DIY Custom Soap Stamp

Author: duhbe  //  Category: My Creative Path, tips and tutorials

The first time I saw a handmade soap stamped with the maker’s logo – I knew I wanted that for my own soaps.   I had planned on spending $30 – $100 to have a custom stamp made for me.  But I decided to try the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route first.  AND it worked!

DIY soap stamp on Ballyhoo handmade soaps

First of all, let me give props to the shoulders I stood on for this project …Tortuga Soaps is the best known for their  soap stamp tutorial and that is a great place to start.  That web tutorial inspired this soap stamp Instructable which is also good.  And somewhere I found a lady who used soap as her mold, rather than plaster or clay.  And I thought “well that’s just perfect, because I have LOTS of soap to carve up.”  Unfortunately, I’ve spent over 20 minutes trying to find her site again and can’t – so no link for her.  (UPDATE! I think it was this blog, thanks to Tasha for directing me there  http://riverleasoap.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-make-soap-stamps.html)

Before you make your own soap stamp, read the tutorials mentioned above, then consider your owns tools, materials and talents to figure out what works best for you.

The one thing I did differently than the others is how I transferred my logo for carving.  Since I have a Silhouette electronic paper cutter, I cut my logo into sticky-back vinyl and used that as a guide to carve out my logo in the soap.  Then the carved soap became the mold for the epoxy casting.

Here are the brief steps I took, along with photos to spur your own creativity if you want to take on this project.  I can tell you it is NOT as difficult as it seems.  I doubted this was going to work, but I’m pleased with my end result.   If I can do it, so can you.  (did I mention I suck at carving?  Seriously, I don’t know how I pulled this off but soap is really easy to carve.)

Here is a list of tools that I used.

  • sticky back vinyl cut on electronic cutter for template
  • Soap for carving (I used both cured CP and melt & pour – both worked)
  • Carving tools or similar (exacto knife, needles – whatever!)
  • duct tape
  • epoxy resin, disposable cup and stirrer to mix this in
  • dremel or sandpaper
  • wood block or similar handle
  • silicone caulk or other adhesive to attach your handle to your stamp

Here is a photo of some cured CP soaps carved with my new logo.  These will become the mold for the resin my soap stamps are made of.  You can see the leftover vinyl on the left that was used for the carving template.

template and carved soap

I carved 5 different soaps, because I wanted to be able to choose the one that turned out the best.  Take your time with the carving part.  It’s like a Zen thing.  My favorite tool was something made for ceramics that is like a needle with a tiny ball on the tip.  It’s the one closest to the soaps in the photo above.  When you carve, remove all the crumbs as you go.  Soaps crumbs are easy to see.  Also, darker soap is easier to carve than white soaps which reflect the light too much.

(side note – do not carve in front of the TV while your teen daughter watches back-to-back episodes of “Hoarders – Burried Alive.”  And don’t ask me how I know this is a bad thing.  ;-)

To create a mold out of this carved soap, I wrapped it with duct tape.  Make sure the tape adheres to the sides very well.  You want to keep the liquid epoxy contained when you pour it.

Then you mix and pour your epoxy resin according to the package directions.  I used a product called Easy Cast Clear Casting Epoxy that I bought at Hobby Lobby in the section with the polymer clays and such.  It was $12.95 for 8 ounces.  I used 4 oz of it and made 5 stamps.  Your mileage may vary.  It was very easy to use and had no odor.  This stuff gets very hard after 3 days and I was able to stamp fully cured soaps when my stamp was done.

I poured the resin into the carved soaps wrapped in duct tape and let it sit undisturbed.  After 1 day, I removed the duct tape and used scissors to trim some of the edges while the resin was still soft (because I was not careful with my duct tape molds.)  The soap was easy to remove from the resin castings – just get it wet and scrub away any bits that stick.  I had no problems with the soap and resin reacting to each other, so the CP soap as stamp mold worked very well.  BUT – you will probably ruin your mold getting the stamp out, it’s not reusable.

