How to Make Swirl Soap (And a Must-Try Scent Combo)

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While the ingredients make the soap, I sure do love how these swirls turn out! I can?t get enough of making swirls in all my cold process soap recipes. Once you get a hang of the method, it?s really quite simple! Here?s how I make my swirl soap, no hanger or fancy tools necessary.

purple and white swirl soap

Beginner soap makers may look at swirl soap and wonder how on earth can I get my soap to look like that?? While I encourage you to get your basics mastered first, making cold process swirl really isn?t that hard. I?ve mastered my own method and have made many soaps this past year featuring this swirl.

Yes and , I?m looking at you!

While the soap is a stunner all on its own, the scent alone could gather crowds. Scent can get really personal for some people. Just like our tastebuds, not everything we smell can be a hit with the masses. But, in addition to teaching you my method for swirled cold process soap, I?ve also included a recipe that smells so glorious, everyone will love it.

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swirled cold process soap

The Three Gloriously Scented Musketeers

When I first smelled the scent combination of this soap, I knew I hit the jackpot. It?s so romantic but has a masculine note to it that makes it earthy at the same time. On their own, each essential oil is a worthy competitor, but together, they?re unstoppable!

Without a doubt, it?s a scent anyone would adore. Here?s my secret recipe using three key essential oils.


I put in everything I possibly can. While a very floral scent, it pairs exceptionally well with many other essential oils. It?s one of the most popular scents used in aromatherapy for its relaxation and sleep-inducing properties.

Besides its calming effects, it?s also antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be used to treat infections and wounds when used topically.

black pepper soap

Black Pepper

People know this seasoning most for its culinary use, but the has a deliciously warm and spicy scent. It adds a little zep to the step in this recipe.

The active ingredient in black pepper is known as piperine. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and disease-fighting qualities. When ingested it?s especially known for fighting chronic diseases such as insulin resistance.


Take a walk through the pacific northwest with me and with some . Slightly sour, zesty, and 100% woodsy, cedarwood agrees with everyone?s nose. A strong scent, it works well for deodorizing which makes this soap a good one after a long, hard day.

For the skin, cedarwood works at treating tough acne. Its antibacterial properties also make it great for helping with swelling, inflammation, and pain for small wounds. When inhaled, it also aims to reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.

how to make swirl soap

Black Pepper and Cedarwood Swirl Soap

Whenever I use this cold process swirl soap, I feel like a million bucks. Combined with its devouring scent and gorgeous swirls, it feels very silky. If you?re in need of moisturizing soap, I recommend giving this one a try.

To make this soap, find detailed descriptions on here. Then, come back for this ultra-luxurious recipe and to learn how to get that elusive swirl!

cold process swirl soap


Makes 2 lbs of soap. For exact measurements, refer to the recipe card below.

  • (or another glass cup with a pour spout)
  • Safety gear gloves, apron, eyewear, etc.
  • Olive oil infused with calendula
  • Distilled water
dried echinacea petals

How to Make Swirls in Your Soap

When it comes to making swirl soap, there are so many different methods out there for achieving the lustrous swirls. I call this method my 3-point swirl and it creates a unique whirl completely unlike the hanger method. All the work happens in the bowl before you pour it into the mould!

For my recipe below, I made a swirl using 3 different colours: the uncoloured soap base as a creamy white, activated charcoal to add a darker swirl, and lavender mica for a purple swirl.

Once your soap is at trace and you?ve blended in the essential oils, it?s time to make your swirl. Pour your mica powder on one side of the bowl and the charcoal on the other. Use the immersion blender to mix the colours in place. Use the spatula to drag each colour through the mix only once while in the bowl.

Pour your soap into the mold. Use a chopstick to create a figure-eight pattern through the soap. For my recipe, I added dried echinacea petals on top as they take on an earthy purple colour that compliments the soap well.

As you cut the soap, you?ll notice how each piece looks so incredibly different from one another. Some will have more tents_2470 white, others black or purple, and some a little bit of all three.

swirl soap recipe

Let me know how this swirl method works out for you! And even better yet, how much you love the smell of this soap.

More Soap Recipes to Try

swirl soap

Black Pepper and Cedarwood Swirl Soap

Earthy yet romantic, the scent and the swirl of this soap are a match made in heaven. This recipe makes 2 lbs of soap.


  • Safety gear (rubber gloves, face mask, apron, eye protection, etc.)


