Monday, 28 January 2013

Valentines Revisited

I had a look back at some of our previous Valentine posts and thought I would share them with you

Valentine Soapylove4-001

More valentine hearts green (6)

Pin It! 

Riverlea Soap

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Soap cutter– a Tutorial

I have been eyeing out a multi bar soap cutter for a long time. This Christmas I decided to make one as I could not afford to buy one and pay for the shipping with the exchange rate the way it is.
This is what I wanted:
cutter in action soap4…. or similar
This is what I got: or made
DSCN0012-001… and I will show you how I made it.
It all started with a trip to London and a picture from my father in law.
Walter's cutter
Walter makes pottery and is quite inventive with the gadgets he has made to make his life easier. He uses this cutter to slice his clay into exact sizes so his cups etc. will all be the same size/ weight. He very kindly drew mw a picture to take back to South Africa so I could make it.
My cousin always called me “Little Miss Mc Gyver” so I decided to try and make this cutter for soap. How hard can it be??? I was armed with my tools and a little bit of wood work knowledge from my Dad and Grand dad. Wish I had paid more attention…
Anyway, here goes…
You will need:
  • Some good quality HARD wood. The size of the wooden pieces will be determined by the size you want your cutter to be. I cut mine - 15x2.5x4cm (2 pieces) and 47x2.5x4cm (2 pieces)
  • Pine is too soft
  • Drill
  • Cordless screw diver or hand held
  • Wood screws
  • Screws with a closed end and thread on the length of the bar. A little like a cup hook. ( as you can see I have a “lot” of knowledge with the names of things)
  • Clamps (optional but really useful when you can only find 2 hands)
  • Wire/ string for the cutting line
  • Take your 4 pieces of wood – 2 long and 2 short and place the shorter ones inside the longer and make a box. This is where the clamps come in handy. Clamp the pieces at 90 degrees to keep them in place while you drill and screw the wood together. TIP make she your shorter pieces go INSIDE the longer ones – this makes the box stronger.

  • Once the box is created, mark spaces on the longer pieces of wood where you will thread the wire through. Drill the holes with the smallest drill bit you have. You really want these holes to be small. I know this because …… I made them too big! Well actually I used the smallest bit I had which was not small enough. Anyway I did fix this. I used an electrical ferrule and hit it into the holes to make them smaller. I am glad I did this as it will also stop the wire cutting into the wood
  • Do the same on the other side – making sure that the holes are opposite each other. i.e. if you started marking and drilling the holes from the left, make sure you do the same on the other side but from the right. Hope this makes sense.
  • Now you have both long pieces of wood drilled with holes exactly opposite each other the correct distance apart that you want to cut your soap to.
  • Now on one side only drill with a bigger drill bit and make the holes bigger – this is the side that your cup hook type screws will go into. Tip Choose the correct drill bit size for the cup hook screw things! I chose 1 size smaller so I would have to really screw them in tight.

  • Once all the bigger holes are drilled on the one sides screw the cup hook type screws into the wood
  • Once they are all screwed in take your wire and cut it into lengths to fit the width of the cutter
  • This is now the tricky part: tie the end of your wire onto something like a bead and pull it really tight. Then thread the wire through the hole and attach it to the screw. Pull it as tight as you can then tie it. Turn the screw into the wood and it will tighten the wire as you go
Now for the test. Cutting logs of soap…
I have to be honest – it did not work very well and these are the reasons, I think...
  • I did not use wire. I used fishing line and I noticed it has too much play or stretch. I will change it to a high tensile strength wire and see if that works.
  • I also cut the line and tied it to the hook screw then threaded it through the opposite hole across to the next hole and back down the the next screw hook. i.e. a u shape. This put the line on the very right of the first hole and on the left of the next hole so the spacing was not the same. So you really need 1 piece of wire for each length.
Anyway I will feed back with updates when I have more time to play. I really think this cutter could work with a few minor modifications. I think what I am trying to say is it will work!! I so desperately want it to work.
Pin It!

Riverlea Soap

Monday, 14 January 2013

Making moulds for African Bee Trading. Tutorial Part 3

This week we will continue to make the multi cavity mould out of silicone.

Click to see part 1 and part 2.


You will need:

  • Silicone part A and B from AMT. All you need to know about Silicone.
  • A silicone release agent from AMT
  • A stirring stick
  • A disposable container to mix in big enough to hold part A and B
  • The individual resin pieces we made in part 2
  • A wooden/plastic "box/frame/container" large enough to incorporate all the resin pieces
  • Plastic/ Cortex board to line the mould if you use a wooden box
  • Glue gun
  • Scale – a good digital one



  • Prepare your mould/container, making sure it is on a flat surface and within easy reach to pour the silicone into it.
  • Weigh your all resin pieces together and write the figure down somewhere
  • Measure the size of your box: Length, breadth and height and work out the volume by multiplying the 3 numbers together. i.e. LxBxH. Write this figure down as well
  • Take the figure of your resin pieces and subtract it from the volume worked out above. Write this number down. This is hoe much silicone you will need to mix up. Technically this is not totally correct as you need to take the specific gravity of the silicone into account. I have just cut a few corners
  • Have another container ready with something else you may want to mould as a back up in case you have mixed too much silicone


  • Take your box and line it with the Correx making sure there are no gaps where the silicone can escape
  • Place all the resin pieces into the box to test how they will fit best leaving about 3/4 to 1 cm gap between each piece so the walls will be stable. You will need to place them TOP side facing up
  • Remember how you laid the pieces and remove them all
  • Take the glue gun and place a small amount of hot glue all around the base of the resin piece and glue it onto the base of the box lined with Correx. if you put too much glue it will “squish” out the sides and you don’t want this. Continue to glue all the pieces onto the base
  • Once they are all glued mark a line 1cm above the highest point of the resin pieces


  • Spray the Correx and all resin pieces liberally with the release agent – as per manufacturers instructions. You should also have your other mould ready and sprayed in case you need it

Mixing and pouring the silicone:

  • Mix up the silicone as per manufacturers instructions using the amount we worked out earlier
  • Pour the silicone over the resin pieces from a high spot so it comes out in a long, thin stream. This is to stretch the silicone and remove all the bubbles
  • Try to pour in one spot over a resin piece and allow the silicone to fill up the gaps and the mould
  • Fill the mould to the line you marked
  • Leave for 24hours to set or as per manufacturers instructions.


  • Once set you can remove the mould from the box and peel off the Correx. remove all the resin pieces and there you have it – a multi cavity mould


Please be adventurous try this. It really is fun

Pin It!

Riverlea soap



Monday, 7 January 2013

Some soap Humour

I hope you all had a great New Year and are rested and ready to start 2013 with a bang.

I found this card when I was in London recently and thought I would share it with you.

Soap Humour

Next week we will continue the mould making. You can see previous posts here and here.

Pin It!

Riverlea Soap

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...