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FAQ - Soap Molds & Mold Liners

Large Soap Mold

Manual Soap

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Single Loaf Soap Mold

Question:

I recently saw a slab mold divided up into compartments. It was made out of acrylic. Can you make a custom mold like this for us?

Answer:

Thank you for contacting us. We do not make nor sell a Slab Mold as you describe. Molds made of Acrylic plastic will eventually break down and start cracking from the essential and fragrance oils. It takes time but it will happen with the heat up and cool down of the plastic and absorption of oils. It is a real disservice to the unaware SoapMaker, who has spent good money purchasing these. We used to make them for ourselves and when we found out what would happen under constant use, went to HDPE.

 

We have seen many companies come and go in our industry, taking customers money along with them, doing no testing or research on their products, caring little about the effect their temporary presence, had on our industry and the customers they left behind.

 

We will not make individual bar, divider molds. The Loaf Mold is a better option however, we do make custom slab molds. They will last for many years to come. The divider; though it looks like it will save time by not having to cut your soap, really doesn’t. The mold will have to be either, put in the oven to heat up or put it in the freezer over night to release easily. Well….you can pull the dividers out with a pair of pliers but that’s easier said than done. The time that it is wasted doing any of these could have been used to cut the soap, not to mention the wasted energy.

 

Thing is….are you intending to grow, sell more soap? Is this a viable solution for the future? Of course not, if it were, most Professionals would be using them. There are hundreds of these failed experiments out there collecting dust.


Pro-Mold Release Paper

Pro-Mold Release Paper

and Cutter

Question:

I am intrigued with the silicone liners. It seems to me to be a great solution to the problem of fitting liners for each batch. What do you think about silicone liners for the larger production shops where you have provided the soapmaking equipment?

Answer:

The silicone seems to work okay for hobbyists and small batch production. We have not found that to be the case ourselves, but we do see people using this liner method. Silicone tears, degrades over time and, of course, is expensive. For a large block pour with a Manual Soap Cutter™ Mold, it is just too easy to line a soap mold, versus having to handle and wrangle around a 40 lb block of soap to remove the liner.

We have tried about everything out there. We were building professional soap cutters long before anyone else. If silicone was a viable solution for Large Batch SoapMaking, guaranteed we would have been the first to have perfected it. If you could take a poll of all the SoapMakers out there, you would find that 90% of the companies making large batches and pouring 500 lbs or more of soap per week are using paper liners.

 

Both of our Pro-Cutters are designed to load easily, either by sliding the block onto a Manual Soap Cutter™ Loaf Table or by setting onto the Air Soap Cutter™ Rolling Table, to cut right from the mold bottom itself. Silicone is too fragile to allow a 40 lb block of soap to be pushed around, while it is sitting on top of it (Manual Soap Cutter™). Having silicone rubber on the bottom of either types of Molds (Air Soap Cutter™ or Manual Soap Cutter™) would prevent the wires from passing through the block of soap into the grooves.

 

The reason things like lining, stirring, heating oils, mixing lye, etc. got put into the category of being a hassle by the Handcrafted SoapMaker, is probably because no one got fed up enough to step back and look at it another way and to find a more efficient way to do it. We just happen to be the first to do so. Take for example, weighing and heating oils; before we started supplying Oil Heaters, people were doing this one batch at a time. It would take hours just heating oils to mix a few batches. Now, all the oils are mixed and heated for a number of batches all at once. Not only are they heated more efficiently, with less energy but in much less time. The SoapMaker also saves time in measuring both, in and out, of the Oil Heater.

 

With liners, you would do the same thing, pre-cut lots of liners. It only takes two sizes, one for the bottom the other for the perimeter. The height of the liner is already pre-cut. With a template for the soap mold bottom and a simple mark on the table for the length of the perimeter liner, you can make a hundred sets in a few hours. It takes 30 seconds to line a soap mold if you take the time to get the procedure down-pat. You get excellent release both from the soap and from the mold. It makes a very tight corner, adheres tightly to the soap mold, it is wrinkle free, does not outgas, does not need to be washed and does not matter if you get a little tear in it.

 

Here is a list of what we have seen over the years on liners and soap mold materials, and our opinion of them. This is based on using in professional soap molds, under constant use.

 

Types of Soap Mold Liners...

 

Mylar: Releases nicely but can stick a little. Do not wrinkle it or it will remain there and is very difficult to flatten. Hard to get to stick to the mold if too thick and soap sometimes gets behind the plastic, ruining part of the batch.. Wires will not press down into it to allow a clean cut on the bottom.

 

Silicone: Releases very well and seems to stick to the mold side well. Works well for small soap molds or soap molds that allow you to remove the soap by flipping it over. Will degrade over time and use, tears easily, expensive initially and with replacement. It can shrink over time if not made correctly. It can outgas depending on the type of silicone. Needs to be cleaned between uses to remove carry over fragrance. Wires will not press down into it to allow a clean cut on the bottom.

