Making soap is something that has been done for centuries. The first recorded use was by the Babylonians in 2,800 B.C., but it was possibly made before then. Making soap is something that you can do at home. Not only can you spoil yourself by making delightful soap for yourself, but you can give it as gifts to others, as well. With lye and some other ingredients, you can use household items to make molds for your soap.
You do not have to buy soap molds in a store. In fact, it's possible to incorporate things you collect as soap molds. One of the main characteristics of a mold is that it needs to be stiff enough to allow the soap to take on its shape without deforming. For example, if you wish to make soap in the shape of shells, use shells as molds. You would have to first make sure the shell is completely clean before using it, as well as put something on the inside of the shell like oil or line it with plastic to make sure the soap can be removed from the shell after it's hardened. Other household items can serve as homemade soap molds, saving you the necessity of buying them. Muffin tins lined with waxed paper, heart-shaped cookie cutters or cookie cutters of any shape also work well. If you choose to use cookie cutters as molds you need to either line them with plastic wrap so that the soap stays within its confines until after it's hardened, or pour the soap into a shallow tray and cut it with the cookie cutter when the soap has hardened a little.
It is possible to create cylindrical soap by using PVC pipe as a soap mold. Your local hardware store or building supply store will come in handy for this approach, as it will certainly stock PVC pipes of varying diameters. Choose the diameter pipe you wish--or more than one--and cut the PVC pipe into the lengths you desire for your soap molds. Make sure you buy enough caps for your pipe--you should have two for each soap mold you make from the pipe. If you buy threaded PVC, you can get around the need for PVC cement to secure the caps to the pipe, thus making it easier to remove the soap after it's hardened inside the mold. Screw on one cap on your PVC soap mold, pour in the soap, then screw on the other cap. Allow the soap to harden, then release it from the mold by unscrewing the caps and nudging it out with your fingers. It may even slide out on its own. The nice things about the PVC pipe soap molds are that the soap will not stick to them, they are easy to clean and they will last a long time.
Wooden Soap Molds
Wooden soap molds are good when you wish to make plain bars of soap. If you make a box out of plywood, you could use hinges to secure the sides of the mold, so that when it's time to cut the soap, you need only fold down the sides to have easy access to the soap inside. The wooden soap molds do not have to be made with plywood, but any wood you like. Generally speaking, for the ease of cutting the soap once it's hardened, the molds should not be longer than the tool with which you are cutting the soap. That way you can make clean cuts with the blade. Think of cutting a loaf of bread with a proper bread knife rather than with a paring knife. Because of the shorter blade, you will have a far harder time creating a clean slice with the paring knife. The same holds true for soap.
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