Soap Making encourages educators to explore thermodynamics. Using a DIY vacuum mold machine, students will create a mold before adding scent and color to their soap to cast a mold. Laser-cut acrylic will be used to show how prints can make custom shapes on the vacuum form machine.
Soap (large blocks of unscented soap is recommended)
Crock pot (recommended for melting soap)
Ladle (scooping soap)
Vacuum former (link for rigging a vacuum form)
Plastic plates (non-toxic/heat-safe),
Assorted soap scents
Assorted soap color
2D Design program
Class set of computers and charging capability
“Making a Blank for Molding” Instructions
Laser-cut 1/4" acrylic for blank prints to use as a form for making a soap mold. Follow directions on the attached "Making a Blank for Molding" document.
1. Demonstrate how soap-making works by turning on the vacuum former, letting the heater warm up, displaying the parts and how to work them and explaining how the laser-cutter works.
2. Engage with students, explaining the idea behind making soap using laser-cut acrylic and a vacuum former.
3. Explain any safety precautions including exercising caution around the vacuum former heater and working with gloves and safety glasses, if applicable.
Use a vacuum former to create a soap mold.
Once 2-3 copies of blanks are printed, stack them and use double-sided tape to stick them together. Adhere the blanks to the vacuum former using double sided tape to hold it in place. Turn on the heater. Place plastic plate into plate jig and hold up to the heater to melt, (~1 minute). Once melted, work quickly to cover acrylic blank with melted plate, pressing down to ensure full contact and press foot pedal on vacuum to pull air out and create a vacuum seal around acrylic blank.
Pour soap into vacuum-formed molds.
Have students spray their form with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle before pouring their soap and directly after to eliminate air bubbles. Make sure soap has fully melted in crock pot and ladle soap into paper cups, one scoop at a time as needed. Have students pick their scent and color. Once mixed, pour soap into mold. Let sit for 20 minutes to harden. Once hardened, use scissors to cut excess off of plate and cut diagonal slits in plate towards edges of soap for easy removal.