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!
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!
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:
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:
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 😀
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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