  • 227 g
  • 189 g
  • 95 g
  • 95 g
  • 76 g
  • 95 g
  • 200 g
  • 10 g
  • 5 g
  • 5 g
  • 1.5 g
  • 1.5 g


  • Measure out your ingredients using a kitchen scale.
  • Melt your oils and butters together over low heat until they reach 115?F.
  • In a pyrex cup, combine your water and lye. Stir continnuously until fully dissolved and then cool in an ice bath until 115?F.
  • With an immersion blender, combine your lye water and melted oils.
  • At trace, add the essential oils and then blend again.
  • Place your mica powder on one side of the bowl and the charcoal on the other. Mix in place with the immersion blender.
  • Use a spatula to drag each colour across the bowl once. Pour into soap mold.
  • Use a chopstick and make a figure eight pattern back and forth across the soap. Top it off with dried echinacea petals.
  • Let the soap sit somewhere warm for 48 hours before cutting.
  • Once cut, let the soap cure for a further 6 weeks in a cool, dark setting before using.

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While most of the time snails are a friendly (dare I even say cute) creature, sometimes they can be too much for gardeners. Cabbage-loving pests, snails can do quite a bit of damage if they have great enough numbers. But most of the time, they?re simply just part of the garden?s ecosystem. Learn if snails are the problem in your garden and if so, how to get rid of them.

close up of snail climbing up a tree

have always seemed a little icky to me. But once you plop a shell on them and call them a snail, suddenly they?re endearing little creatures. Every now and then I spot them in my garden and I always consider it a sign that my garden is brimming with all kinds of wildlife.

But are snails the ones causing issues for your garden? Below I?ve listed some signs of snail damage and how you can get rid of the mollusk from your garden. I?ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you think the snail is a friend or foe.

All of the methods listed in terms of pest control for snails are 100% natural. While you can use pesticides and slug and snail bait, this can be toxic to other good insects as well as animals who may stumble across them. These natural methods are very effective, trust me!

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how to get rid of snails in the garden

Meet the Garden Snail

Small and big, water or land, there are so many snails out there you may encounter. In the garden, you?re most likely to see the brown garden snail, a type of terrestrial gastropod mollusk (that?s a fancy term for land snail).

They?re also known as the European brown snail, the Cornu aspersum is native to the Mediterranean but can now be found in all continents except Antarctica. That?s all thanks to globalization and the trading of goods!

As baby snails, they often start as translucent before turning slightly blueish. Upon reaching adulthood, they turn a brownish colour. They have soft bodies that are protected with yellow or cream shells with brown stripes. Just like a tree, the rings on the shell help determine its age.

When it senses danger or isn?t being all that active, it can retract into its shell. On the bottom, they produce mucus which helps them stay moist as they travel across dry ground and protect their skin from sharp objects.

Of course, these guys aren?t known for their speed. The fastest they?ve been recorded at is 1.3 cm a second. As far as potential pests go, they?re one of the least intimidating.

brown garden snail

Life Cycle of Snails

You may be surprised to know how old that garden snail is in your backyard! Most snails live 2-7 years in the garden. And like many of us, they start off as eggs.

Many land snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that one snail has both male and female reproductive organs. Rather than self-fertilize, most snails will copulate with one another.

Through courting rituals, they find mates by expelling chemicals. During mating, the sperm enter the other snail to fertilize the eggs. They can hold onto this sperm for years if they choose.

snail in the garden

Both snails can then deliver a set of eggs. They lay the snail eggs in a nest in a hole in the ground or amongst vegetation. At one time, they lay around 100 eggs. Snail eggs are usually white and come coated in a viscous layer for protection. Teeny tiny, they?re 3-6 millimeters in diameter.

After two weeks to one month, the baby snails will hatch with a softshell. As the snail gets older, the shell will continue to grow. The translucent body of a baby snail will also get darker as it grows.

Snails can enter a period of lethargy. In the summer, this process is known as estivation, and in winter as hibernation. During this process, they retract into the shells and excrete a layer of mucus to close the opening and protect their bodies.

snails in the garden

What Do Snails Eat?

In some areas where it doesn?t belong, it has turned into a pest for crops and home gardens. In California in particular, they?ve been known to damage crops and also hide out in container-grown plants to be shipped to other areas of the country.

Mostly herbivorous, snails eat fruits trees, herbs, cereal crops, flowers, and tree bark. Sometimes they eat decaying plant or animal materials. But what they like the most certainly are tender seedlings.

