The Soap Monster

I was reading some fabulous soaping blogs the other evening and I came across one that made me chuckle out loud.  Jean of Soap Art decided to order our Premium Soap Base in bulk, which comes in a 25 pound box. These are pretty big boxes and can be quite intimidating if you have never ordered one before. Luckily, Jean did a fantastic job writing a funny and engaging tutorial on how to cut down one of those 25 lb. soap blocks. Thanks for letting us repost, Jean! -Anne-Marie

This is the Soap Monster.

I have wanted to order a Soap Monster from Bramble Berry for quite some time, but I was afraid of it. Recently I called myself a little chicken, decided to get over it, and took the plunge and the ordered glycerin soap base from Bramble Berry in the 25 pound boxes. Yes, boxes, plural.

I love Bramble Berry’s bases because I feel that they are as close to natural as I’m going to get in a pre-made glycerin base at an affordable price. This is their premium clear base that I have been using since I started making soap. I dubbed it the Soap Monster because cutting up a 25 pound block of glycerin soap base seemed intimidating. Even after reading the Soap Queen Tutorial on Cutting Blocks of Soap, I was intimidated.

Let me tell you about my first experience with cutting these monster blocks of soap down to size.

First I want to say thank you to my Dad and my Girl Scout leaders for some great training on knife safety and proper handling of knives. This information was invaluable as I tackled the soap blocks. If you ever do this, make sure you know and follow proper knife safety.

Here’s the box the soap came in. It’s about 13 x 10 x 5 inches. The soap was poured directly into a plastic bag inside the box.

Some of the plastic was into the soap a ways, but I was able to pull it out just fine. If you look closely, you can see little “bag tracks” where I pulled the bag away from the soap.

I started by cutting off a strip of soap about 1” wide from the side of the block. Glycerin soap base is interesting to work with, it is sticky and slippery all at once. It requires a good deal of caution and a bit of elbow grease.

The one inch slice you see above had some bubbles that needed to be shaved off.

I used a cheese slicer/planer to do that job.

It worked great, and I didn’t lose valuable soap base. Had I used a knife, I think I would have ended up with more waste.

See the radio in the background? That made the time spent on this much more enjoyable. I’ll spare you the audio of me singing along with the radio.

Here is the progress – this is about 2 pounds out of the 25.

Almost halfway finished!

It turns out the Soap Monster isn’t really a monster after all. Cutting up the block wasn’t difficult; it just took a little time, I had no reason to be intimidated.  So if you’re considering buying lots of glycerin soap base, this is definitely a great way to go.

I’m happy with what I got done this time around and I will save the rest for another day.

Do you have any tips and tricks on cutting the “Soap Monster”? Share with us in the comments below!

 

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45 Comments

  1. Jeff Meyers says

    My daughter got me into the soap making idea as a hobby since she is to busy to make the soap i always got from her. I am new to this but after reading many post I plan to use my FoodSaver vacuum sealer to store the cut up cubes in two to three pound bags and of course it will keep indefinitely with the air sucked out of the bags. After reading all the different methods of cutting the Monster blocks I thought i might try using my Scroll Saw which uses a very thin blade and its electric (used to make very delicate cuts on wood projects.

  2. says

    The soap monster! I love it! We have about 250 soap monsters in our soap room. We use a 2 handled cheese knife and cut it into blocks and then cut those down as needed to fit into the melter.

    We also have a Sister who is really strong and cuts up a box in no time! But that knife as been the biggest help!

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing my Soap Monster blog post, Anne-Marie!

    It’s so fun to read all the comments of how you all cut up your soap. The cheese knife, potter’s clay wire, saws all (I love power tools!), crinkle and dough cutter and pizza cutter all sound great! I love the soaping community and how everyone is so generous about sharing helpful information.

    I’m glad to know that the bubbles can stay on without affecting the quality of the soap.

    Happy soaping, everyone!

  4. says

    You start at the corner of the block and cut from the top and then from the side till it meets and just repeat. I don’t use a knife but rather a straight edge soap cutter. Makes it easier to press down when cutting.

  5. NancyL says

    My first comment! Just couldn’t resist letting you know how I cut my soap base! I purchased a pizza cutter, and was amazed at how easily it is to handle! I usually cut down to the depth of my pizza cutter, then cut inward to produce a long slice, then cut into small cubes! Works great! Happy cutting!

  6. says

    When my soap monster comes in I grab my son (teenager) and we use crinkle cutters and a straight dough cutter and cut it all into inch sized squares and put it into a medium sized plastic tub. I use the crinkle cutters that end up crooked after using them to cut my finished product, and it goes through the soap like butter. I like to cut it all down as soon as I get it so whenever I need to make a batch or just 4 bars I can easily without having to muscle through the soap.

  7. Evelyn Morrison says

    I use a double handled cheese knife. They work great, they are a little pricey, but a trip to the ER for 9 stitches last year made me think I needed to invest into something safer!!
    The blade is about 15″ and with the safety of the double handles the soap cuts like a breeze. I cut it cube it and store it into rubber maid containers.

  8. marcia says

    Soap bases are exspensive so every nook and cranny should be used no need to shave of any bubbles they melt anyway if you do that its wasting money you are paying for ounces and pounds always remember to spray soap with alcohol to eliminate bubbles I’m learning also new soaper.

    • says

      Hi Marcia! Pound by pound these soap blocks are actually quite affordable, but I totally understand wanting to save every little bit to make sure that you have your moneys worth. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. We’d love to hear more from you. Have you liked our Facebook page yet? You can share pictures of your soapy creations as well as get advice from other people in the soapmaking community. Happy Soaping! =)

      https://www.facebook.com/BrambleBerry

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  9. says

    I buy 40 lb. tubs. Now that’s tougher because it’s round!

    I usually just cut off pieces as I need it rather than dice up the whole thing at once. I sort of pick a corner (or edge) and slice off an manageable amount.

    The bubbles have never been a problem for me. When they melt, they disappear. :)

  10. says

    Alas, I am no where near motivated enough to actually pre-cut the soap monster. I get the 25 LB block of goat’s milk soap base and I just cut it as I need it.

    I leave my bubbles on. they do melt right into the soap; I’ve never had a problem with them.

    • says

      That’s another great way to deal with large 25 lb. blocks. Some people don’t have a ton of room for those big blocks, so I can totally see how they would want to cut it down. We are glad to hear that the bubbles on the soaps haven’t ever given you problems. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. says

    The best investment I have made since starting my soaping hobby was the purchase of a Two-Handled Cheese Knife from igourmet.com. It will only take a few bulk purchases to pay for itself. After I got mine the “soap monster” no longer intimidated me.

  12. Lori Rodenbush says

    The first couple of times I ordered a big block of soap I tried cutting slices off and then cutting those smaller (cubing). Seemed to take me FOREVER to get the block cut into managable size pieces. I found what works best for me is to cut the block in half, then those in half, those in half, etc. After about the third or fourth “halfing” cut, the “mini-blocks” are small enough to work on with ease.

    I didn’t think about using a cheese slicer/planer to get rid of the bubbles on top . That sounds sssooooo much easier and less wasteful than using a knife like I ha ve been doing.

  13. says

    I use a potter’s clay wire…it looks like a long, piano type wire with handles on each end, you wrap it around the soap block and pull, almost as if you were tightening a knot (just don’t actually tie it into a knot!!)…makes cutting the big block into smaller blocks (to then cut into cubes with a knife) much easier. It slices right through and doesn’t take a ton of elbow grease! Then, the cubing is a piece of cake! =)

    Hope that made sense, ha!

    -Andrea

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