There are lots of options when it comes to cold process soap molds. At my store, we had carpenter-made wood soap molds with hook & eye closures that we could unlatch in order to remove the side of the mold. When making smaller batches of soap, having a removable side is optional. When the soap batches get larger, and heavier, a removable side/sides is a must.
Things to consider with cold process soap molds are:
- a light weight mold like cardboard will allow for the sides to be pushed out
- do you want your soap face to be from a log mold slice, or
- some soaps are poured into an 1 – 1.5 inch high mold, and that top is the soap face
- (face being the front part of the soap that people will see most)
- if there are any lines, seams or grooves in your mold, these irregularities will appear on your soap
- (example, a Rubbermaid tub has grooves on the bottom)
- size of soap batch
- a batch of 10 bars or less can easily be pulled from a solid mold with no removable sides
- if your soap starts bending while pulling it out, it’s not ready, try again in two days
- all soap molds need to be lined except silicone molds
I had wooden cold process soap molds for 50 size soap batches, and 150 size soap batches. These are not sizes or volumes that you will want to pick up and move after pouring your soap in.
Possible options for cold process soap molds:
#1. Cardboard box, lined with plastic. As long as the cardboard is flat and sturdy, I’d try this method before purchasing a wood mold. The corrugated sides of the box will probably not show up on the soap, but if there is a seam on the bottom, that might show up. No big deal though!
#2. Plastic tub, smooth sides and bottom, sturdy. It probably has a logo/markings on the bottom center, and the sides are tapered, going wider nearer to the top. If these soaps are for home use, then who cares if they appear lop-sided. If selling, consider the final look of the bar. The best views to a soap are from the top and from the inside cut. Bottoms and sides often bare a little of the mold or plastic ‘imprint’ on them. Still a good option. Line first.
#3. Small wood mold, no removable sides, pull up on the liner to remove, lightweight size.
#4. Silicone molds. First image is a silicone mold that will sit in a wood mold. Good idea for keeping sturdy sides, plus adding the easy removal with the silicone. Second image is another type of silicone mold where the soap is poured into each compartment, often with designs embedded on the bottom that will show up on the top of your finished bar. These are durable and work well. I never used these as figured the silicone would be seeping into the soap via caustic soap base. I’m probably wrong, and I was using garbage bags, so it probably can’t be any worse.
#5. Large wooden mold, comes with a cutter that spans the length and width. This mold still needs to be lined, great for larger batch sizes. Cutter is a great idea, cut it while still in the mold, not sure how this cuts with the liner in the way, ask the supplier.
#6. Here is a wooden mold with one side removable, which is really all you need. From here you would pull up the soap with the liner. This one has a hinge and a hook & eye latch. It doesn’t show a liner but you’ll need one.
#7. I like the idea of this one, but you’ll probably looking at $100 if not more. With this mold you can make the one large base, separate into 4 parts, and create 4 different types of soap. Or you can remove 1 or all of the separators. It come was a screw and nut type of clasp that you’d loosen to allow the removal of the soap.
#8. Now, I’ve given this some thought, and I think for making soap on a budget, I would definitely go for this. The positives are that it was originally a poster board from the dollar store, with cheap clips to hold it together. It is lightweight and study and with smooth sides. The negatives would be that you have to fold this precisely! So that your corners all line up – if you can’t apply your geometry to this, get a friend to help, cause this would be a great way to start cheap. Still needs to be lined – of course.
In the soap store, we decided to NOT line a mold one day, thinking that our cold process soap molds, with the heavy greasy use, would be like commercial bread pans and not need anymore greasing. We were wrong, and had to spatula all the sides and bottom to get the soap out of the mold. Then scrub the mold to remove all the soap from every corner. Once every couple years, we’d take our soap molds to the car wash and power hose them clean again, lol.
You can reuse those leftover soap pieces too, great ideas on recycling soap bits here.
Article on whether silicone is safe for cooking, read more here.
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