DIY Soap Molds

Do you like soap?  So do I.  Especially the ones that have a nice, creamy lather and smell fresh and clean.  You too?

Yes, I knew we would be friends! 😀

Every time I go to a craft faire or farmer’s market, I seek out the booths that have those wonderfully scented, beautifully decorated soaps.  I always go for the lavender, lemon verbena or any of the naturally scented soaps. I really enjoy talking with the soapmaker about what is actually in the soap, and have paid anywhere from 3 to 8 dollars for a bar of soap, and was glad to pay it!

So it was a natural progression that I would try to make some myself.  But first, I needed some basic equipment, including a soap mold!

Make your own wooden soap mold

You can use just about anything as a soap mold – old shoeboxes, food boxes, milk cartons and loaf pans. All that is needed is waxed paper or parchment paper to line the container!

Naturally, I did a lot of research in books and on the web, and found that I could use just about any bread loaf pan, shoebox or plastic food container to use as my soap mold, as long as it was carefully lined with waxed paper or parchment paper.

Then I found this website at Lowes:  http://www.lowes.com/creative-ideas/woodworking-and-crafts/easy-to-make-soap-molds/project

It shows how to make a round soap mold out of PVC pipe and a loaf type mold out of wood.

The round soap mold is easy peasy – just buy a foot or two length of 3″ (inside diameter measurement) PVC pipe and two end caps.  In the picture, you see the white PVC pipe and end caps.  I bought my PVC at Home Depot because they have 2 foot lengths already cut – no need to buy an entire 10 foot long piece of pipe!  The pipe itself cost $7.75 and the end pieces were $6.21 each, and with tax it came to a little over $20.00.  I didn’t mind spending that much money because I knew I would be using the mold over and over again and it could make several pounds of soap at a time!

How to make a round soap mold

The hardware store made my round soap mold for me!

The wooden mold was a bit more involved.  The Lowe’s tutorial can be a bit tricky to understand, but basically you are just making a wooden box.

However, after looking at several retail websites for molds, I decided I wanted a mold that would be adjustable for larger or smaller batches of soap.  After a bit of thought, this is what my husband made for me:

soap mold

The finished product. Isn’t it a beauty?!

You can see that the end of the box is stationary and screwed into the sides.  The the opposite end is adjustable to four different sizes!  Just unscrew the wing nuts, pull out the screws (which go through all thicknesses of wood) move up or down the box depending on how large your batch of soap is, push the screw back through the holes, screw the wing nut back on, et voila!  I sized the box to handle batches of two, three, four and five pounds of soap.  The width is 3-1/2 inches wide and so is the height, so if I want to make a square soap, I just fill the mold up to the top.  Or, for a smaller soap, I can fill the mold to whatever desired height I want.

Isn’t my husband the greatest!

So, here is how he did it:

DIY wooden soap mold

First, we started out with two 1″x4″ poplar boards, one was 2 feet long and the other was 3 feet long.  You can buy these already cut.  Buy one 1″x6″ poplar board 2 feet long.  You will also need two 6″ long screws, 2 wing nuts and 2 hex bolts (the long screws).  We used 14 wood screws to put the box together, but the box is actually longer than what is needed to make a 5 pound batch of soap!  I’m thinking of having my dearest drill a few more holes into the sides, so I can make a couple of batches of soap at a time in the same mold!  Of course, I will also need another end piece for adjustment.

                                         ♫ Oh sweetheart…  

Back to the project 😀

Make your own wooden soap molds

Measure 3-1/2 inches, which is the inside measurement between the two sides of the box.

First, the 3 foot long 1″ x 4″  was cut to 2 feet long, to match the other 1″ x 4″.  The left over board is what makes the ends. We measured and marked the bottom board 3-1/2 inches apart, which is where the inside of the boards would be placed.  This was so that we would have a standard 3-1/2 inch bar of soap.

DIY adjustable soap mold

You should always pre-drill the holes so that the wood will not split when you insert the screws!

The sides were then screwed from the bottom into the 1 x 6 board.  Because we didn’t want the screw heads to scratch anything, Ray counter-sank the screws into the wood.

