it hardened:

I wanted to add some pizzazz to my ropes so I made some beads out of soap dough. I threaded a few of the beads through individual “ropes” of yarn:


I apologize for the bad coloring in the following pictures. The bright orange of my drop cloth does not play nicely with the coloring of the photos. I promise to find a more neutral color for future posts! 

I mixed up my batter and added the finely ground sea salt at 50% of the total oil weight. I portioned the batter into two separate containers. To the purple batter I added micas and purple Brazilian clay. To the white portion, I added white kaolin clay and sprinkled some of the black salt in for added texture. I marked the mold to facilitate the layer portions and I also marked the side for the rope placement.


I began by pouring the first purple layer:

First layer

Added a pencil line of activated charcoal:

Pencil line

Added the middle white layer:

Second layer

Another pencil line:

Pencil line

After adding the next purple layer, I added the top white layer. I then put in my dowel with the ropes dangling down into the soap. After lining them up for placement, I used a bamboo skewer to push each rope down into the soap:

Pushing in ropes

After the ropes were pushed in, I sprinkled the top with some more black salt:

Salted tops


Closer look



I think figuring out how to package the soap was the hardest part of this challenge. How to make the packaging look rustic, not too cute, not too country. Simple, yet not primitive. After scouring the Internet for ideas and numerous trips to craft stores, I still didn’t have an exact design in mind. I agonized over design after design but nothing jumped out to me. At the last minute – yesterday to be precise  – I took one last trip to a craft store. I just opened my mind to see what spoke to me. I finally ended up with a rough idea and purchased these supplies:

Packaging supplies

I knew I had very little time to get some decent shots with the diminishing light, so I just started assembling everything. After a strip of torn handmade paper, frayed ribbon, lace, a strip of patterned paper, some beads, yarn and some flowers – voilà! This is what emerged:


Drum Roll…

As you may have noticed, I have a little bead attached to the packaging. Though it serves as a little inspirational touch, it also has a significant meaning. It is the new name of my bath and body business: Believe Bath. My hopes are to make it into a company that produces the highest quality bath and body products, products you can believe in.

Amy, I cannot thank you enough for these wonderful challenges. Not only have they provided me with wonderful learning opportunities, but they have also pushed me to recognize a passion I never knew existed. Your challenges have helped guide me into fulfilling a path that fills my heart with a tremendous joy. I will remain eternally grateful for everything you have shared.


Group shot

Alternate background

 My entry!


Soap Specs:


Shea Butter
Coconut Oil
Castor oil
Finely ground sea salt
Hawaiian Black Lava Salt
Brazilian purple clay
White Kaolin clay


Kai Type – Mad Oils 


Cosmic Purple – Steph’s Micas -Micas and More
Tempest PurpleMad Oils


Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time…

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April 27, 2017 2:13 pm

I love your creativeness Debi! Everything about your soap and packaging is gorgeous. I love how you constructed your mould invention to hold up the soap rope, what a great mind you have. I wish you every success in your business venture and BELIEVE you will have a great business. Much love x

April 26, 2017 7:45 pm

Fantastic soap, I love the design, the colors and the texture! The packaging is wonderful, the little bead adds a final touch! I like your new name. Good luck!

Sara Golding
April 25, 2017 1:33 pm

Debi, I am so happy for you! First, your soap is beautiful. Absolutely ingenious, in every way! Dreaming up a purple bar of soap and turning it into a spot on, beautiful rustic piece is brilliant! Not many of us could pull off that feat. As for your Believe Bath- may your every wish come true. I think every one who has seen your soaps and your beautiful mind Believes whole heartedly in your success! Keep me up to date when your launch is- I need some soaps!!

Love Your Suds
April 25, 2017 1:24 pm

Debi! Your soap and packaing are both so beautiful and well executed <3 Well done!
– Belinda

April 25, 2017 7:32 am

Beautiful colors Debi! I love the soap on a rope idea and the soap beads very creative.

April 24, 2017 4:51 pm

Awesome soap Debi!!! I love your soap on a rope mold!! And your soap circles. Great Job!!!

April 24, 2017 6:52 am

Debi, I’m delighted with your alpacas))) and are delighted with the fact that you know how to spin! WOW !!! The soap turned out to be very contrasting, with its own style, the colors are simply ported out! I urgently need black salt))) I want to make soap with such salt))) The process of pouring soap is remarkably well thought out – pencil marks !!! I’ll take a note! Congratulations on the title, I wish that your hopes of doing this in the company that produces the highest quality bath and body products are fulfilled !!! Google interpreter can incorrectly… Read more »

April 24, 2017 3:05 am

OMG! This soap is awesome! The style, the packaging, all is super super fabulous! ❤️ Great job! Eklektika Sapo

Shaman Lisa
April 23, 2017 11:25 pm

Just gorgeous! I love how you did the soap-on-a-rope interpretation. too – I’ve avoided adding rope for the same reason you stated. Quite an elegant solution.
Yay for your new branding – good luck with your fresh new compay name!

April 23, 2017 5:39 pm

Super cute soap and packaging. I love that you found/used the black salt. It adds a sophisticated touch! I think your new name choice is a good one, good luck.

April 23, 2017 4:44 pm

So beautiful! I love the design and colors of the soap. The bead on the packaging is wonderful, as well as the packaging design. Great Soap company name too.
Thank you so much for sharing your process – I always really enjoy reading your blogs.

April 23, 2017 1:57 pm

well Debi what a great blog and beautiful soap and did you say you made your own yarn from your own alpacas??? Holy cow I loved you blog and your soap. And might I add soap beads and creating string thingy to place you soap rope. You are quite an inspiration !! well done 🙂 wow

April 23, 2017 1:11 pm

Once again Debi, I throughly enjoyed reading about your adventure with the challenge! You are so inspiring and creative. I love the uniqueness of the black lava salt and the alpaca yarn.. and your design with them is stunning! All the best with your new business.. I am sure Believe Bath will be a huge success!

Michelle Rogerson
April 22, 2017 5:46 pm

Oh my gosh these are gorgeous! Admit to loving the white/purple/black combo right off the bat, and then to see the details that you put into it all, incorporating the yarn and personalizing it to the degree you did – and that reveal? Perfect! All the best with your business, and good luck in the challenge as well! 🙂

April 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Very well done! I love your packaging too!

April 22, 2017 5:29 pm

Oh my! Beautiful soap and packaging! Very well done!

April 22, 2017 3:46 pm

Hi Debi! So lovely are your Hanging Soaps! Beautiful layer of lavender with the seedy white & line. Love it! I have been so wanting to try felting my own slippers, but have to get some roving … you are inspiring! Good name choice too, a name is incredibly difficult to nail down! 🙂

April 22, 2017 1:29 pm

Gorgeous, Debi! I especially love the soap beads, which are a nice touch, as well as the chunky dimensions. I need to steal both. 🙂 Speaking of which, cool mold! How does the front stay in place? Ah, I see: hinge and tape. I’ve experimented some with bottomless molds, as they’re easier to line and get sharper corners, as well as to release. I may have to try a hybrid…

Amy Warden
April 22, 2017 12:53 pm

Believe Bath. I really like this!! Congratulations on making this momentous decision, Debi! The soap looks fantastic as well. I like the idea of a salt bar – definitely has wonderful texture and the layers and pencil lines give added interest. I knew packaging was going to add a new element to the challenge this month, but I think it was a good one! You’ve pulled everything together nicely!!

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