Hello everyone! A here!
I’ve got some new molds for you! These are proper wooden ones that I designed and co-made myself using dry cedar plywood and the help of a friend with a wood cutting saw. I’ll show you how I made them and how I line them.
DESIGNING THE MOLDS
After ordering the plank (48 by 24), I knew I wanted two different bar soap shapes: one a square and the other a tall-n-skinny rectangle. My ideal forms had these dimensions:
So I got a sheet of graph paper and plotted everything out. The plan was to use every single bit of wood I could possibly manage to use and get as many soap molds as humanly possible from it. After my plans were complete I handed off the plank and my plans to my handy friend and he got to work. Over this past weekend he cut the pieces. I inquired if my plans had worked well and he replied that I hadn’t taken factored the width of the saw blade into my plans and that my designs counted for the plank being an inch longer than it was in reality. Despite these oversights on my part, he was happy to inform me that he’d gotten all the pieces I needed.
On Monday I picked up the cut pieces and used some quick-setting glue (read: superglue). I didn’t want to use nails because there was a chance the plywood would warp or crack on me. Unfortunately, the pieces for the “square” mold were slightly off, so I have to go back to my friend and ask him to rectify the situation. However, I managed to get four perfectly custom-made wood molds from a piece of plywood.
Cheap. I was responsible for buying the cedar and that was it. It was $24.99 at the Depot of Domiciles and about six extra dollars for shipping. My friend offered to do the woodcutting for free and only asked for a few bars of soap in return. The superglue was already at home. All in all I got four custom wooden mold for about $6.25 each. They seem pretty sturdy, and most of all, fit my small budget. As someone who would rather spend money on ingredients, there’s only so much I’m willing to shuck out for soap molds.
The bottom line to this post is to take note of all your resources before spending $40 plus shipping for a soap mold. If you can buy the wood and find a sweet soul who will gladly cut it for you, not only do you save money but you have more room to customize your molds!
PICS? SOAPED IN EM YET?
Yeah yeah sure. First I’ll explain how I line my soap molds. I use a “watertight” liner method, which basically means I make a paper net of my mold, resulting in a one-piece contraption that I then set into the space. Here’s a better explanation. I tape the sides and voila! I do it this way because the liner will allow me to pour at a thin trace without it getting too adventurous and leaking into areas that don’t appreciate such shenanigans.
The final liner looks like this. Takes a bit of practice to get fast at doing them, but I can usually manage one in five minutes. Tip: Line your soap after you’ve mixed your lye solution and your oil recipe. That way, they can cool down while you stay busy. Take a five minute break after making the liner, then start soaping!
The molds produce a log with super smooth sides. I made the ACV Lemon Shampoo Bar in this mold! I shimmied out my log by making short pulls on either side until it popped out completely intact. And here’s another batch waiting to finish saponifying:
- Choose a dry plank of plywood. I picked cedar because I like the way cedar smells. Also, choose a slab with the right thickness. Mine was .5″.
- Account the thickness of the wood within your plans. For example, if you wanted a bar that was 3×5″ and you wanted your loaf to be 15″ long, then you’d have a two panels that are 3×5″ and one base slab that was 3×16″ to account for the two 3×5″ panels attached to either end. The combined thickness of them adds an extra half-inch to the base.
- Account for the thickness of the wood saw. This is where I went wrong. If I could redo my experience, I would’ve definitely asked my friend how much wood I could expect to lose from the saw and keep that in mind when I was drawing my plans.
- Draw your plans! I find it easier to use graph paper and pencil, but I’m sure there are all sorts of nifty apps that you can use for projects just like this.
- Sand them edges. Just so that your clothes or skin doesn’t accidentally catch on them. Sand anything that’s sharp or sticks out.
- If you find someone who’s cutting your wood for free, give them some soap! It’s a great way to show your gratitude.
Well, whaddaya think? They’re definitely not perfect (I could stand to sand the edges down more), but they’re a big improvement over what I was working with before. I’ve still got all that corrugated plastic but I’ve already got a plan for it! Stay tuned.