March 2024 SMF Challenge - Stone Soaps!

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Welcome to the March 2024 Challenge - Stone Soaps
Hi all! This month’s challenge is to make soap that resembles a stone. As an extra design challenge the stone can represent where you live - for example, I live in the “Granite State” so I might try to replicate granite. Or if you’re from the southwest US you could make sandstone, or if you’re from Hawaii you could make volcanic rock.


SMF Challenge General Rules
  • To enter, you must have been a SMF member for at least one month and have a minimum of 50 posts at the time the Challenge is posted. Sorry, there are no exceptions to this rule, except that the time and post requirements are removed for (do not apply to) Supporting Members. All eligible members may sign up and submit an entry at any time before the entry thread closes.
  • Your soap must be made after the monthly challenge has been announced. However, if you choose to reuse soap to make your entry (as soap shreds in a ciaglia soap for example) it’s fine to use soap made previously.
  • The sign-up list will be posted in this thread. Please add your name to the sign-up list if you’d like to participate. You don’t have to enter a soap at the end if you don’t feel happy with what you have made. Still, we hope you will post about your experiences here in the main Challenge thread, along with non-entry photos (be prepared to be encouraged to keep trying).
  • In the spirit of advancing our soap making skills, all members who sign-up for the SMF Challenge do so with the expectation that they will make every attempt to submit an entry. We do understand that life happens, and that you may end up without an entry. However, signing up with no intent to participate and only to vote goes against the spirit of the challenge and is not allowed.
  • Throughout the month, we encourage you to use this general Challenge thread (not the Entry thread) to ask for advice, discuss techniques with other members, upload pictures of your non-entry challenge attempts, and provide helpful hints you learned along the way. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but please keep your comments polite.
  • A separate Entry thread will be created towards the end of the month. Please do not post photos of your entry until the Entry thread is opened. Breaking this rule will disqualify that soap from this Challenge. The Entry thread is for challenge entries only; please don't post any comments there.
  • We encourage (but do not require) you to include in your entry post a description and additional photos demonstrating how you made your soap: the process, the technique, the fragrance, any special meaning behind your selected colors or design, etc. This gives voters a better understanding of, and appreciation for, what went into creating your soap.
  • Entries must be posted to the Entry thread (not to this general Challenge thread) before the closing date. Late entries will not be accepted. If you miss the Challenge deadline, please upload pictures of your soap to the general Challenge thread instead. While it won’t be part of the voting, we always love to see anything you have created!
  • There is no prize attached to this Challenge. However, this is still a competition. If your entry is deemed non-compliant, you will be given the opportunity to amend your entry if there is time to do so before the Entry thread closes. Otherwise, your entry will be excluded from voting. The challenge mods have the final say as to whether any given soap or registrant is eligible for entry and voting.
  • All eligible registrants who have signed up before the Entry thread closes will be eligible to vote, even if they do not submit an entry. A password-protected voting link and password will be sent to eligible registrants only, by private message via SMF conversations. Please check your SMF messages/conversations when the voting begins.

Note: all times listed below are Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It is your responsibility to convert times to your own time zone.
* The entry thread will open on March 22 by 11:59 PM GMT.
* The entry thread will close on March 27 at 11:59 PM GMT.
* The voting survey link and password will be emailed to all registered participants shortly thereafter.
* The voting survey will remain open until March 28 at 11:59 PM GMT, or until all registrants have voted, whichever is sooner.
* The winner will be announced by March 30 by 11:59 PM GMT.

Specific rules for this challenge

The goal of this challenge is to make soap that authentically resembles a stone. You can use any combination of methods that suits your purpose - cold process, hot process, or melt and pour. You can use individual molds or shape your stones by hand, or use carving tools to modify your unfolded soap. If a loaf mold or slab mold suits your design, that’s fine too, as long as you manipulate the soap after you unmold it to give it a natural form. The only design not allowed is soap that is in the shape of finished stone, I.e. bars of soap that look like polished marble.
If you want to use an individual mold, you can purchase a rock mold from many different sources, take a look on Etsy or Amazon. You can also make an individual mold. Lisa Cunningham has a video on how she made a rock mold.