Below is a photo of what the resin casting (soap stamp) looks like after the duct tape is removed but the soap is still attached.

resin stamp with soap mold still attached

Then after cleaning off the soap with warm water and a scrub brush, it looks like this below.

DIY stamp after cleanup

Since I was not careful to level my soap+duct tape molds, I had a lot of trimming and sanding to do.  A dremel tool made quick work of sanding down all the edges of the cured resin (after 3-4 days) but regular sandpaper or even a nail file would work for that.  Then I grabbed a few blocks of scrap wood and adhered them to the resin stamps using some tub & tile caulk I had on hand.  If I wanted these to be prettier, I would use clear silicone next time.  But the caulk sticks well to the wood and resin stamp.

Here are two of the finished soap stamps…

soap stamp mounted to wood block handles

Voila!  One or 2 taps on the wooden handle with a hammer is all it takes to stamp a bar of soap.  (I’ll be getting a rubber mallet for this task soon)  I tried this out on 6 batches of soap – 18 bars each.  So over 100 bars were stamped and I’m as pleased as pie!   (mmmm!  Pie!)

DIY soap stamp on Ballyhoo handmade soaps

I promise this is a project within reach for most crafters – even those that suck at carving like I do.  I spent $13 on the resin, and everything else I already had on hand.  For that cost, I can make about 10 soap stamps.

And if you still hate the idea of making your own soap stamp, but want one made for you, here are a few links to those who make custom soap stamps that get rave reviews…

Anhoki’s stamps – metal stamps starting at $39.95  (March 2012 update – I heard she’s not making these anymore and there are no custom stamps in that Etsy shop anymore)

Soap Impressions – metal stamps starting at $80

Bebe Collection – acrylic stamps from Taiwan starting at under $30

Owasso Graphics – contact them for pricing on their metal stamps

And I would be negligent not to mention Etsy as a place to look for custom stamps.  People pop up from time to time selling stamps similar to the ones I made.  So check and see what’s out there.

What do you think?  Will you be trying this?

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45 Responses to “DIY Custom Soap Stamp”

  1. Liz Says:

    Great idea. I use to make soap when I worked at a historic site, but it was just plain old utilitarian soap – nothing like yours. I love how your stamp looks. Good luck with the new name!

  2. Brenda Says:

    Huh. I learned something new. I had no idea you could stamp into soap after you make it.

  3. Sarcastra Says:

    I love it! It looks fantastic. Thanks for the rundown on the stamp creation. Since I don’t make soap I won’t be making one for that, but you never know when a process like this is going to be the answer to your next creative quandary. I love carving soft materials for stamps and block prints and am on the verge of moving into wood block carving. I will have to try this out to see what results I can get.
    Also, still completely envious of your cutter.

  4. Custom Stamps Says:

    [...] DIY Custom Soap Stamp And I would be negligent not to mention Etsy as a place to look for custom stamps. People pop up from time to time selling stamps similar to the ones I made. So check and see what's out there. What do you think? Will you be trying this? … DIY Custom Soap Stamp [...]

  5. norma Says:

    GREAT Idea! I’ve always wanted to make my own. thanks for sharing.

  6. Cindy Says:

    I love your design. Your instructions gave me the encouragement and confidence to try my own. It is curing right now but looks great. I had ordered one from a seller on Etsy, the first one they made was wrong and the promised replacement is lost in space. The seller will not even respond to my emails and it has been too long for paypal to open a claim. Etsy support can do nothing either so please be very careful when ordering from their site. I would highly recommend this method, the worst part was carving my design, but using the soap made all the difference. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. duhbe Says:

    Cindy – thanks for sharing your success! I would love to see a final photo of your soaps with the new stamp you made.

