Anna is a sculptor, painter, miniaturist, props magician , soap maker, animator, production/ events and interior designer.
Can You Make Soap That Looks Like Food?
Yes! It is possible to pour and sculpt soap to mimic the look of food, but there are limits to what you can do. For one, some countries do not allow the sale of any soap that resembles food (so as not to be mistaken for anything edible). But yes, soap is quite versatile and can be made to look like food—particularly pies!
Here's some examples of how I sculpted soap to look like real food. These creations are not for sale but are meant to inspire, educate and show what a truly beautiful medium soap is. Soap making is a happy process!
How to Make Dessert Soaps
In this article, we'll look at:
- Tips for Choosing Your Tools and Supplies
- How to Make Pie Soaps, Including:
- Blueberry Pie
- Mixed Fruit Pie
- Strawberry Pie
- Peach Pie
- Cherry Pie
- Pie Slices
- Tips for Your Soap Making Journey
Tips for Choosing Tools and Supplies
- Use the Right Sculpting Tools: Believe it or not, my go-to tool is the scalpel. It is very versatile. I can cut any shape with it and use it to poke into small spaces and grooves to remove excess soap. I can not live without this tool. Using plastic sculpting tools is also a good idea. This will allow you to sculpt more shapes and have better control over the object you are creating.
- Use Your Soap Scraps: Whenever I make too much soap, I pour the mixture into the molds pictured in the gallery above. I call this my soap scrap graveyard. Some that are not pictured are just way too ugly to show, but these are the soaps I use to carve out my fruits and other accent pieces.
If Sculpting the Fruit Is Hard, Try Using a Mold
I have tons of molds in my workshop—anything from basic shapes like spheres to loaves—but sculpting soap is still my go-to. I still find creating soap shapes by hand easier for me. For some, it is easier to use a mold with different shapes to make the process easier and less time-consuming. Plus, it's guaranteed that the shape you need is what will come out. You take the guesswork out by doing this.
There are countless molds out there: shrimps, vegetables, cartoon characters, cars, landmarks, savory food and sweet desserts. Personally, I try to stay away from metal molds as it is very hard to get the soap out. So, silicone molds are the best thing to buy. One good tip when buying molds online: Make sure to read the description very well. Look at the size, because often when the molds are delivered they are smaller or bigger than expected.
Whenever I pour anything, I also break out all my molds and line them up in a row whenever I am making any kind of soap. Even if I do not need a particular shape, I just pour it just in case I have a need for it in the future. It is always good to have a stash of shapes for your future projects. There are some molds that almost create the entire shape you need, which is quite helpful. Just make sure that the soap has rested enough and has totally cooled before removing it from the mold. I usually give it 24 hours.
A Safety Note: I would also advise people not to use these molds interchangeably with chocolate or anything edible. If you are using the mold for soap or wax, just use it for that. It is not a good idea to use it one day for soap and the next day for chocolate. Mark your molds so you don't mix them up. It really is better to be safe than sorry.
Blueberry Pie Soap
Let's go through the steps I took to create this particular piece:
- After I made my soap mixture using four different oils—olive, coconut, canola and jojoba—I added a bit of blueberry scent and poured the mixture into a disposable plastic cake container (taking off the lid and just using the bottom portion). I divided the mixture into three separate parts. The majority of it went to the body or bottom layer of the pie. I tapped the mold gently to even it out and get rid of any air bubbles. All soap makers have their own style in pouring, but this is what I normally do.
- I added a blue soap pigment to the two parts of portioned soap mixture, gave it a few stirs and quickly poured the mixture into a piping bag. I cut the end of the bag just a little so I could pipe out small spheres. I did this repeatedly on to the top of the flat pie surface and on top of other spheres, mimicking blueberries. At this point it still did not resemble real berries, but more sculpting is needed once everything is set. This is a very quick process since the soap begins to heat up and slowly harden.
- For the last portion of the soap mix, I added a brown pigment, gave it a few stirs and put it inside another piping bag. Cutting off the tip and then placing a steel basket weave nozzle, I piped the top crust and the edges. (For the edges, I do believe that I went around it twice.)
- As the entire "pie" cooled, I took my sculpting tools and slowly carved the spheres to make them look like individual blueberries. This was quite easy since there were not a lot of berries poking out.
- With a bit of alcohol, I diluted my pigment and painted the crust with a brown color (sparingly). I also diluted some blue pigment and painted the spheres.
- After painting, I sprayed the entire pie with alcohol to give it a sheen. Once the entire pie looked "alive", I took a toothbrush with some diluted white pigment and spritzed it on top to give the berries a bit of a powdery look.
