Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Happy Holidays

Have a very happy holiday season. May 2015 be successful and joyful. Thank you to  all of you for your support over this past year.


#Riverlea Soap


Monday, 27 October 2014

Making of The “Rose Cutter” Tutorial By Rose D Ericson part 2

This is part 2 of making the Rose Cutter by Rose D Ericson.
You can see part 1 here
Measure across the end (front of the photograph). This is 6cm (½ inch) material. This is the hinge plate. The end of the cutter takes all the pressure of cutting so you have to re-enforce it.
We are ready to add the hardware. My goal in making this cutter was to use anything I could find from the hardware store.
Let's add the wire (there will be another post on how to work with the wire as it is quite an art)
Now we will build the base, measure across both ways. You want the size of the cutter without the handles. This one is 14x16, yours may be different if your bar size differs to mine. Cut a 19mm (¾ inch) piece of plywood this size for the base
Now attach the hinge to the back. It should look like this (below)
Next you need a piece of 12mm (½ inch) stock that is 10.2cm ( 4 inches) wide. Remember we drilled the holes for the eye bolts at ½ inch, here is where this is important, this piece should be 25mm (1 inch) shorter than the inside of the cutter. Here is where you will build your soap pad, where the soap rests. Now remember how thick you are cutting your soap subtract 6mm (¼ of an inch.) You will need to cut, or purchase strips of wood this size. Example if my soap is 1 inch then I need ¾ inch strips, if my soap is 2cm then I would need strips 1.4cm ( I think) cut your strips to 11.5cm ( 4 ½ inches.) You will need 13 of them. Using a spacer ¼ inch thickness create the pad. It should look like this.
Now attach the strips to the pad. Try to make them flush and even on one side. For times sake I used a pinner (nail gun) but the first one I did for Riverlea I screwed down I did one like that so you could see. Use a 6cm (¼ inch) spacer to make them accurate .
Now take 12 cm (½ inch) stock that is 6.5cm (2 ½ inches) wide and make this the same length as your soap pad. Draw a ½ inch line across the bottom. Line up the wood to the back of the pad where you made it flush. Now Mark with a pencil, where the strings will go. It should look like this. (Below)
Straighten up your lines and drill a 6mm (¼ inch) hole at the ½ inch Mark where the lines meet.
I used a scroll saw (jig saw) to remove the wood I just followed the line till I got to the hole I had drilled. You could use a coping saw, a band saw, a dovetail saw, as long as you were careful it will work. Take your time, be accurate.
Now attach to the soap pad. Close the cutter and centre the pad so it is square. Open the cutter and use a tape measure/ set square to ensure you are square. Clamp the upright to the base. Now run a long screw into each corner.

There you have it a completed cutter. If this soap pad/ base looks too hard there are a couple of alternatives that you could try... see below
Make the pad and the back at the same time. This is what I did for my first one for Riverlea.
Or if you want to go even easier instead of a back just use L brackets, (also known as corner brackets or shelf brackets - below)
Here is what it looks like with brackets. The silly part is it works great. I made some soap and did a test, this method works just as good as the wood one I made. Its sole purpose is to keep the soap from sliding while you cut and it works really well and is easy.
Rose Cutter-001 
Perfectly cut, even bars. I LOVE this cutter. Thanks Rose for a very concise tutorial.

As promised here is the information on how to tie the strings 

#Riverlea Soap

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Making of The “Rose Cutter” Tutorial By Rose D Ericson


This is a tutorial that Rose Ericson has very kindly put together to show you how she made the Rose Cutter which she very kindly gave me to test cutting my soap. You can see it in action here. I have split this into two episodes as it was quite long. Sorry to make you wait until next week for the next episode.

List of Materials

1 piano hinge
24 3/16 eye bolts
.20 wire for cutter (this is easy to find, will expound on this in tutorial)
24 3/16 washers
12 wing nuts
12 hex nuts
4 meters ( 14 ft ) of 19mm x 38mm (1x2) ( must be hardwood )
1/16 drill bit
13/64 drill bit
Counter sink

This soap cutter is the result of an unlikely collaboration between a soap maker in South Africa and a wood worker in the United States. Together we were able to create a cutter that works quite well.

