Saturday, April 18, 2015

Custom Lace Mold

Browsing Pinterest provided inspiration to make a custom lace mold for our cold-processed soap. We were afraid it would have been a disaster and complete waste of money (silicone is expensive!!) but despite our no-can-do-it-attitudes, we killed it!

Below is a step-by-step tutorial and you can do it too.

First we selected the lace swatch we wanted to do. This lace was bought off of amazon for about $6. We searched, "Plastic Lace," but this is also called, "Mexican Lace." I don't know, seemed racist so we googled plastic lace. It worked!

The lace was then fused to a rectangular piece of firm cardboard using iron-on fabric fusing with the decorative side facing up. 

Next we put the cardboard, lace creation face-up into our container. We used a silicone soap mold, although this would not be recommended. Instead, use a cardboard box that match the dimensions of your mold. Cleaning this was quite the to-do!

Next we mixed the catalyst to the powder. Make sure to be in a well-ventilated area and to wear gloves! Don't be a total bone head like we were and use utensils and containers you really like. Cleaning dried silicone off of these things was darn near impossible!

Time to pour! Go slowly as to not trap air bubbles into your design

Lightly tap down the container to have all of the air bubbles rise to the top. As it dries, they come out, making the top smooth like a skating rink (not pictured.. below is before it was set.)

Put this in a safe place to set for at least 24 hours. Some silicone mixes are different so do whatever the label says. We left ours overnight. 

Boom! Mold made! Now flip that sucker over (carefully) and discard the cardboard and lace. With the design of the mold facing up, fill it with the soap of your desired recipe and color. Using a soap heavy on soft oils (e.g. castille soap) would not be recommended. You need something with a higher percentage of hard oils so it unmolds nicely. For this recipe a blend of olive, coconut, palm, sweet almond, and avocado oils was used. Some people suggest brushing your mold with a mineral-based oil (which we avoid obviously) or if you don't use petroleum based oils some have had success brushing molds with rice bran oil. We didn't brush it with anything and it was fine!

At first, pile a lot of the soap on the mold to ensure it gets into every nook and cranny.

Then, every five minutes or so, scrape the excess soap off and either discard or, as we do (because we love our soaps and never waste them) put into a side mold. We used these lego dude molds.

As you progressively scrape off the top soap you will have something more like this. Set this aside and let it dry for a minimum of 24 hours.

After you slept (if you slept at all with the anticipation of how your soap is going to turn out) place the silicone mold with the dried soap at the bottom of your soap mold. The design side needs to face up (the bottom of the mold will ultimately be the top of your soap.)

Then make a batch of soap with the same recipe as the soap in the lace mold. If the oil/lye water ratio is different, you risk the soap in the lace mold not properly sticking to the soap poured on top.

To emphasize the details in the lace design, make your second batch of soap a different color. You can use micas, oxides, cocoa power, clays, or even paprika if you want to keep with the all-natural vibe.

Pour the new soap on top of the lace soap.

This shot looks extremely green (one might even call it Nickelodeon-esque) but as this soap cures it is much more subtle. It is important to play around with your colorants because some become more saturated as they cure while others soften.

After a few days of sitting in the mold, pop that soap out by turning the mold upside down and then carefully peeling the lace silicone off. You can see how muted the green color became!

Cut into whatever dimensions your little heart desires and you will have this lovely soap that everyone will go ape for! 

In the group below you can see our Herb Garden Lace soap (also pictured in the large block above) and our Rosemary, Mint & Vanilla Lace Soap with their buddies.

Now that's soapTASTIC!

Make them yourself or go ahead and order some lace soaps from our Etsy site. You won't regret it!

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