Next, with the 1 x 4 board that was cut off, measure two pieces to be 3-1/2 inches wide and carefully cut those as straight as possible.  These are your end pieces.  Screw one of the end pieces between the sides, flush with the end.  This is your stationary end.

DIY adjustable soap mold

The green tape is a guide to where the holes in the side walls will be. The stationary end has been screw into place

Now, as carefully as possible (this is where a drill press would come in handy), drill two holes through the length of the 3-1/2 end piece.  Ray was able to do this without a drill press or even a drill guide.  If you are drilling the holes free-hand, you really should have someone watch to make sure you are perfectly vertical with your drill bit.DIY adjustable soap mold

Now, measure your holes.  If you were successful in keeping your holes perpendicular, they should be about the same distance apart on both sides.  If not, you might need to adjust your holes a bit.  Now, with the adjustable piece laying as it will in the mold, measure from the bottom up to the center of each hole, then transfer these measurements onto the side board about six inches from inside the end.  The purpose is so that when you thread the hex bolt through one side, it will go through the adjustable end piece and through the other side.  Drill those holes.  Test to see that the screw goes through the side holes and through the end piece.  Now, do the same on the opposite side.  Test again to make sure the screws go through the entire run of wood.  You may need to ream the holes out a bit to get the screws to work through. That’s okay – nobody’s perfect!  Screw on the wing nut.  That’s the first set of holes.  Now, go onto the next set of holes in the sides, then the next.

DIY adjustable soap mold

All of the holes have been drilled and tested.

After reading about the sizes of the soap molds, we spaced the holes as follows:  From the inside of the stationary end, place the adjustable end at 6 inches.  This will make about a 2 pound loaf.  Then, space the holes on the sides every 3 inches to make 3 pound, 4 pound, or a 5 pound loaf of soap.  Of course, this is approximate and you will have to experiment with your recipes. The last set of holes for a 5 pound recipe of soap will be approximately 15 inches from inside the stationary end to inside the adjustable end.  DIY Wooden Soap Mold

So, all of you soapers out there, what do you think?  Isn’t this mold the coolest?

Now – on to making some soap!

 

Thank you for stopping by!  Please make my day and leave a comment, ask a question or just tell me how your day is going in the comment space below!

Vickie

 

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70 thoughts on “DIY Soap Molds

    • I made lard and olive oil soap in the round mold, scented with lavender. It turned out great and smells clean and fresh! Tomorrow I hope to make the chai and wild orange soap in the wooden mold!

    • Good morning, Betty! Yes, you still line the molds. However, I am going to make a silicone mold liner (so I don’t have to use the waxed or parchment paper) soon. Tutorial coming on that soon. Thank you for asking the question!

      • Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial! Did you end up making the silicone liners? I did not find the tutorial on your site… Making the box is the diy project of the weekend, and was wondering how your liner experiment went before I went out and got the silicone…
        Thanks!

        • Oh, how I wish I had! Unfortunately, about the time I was going to make the molds, we sold our house and have to move up to our unfinished (actually, unbuilt) homestead! This is a project I plan to complete this winter when I am stuck inside with rain and snow. Sorry!

  1. I have just made tallow and lye soap, just yesterday and because we had been doing some plumping work on our aquaponics set up my husband had some pipe for me to use as a mould. They turned out great although I should have greased the mould a bit as it was hard to get out, but hubby to the rescue and helped me. Thanks for sharing this post. Blessings

    • For my first batch in the PVC pipe I lined it with waxed paper – worked like a charm and slid right out! I made this soap with lard that I had rendered myself and some olive oil, and it turned out great! I think. Can’t use it yet because it is still curing. My next trick is using the wooden mold. Hopefully that will happen this afternoon. My plan is to make chai tea and use that to dissolve the lye, but also adding the tea to the soap at trace – along with some wild orange essential oil. How does that sound?

  2. Hello Vickie,
    Once again a great post.
    And a great tutorial.
    You did everything well described and characterized.
    The wooden mold is my favorite.