Like slugs, they have a set of microscopic teeth known as radula to eat their food. They eat holes in the middle of leaves, devour seedlings altogether, and take a gander at low-hanging fruit like and . They are especially notorious in the spring.

Since they?re nocturnal, it can be hard to know if snails are the culprits in the garden. You can look for them at night with a flashlight, on a rainy day since they like the moisture, or in the early morning while it?s still cool.

How to Get Rid of Snails in the Garden

If snails have started their conquest of your garden or precious vegetables, they?re a fairly easy pest to get a handle on. With a little bit of patience and diligence, you can round up quite a few snails and change your garden to prevent them from coming back.

Habitat Reduction

The first thing you should do is take a look at your garden and ask yourself why snails love it so much. Chances are, they are loving the shady, moist parts of your garden. In these areas, you can remove anything they might like to hide under. This includes boards, logs, large stones, plant debris, and low-hanging branches.

and trees so that they have minimal underbrush and . Remove any kind of debris such as leaves to another area of the garden unaffected by snails. The fewer things you have on the ground for the snail to hide or enjoy eating, the better.

close up of garden snail face and shell

Hand Pick Snails

It may seem obvious, but you can go right ahead and pluck the snails off of your plants. While you certainly won?t catch them all, you can make a dent by doing this frequently. Go in the early morning while it?s still moist out or in the evening with a flashlight. Dispose of the snails in warm soap water.

Change Your Watering Habits

Since snails like areas with lots of moisture, you want to try and dry things up as much as you can without harming your plants. Stop watering as often if possible or consider switching to in the snail-infested area.

Switching to drip irrigation can limit the amount of water used at one time. Watering by hand at the base of the plant also helps.

Set a Snail Trap

Like slugs, snails will fall for a beer trap. Since they love the smell of the fermentation, snails will be attracted to beer laid in a container in the garden. Dig it in the ground so it?s easy for the snails to get into. They will go in the container and drown in the beer.

Make Your Garden Not Snail Friendly

Snails have soft and delicate bodies and like to stick to smooth surfaces to protect them. You can add sharp and pointy objects as protective barriers to your garden.

Gravel, wood chips, sand, and eggshells are all difficult for snails to crawl over. Some also say coffee grounds work.

free range escargot sign

Copper Barriers

Copper reacts with the mucus of snails and slugs, actually giving a slight shock. At garden centres, you can find copper sold as strips to wrap around the base of tree trunks and shrubs. You can also use it for containers or other small gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions About Garden Snails

Are Snails Good for Your Garden?

Every insect has their place in the garden. While they do munch on plants, they also help to clean up plant debris and can even eat pest eggs. They?re also part of the food chain, eaten by birds, lizards, toads, and small mammals.

Having them in your garden means there?s enough food to go around for all. Plus, they?re pretty darn cute so I don?t mind seeing one crawl around my garden.

How Long Do Snails Live?

In the wild, you can see snails live anywhere from one to ten years, although the average is more often two to seven years. In captivity, this number can go up to 25 years.

How Do Snails Reproduce?

Snails are hermaphrodites with female and male reproductive organs. They do not self-fertilize however and rely on another snail to reproduce. When mating, sperm will enter another snail to fertilize the eggs. Both snails can then deliver a set of eggs. After 2-4 weeks, the snails will hatch with a soft shell that gets larger as the snail ages.


Let me know in the comments below if you end up trying any of these methods and how well they work for you. Personally, I love my snail friends, but I know how much of an issue they can be for some.

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One of the most recognized garden flowers, just about every gardener has come across a viola, pansy, or violet. Frost-tolerant beauties, they?re one of the first flowers to enjoy in the early season. And with such a low price point, you can easily use them to fill your garden with tons of colour. Learn about the key differences between the flowers and the many ways you can use them.

pansies growing in shade

In my garden, I grow very few annuals. Yet, I?m always drawn to the classic pansy and viola as they?re one of the most versatile and easy to grow annuals out there. Not only are they great for filling in the garden, but they?re too.

The next time you?re at the garden centre, don?t walk by the trays of pansies and violas that are $5 or less for six or ten plants. Grab a tray or two! Enjoy their little smiling faces and use them to easily bring colour to your garden when frost still looms.

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wood flower press with violas

Demystifying Violas, Pansies, and Violets

In the violet family Violaceae, there are around 1,000 species. Viola is the botanical name for violets, violas, and pansies, and people often mix up all three terms. While they all belong to the same family, they?re in fact different flowers.

