Cheap beginner molds-what are yours?

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Johnez

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Hey all I went to Michaels today to check out soap things and found patchouli at an amazing $16 for 4 oz....but their molds.....man those molds be pricey. $30 and some fancy looking things. No thanks. All I want is a semi-sturdy box to hold soap till it's hard enough to cut. Went to the unfinished wood section and found a nice little box on clearance for $3 that should suit me perfect being I'm not making entire logs, big enough for 4 large bars or 5 thinnish ones, my cutting game will have to improve for that tho heh. Anyway, I'm constantly on the prowl for boxes or anything and found one at the Dollar General for free, I asked if I could take it of course. I'm aware of the post office box trick and am waiting for some nice enough ones to come in, tho they usually end up being a bit beat up.

So my question to you guys is what have you used to get started? I've got loads of pringles tubes saved up, a few boxes, and now a small wood box at the moment. I was tempted by a q-tip container being the plastic is perfectly sized for some small bars but am unsure if I need to line it or not. So any off the wall ideas here? I might edit this post with a list of cheap beginner molds if I get enough ideas. :)
 

AliOop

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I used Pyrex glass bread pans when I first started, and I lined them with freezer paper. I've also used milk/juice cartons, and various storage/organizing containers that you can get at the dollar store very cheaply; most of those will need to be lined, as well. The thing with plastics is that they need to be heat resistant since your soap batter will heat up after it is mixed.

At thrift stores you can find old wooden dresser drawers or desk drawers that work well as a molds... although you might have to buy the whole desk or dresser to get it. 😁
 

KimW

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I'm with you on the cost of soaping molds!

My struggle was finding something I could repurpose for a soap mold that had square corners and wasn't tapered. So, even though I was given cavity molds when I started, until recently I made all my molds from plastic corrugated sign board. Can be made just about any size, no lining required, reusable, holds up to CPOPing. If you make one bigger than will hold about 16oz of soap batter, it needs reinforcement to keep it from bowing, but that's easy enough to rig with a metal hanger or squeeze clamp. I also have a wooden box, so requires lining, that an old friend made me. Sort of like using a drawer, as @AliOop suggested!


There are some affordable soap molds on the oft dreaded Amazon, but you can also find wooden craft boxes at Michaels and WalMart.
 

TheGecko

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For test batches, I bought two 4” Silicone Loaf Molds from BrambleBerry...got them on sale for around $8.00 and they make 4-5 oz bars. I also have two 6” Silicone Slab Molds...also purchased on sale.

Amazon has molds.
 

Johnez

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I used Pyrex glass bread pans when I first started, and I lined them with freezer paper. I've also used milk/juice cartons, and various storage/organizing containers that you can get at the dollar store very cheaply; most of those will need to be lined, as well. The thing with plastics is that they need to be heat resistant since your soap batter will heat up after it is mixed.

At thrift stores you can find old wooden dresser drawers or desk drawers that work well as a molds... although you might have to buy the whole desk or dresser to get it. 😁
I will have to take a harder look at those cartons. There's all kinds too, looking at broth, cream being we go through those. How do you guys deal with the little "roof" on top of the milk carton tho? Was considering using two and cutting that pointy part off on both and taping them together with the flat end at either side.
I'm with you on the cost of soaping molds!

My struggle was finding something I could repurpose for a soap mold that had square corners and wasn't tapered. So, even though I was given cavity molds when I started, until recently I made all my molds from plastic corrugated sign board. Can be made just about any size, no lining required, reusable, holds up to CPOPing. If you make one bigger than will hold about 16oz of soap batter, it needs reinforcement to keep it from bowing, but that's easy enough to rig with a metal hanger or squeeze clamp. I also have a wooden box, so requires lining, that an old friend made me. Sort of like using a drawer, as @AliOop suggested!


There are some affordable soap molds on the oft dreaded Amazon, but you can also find wooden craft boxes at Michaels and WalMart.

Ooooh yes, I saw that exact wood box, amazingly they have one that's got some weathered whitish paint that's a dollar cheaper lol.

I may have to see if I can scoop up some political signs being we have a mayoral election going right now. Not sure how Omaha is with the sign laws, but in CA for a solid month or more there was totally free corrugated plastic for the taking after every election. Also for months before but....uh that would probably be illegal ha!
For test batches, I bought two 4” Silicone Loaf Molds from BrambleBerry...got them on sale for around $8.00 and they make 4-5 oz bars. I also have two 6” Silicone Slab Molds...also purchased on sale.

Amazon has molds.

Re: Amazon, yup I see their ad every time I come here. When I get some silicon molds I'll probably end up getting a fancy one as my SO is totally on board but wants something pretty. I'll give BB a looksie, thanks!
 

Tara_H

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How do you guys deal with the little "roof" on top of the milk carton tho? Was considering using two and cutting that pointy part off on both and taping them together with the flat end at either side.
I was using milk cartons for a good while at the beginning and basically did what you're describing. I would cut off the 'roof' with a craft knife, and then cut off the long side with the seam in the same way. Then I would nest them one inside the other. As long as the overlap was sufficient they didn't need to be taped in any way but I did hold them together with a baking tin as a support.

