Some might consider soapmakers a weird bunch, especially when it comes to molds.
Every container they come across is eyed as a potential mold. Nothing goes into the trash or recycling bin without consideration as to its suitability for soap. Indeed, every trip to the grocery store reveals potential. Even goods for sale in home improvement stores and hardware stores are fair game for holding soap. (“Hmm. . . I wonder if that mudding trough would be good for soap?”) One might say we have a mold obsession.
I was especially guilty of this odd behavior when I was making melt and pour soap. Every bit of packaging that came into my house, and sometimes even what I scrounged elsewhere, was a treasured mold–soda bottles (the bottoms look like flowers), cupcake packages with those lovely scalloped edges, and juice cans. You name it, I used it. Indeed, I tested the limits of packaging, being taught as as only experience can that rigid molds won’t release the soap and some plastic just won’t withstand the heat of hot melt and pour.
Of course, it’s important to remember certain principles before trying out unconventional molds. When making melt and pour, remember that what goes into the mold must come out, so you need a plan for getting the hardened soap out or you’ll find yourself digging. Additionally, the mold needs to stand up to the heat of melted soap. With cold or hot process soap, it’s vital to remember that caustic soap will react to many metals, especially aluminum, so you need to be certain what kind of metal your mold is made of if you’re considering metal. As with melt and pour, a plastic mold must be able to take the heat, especially if you put your soap in the oven to speed cure.
What unusual molds do you use or have you used? I think we all have tales to tell about the strange or unique items we’ve used. I’ve confessed mine, so now it’s your turn.
Incidentally, Pringle’s Chip cans and PVC pipe have become standard molds and don’t count!
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.