    Have a nice weekend!

    greetings

    Uwe

    • Hello, Uwe! Thank you. The wooden mold is my favorite also, especially since my husband took so much care to make it! I will use it soon and post the results. Have a wonderful day!

  3. awesome idea! I love the round pvc mold that would be so neat and handy! I was wondering how you got the soap out but see the answer from the other questions lol. It would be fun next year (or this) to make some as presents! I would need tie dye soap please lol!! M

    • Yeah – you really have to put some type of waxed paper or parchment paper in the mold,or make a silicon mold liner, or you will never get the soap back out! I can’t wait to give some away as gifts, but I have to, because these take 4-6 weeks to completely finish “cooking”. See you at the party!

    • Me too! The lye part always made me a bit leery about making soap! But, I picked a day when no one was around so I wouldn’t be distracted or run into someone with a bowl full of lye. Then I got out a whole bottle of vinegar and uncapped it, so it was ready to go to neutralize any spills or splashes. I had read many tutorials and had watched soapmaking 101 on You Tube many times, so I knew I was ready! If I can do it I am sure you can do it. But first, get your equipment together!

  4. Love this post! Thanks so much for linking up to the From the Farm Blog Hop last week, this post was chosen as a favorite! We’ll be featuring it on tomorrow’s Hop post!

    • Thank you Dawn – what an honor to be chosen as a feature! I am glad you like the soap molds. So far they have worked very well for me! See you at the party!

    • Oh, Amy – you really need to make your own! Of course, I will always be addicted to soap from the farmer’s markets and craft fairs, but when you make your own and know exactly what’s in it… well, it just makes the soap that much better! Besides, this is one of those crafty things that hooks you, line and sinker! I am an addicted soaper from now on! Thanks for the invite to the party – done and done!

  5. I’m totally in love with this! Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you being a part of our party, and I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. We love partying with you!
    Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

  6. This is perfect! I love the step by step and the pictures! I just so happened to come across this post on Nifty Thrifty Sunday. My husband and I are working on gathering our supplies for our first try at making soap over Christmas break. This post will help a ton! I bookmarked it!

    • You guys are going to have so much fun! The first time I did it was absolutely nerve wracking – I had such a fear of the lye! But, after my third batch, while I was still very careful with the lye, I wasn’t such a nervous ninny. It also becomes easier to get a feel for the soap (is that trace? do you think we added enough essential oil?) once you have done a few batches. Right now I am working on doing some re-batching, which means making soap out of soap. That sounds funny, but my husband and I are savers, and once the soap gets down to a sliver, we throw it into a plastic bag with all the other soap slivers. Then, when you have a bunch of soap slivers, grate them or grind them, add just a touch of water, and let the soap melt over low heat on the stove. When fully melted, pour into a mold just like any other soap. You don’t have to wait 4 weeks for this soap to cure, however, as it has already cured when it was first made by the manufacturer (or by yourself if you are using home-made soap)! That post is coming soon! Thanks for stopping by, Misty. Oh yeah – my disclaimer – I take no responsibility for you or your husband’s future addiction to soaping! 😀

    • Hello, Melissa! Nice to meet you. My husband is so awesome at making things like this for me! I get an idea in my head and he somehow magically makes it appear! I hope you have the chance to make one. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

  7. with your suggestion of rebatching the hotel soap (and scrap bars) I am getting moving on this and having hubby make this for me! woot! Kristina will be excited too as she was wanting to try some soap making 🙂 You are like super inspirational and motivational for us!

    • Thank you for the compliment! You two are always giving me some of the best craft ideas also! I believe what we have here is a mutual admiration society. 😀

  8. Thanks so much for the wooden soap box directions! I’ve been looking for one wooden mold that is adjustable to make several batch sizes and this is exactly what I was looking for! I appreciate you sharing the directions! I’m a newbie to making soap and look forward to it! Thanks again, you’re awesome!

    • I am glad you like the soap box design, Tammy! It has worked out very well for me. I am able to make a big batch of soap, then just when it reaches trace, I can pour off half of the soap into another bowl, add whatever I want as far as colorants, scents, scrubns to it, pour it into the mold, then do the same with the other half of the soap with different colorants, scents, etc. Basically I can get two batches of different soaps from one session – and my soap mold holds them both separately. Let me know how it all turns out for you!

