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