Monday, June 30, 2008

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.