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How to Make a No-Leak PVC Pipe Soap Mold (on the Cheap!)

Guest post alert! This fab post is brought to you by Akeylah from Halcyon Bath. Check out her bio at the bottom! Have some super soapy wisdom you want to share with Modern Soapmaking’s readers? Get in touch!

Hello everyone! A here!

I like the shape of round pucks of soap. But the prices for round column molds are astronomical! So, I finally got around to making a PVC mold that costs $8.22 to make, including lining.

Materials You Need to Make Your Own Soap Mold

How to Make a No-Leak PVC Pipe Soap Mold

  1. Clean the inside of your pipe.
  2. Inspect each end of the pipe. Look for chips and scratches along the rims of each.
  3. Label the end with the least amount of damage with something that catches your eye. I labeled mine with “PLUG THIS WAY” and doodled a bit.
PVC Pipe Mold Labelled
PVC Pipe Mold Labelled (& Doodled!)
  1. While the ink dries, take your Brambleberry mold and flip it over.
  2. Use your permanent marker to draw a circle around one little silicone round. It should be about ¼” away from the round.
Using a Brambleberry Silicone Round Mold
Using a Brambleberry Silicone Round Mold
  1. Cut around the concentric circle. Lay your “plug” to the side.
  2. Tear off a piece of cling wrap and wrap it loosely around the open end of the labeled side of your PVC pipe.
  3. Press your cut out silicone round into the covered end of the cling wrap.
Use the SIlicone Round to Plug the End of the PVC Pipe Mold
Use the Silicone Round to Plug the End of the PVC Pipe Mold
  1. Flip your “plugged” pipe over. Pull out a piece of parchment paper (you can use freezer paper; I just prefer parchment when it comes to lining molds) that is longer than the length of your mold. Roll it into a tight tube, and plop it into your mold. The paper should expand to fit your mold. If it doesn’t, just run your hand around the inside of the mold before you start filling your mold. (Tip from Kenna: If you grease the inside of the mold with Castor Oil or another thick oil, you can make the parchment paper stick to it just enough to keep it in place!)

Things to Note

  • Remember that your plug is flexible silicone. That means that your plug can bend once you start to fill your mold. You can cut out a cardboard round that fits snugly into your plug. This will ensure that the bottom of your round soap log is completely flat instead of rounded.
  • A mold like this holds about 95 ounces of soap.
  • Pour soap into your mold at a pourable thick medium trace. This, along with the “plug” is going to be key in ensuring that your mold doesn’t leak. You can even get away with a thinner medium trace, but a thin trace isn’t an option.
  • The PVC pipe I used has a working temperature of 140⁰ Fahrenheit. When I gel soaps, I’ve seen temperatures get as high as 187⁰ F. I don’t think it would be a good idea to gel soaps in these.
  • You’ll have to give it a push to get it to remove cleanly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to remove, but once you remove your plug, rest your hand or even a DIY soap pusher and give it a bit of a push. Then use the excess parchment paper to start pulling the log out. It should remove quickly with little strain on your part. Try to make sure that your soap isn’t too soft or too hard.
  • Make sure to swab the inside of your mold after each use!

How did it cost $8.22?!

I spent a little under $7 for the precut pipe. I bought the silicone mold from Brambleberry for $12.50, however, I only used one round of twelve. Divide 12.50 by 12, which is about a $1.04.

Though I don’t quite remember how much I paid for my cling wrap, I looked up the going rate online at Walmart. It’s $2.88 for 300 square feet of wrap, or $2.88 for 43,200 square inches. I used about 8 inches. Divide 8 by 43,200 and multiply the quotient by $2.88. This will yield the total cost of the cling wrap, which is about .00053 cents.

Parchment paper costs $3.48 for 45 sq feet (540 sq in). I use a 28” long piece of parchment paper to line the inside of the mold. Divide 28 by 540 and multiply that by 3.48. Lining this mold costs about 18 cents.

7 + 1.04 + .00053 + .18 = $8.22

Does this soap mold really work?!

I think so. I’ve made soaps that set up hard as rocks from the get and soaps that were soft upon unmolding. I’ve never had a problem with any of them. See? Look!

Whole Avocado Soap made in this PVC Pipe Soap Mold
Whole Avocado Soap made in this PVC Pipe Soap Mold
A Palm Olive Soap Made in this PVC Pipe Mold
A Palm-Olive soap made in this soap mold. This soap was extremely hard, despite the amount of olive oil!
Peanut butter soap made in this PVC Pipe Soap Mold. This one was quite soft!
Peanut butter soap made in this PVC Pipe Soap Mold. This one was quite soft!