When referring to pansies, people are often talking about the bigger blooms. Violas in the garden typically have smaller blooms but have more of them. They both have similar growing conditions and care in the garden. While technically short-lived perennials, many gardeners treat them as annuals.

Here are some of the most common plants you will find in the violet family.

Viola sororia

Also known as the common blue violet, these are the ones you see dotting lawns and fields. Many curse them as weeds since they?re self-seeding and spread easily.  But I think they?re a beautiful and .

They appear very different than the others listed below, with heart-shaped leaves and 5 petals of either blue, purple, white, or yellow. The bottom three petals are veined and the lowest curl back. These pretty blooms are native to North America.

Viola tricolor

These guys are also referred to as wild pansies or Johnny Jump Up. When you see plants labeled or talked about as violas, this is what they?re referring to. They?re smaller and have lots of bloom at a time per plant.

They come in purple, blue, yellow, or white. The most common colouring of their five petals consists of two purple flowers on top, white petals underneath, and a lower yellow petal.

harvested viola flowers

Viola odorata

Known as the sweet violet or English violet, this is the violet flower with the most scent. With a sweet floral fragrance, it has inspired many perfumes. You can find them in dark to light purple, white, or pink colours.

Native to Europe and Asia, you can also find them in North America and Australia.

Viola x wittrockiana

The one you probably know the best, this variety is referred to as the garden pansy and is easily found in garden centres, grocery stores, and hardware stores. A hybridized viola, it?s cultivated from the Viola tricolor.

The large flowers have incredible colour versatility, coming in just about every shade and colour combination imaginable.

viola hammer flower print card

Uses for Viola Flowers

Not only are these blooms beautiful, but they are useful too. Here are a few ways you can utilize violas.

Garden Flowers

Every cool season gardener has included pansies in their beds. A highly versatile flower, they will give you a burst of colour when few other flowers can. They?re often intermixed among .

They work wonderfully as garden borders, in containers, hanging baskets, and amongst your vegetable garden as an edible flower.

When given boosts of fertilizer, they can get quite bushy and can fill in bare patches throughout the garden for cheap.

flowering annuals for shade: pansies

Medicinal Herb

Several violets are used for medicinal purposes: Viola odorata, Viola tricolor, and the native American violets Viola sororia and Viola pedate. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they use the Viola yedoensis.

Violets have a good dose of Vitamin C in them are known for promoting restful sleep and easing headaches. Ancient Greeks also used the herb to moderate anger and strengthen the heart.

One of the most beneficial uses of the herb is for helping coughs and respiratory conditions. The moistening nature of violets especially helps dry and inflamed respiratory systems.

Know for heat-clearing, violets reduce fever and inflammation. It can be applied topically to help with inflammation of the skin and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Violet flowers are even known to have anti-cancer and chemosensitizing effects which have shown promise in treating drug-resistant breast cancer.

Cooking violets for soda syrup

Edible Flower

One of the most , people from professional cake decorators to home gardeners use violas to adorn their food. They work well as garnishes for desserts, drinks, salads, and pizzas.

When it comes to violas, you can experience a variety of tastes, some being strong with grassy, green flavours and others mild with a sweet, pea-like flavour.

If you want to eat them, I recommend growing them from seed. They?re not a difficult seedling to grow and you can get them started very early in the season.

Not all violas are edible. Make sure you properly identify all flowers before eating them. You can eat any of the violas listed above.

flower petals and violas on pizza

Planting Pansies

You?ve got some options when it comes to the pansy! You can plant them in either spring or fall depending on when you want blooms. For spring and early summer blooms, plant the pansies in late winter as soon as the ground is workable six inches apart. Cool lovers, they can withstand a frost so don?t be scared to plant them early.

Pansies die back in the hot heat, so they may not make it through hot and dry summers. However, you can get blooms all summer long with the right temperatures. They work well in zones 3-8.

For fall flowers, plant in early autumn. This gives them time to establish and they may even survive a mild winter. Plant these pansies closer together as they won?t get as bushy in the fall.

white, orange, and purple pansies blooming in a garden

Growing Pansies from Seed

If , you will want to start them early. For spring blooms, start the seeds in late winter from February to March. For autumn, sow the seeds from May to June to get those early fall flowers.