 

Thin Plastic sheets: Does not release any easier than the plastic soap mold that it is already poured in. Don't see the point as once the mold is taken apart you still have to peal off the plastic and not bend it. Difficult to hold to the soap mold sides and soap sometimes gets behind the plastic, ruining part of the batch. Wires will not press down into it to allow a clean cut on the bottom.

 

Shower curtains: We understand they release well, are cheap and you can get nice floral patterns to look at while lining. We have not tested these. Most shower curtains are made in China, out of who knows what. Most are PVC, this outgases. Not sure if the wire will press into it to allow a good clean cut on the Loaf Table.

 

Teflon: Releases okay but is known to stick to some types of soap. Do not wrinkle it or it will remain there and is very difficult to flatten. Can tear easily if thin. Hard to get to stick to the mold if too thick and soap sometimes gets behind the plastic, ruining part of the batch.. Wires will not press down into it to allow a clean cut on the bottom.

 

Shortening or oil only: Some types of soap release well with just this. Sometimes just part of the soap mold can be coated, the rest lined. Inexpensive, fast and reliable but make sure you know it will release. You can in a pinch run a wide thin blade like a drywall knife between the plastic and soap and keep a good surface.

 

Freezer paper: Releases well, adheres to the soap mold well. The only real difficulty with it is that it is thick and does not make sharp corners without extra effort. It also wrinkles badly, so it may be best to have a thin waste cut.

 

Silicone paint or painted on release agents: These eventually break down and need to be recoated. Of course when they break down, where do they go? Into the soap.

 

Types of Soap Molds...

 

Acrylic plastic: You see people popping up every several years who make these and then they fade away. They really don't release any easier than HDPE but they look pretty. Eventually, under lots of use, they break down and start cracking from the oils used in making soap, specifically the essential and fragrance oils. It is a real disservice to the unaware SoapMaker who has spent good money purchasing these. We used to make them for ourselves and when we found out what would happen under constant use, went to HDPE. The fragrance and essential oils, eventually start degrading the plastic, gradually working into it until it starts cracking.

 

Wood: Has to have some sort of liner. Breaks down over time, warps, does not stand up to professional, repeated use and will eventually have to be replaced.

 

Stainless Steel: Next to HDPE, this is the best but it is expensive both in labor and material. It also has to be insulated very well to maintain an even saponification.

 

Question:

I noticed that some of the grooves in the molds are tight, others a little loose.

Answer:

The HDPE plastic is poured and therefore, it is not perfect. However, it is the perfect plastic and composition for this type of use. I can vary in its 3/4" thickness as much a 1/32" either way. This will not affect the molds performance.

 

Question:

How long will it take for the soaps to saponify enough in an Air Soap Cutter™ Mold, where it can be de-molded?

Answer:

Depending on formula, anywhere from two to three days for an Air Soap Cutter™ Mold. Start checking at two days and after a few batches you will have a good average. Taking notes on each batch is the best way to get to know your product.

 

Question:

How long will it take for the soaps to saponify enough in a Manual Soap Cutter™ Mold, where it can be de-molded?

Answer:

Depending on formula, anywhere from one to two days for a Manual Soap Cutter™ Mold. Start checking at 24 hours and after a few batches you will have a good average. Taking notes on each batch is the best way to get to know your product.

 

Question:

What is the maximum number of pounds for an efficient easy to handle and cut, block of soap in your Manual Soap Cutter™?

Answer:

The Manual Soap Cutter™ is most efficient at cutting a block between 35 to 45 pounds. However this is relative to the bar size and number of wires penetrating the block. We will help you find the perfect size.

 

Question:

Why are the molds for the Air Soap Cutter™ and Manual Soap Cutter™ in big blocks?

Answer:

Efficiency and economy of motion is the primary reason, also less waste. Of course there is no tough crust or ash to deal with and you get a much better quality and saponification. At some point in production and growth, one has to move to fewer steps in the pouring and cutting process. Block form is the logical solution.

 

Question:

Is it true that block molds provide better saponification?

Answer:

Absolutely! By providing a better environment for moisture and heat containment the result is better saponification. Conversion of oils is simply better.

 

Question:

The soap molds are sure a challenge to put together. Will they be easier to fit together as time goes on?

Answer:

Of course, we try to start out tight. This type of plastic is perfect for this application but it is poured in sheets and therefore, not perfect in thickness. One or two pours and you will see a difference. They will loosen as you use them. You can also put a little shortening on them to make them slip in easier? The heat from the saponification process will expand the dados, and the oils you leave in them, will make assembly easy.

 

Question:

I am having trouble getting my Air Soap Cutter™ mold bottom into the groove?

Answer:

First off, you want to make sure you are re-assembling your molds when you de-mold. This will keep them from warping. If you do have to stack the parts, make very sure each panel is flat.

