Best soap bar dimensions?

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I can't make up my mind on what would be a good bar size in terms of dimensions. I've thought about it so much I can't even think anymore. I wonder if anybody has any suggestions about what would be good dimensions and also weight. I'm doing it as a hobby now but considering doing it as a part time business in a few years, so I figure I should start out now with whatever would be a good size later.

I've heard 3 x 2 x 1 is a good size.

One bar I have on hand is made by River Soap, 3-1/4 x 2-3/16 x 1-3/16 (4.5 oz).

Greg, most soapers like a bar around 3-1/2" wide or long, by around 2-1/2" tall, by 1" to 1-1/4" thick. A bar this size, depending on the thickness, will weigh in about 4-1/2 to 5-1/4 ounces after a good 5 to 6 week cure. Most of my TOG Molds use this approximate dimension, and that is what my customers ask for most often. I do build a lot of custom size molds though.
A bar that measures 3" X 2" X1" is what I would call a hand size bar, the other dimension I mentioned, a bath size bar. :wink:

I finally decided to go with the same size as River Soap Co. is using, 3-1/4 x 2-3/16 x 1-3/16 (4.5 oz). Had I gone with Paul's 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 1-1/4 I calculated using proportions that the resultant weight would be about 6 oz which was too big for my purposes.

I've noticed that many of the etsy and ecrater sites soaps range around 3.5 to 4 oz average. I don't know if I'll try to sell my soaps any time soon but if my bars are bigger I'll have to charge more money and that has a competitive disadvantage.

There is one serious problem with soaping as a hobby. The costs for the supplies start mounting up if you're somewhat active, so it becomes a financial drain to keep your family and friends in free soap. Any real enthusiast of soapmaking almost has to start selling or the supplies become too expensive to continue the hobby.

I guess I'm having a 'duh' moment, because probably everybody else has come up with the same conclusion:

1. keep it a hobby, small batches, infrequent batches

2. hobby business, more frequent bigger batches, etsy or ecrater

3. real business, frequent big batches, own website and persuade some retail stores to carry your product

I don't really want to progress to #2 but I want to make more frequent bigger batches as soon as I can get a little more advanced. I don't see how I can accomplish that without having some money coming in from selling the bars.

If anybody has any more advice on bar size I'd like to hear it. I made two molds for that River Soap size, but planning on making more molds of different sizes in the future. Could use any suggestions. :)
Lovehound said:
I finally decided to go with the same size as River Soap Co. is using, 3-1/4 x 2-3/16 x 1-3/16 (4.5 oz). Had I gone with Paul's 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 1-1/4 I calculated using proportions that the resultant weight would be about 6 oz which was too big for my purposes.
Howd you calculate that!!? soo bad at math but thatd be a good calc to use on my own too :)

as for what to do...cost is the reason I dont soap frequently (and that im unemployed again at the moment...) but I d love to see it turn into a biz...hey theres enough soap from big batches that you could prob sit on the side of the road with a sign "handmade soap!" sell it somewhat cover cost and maybe a little extra and voile!

anyone ever tried just sellin on the side of the road or door-to-door!?

i know door to door is basically hopeless unless your in a soapfreak community because you get about 10% wanting to buy (meaning out of 100 houses, 10 households would buy it)...

the question is what do YOU want to do and where do you want your soaping thing to end up!?

Id love to see my end turn into a biz eventually but need to keep experimenting to develop a line of products...then start stockpiling them according to shelf life and last stage...heavily advertise and maybe go around with samples door to door..hey heres some free soap and a website you can get it from! lol...just some of my ideas...
The calculations were easy but were based upon one assumption that may or may not hold. I assumed that my soap recipes will turn out to be the same density (weight per volume) as River Soap's milled bars. In any case my soaps will probably be in the ball park.

I just multiplied height x width x length to get volume in cubic inches.

River Soap ( 4.5 oz) 3-1/4 x 2-3/16 x 1-3/16 = 8.4 cu in

Paul's dimension: 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 1-1/4 = 10.9 cu in

proportion: 10.9 / 8.4 = 1.3 (130 percent)

Compare this with a fairly popular part time soaper size:

hand bar: 3 x 2 x 1-1/4 = 7.5 cu in (which was too small for me)

In the end I decided to just go with the river Soap size (8.4 cu in) and find out what it weighs when I get some. I could calculate from the weight of oils and lye, then add part of the weight of the water (to allow for drying) but the best answer is to just make some bars and weigh them. :)

Actually I plan to try Paul's size for my next molds. What I've discovered is that there's no exact answer for what size to make the bar.

I'm nearing retirement age and thinking that soaping might make a fun part time business to supplement my retirement income, and might also be a nice social outlet to meet people and get me out of my house. I'll already have a separate income so I figure that the soap might be a nice way to earn money for luxuries and walking around money.

