Use recycled packaging as your mold
Silicone and wooden molds are fantastic molds, but you can get equally amazing bars using containers that you already have in your kitchen and they cost nothing!
Fruit juice and milk or cream cartons are perfect to use as molds, as the insides are waxed, so your soap doesn’t stick to them.
These cartons come in a variety of sizes, so you can easily create different sized bars. For the juice cartons I just sliced the bars in half.
With milk or cream cartons you can cut your loaf into slices.
You can even make a wooden mold. I made a mold very easily and I am no woodworker! I just went to the local hardware store and they even cut the wood to size for me. I just made my mold based on the size of wood they had in there and planned it so I could cut 1 inch slices.
If you line your mold with freezer paper, your soap doesn’t stick to the mold. With wooden molds your soap dries out quicker than silicone molds, so you can turn your soap out quicker and cut it. You can also make a mold the exact size that you want. Once I had some soap making experience and knew what sized soap loaves I wanted I bought silicone liners and made molds to fit them.
Plastic containers work very well, because they are non stick and are flexible, so it is easy to get your soap out. You can get a variety of shapes and sizes. These are also good for doing smaller test batches.
You can often find bargains in the dollar store or pound shop for molds. Ice cube trays and cake molds are ideal for soap making.
You can use ice cube molds for soap embeds or for decorating your soaps, and small cake molds make great test batches.
Pringles cans work well for getting circular slices of soap. Because they are foil lined, the soap doesn’t stick. I cut off the base, put cling wrap on it and put the lid back on. Then when it is set you simply take the lid and wrap off and you can easily push your soap out to cut it. You can often use the can more than once.
Use inexpensive locally sourced ingredients
I don’t recommend paying a fortune for a wealth of oils and butters before you have even made your first batch of soap. I started with coconut oil, canola oil and olive oil because I could buy them in my local supermarket. Research oils and recipes before you make your soap, so you don’t waste ingredients when you are not sure how they work in soap. Find out which oils you can get locally, how much you can use in your soaps and what their properties are. Start simple and then expand once you have some experience.
Rather than spending a lot of money on cosmetic colours, you can start with food ingredients that you have in your cupboard, such as cocoa, coffee and paprika to give you some natural colour. This soap was coloured with paprika.
Salvage Your Failures
Don’t throw out your failures. You can often recycle them into another soap. It may not look as pretty as you had intended, but you can usually make a soap that is useable. You can use rebatching or the hot process method to rescue disasters. That way you are not throwing away all these lovely ingredients and wasting money. Here’s one that I made from a soap that seized when I was making it.
It is not the best looking soap, but it smelled lovely and worked perfectly!
I hope these tips help you to get started on a budget. As you start to get a few successes behind you, I’m sure you will be inspired to be more adventurous and experiment with different colours, fragrances and molds.