My first attempt at soap making

Today’s DIY project (also built around my current love of making molds) was soap making. I sculpted an ugly pig man face about the size of a small apple, making a real effort to give it a ton of detail, but without doing anything that would be difficult to mold (or extract from the mold). However, I still did have a little trouble making the two-part mold because I initially used liquid silicone (rather than the stuff with the putty-like consistency) and not only did it cure with far, far too many bubbles, but I also must have messed up the mixture because it didn’t cure fully in areas and stayed soft and gummy. Eventually I just redid the mold in the silicone that I am more comfortable with, but I learned enough from the fiasco to do it right next time. Anyway, this afternoon I cast a bar (head?) of soap in it:

I used a cocoa butter melt-and-pour soap base (meaning that it comes in a solid block that you can melt to a liquid in the microwave, and then add color, scent, and so on before pouring it into the mold), into which I mixed camphor and eucalyptus oils, as well as some pink mica. I didn’t do a very good job mixing the mica in, so the pink is quite pale and there’s a bit of clumping (that’s what the black dots are — it’s not an exfoliant). Nonetheless, I think I did pretty well for a first attempt, especially given that the two-part mold I made is not ideal for how liquid the hot soap is. Here’s a couple more pictures:

I had a little soap left over which I quickly poured into the chocolate face molds that Nefarious and I made, as well as into the two-part bunny mold. The faces turned out great, better than they did in chocolate, but I was not so lucky with the bunny. I had a little trouble mating the two halves together, and lost some of the soap in the process. The end result of that error was that one half of the bunny is hollow, and the one arm is damaged. But it was a learning experience and it both showed me how to avoid this error and gave me some ideas on the best way to do hollow items on purpose.

My health has been all over the map lately with me either feeling great (I’m suspecting this is primarily due to me being excited about having all this new stuff to learn and make) and me feeling that I’m about to drop dead in a pool of vomit. But assuming I can find an hour tomorrow where I’m up to stomping around the kitchen, tomorrow’s self-schooling is going to be making lollipops and hard candies.

Oh yeah, and yay for a new season of Survivor. Caitlin and I watched the first season together a decade ago (and many more since then), and at least for me, I still enjoy the show every bit as much. And I still enjoy Caitlin every bit as much too!


  1. Rebekah wrote:

    don’t laugh at me – will you be selling any of your creations? I have a dear friend who I met on BME who needs a gift for the holiday – preferably drop-shipped from Canada. And your stuff is FUN! (I loved the bowl)

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  2. NickH wrote:

    Sorry to hear it is still so rough with no end in sight but I am happy the new projects have provided a bit of a boost. Off to watch survivor myself. It is my longest TV love that has always held me.

    All the best,


    Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  3. Ana Sofia wrote:

    i think you should do a recap of the survivor episodes. lol i love survivor!

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  4. John wrote:

    Thank you for continuing to post these wonderful projects. My son is nearing the age where he will be able to participate in these sorts of things, and I have many of your previous posts bookmarked for ideas. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Max wrote:

    If you’re going to be cooking sugar syrups to hard crack, make sure to keep a large bowl with ice and water on hand. As soon as you have the sugar to the point that you want, drop the whole pot into the ice water and stop the cooking process. Hot sugar will continue to rise in temperature for quite a few minutes after you turn off the heat, which can turn a very sweet application into a very bitter one.

    If you’re not going to be using a sugar thermometer, a cool old-school alternative to gauge where the sugar is in the cooking process is to take that same bowl of ice and water, and soak your hand in it for a few minutes. When your hand is completely numb, grab a bit of the boiling sugar, and immediately submerge it (and your hand) back into the ice water. You’ll be able to feel if it’s at soft ball, hard ball, soft crack, or hard crack. It’s a nice way to skip owning and calibrating specialty thermometers, and to make sure that your sugar is right all the time, every time.

    Be careful. They call it culinary napalm for a reason, and I have more than a few battle scars to show for my time working pastry.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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