Actually, here in L.A. I bet I could have a yard sale every weekend or every Saturday and sell soap along side getting rid of excess stuff too, pick up some money for both.

Ultimately I figured on going to swap meets and craft shows and the like, and combining that with Internet sales. I've already sold stuff related to my career online (electronics) so the Internet stuff is easy, and in any case has gotten easier with sites such as etsy and ecrater.

I'm glad though that I don't intend on supporting myself on selling soap. I think that would be difficult to do and would be at least a 40 hour a week job, probably more.
I would love to make soaping a full time thing...simply because I love it...i dont care how many hours i put in as long as im enjoying it more than the corporate rat race game lol...getting so sick of it!!!
I agree. All day long Monday through Friday, I sit at my desk, and all I can think about is how I would much rather be at home making soap.
I'm currently unemployed and not really looking for any work at the present. I'm enjoying making soap right now although I might decide to try harder to get a job in a month or two. Life is too short (and shorter every day) to waste doing things you don't want to do when you have things you prefer doing.
Since I use Paul's TOG molds and cutter, my dimensions are what he posted, although sometimes my soap ends up being slightly taller than usual if I add soap scraps or embeds (I'm too lazy to adjust my recipe to compensate for adding them :wink: ). Depending on my recipe and how tall in the mold my soaps end up being, my soaps weigh anywhere from 5.4 to 6.3 oz. I really like this size. It's a nice hefty bar and, of course. it lasts longer, too.

My longest lasting and densest soaps are my tallow blends. In a side by side comparison with my Castile-type soap of the same age and dimension, my tallow blend weighs more.

Right now, I'm kind of half-way between hobby and hobby-business. My family and friends who love my soap and request it quite often just plain refuse to take it from me without paying me for it, which is pretty nice because it enables me to feed my soaping addiction. At Christmas and birthdays, though, they get a ton for free (it helps me to clear out my inventory so I have room to make more.) :)


Soaping is an interesting hobby, different from other hobbies in that you practically are forced to share what you make with relatives and friends. Otherwise you end up with soap coming out your ears! Lucky are the people who have a soaper for a friend. :)
Hey Greg,

I made a basic batch of soap and poured it in a large box that allowed it to be approx. a inch thick. I wrote down a bunch of different bar sizes and then cut them out. This way we could see what size we liked. What felt good in our hand. My husband likes a bigger bar but with smaller hands I found it too big. So we came up with something in the middle.
I find that my bars vary in weight depending on what the oils are.
Hope this helps.
I've sort'a done that through several batches, critiquing each and doing something different next time. Now 7 batches I've got 6 different form factors (two 3" diameter bactches) so I'll figure it out sooner or later.

I'm glad you and hubby can find common grounds. :)
I just have to know - are Paul's TOG molds 2 3/8 x 2 1/2? Those are the dimensions I see on Etsy. Please tell me it's a typo and they really are an inch longer!

I REALLY wanted one, and I was all set to buy, but the dimensions were not what I wanted, I was looking for a little longer. I bought the Kelsie instead, I just gel in oven now. I do love the size of the bars, 3 1/8 X 2 1/8.

My DH makes me wood 18 x 3.25 log molds with an HDPE liner made from Ikea cutting boards, they work OK for a log mold, but they are a PIA to swirl.
From the discussion above and what I've seen on his site Paul uses 3 and a fraction as the length. Either what you are looking at is an oddball or it's a typo. Paul made his preferences very clear in his first reply to my OP.

I've been thinking of trying something like what I think you're referring to. I saw it at a local restaurant supply store, it's like a cutting board but it's thin and flexible, can be rolled up even. I've been thinking of buying one and using my paper cutter to size it to fit in the mold as a liner, maybe use a couple pieces of double backed tape to hold them in place during the pour. Then unmold, peel off, clean and reuse. It looks like it would work and would save the labor of cutting freezer paper every batch.
Lovehound said:
From the discussion above and what I've seen on his site Paul uses 3 and a fraction as the length. Either what you are looking at is an oddball or it's a typo. Paul made his preferences very clear in his first reply to my OP.
I so hope you are right! I just looked at the 20/40 and the 12/24, they both say 2 3/8!

Maybe I'm getting another mold! :wink:
I just checked his 12/24:

Length.... 2-3/8"
Width..... 2-1/2"

I downloaded the picture and measured the vertical and horizontal pixels, divided and got a 1.31 aspect ratio. Then I calculated the aspect ratio of the above (1.08 ) and of 3-3/8" x 2-1/2" and got 1.33 aspect ratio. It's pretty clear to me that he has a typo.

Hey Paul!!! Hello Paul??? tap tap tap... You there? ;)

(the 20/40 doesn't have any vertical down pictures so I can't measure it)

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