  9. Thank you so much for the info! I’m a toolmaker by trade and appreciate the trouble your husband took so that I don’t have to strain my brain! Tell him thank you very much! Can’t wait to make this!

  10. This may be a stupid question, but why does the soap mold have so much extra space past the last set of holes. Why not make it shorter? Just wondering.

    • Hello, Danyelle! Sorry this took so long – so much has happened in this past month! Read my new post this weekend and you will see. Anyhow – I thought we would make it shorter, initially. Then, I realized that if we made more holes in the end, I could do a really big batch of soap, or with another moveable end piece I could make two batches (of different soaps or scents or additives, you get the picture) and let them cure in the same mold!

  11. Thank you soo much for this!I am going to try to make it this weekend with my Dad, The only question that I had is that I am looking at some other dimensions of molds and they are saying that a 2 pound mold is 7 inches long..I am a little confused lol

  12. Also I wanted to ask, your last set of holes stop and there is wood left over..how many more sets do you think you could put untill the end

    • Good morning, Annette. Yes, I got confused also! I followed the dimensions of one of the soap boxes that can be purchased on the internet. The difference is mostly in the width and height of the box – apparently. I made a batch of soap and followed directions from a well known soap-making site on-line, and ended up with too much soap! I had to improvise and grabbed an ice cube tray to pour the rest of the soap into. Then the very next batch I made was also supposed to be a two pound batch – also from a reputible website – and ended up with a bit less than two pounds. Go figure! Of course, this is all a learning experience, and every batch I make now I write down EVERYTHING – how much it made, whether I liked the scent, color or other additives, etc.., so that when I repeat the recipe I won’t have any surprises. I have also learned to go with the flow and keep a clean ice cube tray handy. 😉

  13. Just to clarify when drilling the holes…Its 6″ from the inside edge of the stationary piece to the hole? or to the edge of the adjustable piece when its in place?

    • Hello, Jamie! Yeah – I wasn’t exactly sure of that one. I used inside measurements and this seemed to be correct. Since each batch of soap seemed to have just a little more or a little less volume depending on the website or book recipe that I followed, getting the box measurements exactly right doesn’t seem to matter as much. I am just taking notes on every batch I make – whether the bars turn out fatter or skinnier. I also have an ice cube tray at the ready (just used for soap making) in case a recipe makes more than it is supposed to! Sorry it took so long to get back with you. If you read my latest post, you will see what I have been up to!

  14. This is great! We are on our way to Menard’s. We also have a Lowe’s store. Thanks so much! My husband is going to put slits in the last section and I can slice my soap there. I am so excited. I am new to soap-making and really wanting to do well at it. It is a little intimidating. Thanks to your husband too! I do have a question also…..If I want to make a 5-pound roll of soap in the PVC pipe, how do I know it will fit? Thanks for taking the time to post this for the rest of us.

    • The slits are such a great idea! It would sure make cutting straight and equal pieces of soap much easier. I am horrible at math and geometry, so I have no idea how to figure out the volume of a cylinder related to pounds of soap. The circumference x pi divided by …… Nope. Anyway, you could do what I do – make a 5 pound roll recipe but have another container ready just in case! I hope you have fun with your soap-making, Zola, but beware – it’s addictive!

  15. That looks great, Just what the Memsahib wants, so Xmas is now sorted for her, thanks!!

    I am interested in the tube mold. How do you get the soap tube out? Is the tube split, and then put back together, or do you rely on a good push from one end?

    Many Thanks

    • Greetings! I line the inside of the tube mold with waxed paper! I tape one side inside the mold, and let the paper curl around inside but pressed tight against the inside walls, then tape the loose end tape at the top and the bottom is all you need. luckily, my hands are small enough to get inside the mold so it’s no problem for me. When the soap has set it slides right out! Try it and let me know how you do!

