Do you run a soap-making business and need a cutter or mold? If YES, here is an 8-step guide on how to make homemade cutters and wooden molds with hinges. Soap-making molds come in various shapes, sizes, and can be made with different materials.
There are some molds that come together with wire cutters for soap making. However, it’s necessary to consider what kind of mold you will be using when designing a soap project. The mold and cutter will determine how big your batch needs to be and may influence ingredients and cure time.
Why Use a Wooden Mold?
Wood molds are sturdy, cost-effective, and act as great insulators for cold process soap. They can also last for years and years with proper storage and care. Most wood molds are made out of top-grade birch plywood that is both sturdy and durable.
Wood molds need to be lined with freezer paper to avoid the soap from sticking to the mold. To make this process easier, many wood molds come with silicone liners. Freezer paper is much different from wax paper as it is sturdier, and will not melt under high temperatures.
One of the best features of wood molds is they insulate the soap well. This makes it easy to achieve a complete gel phase throughout the soap. Also have it in mind when insulating wood molds that because they insulate the soap naturally, placing the mold on a heating pad may not be necessary. If you want to avoid the gel phase completely, you may want to place the mold and soap into the fridge or a cool place.
Indeed you want a mold that is big enough to be profitable. Labour costs money and your labour isn’t free. However, a word of caution: Know what your physical lifting limit is. Your maximum safe weight-lift limits will ultimately determine the maximum amount of soap and the number of bars you should get out of each mold.
8 Steps on How to Make Homemade Cutters and Wooden Molds with Hinges
Making soap is without doubt a fun hobby that can potentially earn you money if you sell your soap at craft shows or online. In order to make soap, however, you must have a mold and a cutter in which to pour the liquid soap so that it can harden. Below are the necessary steps to make a homemade mold and cutter for your soap production.
1. Gather your Materials
To start making your mold, gather your materials first. You should be able to find the materials for this mold at most craft stores. For this mold, you will need the following:
- Two pieces of 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) thick craft wood, cut into 12” by 4” length
- Two pieces of 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) thick craft wood, cut into 3 ½″ x 4″ length
- One piece of 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) thick craft wood, cut into 3 ½″ x 11″ length
- Wood clamps
- Wood glue
- Extra wood for the hinges
2. Trim the Wood Down
Have it in mind that you may not find craft wood cut into the exact dimensions you need. You should be able to ask someone at the store to trim the wood down for you. However, If this option is not available, you can cut most craft wood on your own with a small handsaw. Take your time to measure the wood using a ruler or measuring tape. Draw a line marking the dimensions with a pen or pencil. Use your handsaw to gently saw along that line.
If the sides are rough, use sandpaper to smooth them down. Sandpaper is rated by grit number. The higher the grit number, the stronger the sandpaper. As craft glue is fairly soft, you do not need high grit sandpaper for your soap mold. Stick to grit levels below 100, as anything above 100 – level grit is best used on large furniture.
3. Create a Box Out of the Sides
After you must have cut your wood into the proper dimensions, you can begin assembling your mold. To start, assemble the sides of the wood to form a rectangle. The 12” by 4” boards make up the long sides of the rectangle. The 3 ½” by 4” sides make up the shorter sides.
The shorter sides will fit inside the longer sides. Remember to take the 12” by 4” boards. Place a line of wood glue along each 4” side. Then, place the 3 ½” by 4” sides between the 12” by 4” boards, creating a rectangle – shape with your boards. Use the wood clamps to secure while the wood is drying.
4. Glue the Bottom Piece
Once you ascertain the glue is dry to the touch, and the rectangle feels secure without the wood clamps, you can add the bottom board. The 3 ½″ x 11″ board fits inside the rectangle. Run some wood glue along each side of the bottom board and then place it inside the rectangle.
Don’t forget to use wood clamps to secure the board in place. However, if your board feels flimsy, use a cordless screwdriver to place four screws into the board where the sides connect. This will further secure the board, as wood glue may lose strength over time.
5. Fix the Wire Cutter
Using a screw-drive splitter that has a wire grid, push the wires through the sides by use of a wheel or crank that turns a long screw moving the grid up or down, backward or forward, depending on the design. Just remember, the problem of longer wires bending is a limitation and the amount of strength required to push those wires down through a thicker amount of soap.
6. Mark and Cut Mortises for the Hinges
You can use a knife to outline the hinges and pencil in the lines so that they can be easier to see. Set up your trim router with a ¼” straight bit and set the depth to half the height of the closed hinge. Then, use the router to remove most of the wood but stop just short of your lines. You can also use a chisel to finish removing the waist then repeat this step for the second hinge and for the top.
7. Install the Hinges
You can use glue and accelerator throughout this process to hold the hinges in place while you mark or assemble. Using a self centering bit, you can drill pilot holes for each of the screws and drive the screws in by hand.
Once you’ve assembled everything, set it aside and let it dry. To be 100 percent sure everything is dry, it’s best to set your board aside overnight before use. Once you’re done creating your board, you can use it to make soap. Make sure to line your board first, as liquid soap will stick to wood.
You can use parchment paper or trash bags to line your Board. It can take soap anywhere from a few hours to a few days to set. It depends on the soap recipe you’re using. Once the soap is set, simply remove it from the board. Set it aside for 3 to 4 weeks to allow it to dry completely.
How big your wooden soap mold is will ultimately influence the cost of supplies needed. Opting for any width of soap mold cavity beyond 12″ wide will greatly affect the cost, as the bolts will increase in price. Indeed, you will also need larger pieces of wood to make a larger mold.
You also want to consider how heavy the wood soap mold will be when filled with soap. It’s advisable you consider a maximum length of 18″ for a single loaf configuration, as beyond that, it will become unwieldy to move and/or store when not in use. A single loaf at 18″ in length will range in weight from approximately 6 to 8 lbs of soap.