I made three rock molds for an SMF challenge last year. Here is my entry and the molds I made. Post in thread 'Entry thread for the SMF March 2023 Challenge - Trip or Travel inspired'https://www.soapmakingforum.com/thr...nge-trip-or-travel-inspired.90207/post-967953
Since then I have made many more molds and many more stone soaps. I have a few tips to share.
I used two part silicone from Brick In The Yard. I found this company to be very helpful, they entertained my questions when I called, and their product is terrific. I don’t see the exact product I used, it was called Platsil 73-15. You can buy 2 part silicone on Amazon or at craft stores. There are YouTube videos about using silicone caulking to make molds. I can’t speak to the toxicity of silicone caulking, and it’s safer to use skin safe silicone.

For the first molds I made I placed the rocks in empty plastic containers. I poured the silicone directly into the container and just covered the top of the rock by about ¼ - ½ inch. To get the mold out I had to cut the plastic off, but it was going to be recycled in any case. These molds worked well - the opening for the mold was simply the spot where the rock touched the plastic container. However, the top of the mold was very thin and the soap took some smoothing after it came out of the mold.
IMG_3542.jpeg

I made another set of molds where I made a small pedestal out of plasticine clay, set the stone on the pedestal, and poured the silicone into the container. These molds have a much thicker surface on top, and I had to cut four slices around the top to facilitate getting the soap out.They do work pretty well and the non-mold surface is limited to the opening where the plasticine pedestal was.

IMG_3543.jpeg
The next mold design used smaller containers in an attempt to use less silicone. These molds are a little too thin, and the flaps I cut at the top for removing the soap end up in an uneven surface because the flaps don’t line up perfectly after the batter is poured.

IMG_3545.jpeg

Lastly, I wanted to make some molds where the soap could be vertical so that I could make “lucky stones” or striped rocks. I made custom boxes out of corrugated plastic and set the stones on pedestals inside the boxes. If you try this make sure your seams are well sealed. Silicone will find any opening and leak out of your mold!
IMG_9046.jpeg

IMG_2905.jpeg
For soap batter, I make some solid color soaps and some speckled confetti soaps. I use soap shreds and stick blend them into the oils, but not to a smooth batter, just until it looks the way I want it. I use a ratio of 2:1 oils to shreds which is higher than what is conventionally recommended. If I am adding colorant I add it before I add lye. Once the lye is added I don’t stick blend, I just stir to mix. Depending on the fragrance I add it before adding the lye (if it is slow moving) or I decant out some batter and add fragrance just before pouring (for fast movers.)
These soaps like to sit in the molds for a few days. They do require a little cleanup when they come out of the molds. Here are some examples.
.
IMG_2617.jpeg


If you don’t want to bother with a mold you can also hand form a stone soap from soap shreds.
Here is a soap @DeeAnna made from soap shreds for a previous challenge - I love how this looks!
Post in thread 'SMF- March Challenge Entry Thread Whipped Soap'https://www.soapmakingforum.com/thr...e-entry-thread-whipped-soap.59019/post-584849

Here is a beautiful ciaglia soap @dibbles made.
Post in thread 'Ciaglia definition help please!'https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/ciaglia-definition-help-please.91378/post-985701

Here is a previous Stone Soap challenge from February 2019 with an excellent detailed description of how to make fissured soaps.
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/february-challenge-soap-stones.73535/
And the STUNNING entries:
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/february-smf-challenge-entry-thread-soap-stones.73822/
Okay! Let your imagination run wild! As noted above, you MAY create a stone that has a connection to where you live, but this is not required.
  • Please post any questions about the challenge rules in this challenge thread, so everyone can benefit from seeing the answer.
  • Your entry photo should be the first item in your Entry thread post. Minimum one stone, but feel free to post more. They don’t have to be identical.
  • Per General Rule 7, above, we also encourage you to add more photos and description – but that isn’t required.
  • Enjoy! Can’t wait to see your creations.
 
Last edited:
To enter the March 2024 SMF Challenge, post your name in the list below. Then copy and paste these instructions and the entire list into a new post, adding the next number at the bottom.

Sign-up list:
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I'm having trouble finding a silicone Rock mold set to buy. It's so weird I used to see them all the time and now that I want to buy one I can't seem to find any nice ones. I only found one kind on Amazon and Etsy but they don't make a complete rock they are flat on one side. Maybe they don't sell them in Canada. If anyone comes along and finds a nice one could you share the link? Thanks so much.