  8. The Soap Sister Says:

    Great instructions -since my hubby has PLENTY of epoxy from his duck boat-building projects I am amped to try this at virtually NO expense -WOOHOO! I’ll post pics on my blog if it works. :) ~Becky

  9. Judi Says:

    Thanks for such a detailed informative article. I am definitely doing this ….I have had a soap stamp with my company name for 4 years now but wanted to get one with my logo, so I am going to do it myself.

  10. Angela Says:

    Hello, I am a virgin soap maker (for personal and family use) and just came across your site! I think I found the credited Tortuga website you have been searching for as I just came from her site:

    http://www.tortugasoaps.com.au/customstamp.html

    Also, can I ask you how you get that cool edge to your soap? Are you hand cracking/breaking the soap? It is lovely!

  11. Hush Boutique Says:

    Thanks! I will be trying this…it is awesome! I am looking for carving tools at this moment…

  12. EnfleurageOs Says:

    WOW ! Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise in the art of soap stamp making !!

    I particularly like your comments about not watching tv and the carving is a Zen thing. Having worked in clay pottery for soap dishes, I totally went there picturing and feeling myself carving away at my soap.

    Loved all your detailed instructions. ~ Colleen

  13. duhbe Says:

    THanks for all the comments. I’ve seen some people making stamps out there and I’m impressed!

    For Angela – the tops of my soaps are textured after the soap starts to set up in the log mold. If you google for “soap textured tops” you’ll see lots of techniques for how people do that. (not only is it pretty, but it helps you grip the soap when it’s wet and slippery during use)

  14. Maria Says:

    Quick question.. how do the soap stamp work on MP soaps? I make primarily this type of soap, will get into CP later on.. so just curious.. thanks!

  15. Matt & Lindsay Says:

    Great tutorial! Going to give this a try soon with our logo.

  16. Crystal Says:

    Lately I’ve been wishing I had a simple (1 letter – monogram type)soap stamp, and my daughter echoed those thoughts last night. I’m thrilled to find such careful instructions and excited to give this a try. Thank You!

  17. Diana Hermann Says:

    What a great post! I think I will have someone else make my stamp (my logo is a bit too complex for me to carve nicely) but this still is a crafty post and I appreciate you sharing. Also, absolutely LOVE how you topped your soap. Looks fabulous!

  18. Tasha Says:

    Here is the blog for the stamp made from soap, or rather a blog for a stamp made with soap (can’t assume it’s the one you saw :-))

    http://riverleasoap.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-make-soap-stamps.html

  19. duhbe Says:

    Thank you Tasha! I’m not sure if that was the blog I saw before but it’s a good one so I’ll update my post with that one as a resource as well.

  20. Odette - Riverlea Soap Says:

    Hi there
    Great job. Your stamp looks GREAT.
    I am glad my post actually helped someone. YAY

  21. Andrea Says:

    Hi
    Thanks for sharing. It helped me a lot. Will try it for sure!

  22. Ellie Says:

    Hi there,
    I’m just starting to do some of these soaps for fun. I love how the top of your blue soap in the first picture looks like waves. How do you make it look like that? Thanks!

  23. duhbe Says:

    Hi Ellie – if you do a google search for soap and textured tops your should be able to find some instructions. You basically let the soap harden a bit in the mold and then artfully stir the top to get the texture you want. Each soap artist has their own technique and some develop a signature look to their textures.

  24. Some Days, You Can’t Have It All. « Emily's Homestead Says:

    [...] of tutorials that seemed doable.  Since I have lots of soap around here, I decided to go with this tutorial to carve out my designs in soap and then cast the design with resin. [...]

  25. Rita Says:

    How long should I let my soap cure before using it as a mold?

  26. duhbe Says:

    Rita – it shouldn’t matter if the soap is cured or not, as long as it’s firm enough to hold the resin. I’ve used both melt&pour and cured CP when I did this.

  27. Nancy Says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. Great post!

    How long do you wait to stamp your soap? Do you do it right after you unmold, or is it done after some cure time? I use a slab mold that makes nine bars. Should I stamp as part of my unmolding process?

