Make a DIY Soap Mold – Instructions With Video!
And Tips on Making Soap Mold Liners
If you look around your home, there are probably dozens of items that can serve as a DIY soap mold. From potato chip cans to reclaimed wooden drawers — with a few key pieces of information in mind, you can get started exploring a range of shapes and sizes of materials for a DIY soap mold, including wood, some plastics, silicone and corrugated plastic sheeting. Additionally, learning how to fold and cut soap mold liners is a skill that will serve you over and over again as you experiment with different molds. Soap mold liners can be made from a variety of paper, silicone, or plastic sheets. One basic technique and a pair of scissors will quickly fit the liner of your choice to the soap mold you are using. Please note, if you are not familiar with how to make homemade soap, please read our introduction to soap making article first.
First, consider wooden molds. I’ve seen wooden molds made from old dresser drawers, recycled pallets, and a bamboo utensil tray. The benefits of wooden molds are many — for example, boards can be made into either loaf or slab molds, allowing for a wide variety of design techniques. These molds can be nailed or screwed together permanently, or can be made to disassemble easily to remove the finished soap. Wooden molds are also great insulators, retaining heat and encouraging a full gel phase in the finished soap. Of course, this also means that wooden molds can sometimes retain too much heat, leading to soap volcanoes or heat tunnels. It is a good idea to check with your favorite soap making resource to find a recipe that soaps well at cooler temperatures. The best idea when soaping with a wooden mold is to either soap at a very cool temperature — 90F to 110F would be ideal — or to place the freshly poured soap into the refrigerator or freezer for the first 24 hours. Consider the fragrance you are using, too. Some fragrances heat up in the soap and have to be treated carefully to avoid problems. Wooden molds definitely need to be lined.
Number 5 PET plastic — a flexible, medium-thickness plastic that can hold it’s shape in the hot soaping environment — and corrugated plastic sheeting such as that used to make signs and posters both make excellent molds. Ice cube bins, sold at most discount stores, make an excellent loaf mold that can even stand up to Oven Processed soap techniques. Corrugated plastic sheeting can be cut in the manner of a soap mold liner and held together with duct tape or binder clips. The benefit of using a plastic container is that it does not retain heat as well as wooden molds. If you wish to have a soap that is not gelled, soap cool and use plastic containers. Place immediately into the refrigerator or freezer after pouring. A few precautions about using plastic for soap molds — never use rigid plastic, which can flex and crack in the high heat environment of soap making. Also, never use plastics other than PET with a #5 recycling designation. This type of plastic container is tried and true. Plastic containers, while flexible, should still be lined to make unmolding easier. Alternatively, you can freeze the soap and pop it out of the container like an ice cube.
Silicone is the newest star of the soap mold game, and the choices are almost unlimited already. Loaf-type molds are cheap and readily available online, but be sure to buy one that is reinforced to keep its shape when filled. Some silicone soap molds are sold with an accompanying wooden box mold to keep the mold in shape and provide insulation. Other molds are made with extra thick silicone or other reinforcements to help the mold keep shape. Also, there are many silicone individual molds available that work beautifully with soap. Search for silicone muffin, Jell-O, or mooncake molds and just about everything imaginable is out there. Silicone, like plastic, does not retain heat and encourage overheating; however if you are using a wooden frame to support your mold, the same risks as wooden molds will apply.
Now for something a bit unusual: Pringles potato crisp cans can be used as a soap mold. Simply cut off the metal end of the tube, line with a sheet of freezer paper, and pour. For more information, see the video included with this article. Other common household goods that can be used are plastic bread saver bins and clean milk or half-and-half cartons. (Just tear away when ready to unmold.) Plain cardboard boxes work, as well. I recommend pre-lining a cardboard mold with a plastic bag to prevent seepage problems. For years, when I first began soap making, I used clear plastic shoe boxes to create a double log of soap.
No matter what type of mold you decide to use, it’s a good idea to know how to line a mold — just in case. Included with this article is a video that gives instructions on one technique for folding and cutting a soap mold liner out of freezer paper, which is my preference. Some people use parchment paper, or butcher paper, or waxed paper, or even grocery bags (Be careful not to let printing ink on bags touch soap or color will transfer!) and unscented trash bags. In my experience, parchment paper gets soggy and sticks to the soap, as does waxed paper. I like freezer paper because it is coated in plastic on one side, making it stand up well to moisture. Another option for lining molds is flat, clear plastic cutting board sheets, which can be cut and formed just like paper. There are also an increasing number of silicone mats with various patterns embossed into them that can be cut to shape and used as soap mold liners that easily produce beautiful soap designs.
In this article, we have explored many different ideas for making DIY soap molds with items commonly found around the house. We’ve discussed various materials and their properties and looked at some options for making soap mold liners. I would love to hear from you about your own DIY soap molds and soap mold liner solutions!