Georges' Botanique Aromatiques Virtual Boutique

Lather & Bubbles
The First Cut

The First Cut

The final cut does not begin with the first soap cut. There are many steps in between that determine if the soap will make it to market. Soap is finicky based on weather, humidity, type of oils, and temperature of SAP. Experienced soapers get a good sense during the cutting and polishing phase if a soap will make it to market or make "the final cut." With practice, you get a fairly good idea when you make the first cut. Typically sometime between 12-24 hours when the soap is cool and in its solid form, but not when it has hardened. Waiting too long will make cutting difficult while cutting too soon may damage the soap loaf. Of course, this little "red" soap cutter (see image above) gives even 1 inch clean cuts if you clean your cutting wires after use. Having said that, uneven cuts that tend to occur using a soap cutting blade make for some interesting soap cuts. If you trying to achieve "unique" the cutting blade will help you achieve that effect. Nonetheless, there are many soap cutters on the market and you may need to try a few, before settling on one that does what you need. This lil "red" soap cutter was my end-of-year biz purchase that will speed up the cutting process and make polishing easier.

Nature Made

Colorants play a huge factor in cutting soap. Single color soap bars are easiest to cut whereas multicolored soap require additional thought in how to cut the soap. One color simply decide based on the mould used whether a square 4x4" bar, rectangular 4x3x1" bar with a standard cut is best for the soap loaf. Round bars are straightforward when it comes to cutting. When colors are involved special attention is required when determining the cut/s, size of bars, and dimensions. If you're trying to achieve a particular design a two-inch cut on the short side is made first followed by cutting the bar in half after turning it on it's side. The soap above, a simple cut on the short end of the soap was only requirement. Personally, I find round and rectangular bars easier to hold. There is less slipping out of your hand with use. Square chunky bars may look good however, they tend to be hard to generate a lather and may not fit nicely in your hand. The Taiwan swirl technique used in the bar below requires multiple colors and multiple cuts both horizontally and vertically to achieve the mirror image effect.

Indigo, red Moroccan Clay, and white Kaolin Clay diptych

When to make the first cut

Cutting from the short side when the color is layered horizontally in the mould will yield a marbled effect, as shown. The preferred cut gives you a lovely bar of soap. More intricate designs require vertical and horizontal cuts to produce one or more soap bars with a mirror image. Generally, I work with three or more colors to achieve at least one diptych from the series. This soap is three days old in the beginning of staging for pictures.

Cut within 12-24 hours while soap is cool, solidified, and slightly soft. Waiting for several days may make cutting too difficult for quality cuts. The ARt & Craft of soapmaking requires time and attention. Plan on several consecutive days to process your soap from day one ~ making the soap; day two ~ cutting the soap; day three ~ polishing the soap; day four through day 20 ~ drying & turning; Day 60 ~ Packaging and somewhere in between staging for pictures.

Crafted Soap ~ Embrace Luxury

The Final Cut

I have a good feeling that this soap will make "the final cut." This is the beginning of the "staging" phase although only three days out. The soap requires another four-weeks drying time before the final cut ~ sale readiness ~ is determined. Sometimes the soap looks fantastic at this phase only to become less than satisfactory during the drying phase. You'll have to check back in a couple weeks to see how gracefully this soap ages during the drying period.

Clay Herbal Lavender Sandalwood Vanity Soap Bars
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Created By
SM Kelley


Created with images by Keith Williamson - "Soap bubbles 1" • ulleo - "bubble soap bubble balls" • Pezibear - "bad wash soap"

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