Cheap beginner molds-what are yours?

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Professor Bernardo

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I'm with you on the cost of soaping molds!
The cost of soaping molds doesn't shock me nearly as bad as does the price of soap loaf slicers! Whoa... some of those puppies go for over $150 to $200 and more. In my mind's eye, I just don't get the value for the dollars spent. Somebody is making a killing on these things.

Then again... it all depends on the individual perception of the purchaser.
 

Arimara

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The cost of soaping molds doesn't shock me nearly as bad as does the price of soap loaf slicers! Whoa... some of those puppies go for over $150 to $200 and more. In my mind's eye, I just don't get the value for the dollars spent. Somebody is making a killing on these things.

Then again... it all depends on the individual perception of the purchaser.
For a hobbyist, one of those soap cutter's a wast of money but if you sell your soaps, it's one of the top investments you'd want to make.
 

KimW

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The cost of soaping molds doesn't shock me nearly as bad as does the price of soap loaf slicers! Whoa... some of those puppies go for over $150 to $200 and more. In my mind's eye, I just don't get the value for the dollars spent. Somebody is making a killing on these things.

Then again... it all depends on the individual perception of the purchaser.
Agree again. some time ago I made my sliding cutter out of a an old bank of discarded cabinet drawers. Took some finagling, but my cost was only the cost of wire. I recently upgraded the wire based on a suggestion, from @cmzaha, to the McMaster-Carr Stainless Wire and with it in place I don't give other cutters a thought, even though mine only cuts one bar at a time. My point is, I think a single bar cutter can be somewhat easily made, and doesn't require a lot of highly precise cuts or joinery. I can see how a multi-bar cutter would be invaluable to someone who sells and I think even a multi-bar cutter can be easily made, though it would require more precise work. :)
 

earlene

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For a hobbyist, one of those soap cutter's a wast of money but if you sell your soaps, it's one of the top investments you'd want to make.
Even 'a waste of money' is in the perception of the observer. If the purchaser doesn't feel she is wasting her money, then is it really a waste of her money if she wants it and has the money to spend, hobbyist or not?

Is it a waste of money for a hobbyist quilter to buy a quilting machine? Or a hobbyist weaver, to buy a huge standing loom? Or a private pilot to buy an airplane? I really don't think what we spend on our craft needs to be dependent on financial return.

The cost of soaping molds doesn't shock me nearly as bad as does the price of soap loaf slicers! Whoa... some of those puppies go for over $150 to $200 and more. In my mind's eye, I just don't get the value for the dollars spent. Somebody is making a killing on these things.

Then again... it all depends on the individual perception of the purchaser.
Yes, some are quite costly, but I've seen some others that are really affordable (depending on one's financial situation, of course). Just as Kim mentiosn, several folks here at SMF have built their own soap cutters. Now and then a soapmaker will sell a cutter and you may find a bargain that way. OR, you might just be lucky to win one at a raffle (I did once.)

However, as a new soapmaker, I found that a simple mitre box and a dry wall knife will also do the trick. I used this for awhile before moving on to my first professionally made soap cutter:



Back when we could still go to in-person gatherings of total strangers in close proximity in closed rooms without masks and touch things without worry, I attended a soapmakers gathering that also included a swap where I bought my first wooden soap mold, silicon lined for pretty cheap. So that's another way for beginners to get affordable soap molds (again some day in the future.)
 

Johnez

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Even 'a waste of money' is in the perception of the observer. If the purchaser doesn't feel she is wasting her money, then is it really a waste of her money if she wants it and has the money to spend, hobbyist or not?

Is it a waste of money for a hobbyist quilter to buy a quilting machine? Or a hobbyist weaver, to buy a huge standing loom? Or a private pilot to buy an airplane? I really don't think what we spend on our craft needs to be dependent on financial return.


Yes, some are quite costly, but I've seen some others that are really affordable (depending on one's financial situation, of course). Just as Kim mentiosn, several folks here at SMF have built their own soap cutters. Now and then a soapmaker will sell a cutter and you may find a bargain that way. OR, you might just be lucky to win one at a raffle (I did once.)

However, as a new soapmaker, I found that a simple mitre box and a dry wall knife will also do the trick. I used this for awhile before moving on to my first professionally made soap cutter:



Back when we could still go to in-person gatherings of total strangers in close proximity in closed rooms without masks and touch things without worry, I attended a soapmakers gathering that also included a swap where I bought my first wooden soap mold, silicon lined for pretty cheap. So that's another way for beginners to get affordable soap molds (again some day in the future.)
This mitre box idea is....genius! The swap idea kinda reminds me of fish keeper clubs where one can get rare or hard to find fish for real cheap.
 

Arimara

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@earlene It's not like I meant to offend and you could just tell me you found that insulting.
 

Quilter99755

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Even 'a waste of money' is in the perception of the observer. If the purchaser doesn't feel she is wasting her money, then is it really a waste of her money if she wants it and has the money to spend, hobbyist or not?

Is it a waste of money for a hobbyist quilter to buy a quilting machine? Or a hobbyist weaver, to buy a huge standing loom? Or a private pilot to buy an airplane? I really don't think what we spend on our craft needs to be dependent on financial return.

Love your miter box idea. I'm still eyeballing my soap slices. Since I don't sell it doesn't matter, but the miter box is doable.