Here's a picture of an early batch to illustrate.
IMG_20210221_162101.jpg
 

Johnez

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I was using milk cartons for a good while at the beginning and basically did what you're describing. I would cut off the 'roof' with a craft knife, and then cut off the long side with the seam in the same way. Then I would nest them one inside the other. As long as the overlap was sufficient they didn't need to be taped in any way but I did hold them together with a baking tin as a support.

Here's a picture of an early batch to illustrate.
View attachment 56011
Very clever, I like it.
 

Babyshoes

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I made my first few tester batches in a lined plastic tub, similar to a magazine tub, but it was from cat food. It worked and was exactly the right size for a small test batch, but it was slightly narrower at the bottom which made lining it a nightmare.

I soon gave up and bought a cheapish, small 500ml silicone mould from Amazon, which is much easier to use. It wasn't very cheap, but within my mental "impulse purchase" spending limit. Of course, YMMV depending on what's available and your personal limits...
 

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Individual cavity silicone molds are probably the cheapest and easiest to use.
 

amd

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So my question to you guys is what have you used to get started?
When I first started, I used a Ritz Cracker box. I cut the front face panel off - so that the box formed a tray (like a slab mold if you're familiar with that term). I reinforced the edges and corners with packing tape, and double lined. The first lining (against the box) was a Walmart bag cut flat, and the second lining (against the soap) was freezer paper. I found this nicely held a 2lb (oil weight) batch, and gave me 8 nice sized bars.
being I'm not making entire logs, big enough for 4 large bars or 5 thinnish ones,
As you're wanting to make fewer bars (I assume roughly 1lb oil weight batches), the Ritz box would be easy enough to modify by cutting, refolding and taping to a new size.
The smaller wax cartons that buttermilk, or sometimes whipping cream or half and half (egg nog during holiday season) would also work for a smaller batch.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Crafters Choice 1501 silicone mold. I got it on Amazon but you can also buy it from Wholesale Supplies Plus. Makes 2.5lb batch of soap. I cut 8 bars of 3.5 x 2.5 x 1. My recipe for this mold is around 800g of oils/fats. Not the cheapest option out there but they work great and no need for lining with freezer paper.
 

lucycat

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My favorite mold as a beginner in 2004 was a Velveeta box. The two pound cheese box lined with freezer paper was a good beginner size and sturdy. I used it for many months; it allowed me time to decide if I wanted a log or slab mold for my first purchased mold.
 

glendam

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I used a tool box (plastic) from Dollar Tree a couple of times, the bars were big, but it worked. I also had several Tupperware type containers that worked well. However, Nurture soap has some silicone molds (a 4” one) and a beginner/thin loaf liner that’s is fairly inexpensive. They ship free when minimum is met.
9730CFDB-2112-45B6-A946-883281456452.jpeg
 

MGM

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I started with--and still use--1L/quart cream or 500mL egg white cartons. I cut the tall ones halfway and use the egg ones as-is (sans roof). This gives me a cubic "loaf" that I'm still able to try swirls, embeds, or techniques in, without committing to a big batch. I also try out recipes, additives and FOs. I don't have to line them and can just tear them off when I'm done. The bottom needs a serious shave/trim to remove the folds, but especially if you put the cartons in another mould/box, you can keep things quite square. (BTW, as you might surmise from the pic of the cartons in the mould, NONE of those 3 batches turned out very well, so I was glad to only have 3-4 bars of them....)
 

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Johnez

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When I first started, I used a Ritz Cracker box. I cut the front face panel off - so that the box formed a tray (like a slab mold if you're familiar with that term). I reinforced the edges and corners with packing tape, and double lined. The first lining (against the box) was a Walmart bag cut flat, and the second lining (against the soap) was freezer paper. I found this nicely held a 2lb (oil weight) batch, and gave me 8 nice sized bars.

As you're wanting to make fewer bars (I assume roughly 1lb oil weight batches), the Ritz box would be easy enough to modify by cutting, refolding and taping to a new size.
The smaller wax cartons that buttermilk, or sometimes whipping cream or half and half (egg nog during holiday season) would also work for a smaller batch.
I love that ritz cracker box idea, think I'm gonna borrow that next batch. I wasn't familiar with slab molds but am now. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Zing

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I'm lovin' this thread! I used milk cartons both upright with the roof removed, and horizontal with too much strapping tape. Also soup or broth cartons. For leftover batter, I use single-serve yogurt cups (sometimes cut horizontally, sometimes vertically). I've also used the tiny plastic cups that Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies come in because they make perfect hand soap shapes.
Tip: when I use plastic cups, I coat the inside with vaseline; instead of unmolding in 24 hours, I wait a week and then pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes before banging them hard on the counter. I love the q-tip idea!
Edit: Also at the dollar store or Aldi, look in the baking aisle for silicone cake pans.
 
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lucycat

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This isn't a beginner mold but an adaption. When buying electronics sometimes the foam insulation in the box is more plastic like. I cut some of these out a bit wider than the width of my mold. If I want to make a smaller batch I wedge them in the part of the mold I don't use. Works well and gives me flexibility of size.
 
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