View Full Version : Beginner Question: soap molds

12-22-2007, 11:34 AM

I'm going to try to make some soap over Christmas break. I've been reading Cavitch's book and she says to line your soap molds with heavy-duty, waxed freezer paper (page 19). I'm thinking along the lines of making long blocks of soap, then cutting into bars to age and cure.

What do you all use for molds? Must I line them with freezer wax paper? Can you use an old baking cake pan w/o paper or does the soap stick to the metal? What about plastic tubs/totes or stainless steel pans from an old steam table?

Jackson, MO

12-22-2007, 12:46 PM
I have not done lye soaps. but have done melt and pour soaps, lotion bars, and bees wax in molds. I put them in the freezer for about 5 min after the solidify. Then they will pop right out with no problem.

Chef Isaac
12-22-2007, 06:05 PM
I think the best soaps are done in a bread pan and then hand cut. They look the best, at least to me!

berkshire bee
12-22-2007, 06:48 PM
Chef, I make the cold process lye based soaps and use plastic molds. Some are made as soap molds with the fancy bee designs and some are plain. I've also used the rectangular comb honey containers from Betterbee which make a nice large bar of soap. The paper lining is used if you are using woodden molds. Metal is not recommended because of the reaction with the lye. After 24 hrs you can remove the bars from the molds and then you have to let them cure for a few weeks. Do you have recipes and everything you need? If not let me know and I'll post a few. Once you make your own, that's all you'll want to use. berkshire

12-23-2007, 09:52 AM
I would be interested in seeing some of the cold process recipe's. With so many options out there it would be nice to get some good starting points.

bee crazy
12-23-2007, 04:00 PM
if your making cold process soap do Not use any metal ware except stainless steel. I like a wooden mold because it is cheap, you can make your own. It insulates the soap well and hold the heat which is important to completely saponify the soap. But you must line with cutrite brand wax paper, the cheaper brand is too thin or use butchers paper but it's a pain because it's so bulky in the corners of the mold. I design my molds to hold 98 oz. soap batch which yeild 16,1 1/2 inch bars.

bee crazy
12-23-2007, 04:05 PM
I would be interested in seeing some of the cold process recipe's. With so many options out there it would be nice to get some good starting points.

Brandy, the recipies in this thread are very good. I share an olive oil beeswax soap recipe that is to die for (or to get dirty for) in there. ;)


12-23-2007, 06:12 PM
The lye will eat up steel in a hurry as bee says. (hands too before it's sapped)

I use 4 and 5 lb molds made from plastic or wood. I put them in the oven with the light on to keep the heat up while it's working. If not I wrap the molds in a big towel to help hold in the heat.

Bee, I've been using parchment paper for a while now with good results. Not nearly the problem with the corners you mentioned.

berkshire bee
12-23-2007, 11:05 PM
I would be interested in seeing some of the cold process recipe's. With so many options out there it would be nice to get some good starting points.

Brandy, Here's a good basic unscented soap recipe, which I love for showering and it's also our regular hand soap. It'll make a pound of soap. look up online and follow standard precautions when making soap that uses lye, such as protective glasses, covering work surfaces etc.

1 cup distilled water
2.4 oz lye (sodium hydroxide)
5 oz coconut oil
6 oz olive oil
5 oz vegetable shortening
1 tsp castor oil
1 Tbs honey

Pour water in a glass mason jar
carefully add lye to water (it will get very hot)
stir till clear and set aside to cool
heat coconut oil, olive oil, shortening till melted
pour in a bucket to cool
when mixtures are cool enough to hold containers comfortably (or around 120 deg) combine lye mixture with the oils and blend (one of those small hand held mixers with the blade at the bottom works well)
when it thickens to gravy-like and you can pull the blender out, draw over the top and it leaves a "trace" add honey and castor oil, mix in well and pour into molds. I remove from molds after 24 hrs and cure for about 3 weeks

Don't randomly substitute oils or amounts of oil. Each oil has it's own sapponification number which is used to calculate how much lye is needed. Down the road, once you get the hang of making soap and feel comfortable, you can use a sapponification chart to create your own recipies and figure how much lye will be needed

12-24-2007, 09:50 AM
B.B. Thanks for the help with soap. As I've been looking at all the sources on the net I'm wondering if you all have a favorite book you recomend that in addition to "how's" and "why's", is also a good source for recipes.

berkshire bee
12-25-2007, 02:42 PM
A pretty thorough book is The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Millar Cavitch. She also wrote The Natural Soap Book, which has sold over 120,000 copies. Both are published by Storey Communications.www.storey.com which happens to be located right in our town