How to Cut those Gosh Darned Big Blocks!

Bramble Berry’s Economy Bulk Melt & Pour Soap Base comes in one big block. This is puzzling and confusing to some new soapers. Adding to the mystery, the soap is poured from many feet in the air, into a bag in a box. This height factor creates thick layer of tiny bubbles on surface of the soap base. The bubbles make the soap appear opaque at first glance – and that’s in addition to the head-scratcher about how to cut the block! However, with the economical price per pound (1.25 – $1.50 per pound), it’s worth the extra effort to cut the soap yourself.

This is how I work with the Bulk Base:

1. Open the box

2. Pull, tug, gravity drop, plop and otherwise ease the soap out of the box.


3. Flip the soap over and peel open the bag


4. Scrape the foamy bubbles from the surface of the soap. When melted, these foamy bubbles create an unexpected frothy look in the finished soap.


5. Hack away at the soap base. You can use a heated knife, a butcher’s knife, a scraper/cutter or even a machete. Whatever method you use, be careful! Oily, soapy hands can easily slip on a cutting utensil, causing unintended consequences (and no one wants your blood in their soap anyways). You can cut just what you need to cut or chop up the entire block. Sometimes, the plastic bag gets interwoven into the soap around the bottom edges. Just make sure to pull it out and not melt the plastic.


6. Put all the pieces back into the plastic bag, push the air out of it, and seal it with a plastic tie. If the soap is not exposed to air, it stays fresher for longer.

There are probably other ways to work with this base but that’s the way I do it. If you have any hints, feel free to post a helpful comment to the benefit of your fellow soapers.

 

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32 Comments

  1. maria e says

    I bought some molds online, and they happened to be one whole mold with only the guide of the individual soaps marked at the bottom but not divided to the top, does anyone know how can I cut them so they do not look crocket or lop sided?
    Thanks.

  2. C says

    The pizza cutter sounds like a great idea. We used our ceramic knife from Japan and it cuts really smoothly.

  3. lynda says

    I digress off topic for a moment but…..i wish I could find somewhere to buy bulk base in Australia as cheap as you can in the u.s.a.!! 20kg is over $200

    • Anne-Marie says

      Have you tried Aussie Soap Supplies? I haven’t checked pricing lately but they’re my fave place in Aussie for soap =)

      • Jane says

        Aussie Soap? At $15 a kilo, no thanks. I would rather keep buying in bulk from BB and pay the $400 shipping cost for 68kilos.

  4. Misty says

    I use a cheese cutter! omg it works wonders. cuts right thru the soap.. Best thing every. Better then any knife I have found.

  5. Audre says

    I like adding exfoliants to my sopas, but when they go into the mold the rise to the top, what can be done about this, so that it stays throughout the soap?

  6. Sonje says

    The foamy bits could possibly be fused onto completed pieces to emulate seafoam, etc. Just an idea.

  7. Anne-Marie says

    Hi P -

    The white bubbly stuff is white bubbles formed when the soap is poured, liquid, into the bags prior to the soap hardening up.

    It doesn't really turn into great soap. You can melt it down and turn it into soap but it's not very clear and saleable so I'd use it just for scraps, odds 'n' ends.

  8. P says

    This post is quite a while ago! LOL But, well I have a question and that is what do you do with the foamy white bubbly stuff? Is it recyclable, usable, garbage? I haven't a clue here. Thank you.

  9. ScrapSmith says

    Thank you Queen Father for the response. Makes sense to me… I just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something! : )

  10. Anne-Marie says

    A two handled pizza knife seems like a great idea. If I find a wholesaler, of course BB will add it to the line.

    I’m betting the MP would even jam up a jackhammer! It’s really gummy stuff.

    Dad, no prizes for two posts in a row but if you’re lucky, Norman will pick your comment number the next time I do a surprise contest.

    Borax is used as an emulsifier in lotion and also as a water softener in soap recipes. I’d love the flubber recipe though! =)

    • kathy says

      i have thought long about what i could use to more “safely” cut up these blocks of soap….i now break it down into smaller chunks, carefully, and then i put them into an industrial french fry cutter (half inch blades) that i mounted on the wall. i can cut these soap chunks up into meltable pieces in no time. they fall right into a clean container and i just melt the long soap fries in my glass measuring cup containers. since i have carpel tunnel in both hands, this helps a lot!

      • says

        Wow! That’s a great idea. I’m not sure how many people have an industrial french fry cutter at home ;)

        Way to get creative!

        Courtney from Bramble Berry

      • Peter Kelly says

        I bought an industrial French fry cutter after reading this, and it works really well.
        Thanks for sharing that tip.
        It cut my time to about a third of what it was taking me before.
        -Peter Kelly

  11. Pajama Mama says

    I actually did try an electric knife once….and it was a mess! I cut the soap into manageable blocks then get the kids involved with non sharp choppers. They still must be careful and so far, no accidents. We chop and measure, bag and label. Once the hard work is over, the fun of making the soap begins!

    What are folks using the Borax for? We use it here to make Flubber for the kids…

  12. Richard says

    PS: Yes, it should be “there” (said before soap queen posts me to tell me, as I do re: most of HER spelling and syntax errors). Do I win something, now for 2 posts within 5 minutes???

  13. Richard says

    1. Anyone ever try an electric knife? You know, the one up in the high cupboard used only for the Christmas Turkey. Just a thought.

    2. Have no idea what the Soap Queen will say about “expiration date on soap,” but having just had a major discussion with our Japanese importer of our Noble Formula soap for psoriatic or eczematoid (dry) skin on the subject I am sensitive. STUFF CHANGES. That is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. That does NOT mean it has gone “BAD.” If soap were to go a little “off” in color or scent – so what? You are going to color and scent it anyway – It will NEVER become “dangerous.”

    The same, by the way goes for your medicine tablets – may loose slight potency in theory (a lot for nitroglycerin – the only example I can think of), but none of them become dangerous. A moments reflection would tell you their is no science behind the expiration date your pharmacist slaps on his label – always 12 months from purchase – no mater what the pill, who made it, or how long it has been on their own shelves. It is just convenient, increases sales, and is self-protective in our litigious society.

    This was long but as the “Queen FATHER” – I can take some liberties. R. Faiola, MD

  14. ScrapSmith says

    So how long does it take for a soap base to go bad? And how can you tell it’s bad? Can you tell I’m a newbie? : )

  15. Brigette says

    I have wondered about this and have hesitated from purchasing the bigger blocks for this reason. Thanks for posting this information.

  16. Rurality says

    A two-handled knife is the only way to go! Seriously, it makes cutting big blocks soooo much easier.