I just watched the video I dream in soap for this challenge she said most soap molds are flat on one side so that's no good for me. It looks fun to make one but #1 we still have alot of snow and ice so I don't think I will be able to find any rocks #2 it's hard to find some nice big beach stones on line I've been looking and most of them are only 2 to 2 1/2 in big and they are expensive #3 the silicon kit is very expensive here in Canada, I don't know about anywhere else. So I'm thinking I might pass on this challenge I don't know I will think about it.
 
@CLMP, I just bought a cavity mold where the stones will have a flat bottom, I assume that is allowed, are you unsure about that? ETA: I am definitely not planning on buying a silicone mold kit and pouring a mold, from the instructions it seems like you only have to do that if you really want to duplicate a certain rock/kind of rock.
 
@CLMP, I just bought a cavity mold where the stones will have a flat bottom, I assume that is allowed, are you unsure about that? ETA: I am definitely not planning on buying a silicone mold kit and pouring a mold, from the instructions it seems like you only have to do that if you really want to duplicate a certain rock/kind of rock.
Thank you I will think about it I might buy one too!👍
 
I just watched the video I dream in soap for this challenge she said most soap molds are flat on one side so that's no good for me. It looks fun to make one but #1 we still have alot of snow and ice so I don't think I will be able to find any rocks #2 it's hard to find some nice big beach stones on line I've been looking and most of them are only 2 to 2 1/2 in big and they are expensive #3 the silicon kit is very expensive here in Canada, I don't know about anywhere else. So I'm thinking I might pass on this challenge I don't know I will think about it.
My rock mold has a flat bottom. I bought it on Amazon maybe 3-4 years ago.
 
Thank you everyone I found one I really like https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/724920885/big-stone-3d-silicone-mold-soap-mold?ref=share_v4_lx I also really like the one @dibbles found at the sage. I like the other ones too I just really wanted a full rock lol I guess I'm picky ha ha! Now hopefully it will get here on time.🌞
Just looked both of these up and at $22.60 and $21 aud, I think it's too expensive to buy just for a challenge.and making a silicon mould would cost a lot more. Probably a lot cheaper for you to buy these, than me.
 
It is definitely not a problem if the rock is flat on one side. Two part silicone is not really that expensive and it doesn’t take much to make a rock mold. I see it on Amazon (in the US) for $15, or I know you can get it at hobby stores for around that too. Maybe a little more.
Or, you can also hand mold from shavings.
 
I've also seen tutorials for making silicone molds using regular old silicone from the hardware store. I don't know how that compares price-wise to two-part silicone kits, but it might be worth investigating.
 
I have this one and it works well. It does have a flat bottom, but the sides of the mold are rounded. It is my FIL's favorite shape as it fits nicely in the hand.
https://www.thesage.com/products/soap-stone-silicone-mold

A quick search on Amazon turned up lots of choices.
Daggone it, @dibbles, I like all of those better than the one I got! I got a six cavity mold, but it looks to me like the soaps will be a lot smaller than the 4 oz ones from the Sage mold. Oh well. @linne1gi, I am glad I am not going to be the only one displaying my (probably sad, small) soap stones, thanks for joining in!
 
To enter the March 2024 SMF Challenge, post your name in the list below. Then copy and paste these instructions and the entire list into a new post, adding the next number at the bottom.

Sign-up list:
1. not_ally. Attempted this ages ago, not so well. Time to try again!
2. Linne1gi - It’s been awhile since I have done a rock challenge. I’m in.
3. AliOop - I'm going to attempt to make a stone mold from a tube of hardware-store silicone. Wish me luck!
4.
 
Well after thinking about everyone's advice I decided to buy a simple Beach Rock mold set so my rocks will be flat on one side but they will still be nice. I bought it from Amazon. I'm going to wait for my molds to come in before I sign up in case I don't get them on time. I think it's the same one in @dibbles last link she posted but it comes in a set of 2 molds in Canada one has 3 rocks and the other has 6 and it's white. I think I'm happy with it.😄 At least this way I can make a whole set of rocks at once for the same price as the mold I liked that only made one rock.
 
To enter the March 2024 SMF Challenge, post your name in the list below. Then copy and paste these instructions and the entire list into a new post, adding the next number at the bottom.

Sign-up list:
1. not_ally. Attempted this ages ago, not so well. Time to try again!
2. Linne1gi - It’s been awhile since I have done a rock challenge. I’m in.
3. AliOop - I'm going to attempt to make a stone mold from a tube of hardware-store silicone. Wish me luck!
4.MichaelP - Ok, I'm in! I've never done this but have been wanting to try!
5.
 

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