As you can see this cutter is a square within a square. Very easy, let's get started. First we will cut the pieces for the inner square you will need 2 short ones and 2 long ones.

The short ones are 23cm (9 inches) Cut 2 of these.

The long ones are a little tricky. Everyone cuts soap at a different thickness. We will map out the cutting wire pattern and find the length.

Tape 2 pieces of copy paper together length wise. Draw a straight line across the bottom. Now make a mark on the far left side. This will be the end of the board. Now, measure 5 cm (2 inches), make a mark, this is your first cutting wire. If you cut your soap 2 cm continue to measure every 2 cm, until you get 12 marks. If your soap is 2.5 cm continue to mark every 2.5 cm till you get 12 marks.(you get the idea) Then at the end measure out another 5cm (2 inches) it should look like this (below). Measure from the first to the last mark this is the length of your long piece. Cut 3 of these. (Yes 3 of them ) This is also your wire map, (DO NOT THROW THIS PAPER OUT YOU WILL NEED IT) !!!


Now let's dry fit what we have together. It should look like this


Next we will take the wire map we have created and transfer the wire positions to the wood. Draw a 12.6mm (1/2 inch) line length wise down the both long pieces. Transfer the dots (from the wire map ) so that both long pieces are identical. It should look like this.


Mark the dots with an awl or a nail to get ready to drill the holes and pre- drill where we will put the screws. It should look like this, remember to put the pencil lines to the inside. This will ensure the greatest accuracy especially if you are drilling by hand.

Now measure the inside of the cutter and cut 2 more pieces. These are the braces. Take your drill, pre-drill the sides, counter sink and screw them into place.


Add your screws and we are ready for the next step. Now we will make the second box. Cut 2, one half inch thick pieces of hardwood to 46 cm( 18 inches) Now mark a line at 11.5 cm (4 1/2 inches) on both pieces. You will also need to cut 4 pieces at 10cm (4 inches.) These will become the handles. Here is what it should look like. Before you attach the sides make sure to glue the handle up first. It should look like this.



You can be simple and just cut a 90 degree straight cut or you can……Cut a 45 degree angle on it. Both ways are perfectly fine you pick.


Glue the ends up and let them dry a little before you attach them. So take a break. Time for tea!clip_image016



When the ends are ready go ahead and attach them to the sides of the cutter. Line up the sides with the line you drew at 11.5 cm (4 ½ inches.) This will leave you enough room to tune the strings.


Remember at the beginning of the tutorial when I told you to cut 3 pieces of wood the same length as the wire map. Here is where you will use it. Attach it to the end it will fit perfectly.


Until next week. Start cutting our wood in the mean time.

#Riverlea Soap

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Roses and Polka Dots in matching boxes

Cupcake_gift_box_vintage_roseA while ago I bought these pretty boxes. I have been trying to decide what to put in them  - it had to be soap of course.  I decided to try my hand at free art soap and I am quite happy with the results. What do you think?

I used Blue Mica, Pink Dayglo and Burgundy Oxide for the roses and Green Oxide mixed with Yellow Oxide and Titanium Di Oxide for the leaves. 


Pretty cake box soap-001

cupcake-gift-boxes-polka-dot-pink-on-brown.jpgFor the Pink Polka dots I used Pink Dayglo mixed with Titanium Di Oxide and the dots were also Titanium Di Oxide.

Pretty cake box soap-028

#Riverlea Soap

Monday, 22 September 2014

We are now selling at Ruby Orchard

Ruby Orchard is the most amazingly beautiful shop in a little town called Howick in the Natal Midlands. They sell a wide range of goodies from tables to ceramics and soap of course.

Pop in some time. You will not be sorry.

I recently met with Hannah, the owner of Ruby Orchard to discuss a range of soaps for the store.

See what they had to say here about the soaps

#Riverlea Soap



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Secret Feather Swirl

Feather Swirl

I have long admired this technique so I thought I would try it out. I clearly need to practice more at it.

This is definitely not as easy as it looks.

You can see my attempt at the Secret Feather Swirl on YouTube.

I used Aqua Pearl Mica, Blue Mica and Titanium Di Oxide


#Riverlea Soap


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