Cut And Cure Your Soap With Everyday Things
I have been making soap for many years. This part, cutting and curing the soap, is my weakness. My bars always look like a kid made them, which means that they are never pretty enough to give as gifts. My family doesn’t really care that my bars look amateur, but it would be nice to be able to give a professional looking gift now and then.
I’ve asked my friend Karen at Blue Yonder Urban Farms to put together a tutorial to help us obtain pretty and useful bars of soap with common household items.
When I used to make soap to sell I thought that I needed professional soap making equipment, and went into debt getting the cutting & curing equipment that I wanted.
Now that I am no longer selling soap and have gotten rid of my professional soap making equipment. I realize that most soap makers can do the job of cutting and curing with things they can find around the home or can be purchased locally.
The Items You Need To Cut & Cure Your Soap
- Miter Box – For cutting soap log into bars
- Cardboard Box – For curing soap
- Huge Knife – To cut soap into logs
- Dough Scraper – To cut soap into bars
- Ruler or Tape Measure – Measure log and soap bars
How To Use The Items
Get the cardboard box ready to hold the cut soaps by lining it with a few paper towels, or un-waxed sandwich wrap set it aside.
With the ruler or tape measure find the center of the slab and with a permanent marker make a small mark in the center. Then with the ruler, line it up in the center the long way and you’ll be ready to make your cut.
Keep the knife as upright as possible not leaning to right or left. Then carefully cut all the way through the soap.
Remove The Rounded Edges
Did you notice that my soap has rounded edges? It is because I used a plastic food container with rounded corners as a mold. To give the soap bars square edges, I cut off the curved parts.
If you use a square mold you won’t need to square up the soap like I did.
If I were making the soap for myself I would not care if the edges were round. But if you do square up the soap the soap scraps are not to be wasted. If they are large enough they can be used as soap bars, if not they can be added to your favorite hand milled soap recipe.
Measure for Bars
Now that your soap is cut into logs, you can measure the logs for soap bars. I made mine 1 inch thick but it can be 1-1/4 or any size you like. Use the marker so that you can see where to cut them.
Cutting the bars can be made easier by keeping the soap log snugly pressed to one side of the miter box or the other for a straighter cut. You will need to keep the soap from moving.
If I had a block of wood that would fit in the miter I would put it behind the soap to help keep the soap from moving. That will give me the straightest cut.
Stack the Soap
There are a couple of ways to stack your soap for curing, the first is just in single rows with space between each bar so that air can circulate.
The second way is best used when you don’t have a lot of space. Soap is laid out in a Stone Hedge pattern as shown in the picture above.
All that’s left is to store your cardboard box of soap somewhere out of the way, I usually put mine on top of the refrigerator. Cover it with a clean dry towel, paper towel, or sandwich wrap to keep the dust off.
How Long Should Soap Cure?
Let cold process soaps cure for at least 4 weeks. I like to cure longer because the longer the soaps cure the dryer and harder the bars get. I think it makes the soap bars last longer when used.
Hot Process & Re-Batch
Hot process and rebatched soaps only have to cure till they are hard and dry. It may only be a few days depending on how much water is left in the soap.