While you can directly sow them, your chances of success will be better starting them indoors. Start with high-quality in a tray. Surface sow the seeds and then place the tray in a black garbage bag so no light can pass through.

Place the bag in a cool spot and check for growth once a day. Meanwhile, keep the soil moist while waiting for the seeds to germinate.

Once they?ve germinated, move to a spot with bright and indirect light. As soon as the soil is workable, the seedlings can be transplanted. Give them a couple of days outside before planting to accustom them to the outdoors.

Cool Wave Pansy Mix Garden Therapy Seed Collection

Caring for Pansy Flowers

Like most plants, pansies do well in well-draining and fertile soil. However, they?re fairly hardy and will withstand most soil conditions.

They like partial sun best, needing approximately 6 hours of full sun for the best flowers. In hot climates, make sure to protect them from the hot afternoon sun.

Pansies need regular watering, especially during dry spells. Aim to water the soil rather than the leaves and flowers. If you notice them getting droopy, give them a good dose of water and they should perk back up.

To get lots of bloom, give them a liquid-based fertilizer every other week. Remove old blooms by to encourage more flowers to form.

edible viola flowers

How to Harvest Pansies

If you want to harvest pansies (or others in the violet family) as edible treats, you want to pick them in the morning when the water retention is the highest. Slightly droopy pansies will perk right up when soaked in ice water for a few seconds. Use the pansies the day you harvest them and place them in the fridge until you?re ready to use them.

Make sure to only ingest organic pansies. Ones you have grown from seed are good to go as soon as they emerge. However, if you get them from the garden centre, you will want to immediately pop off all the current flowers and wait for new flowers to grow. Those are the ones you can eat.

While the garden centre or the grower may not spray them with pesticides, the trucks that transport them spray the whole cargo.

Viola Recipes

Let?s dive into the ways you can consume this delicate bloom. Here are my 4 favourite viola recipes!

I love making homemade soda. It has no preservatives or chemicals and feels guilt-free in comparison to the popular brands from the store. You make a soda flavoured and coloured with wild violet flowers with this . Perfect for warm-weather sipping, you can even add a splash of vodka or gin.

wild violets

Making your own lollipops is surprisingly easy. For special occasions, I?ve made and put an edible flower inside. Absolutely gorgeous and delicious, I always find violas are the star of the show for me.

viola lollipop

Perhaps my favourite party trick, make any drink beautiful. I use them in the summer for all kinds of sodas and cocktails. They look great in special drinks for occasions like birthdays and weddings, or even just a fun weekend treat. Violas perfectly fit inside an ice cube tray and have one of the nicest flavours in terms of edible flowers.

glass of flower ice cubes

A colourful and eco-friendly alternative to confetti, consists of flower petals. Use edible flowers, including the petals of pansies, violets, and violas to garnish a salad. You can also use them as cake toppers, plate garnishes, and even on pizza.

A salad topped with edible flowers

Frequently Asked Questions About Violas, Pansies, and Violets

Are Pansies the Same As Violets?

Pansies belong to the violet family, Violaceae. Pansies typically refer to the large-bloomed flowers you would get at the garden centre. While violets can mean the whole family of Violaceae, violets often refer to a much smaller flower native to the area used in woodland gardens.

Is a Viola a Violet?

Violas are part of the violet family, Violaceae. The genus Viola consists of more than 600 plants in the violet family. Most violas, pansies, and perennial violets belong to the genus Viola.

What Are the Different Types of Violets?

Violets most commonly refer to the native plants found throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. Two of the most popular types of violets include the sweet violet (Viola odorata) and the common blue violet (Viola sororia).

Also in the violet family are pansies with larger blooms that can be found throughout garden centres and violas, which come in clusters of smaller flowers for the garden.

What?s the Scientific Name for Violets?

The botanical name for plants in the Violaceae family is Viola.

How Long Do Pansies and Violas Last?

Pansies and violas can last you from late winter all the way to late fall. They?re very hardy and resilient plants and don?t mind the cold one bit. They can die back in the summer if they receive too much sun. While treated as annuals, they?re considered short-lived perennials and can return after the winter when it begins to warm.

What Are Baby Pansies Called?

Baby pansies are often called miniature pansies or violas. They look like mini versions of the garden pansy, oftentimes with plenty of blooms per plant.

floral bath bombs

I hope you learned something new about the viola family! I can?t get enough of these edible beauties and sure hope you give them a try this spring.

More Flowers to Plant

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