This post is brought to you by…

Akeylah Wellington from Halcyon Bath Hello there! My name is Akeylah Wellington, but I go by A on my blog.

I’ve been making wholesome and natural bath and body products for about three years, and soap is my latest venture. Scratch that — soap is life right now!

I live for simple recipes and techniques that produce beautiful, vegan and effective products while giving each ingredient its due representation.

I share my endeavors to create such things on my blog, Halcyon Baths. I’ll be opening an Etsy shop at the end of January 31, 2015!

Visit Akeylah around the web: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

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29 Responses

      1. I know this is an old thread but you may try a pvc knoockout. home depot 44 cents for 3″ that I am going to tryhttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-3-in-Knockout-Test-Cap-39102/100122751

        1. That is exactly what I use. But, 4″ from Lowes. I’ll have to see what kind of price the depot has on those because mine cost over $1 a piece.

          1. They also sell 3 in dia PVC cap fittings at Lowe’s for $1.48 here in VA . I will be giving that a shot hopefully it works.

    1. I used a PVC pipe and lined it with a plastic bag from the grocery store. It did have the wrinkles from the bag but it looked cool. Everyone loved that soap.

    1. Or you can buy the silicone PVC style round mold (also at BB for $20 bucks) and be done with it. Pros: doesn’t leak and super easy to use. Con: max volume, 2 lbs.

      I might try this, it’s a cool idea, but probably not. Me and PVC pipe mold have a bad history.

      1. Totally agree. 🙂 Some people don’t like that you end up with seams on the silicone round mold from BB, though. It’s a cheap alternative for cylinder soap production until it can all be upgraded to silicone. 🙂 I thought her idea to use a silicone round cavity pretty smart thinking, though! 🙂

      1. If you use the PVC end caps that are threaded, most hardware stores sell a specific PVC pipe wrench. Alternatively, an oil filter wrench works just as well.

  1. I use empty Pringles Cans lined with Parchment. One time use only. I tear the cans away from the soap (like the biscuit/cinnamon tubes) along the spiral seams. No lines in soap, and I like the size at 2.75″ diameter. I use the Pringles plastic snap on covers too! Cost typically $1.50, and you get potato chips!

  2. What length should the PVC pipe be to get ~95 oz of soap in there? And was your pipe piece already cut when you bought it or did you have it cut from a larger piece? Anyway thanks for this great idea!

  3. I also made my own 3″ PVC cylinder molds and marked the good end with a sharpie….Lowes carrys a nice 3″ flat end cap, similar to a white plastic end cap on a mailing tube…….(Charlotte Pipe 3-in dia PVC Cap Fitting
    Item #: 23407 | Model #: PVC 00131 1000) With these the tubes stand flat on the counter. I used to use the chunky rounded caps, but they didnt stand up and they were hard to remove.
    I line the tubes with a clear shelf liner from Walmart. So easy to remove the soap. I used to line with craft foam sheets but this shelf liner is of a smooth thick quality…good for many reusable uses.

    I simply place a piece of plastic wrap between the soap batter and the end cap, for added protection and easy cap removal.

  4. I used a 3″ diameter pvc pipe on Sunday and its still a little soft. Typically how long do you wait to unmold and any tips on getting it out? I used wax paper to line it.

  5. I would love the whole avocado soap recipe! The photo looks beautiful. Is there a link in the page I missed? Thanks!!

  6. This is awesome! I have enough 3″ PVC lying around my yard to make 6 of these molds at basically zero cost, since no one is using it and it was bought so long ago…I am making 2 immediately. VERY excited to see how these turn out, as I want to do circular soaps for all my shampoo bars to make it easy for my family to differentiate. 😀 Thanks a bunch for this great idea!

  7. Hello,
    The PVC pipes I have seen at Home depot are not very very smooth inside. If you look through them, you can see that the inside surface is not very smooth. They are minor but noticeable. Have you noticed if those show in the soap surface, or is the soap really round without any imperfections form the pipe? I am not good at lining the pipes with paper, and I’m afraid the soap will not be very smooth.
    Thanks,
    Mira

  8. After purchasing 2 column soap molds from a soap supply company and seeing what pieces of junk they were once they arrived in the mail, I went out and bought a 10 foot length of 3″ PVC pipe. I was able to make 7 x 13″ molds and 1 x 10.5″ mold. I bought end caps which will never leak and are much better because then you can tap the mold to help remove air bubbles. I oil the inside of the pipe with coconut oil. The 13″ molds were $4.15 each, taxes and end caps included! I’ve used them for cold process and hot process.

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