Occasionally a customer with an Air Soap Cutter™ mold may have a slight problem getting a mold bottom into the groove because the grooves allowing some bowing. We do compensate for most of this with relief grooves on the opposite side.

To get it started, just start at one corner and roll it into the groove taping with your rubber mallet. It will slide right in. This will become easier as you use them. You can put a little shortening on them to make them slip in easier? The heat from the saponification process will expand the dados and the oils you leave in them will make assembly easy. If you make a lot of soap, in 6 months you probably won't need a rubber hammer.

 

Question:

How long do you wait to cut after de-molding?

Answer:

You cut the loaves as soon as you un-mold. If you make a palm, based formula, then you will de-mold sooner than soy based formula, because it will harden quicker. Record what you see and experience. There is no hard and fast rule. Handcrafted, cold processed and hot processed soap has such a wide range of conditions. Remember, if you wait too long, it can be tough cutting through with your wires.

Pro-Mold Release Paper

Pro-Mold Release Paper

and Cutter

Question:

What do you recommend for lining your soap molds?

Answer:

It depends on which molds you buy. The smaller soap molds you can get by with using a light coating of shortening (hydrogenated soybean oil), although other oils, such as, olive and coconut will suffice - even cooking spray like PAM, etc. The larger soap molds that work with our professional soap cutters should be lined with parchment paper. The best liner is our own Mold Release Liner, made to our specifications and width. You can also use plastic lined freezer paper, although this does not smooth out as well.

Pro-Mold Release Paper

Pro-Mold Release Paper

and Cutter

Question:

Isn’t it a hassle lining soap molds?

Answer:

An experienced Soaper can line a mold in less than 30 seconds. It is all about efficiency and organizing yourself and your supplies. When you cut bottoms cut a bunch of them. Make a template and cut 5 or 6 at a time with a razor blade knife. When you cut for the sides, have marks on your counter for the cutoff point. Do it in production fashion, and you will not only do it better but you will do it so much faster.

 

Question:

How do you stop soap molds from leaking? Do you line the soap molds, or is there something that seals the edges?

Answer:

Pouring at a slightly thicker trace is the easiest method. Until you get the hang of it, you can simply put some old soft soap in the corners out a couple inches each way. Shortening will work. If you have our Professional soap molds, yes, you should line it but not for leaking, for ease of de-molding.

 

Question:

I do CPOP soap -- which means I put my soap molds in the oven at about 180-200 degrees. The soap mold stays there for 90 minutes. Can your, Triple Loaf soap molds be placed in a warm oven and withstand those temps?

Answer:

I know people have used our soap molds for Oven Processed but as I recall, it was not more than 180. I cannot recommend it but of course it is strictly your decision how you use them. The utilization Temperature range of HDPE plastic is -180 to + 180, melting point 266.

EZ Fill 2" and 3" Tube Mold System

E-Z Tube Mold System

Question:

On your E-Z Tube Mold System, do the pipes fit down into a tray that seals the bottom or how does that work?

Answer:

The tubes set down on a Nitrile rubber pad that spans the entire mold bottom.  They nest into pockets that are machined into an HDPE Plastic Plate.

 

Question:

Do you have to grease the sides of your E-Z Tube Mold System before putting in the liner paper?

Answer:

No, you do not grease the sides because you want your soap to easily slide out. The liner has just a little spring to it when rolled the opposite way it came off the roll.

Custom Molds

Question:

I am brand new to soap making and am just getting started on the ground floor. I use Melt and Pour soap. I am interested in having a bar soap mold designed with our logo in it. Can you make this?

Answer:

Yes; we can make you a soap mold or multiple soap molds with a logo in it. We need your desired bar size, desired bar weight if possible, a high-resolution graphic of your logo or camera-ready artwork and how you want the logo placed in the soap molds.

 

Question:

What type of material do you use for the single bar soap molds?

Answer:

We can make these either in silicone or in a vacuum formed plastic. You get more detail with silicone but it costs more to make multiples. If you are not pouring very many, this may be the way to go. If you are pouring hundreds a day then this would be too costly. Vacuum forming can still give you very good detail. Much depends on the design. We can help you with this.

 

Question:

In the proposal for the Air Soap Cutter™ system, you suggested that for my operation, it would be helpful if I had six (6) 4-wheel mold dollies as well as two (2) tray dollies. Are these dollies the same?

Answer:

No, they are not the same. The six (6) dollies (mold dollies) are for setting the Air Soap Cutter™ Molds onto, making it easier to move them around to and from the Pot Tipper and the Air Soap Cutter™. These soap mold dollies are made to fit the underside of your mold. They fit inside the bottom rim of your Air Soap Cutter™ Mold and therefore, they are locked in and will not slide out. The two (2) tray dollies are for your vented drying trays.

 

Willow Way LLC - Home Office

12873 W E Oler Road

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