  16. That is the best mould I’ve seen ever!
    My husband is not very handy but I’m going to find a handyman to do this up for me ! Thank you so much for sharing your mould plans with us !

    • Thank you! It does work very well for different sized batches – or even two batches at once! I hope you find someone to make one!

  17. Did you ever make the silicone liner for the wooden soap mold? I have been looking at ways to pour a silicone liner, but not quite sure I can tackle the job. So much to learn with this wonderful hobby.

    • Hello, Sally. Sorry this took so long. If you read my latest post, you will see why I have been absent for a while. No, I haven’t made the liners, but they are certainly on my to do list! I have seen several ways to do it and I think I will start with the “paint on” method. I have also seen where you pour some into the box and tilt the box all around for 10 minutes or so, which will make a thicker liner.
      If you google for it (as I am sure you have already) you will find lots of ways to make a silicone liner.

  18. I’m just getting started making soap and wanted to go diy from the start. After obsessively searching for the right mold plans yours struck me as the best I’d seen. I spent some time today building them and am looking forward to putting them to lots of use. Thanks a ton for sharing!

    • Oh thank you for telling me, Matt! I am so happy when I hear about other people having success with something I have blogged about! I hope you will come back and let me know how your soap turned out! I apologize for not getting this comment to you sooner. Read my most recent post and you will understand why I have been absent for a while. Have a great day!

  19. I love the wooden mold idea, but did you use 12 hex bolts and 18 wood screws? I missed where they all went. Can you elaborate on that for me?

    • OOps, somehow a little troll put an extra 1 in front of the hex bolt. It should have read 2 hex bolts! Thank you so much for pointing this out to me! So in summary, you need 2 of those long screws with a hex bolt and wing nut for each. These are for the adjustable end piece. The 18 wood screws are needed to actually put the box together. I hope this clears things up!

  20. JUST A COMMENT TO LET YOU HOMESTEADERS KNOW THAT THE WOODEN MOLD WILL BE GOOD FOR POURING BEESWAX IN TO MAKE IT INTO BLOCKS FOR BETTER STORAGE UNTIL NEEDED.

  21. I was getting so frustrated looking through equipment sites. My husband can definitely make one of these. Thank you so much for generously sharing the directions, and to your husband too!

    • Hello, Jenny! I hear you! Sometimes you know exactly what you want, but cannot find it anywhere! Isn’t it wonderful that you can just make your own and save lots of money? Plus, you can make these any size you want, with a few modifications. Have fun, and please come back to tell me how yours turned out!

    • Yes! I have done that! I can actually make two different types of soap on the same day with this mold. Thank you for your comment, Linda.

  22. Hi VIckie,
    Love your design. Before I build one I’d love your thoughts on 3 options. Looking around I saw one mold that used partitions just held in by tight pressure / a snug fit. Does your soap put lots of pressure on the partition such that it would move without the hex bolts? Second, I know I’m not good at drilling straight – could I just drill both sides & put bolts through? The partition (without holes) would lean against the bolts? I could only use one side – would the soap react with the metal bolts? Third, would just one hex bolt going through partition be enough? Such fun, Jane

    • Good evening, Jane! Well… let’s see. I guess you could just put in a partition held tight with pressure or a snug fit. Afterall, that’s all the bolts are doing. And I hear you about drilling straight. That’s something I could NOT do. Luckily, my husband could. But, I see what you mean about just drilling the bolts through the frame and having the partition lean on the bolts. Since the soap would not come into contact with the bolts, I don’t see how they would cause any untoward reaction. Let me know what you do and how it turns out in this post, so that others can learn by your experiment! Thank you for stopping by and good luck!

      • Thank you ! Everything went well. Tomorrow I will make my first soap in my new mold, yeay!
        Too bad I can t load a picture here, I would have shown you!

        • I am so glad you made the soap mold and that everything went well! Thank you so much for coming back to tell me. I would love to be able to have people load pictures, but I’m old school and completely technologically backwards. In fact, if it wasn’t for my youngest son, I wouldn’t even have a blog! So, I just enjoy doing the things I can do and try not to sweat the things I can’t. 😉 Have a great weekend!

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