Homemade Soap Molds and Trays
great ideas for a variety of molds at home
Homemade Soap molds and trays: I started making soap at home, and later when I expanded into wholesaling on the west coast, I had to come up with some more ideas. Over the years I have tried a wide variety of molds and trays as well as liners and cutters. Below are types of molds, and the pros and cons of each.
Before you use your soap mold, you have to line it. Without lining your tray, the soap will adhere itself, and you will have to force a knife all around the mold and attempt to remove the soap log. Take a look at this page on liners that tells about the various types of liners.
Wooden soap mold:
I used these wooden versions of homemade soap molds and trays at my store and these are very sturdy and hold up well to a caustic soap base. Depending on the size of your soap batch, if you are going over 50 ounces of base, you should have a mold that has a removable side for easier removal. There is a vacuum that happens in the mold, because your liquid soap base has filled out to the sides, making it difficult for air to get in and release the soap log. In smaller molds, under 50 ounces, you should be able to just hold the mold upside-down and tap the soap log out while tugging on the lining.
These wood molds will get soap base on them at some point, you can scrap this off after the soap hardens.
One of the considerations with your homemade soap molds and trays , is what you want your final bars to look like. For instance, I wanted molds where I would not have to trim the bars, as this would create a lot of soap scraps and a waste of money. So my molds always had 90 degree corners and the interior sides had to be smooth, as to not leave any grooves in the soap log sides.
But if the appearance of your finished bars is not of importance, then this allows for a wider variety of molds for your soap, such as:
These are inexpensive, sorta, and you may have one around anyways. Easy to pour into and move. Flexible sides will allow ease in removing your solid soap slab.
These almost always have grooves in the sides and/or bottoms, originally created for stacking purposes. These grooves will show up in your slab.
These are inexpensive compared to rubbermaid containers and soap molds. Easy to move once the soap is poured, and easy to remove the soap slabs.
These tend to be small and not very high. Most are 2 - 2.25 inches high, and depending on the size of the bars you want, these may not be high enough.
These work really well as homemade soap molds and trays. I would line these and put them upside-down for removal. The insides of all dresser drawers are well sanded and/or very smooth, allowing for a tidy finish or side on your slabs - less to trim off.
The down side could be the amount of soap base you would need to fill the bottom of one of these. I had two drawers, one from a desk, appearing to be 12 inches across to 14 inches deep, and this was my 50 bar mold (50 bars at 3" high). I had an even larger sized drawer, from a small dresser, and this held 100 bars for me. This size does get a little heavy and I found that the weight of the soap base was pushing out the bottom that was a thin piece of wood. Use a drawer that you will not need for clothes or other materials again.
These pans can be a super cheap and easy versions of homemade soap molds and trays, especially from a thrift store. These are easy to line, and easy for the soap to fall out when overturned. I have used these, and they are a good size for approx. 50 - 75 ounces of soap base. Consider the shapes of your finished soaps with this type of mold. If not poured high, your bars could have a nice trapezoid shape, wide end down, like a pyramid. Or you could fill higher, and cut the loaf down the middle, then your bars would have all different length sides - which is fine. I have also seen bars that were very high, 4 - 5 inches, but then cut thinner than regular bars.
These are becoming popular for soap mold, as they are reasonably cheap and it is easy to remove the soap slab. Although they are sometimes described as not needing a liner, a lot of soap makers have had their soap ruined by having the pry it out of the mold. Also, I do not like the silicon aspect of this product. Once heated, the chemicals are released, and if you can smell them, you are ingesting and absorbing them. Find a PCB-free version for your safety and health.
Basically, as long as your homemade soap molds and trays mold have a lining, and the mold's sides are strong enough to hold up the weight of the base, then you have a mold. At my store, we would sell the end pieces of our slabs for half price, and these would go quickly, as people that appreciate natural soap don't need perfect looking bars to use.