  28. DuhBe Says:

    @Nancy – you should stamp while the soap is still soft. If you let it cure, you will get cracks around the stamped area. I typically bevel and stamp the day I unmold & cut, or maybe wait one more day after cutting.

  29. Penny Says:

    You’re a gem! Thank you for sharing. This will be fun too.

  30. Nancy Ragusa Says:

    This is great, thanks for sharing! How do you get the tops of your soap like that?

  31. DuhBe Says:

    Nancy – you can search the internet for “textured soap tops” and find instructions. Basically you let the soap set up in the mold a little bit and then “stir” the surface gently – just like getting swirly icing on a cake.

  32. How to make a soap stamp - Soap Making Forum Says:

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  33. Nancy Ragusa Says:

    But dont you get soda ash when you do this? I almost always get soda ash when making soap if I dont cover the top. I love your stamp and will definitely be trying it…you are very encouraging!

  34. DuhBe Says:

    Nancy – I still cover my soaps after texturing the tops to avoid ash. I also spray them with 91% alcohol before covering which also prevents ash because it forms an alcohol barrier and prevents oxygen from reaching the soap surface.

  35. Joanne LaPomarda, Cliff Island Soapworks Says:

    Thank you so much for all this information on making Soap Stamps. I’m definitely going to try this method. My logo is the shape of the island I live on and shouldn’t be to hard to carve. Again, thank you so much for sharing!!z383

  36. Robin - River County Soapworks Says:

    You did a fantastic job! I’m going to have to give this a go. Thanks for providing such a good tutorial.

  37. Monica Says:

    I suffer terribly from ash. How do you cover a textured top without destroying your beautiful designs?

  38. DuhBe Says:

    Monica – you spritz the soap log with 91% alcohol, then cover with saran wrap and don’t peek! You need some airspace at the top of your mold, so the plastic wrap doesn’t actually touch the soap. The alcohol forms a vapor barrier to prevent the formation of ash. You may still get ash depending on your soap formula and the fragrance and color you are using, so your mileage may vary.

  39. soap stamp - Soap Making Forum Says:

    [...] stamp Here are the goat milk soaps I've been making – with the stamp from this great tutorial: http://duhbe.com/blog/2011/04/diy-custom-soap-stamp/ The only thing I would add is to be sure you seal the sides and bottom well with the duct tape [...]

  40. soap stamps made with acrylic resin - Soap Making Forum Says:

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  41. Stacy Says:

    I love this, and have a silhouette cameo (yes, crafters, they are amazing and worth every penny). Just wondering…one other post asked about use on melt and pour soap. I tend to work in that, and doubt if the stamp would work. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks!

  42. duhbe Says:

    Stacy – I don’t work in melt&pour so I’m no expert on it. But from what I’ve seen in soap forums – stamping doesn’t work so great in M&P. Even if the stamp is hard enough – the M&P soap won’t make a clean impression.

  43. karen Says:

    hi i am a bit late at looking at this but it is great…i am in Australia and am still looking into what i can use as a resin as it is very expensive here i was wondering how deep do you think you did the letters …i am just doing it freehand as i dont know where i could get the vinyl cut…..and how long do you wait to stamp them …do you wait till they have cured???? Thanks any help would be appreciated

  44. duhbe Says:

    Karen – I think 1/8 inch deep is good for carving the mold. Make it look like how you want the final stamped soaps to look. And you want to stamp soap while it is fresh. Some people cut/stamp when they unmold. I prefer to wait 1-2 days because I get less crumbs that way. If you wait for the soap to cure, the stamp will make cracks which are ugly so don’t wait that long.

  45. My New Soap Stamp! - Soap Making Forum Says:

    [...] your own. I tried it once. I ended up with two air bubbles. I didn't feel like doing it again. http://duhbe.com/blog/2011/04/diy-custom-soap-stamp/ [...]