And I have to agree about the money. I am pretty tight with my money but have learned over the years that sometimes being cheap can end up being costly in the long run. As a quilter I tried out the rotary cutters when they first came out and thought I could use my own rulers...and the cutter jumped the edge of the ruler and I spent some time at the ER with 21 stitches in my finger. When first soaping I lost a whole batch of soap using a makeshift mold because it was tippy and I didn't catch it in time. The money for the soap wasn't the issue, but the raw soap all over my counter and floor was a mess that I could have done without.

I am still using silicone cake pans that I found at a thrift store. The sides bow out a bit but the price was right. One does a 500 gram batch ($1)and the other two are for 1000 gram batches $2 and $3.50 each) . I haven't been to any in a while but have found some great buys over the years.
 

earlene

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Love your miter box idea. I'm still eyeballing my soap slices. Since I don't sell it doesn't matter, but the miter box is doable.

And I have to agree about the money. I am pretty tight with my money but have learned over the years that sometimes being cheap can end up being costly in the long run. As a quilter I tried out the rotary cutters when they first came out and thought I could use my own rulers...and the cutter jumped the edge of the ruler and I spent some time at the ER with 21 stitches in my finger. When first soaping I lost a whole batch of soap using a makeshift mold because it was tippy and I didn't catch it in time. The money for the soap wasn't the issue, but the raw soap all over my counter and floor was a mess that I could have done without.

I am still using silicone cake pans that I found at a thrift store. The sides bow out a bit but the price was right. One does a 500 gram batch ($1)and the other two are for 1000 gram batches $2 and $3.50 each) . I haven't been to any in a while but have found some great buys over the years.
Ouch! So true! Sometimes it is safer to pay the price up front and avoid the damage trying out shortcuts.

I love thrift store finds. Another thing learned from my youth, later taught to my own sons, who carry on that tradition.
 

amd

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The cost of soaping molds doesn't shock me nearly as bad as does the price of soap loaf slicers! Whoa... some of those puppies go for over $150 to $200 and more. In my mind's eye, I just don't get the value for the dollars spent. Somebody is making a killing on these things.
I can see how a multi-bar cutter would be invaluable to someone who sells and I think even a multi-bar cutter can be easily made, though it would require more precise work.
My husband made my multibar cutter for me. He works for a machine building shop (typically machines to make doors or windows), so he was able to source materials cheaply and have the shop guys do the precise metal cutting, hole drilling and alignments. All said and done, it still cost my husband $120 in materials to make my multibar cutter, not counting the time he spent researching to find the best setup for the cutter and the time he spent putting it together. I can completely understand why they sell for so much.

[side note: you can see the cutter he made me in my videos here:
This was a surprise gift that he made me, so I didn't have any input on it. I did tell him that if I ever need a second cutter, the only thing I would change is that the handlebars would have clearance so that a long loaf can hang off one edge and then I don't need to cut my 24" loaf in half to fit the cutter. Otherwise he did a nice job getting the bar thickness correct to give me endcuts and it was the best gift he could have given me.]

Edited to correct YT link.
 

ImpKit

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I know this is (mostly) off topic but I want a multi bar cutter SO badly. It's completely impractical and needlessly expensive. I don't have a good space to store it. But... all of the videos I watch that have it have this LOVELY twang noise that I want. lol
 

asweetsavour

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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.

Have you thought about the priority boxes you can pick them up for free. With the intention of mailing ofc. But different flat rate boxes could be great slab molds. I use a couple large soy milk cartons. They're about twice the size of a regular milk carton. No triangle top to cut off either. I cut it horizontal for a tall skinny size. Been lining it and have reused same one probably 3x so far. It's heavy enough to handle it. They have the same in almond, rice etc if you're not partial to soy milk.

Otherwise. Thanks for all the great ideas 💡 great thread!
 

Arimara

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I'm sorry. I did not mean it insult you, either. I just happen to see it differently. Please forgive me.
I wasn't insulted or anything but I do acknowledge that I do not always know if I misspeak at some point. I don't enjoy insulting people. Still glad for you perspective though. :)

By the way, is a quilting machine just a heavyduty sewing machine? If I ever got around to quilting, I'd likely have gotten creative with an embroidery circle and used a needle and thread.
 

bluebirdwing

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My first mould was old silicon bread mould I never use because it takes too much time to bake, then bought some cheap silicon jelly/pudding moulds. But, I started with M&P.

About the soap cutters, they sure are expensive here too, I was wondering if its really worth buying them.
 

Quilter99755

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By the way, is a quilting machine just a heavyduty sewing machine? If I ever got around to quilting, I'd likely have gotten creative with an embroidery circle and used a needle and thread.
Definitely not. And even in quilting machines there are different kinds depending on how much money you want to spend and all the accessories you can buy. And as far as being creative with an embroidery hoop, there are machines for that too. You might be surprised if you were to go to a sewing machine store these days! I have a fairly plain old sewing machine and at my age it might be my last one! LOL
 

earlene

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I wasn't insulted or anything but I do acknowledge that I do not always know if I misspeak at some point. I don't enjoy insulting people. Still glad for you perspective though. :)

By the way, is a quilting machine just a heavyduty sewing machine? If I ever got around to quilting, I'd likely have gotten creative with an embroidery circle and used a needle and thread.
OMG, there are so many quilting machine variations, it's not funny. You can spend upwards of 40K if so inclined. Those are for the professionals or the seriously rich, of course. The less costly ones can go for under a couple hundred, but it really depends on the type you want. There are different types as well like shown here & here and here. The possibilities are endless.
 

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