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What are Soap Molds?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Soap molds are molds which can be used to make bar soaps at home. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so that people can make everything from seashell-shaped guest soaps to economy-sized bar soaps for family use. Craft stores sometimes sell soap molds, and they can also be ordered through catalogs which carry soapmaking supplies, or made at home from available materials, for people who are feeling crafty.

The purpose of a soap mold is to hold soap in place while it hardens, allowing people to make soap with a specific shape. All sorts of soap types can be made in soap molds, including lye and tallow-based soaps and gel soaps. The soap mixture is poured into the mold while it is in a liquid form, and then allowed to harden and set before being unmolded and used or packaged for storage.

Lubrication is generally not necessary with a soap mold, because soap is naturally very slippery. Soap molds can be made from wood, plastic, metal, and silicone, and they may be stamped or embossed with a pattern which will show up on the soap, or left plain. Plain molds can be turned into embossing molds by putting something into the mold before the soap is poured to leave a mark. Objects like dried flowers can also be used to line a soap mold for decorative purposes.

People can use a soap mold to make very basic bar soaps with plain or colored soap, but they can also get imaginative. Inclusions like ground walnut shells, oatmeal, and sand can be added for exfoliating properties, for example, while dried herbs and essential oils can be used to make scented soaps or aromatherapy soap. Colored soaps can also be produced in marbled, veined, and striped patterns by controlling the pour to create distinctive bar soaps. People with very steady hands can also create colored patterns like flowers and dots in their soaps.

Handmade soap can be used at home as regular household soap, and it can also be used for gifts. Distinctive soap molds with seasonal or regional themes such as Christmas molds, beach molds, and woodland molds can be used to make special and distinctive soaps which can be packaged for friends during the holidays. Some companies sell soapmaking kits which include a block of base soap which can be melted and blended with included colorants and essential oils before being molded, for people who are just starting to experiment with soapmaking.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By bagley79 — On Oct 12, 2011

If you are having trouble removing soap from your molds, there are sprays you can purchase that will help with this. By spraying the mold before you pour your soap in, this makes it much easier to release.

Another trick I found was to place the mold in the freezer for up to 30 minutes and this also helps remove the soap if you are having trouble.

Making your own soap is a lot of fun, and most people really enjoy receiving these as gifts. Depending on how you process your soap, there are also wood soap molds, but I have never used these.

I have used both plastic and silicone molds and like using the silicone molds better than the plastic ones.

Once in awhile I find some good deals on these at the dollar stores or even the front section of Target stores will also have seasonal silicone molds. They will last a long time for several uses and you really feel like you get your moneys worth out of them.

Last Christmas I found some Christmas trees, snowflakes, candy canes and Gingerbread men and women that were so fun to make homemade soap for Christmas presents with.

By honeybees — On Oct 12, 2011

There are a lot of unique and themed soap molds available for making soap. I have found so many more unique choices online than I have found at my local craft stores.

Soap making molds can also be used for other purposes. The small ones can be used to make candy. I also make solid lotion bars using soap molds.

When I first started out, I would buy the plastic soap molds because they were so much cheaper. After awhile though, they became harder to release, and if there was much detail in the mold, this became a real chore.

After struggling with this for a few months, I began using all silicone molds. What a difference this has made. It makes the whole process so much easier. I know that they will release every time and all the detail will show up clearly.

By Mae82 — On Oct 11, 2011

My grandmother gave me some really beautiful wooden soap molds for Christmas last year and I love the soaps I have been able to make with them. I think there is nothing better than custom soap molds, as they really add character to the soaps you make.

The wooden soap molds my grandmother gave me are in a variety of aquatic shapes, and each of them has the initials of my family pressed into them. I really like it when people visit our home and notice that the soaps in the guest bathroom are custom made. It is fun having people ask me where I bought them, only to learn we made them ourselves.

By animegal — On Oct 11, 2011

Making soap molds can be a lot of fun if you are feeling creative and have a bit of time on your hands. I have been feeling pretty craft-orientated lately and have used everything from food containers to dishes I've found at yard sales as soap molds.

I think that while you can buy fancy silicone soap molds and things like wooden soap molds, that sometimes the best way to do things is just to make them yourself. It not only keeps costs down, but you can come up with some really unique shapes. For example, I now have soap shaped like tiny Coke bottles that are a real hit with my friends.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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