If you make soap you may want to personalize it with a stamped impression. If you want to turn a plain bar of natural hot process soap into something a little more unique and decorative, then you should consider stamping them with a design while they are just cut.
Aside from making the stamps yourself, you can find custom stamp vendors at Etsy that will take your order for just about any brand image you have. But if you don’t have something specific in mind, then browse your local dollar stores for the solid wooden stamps. Crafts are sometimes seasonal, so finding the right one is hit or miss.
Nonetheless, one awesome thing about finding the right stamps for your soap is that you aren’t looking for the same qualities in a stamp that you would if you were scrap booking or working on a craft where you want to transfer ink.
Agree or not, not every stamp is created equal, and some stamps are expensive and extensive with delicate designs. These aren’t necessarily the ones you want for leaving an imprint on your soaps.
Your soaping stamps may not necessarily need to be expensive. The main qualities you should look for is a sturdy wooden handle and a strong clear design. Anything larger than 2 inches is preferred to a smaller stamp, but if you come across something you like that looks smaller, you’ll just have to try it to see if it leaves the mark you want on your products.
Also note that using a cosmetic grade glitter or mica will make your imprint stand out a little. If you want to add the extra embellishment, just ensure that you are using a product that is meant to be used for cosmetics.
Do not forget to stamp when your soaps are fresh cut. This goes for both your hot and your cold process soaps. Most experts tend to stamp hot process soaps more than cold process so that it doesn’t interfere with the bright pretty colours of the cold process designs. They more or less have a 20 minute window once the soaps are cut to get the best results.
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Detailed Steps on How to Make and Use a Soap Stamp
Stamping soap is quite easy and can create a really cool looking soap. However, there are two key tricks to remember when stamping soap: Don’t use too much colorant and Stamp only after you cut a batch. The rest is really up to your imagination. The steps outlined below will show you how to make a resin stamp! It works on freshly cut homemade bars, but will not work on store bought soap or bars that have been aged.
- Mixing cups
- Modelling clay or carving wax
- Carving tools and smoothing tool
- Goof Off or similar solvent based cleaner
- Duct tape
To get started, your modelling clay will probably require heating. Simply cut a hunk off and break it into pieces. Then make a small foil tray to hold the pieces. Put it into a toaster oven on the lowest setting for about 15 minutes. This will make it soft enough to form it into the shape you want. Note that this will be your “canvas” to create on so make it smooth and flat. After you are satisfied put it into the freezer for a few minutes to harden it up.
Transferring the Image
Note that this step is not necessary if you are doing an abstract design or if you are confidant in your artistic abilities. But if not, start by printing an image that is the size that you want. If you are printing text or if you care about the orientation of your image then you will have to “flip” the image horizontally.
You will also have to test the transferability of your ink by placing your image upside down onto another piece of paper and putting a few drops of Goof Off or similar cleaner onto the back of the image. Rub a pencil lightly over the saturated area. Lift off the top paper. If the image transferred great! If not you may have to use a ball point pen to colour in the area of your image that you want transferred. Immediately you are satisfied with the ability to migrate your designs do it onto your modelling clay. It doesn’t have to be perfect it’s just a guide for your carving.
Carving the Clay Mold
This step is regarded as the most fun. Start in a corner and scrape out the clay toward yourself. You should go between 1/8th and ¼ of an inch deep. Keep removing material until you are satisfied with the basic outline. At this point, smooth out the impression with a smoothing tool. It looks like a small soft eraser on a paintbrush. Try for a uniform depth and clean edges.
Casting the Resin
Carefully make sidewalls for the liquid resin. You can use duct tapes. But just make sure that you make a good seal around the mold as the resin is very thin and will run out of any leaks. Mix the resin according to the directions and pour into your mold. Don’t pour it directly into the impression rather let it flow in by pouring onto a flat area.
Note that when the resin has set up to the consistency of firm rubber but not completely hard, then it is time to de-mold. Start by peeling off the duct tape. Then work around the mold loosening the edges. When you have the edge loose all around slowly pry it apart until it pops loose. Then while the resin is still rubbery use scissors to trim the lip off of the edge. Now let the resin harden up the rest of the way, about an hour. After it is completely hardened clean the residual clay off.
Once you are done with cleaning off the clay, you can test the stamp on a bar. While testing your stamp, you might find it to be too deep in some areas. This can be solved by sanding it down some. In fact you could do lots of touch up at this stage with sandpaper and/or a Dremel tool.
Cut your Soap
Lay it on a flat surface. Gently tap your stamp in the mica. Make sure all the flat surfaces are covered. You want a thin layer of mica on the stamp. Too much and you won’t get as clear a stamp/imprint. If you have too much colorant on the stamp gently tap it on your work table to remove some of the excess mica.
Firmly (and evenly) press the stamp into the soap. Play around with the pressure you need. Too little and you will get a light or partial imprint on the soap. Too much pressure and you could distort the detail and leave deep marks in the soap.
Stamping your soap can be a very good way to differentiate your product in the market and grow your brand. However, ensure to follow the above instructions to create a strong and reliable stamp for your soaps.