First published October 1, 2015 at Lovin’ Soap Studio
by Bhakti “Bee” Iyata, Head Soap Witch at Sorcery Soap
If you’ve been bitten by the soaping bug, and soap has saturated your life, you eat, breath and dream soap making, then soap molding might be for you!
There is something mysterious about soap making that is infectious. The ability to take seemingly unrelated ingredients and create a product that smells good, looks interesting and is utilitarian is appealing.
There are many paths to take on the soaping road, many places to explore and prefect your art-craft. Some artists love making the ideal recipe by trying exotic oils and butters, others like colorants and swirls refining their types of swirls both inside the bar and outside the bar. While others love high tops and melt and pour embeds accenting the inside and outside of the soap bar. Me? I love making hand molded soaps.
Its a good idea to create a recipe that is pliable, smooth (free of lumps) and non-sticky with cold process soap. This is the ideal soap, however, any soap can be used, especially for practice.
My suggestion is to make half a pound more of your usual recipes and pour that much off. Cover it with plastic wrap. After 24 hours, unmold and keep wrapped up in plastic and then place that soap in a sealed plastic bag for another 24-48 hours. You’ll learn a lot from this half-pound investment, answering some of the following questions:
What makes it soft?
What makes it harder?
If you want to make soap just for soap molding, this recipe, is a 3 oil recipe has worked for me.
Simple Soap Recipe
Author: Bhakti Iyata
Recipe type: Cold Process Soap
- Lard – 50%
- Coconut Oil – 30%
- Soybean Oil – 20%
- *Soybean oil can be substituted with castor oil or olive oil.
- Melt the lard and coconut oil in microwave or double boiler to incorporate these ingredients.
- 2. Add your liquid soybean oil (or other liquid oil) to the heated mixture. This will help cool the oils to match your lye temperature.
- 3. When oils and lye water reaches approximately (within 10 degrees) 80° fahrenheit add lye water to your oils, not the other way around (please read about how to handle lye).
- 4. Stick blend your oils and lye until trace.
- 5. Add colorants and fragrance.
- 6. Pour into mold.
- 7. Cover with plastic wrap.
- 8. 24 – 48 hours later, unmold.
- 9. Wrap in plastic.
- 10. Place in sealed plastic bag.
- 11. Use as needed to make your hand molded cold process soap.
Now, you have your soap molding recipe, let your creative flag fly!
Each aspect of soap molding is built on a few shapes. These shapes can be made with your hands, no other tools necessary.
Sphere – a round ball. If you’ve ever tried to do this, making a ball of soap look round, is not as easy as it might seem, however, with a little practice this shape will come easily.
Triangle Shape – A cone is a sphere with a tapered end. Roll it tapered or flatten it.
Tube Shape – This is a long cylinder and can be rolled in your hands or on the work surface.
Tools you might need
Resources and a list of tools can be found at http://sorcerysoap.com/resources-for-soapers/
Fondant hand tools – there are many groups of hand tools on Amazon. Search “fondant tools” and there are many kits, some come with smoothers, which is helpful, and seam rollers which are like little pizza cutters that make a design or just cut.
Rolling pin – A wooden rolling pin will work, a plastic rolling pin is ideal.
Cornstarch Duster – use a piece of muslin and pour a little pile in the center, wrap a rubber band around the corners and you have a powder puff like duster. This is useful when rolling flat sheets with your rolling pin to keep soap from sticking to the work top and the rolling pin. The best soap will stick when making this shape.
Allow for a bit of mystery and a lot of magic while molding soap. Trust your intuition and see where it takes you. You might be surprised.
When beginning with hand molding soap, give yourself time, play as much as possible and keep going. If you have an idea, try it. See what you can come up with that will make your soaps unique to your own creativity. The possibilities are endless. Most importantly, have fun!