Mixed Fruit Pie Soap
This is a favorite! This allowed me to sculpt even more soap fruits. For this I made:
- blueberry spheres
- strawberry slices
- kiwi slices
- tangerine slices
Normally, I would have lots of scraps or leftover soap from previous pours and I would keep these to sculpt some of my fruit shapes. The scraps were already colored so that made it easy for me to make the fruit slices. This is how I assembled this pie:
- I made a small batch of the soap mixture and poured it in another disposable plastic cake container. I divided the mixture into two parts: 2/3 of the mixture went to form the body of the pie and about 1/3 I used to pipe the edge or the crust.
- Once the entire pie set, I sculpted the braid from the piped edge. This took a while to do. I also used old stockings (tights or pantyhose) to smooth out the top of that braid after I carved it.
- I prepared a small batch of soap mix again and used it as a "glue" to attach my fruit pieces. I carefully arranged all my fruit pieces quickly (note that before I layered them on to the pie, they were already carved and painted).
- I spooned some of my soap mixture in between the fruit pieces so as to keep them firmly in place.
- With the leftover mixture (about 1 oz.), I tinted it a bit red and poured it on top of the strawberries to give it that wet, jam-like look.
- Again, after everything cooled, I sculpted the entire top to remove any excess soap and retouched and painted some of the fruits and the crust. Then I sprayed it with alcohol. I also used the toothbrush again to spritz the top the crust to give it a white powdery look like the blueberry pie.
Strawberry Pie Soap
When I created this pie, I wanted it to look as real as possible. I think I achieved that, as I needed to remind everyone in my production/prop shop to not touch and taste it! These are the steps I took to create this mouthwatering pie.
- I made my signature cold process soap mix again and poured 2/3 of it onto a plastic disposable cake mold.
- I placed the remaining 1/3 of soap mixture into a piping bag and used a basket weave metal tip nozzle to pipe the crust. I piped it in a ribbon pattern and made sure that it looked very tight. I then let the entire pie cool.
- After my pie cooled, I made another batch of soap mix (about 5 oz.), tinted it red and let it cool a bit since I did not want it runny. Then I poured it on top. I let it cool again completely.
- The next day, I set out to carve the strawberries. I wanted to try carving them from a whole pour instead of making individual strawberries. There was no particular reason for doing this; I just wanted to see if I could do it and still make it look as pretty and realistic as possible. So, I carved all the strawberries, bearing in mind that each one needed to be at a different angle and different level of stoutness. I also used a sharp tool to poke holes into the strawberries to make them look more real.
- When I was satisfied with how it all looked, I smoothened the strawberries and the crust with a piece from an old set of tights (also known as stockings or pantyhose).
- I made another batch of soap, dividing it into two. Half of it I tinted a transparent red and poured on top of the berries, only pouring what I needed. Half I tinted white, placed it in a piping bag, used a metal star nozzle and piped out "whipped cream".
- I spritzed alcohol on top to give it a shine.
That is how I made my strawberry pie!
Peach Pie Soap
As the days went on, I found myself dreaming of pies. The next thing I was craving was peach pie! This is how I went about it:
- I prepared my signature cold process soap mix and poured 2/3 of it for the body of the pie.
- I again took the remaining 1/3, placed it in a piping bag, used a basket weave nozzle tip for the crust and piped a tight ribbon onto the edge.
- I got some dark yellow soap scraps and carved peach wedges. After carving, I made the pieces smooth with the piece of tights or stockings. Then I painted a bit of red and peach color onto the sides to give it a real peach look.
- The next day, I made another batch of soap mixture and spooned a thin layer on top to "glue" my peach slices. I arranged the peaces in a fanned-out fashion.
- I had gotten a new set of Russian piping nozzles the day before and wanted to try them out on this pie. I had never used them and will probably never use them again, since I was not very happy with the shape of the "cream" on this one. I piped out whipped cream shapes onto the sides.
- I carved the entire piece again to remove the excess soap and spritzed the entire top with alcohol.
That is how I made my peach pie soap!
By this time, I had my technique down and I was beginning to feel very confident with how the pies ended up looking. I decided to make this cherry pie in a similar fashion as my blueberry and strawberry pies—by carving out all the spheres instead of making small cherry balls and placing them on top. I was worried that if I cut into them they might dislodge and fall off, so pouring the entire top and carving the spheres was the best option for me. This is how I did it:
- I made my cold process soap mixture and poured 2/3 of it on to the bottom of a plastic cake mold. I tinted this brown.
- I poured the remaining mixture after I added red coloring on to the top when the mixture was a little bit thicker. I was able to make a little hill, the highest point being in the middle. I let the entire pie cool.
- The next day I carved the top to make the spheres. I had to bear in mind that the cherries had to be similar in shape and size but needed to be at different angles. When I achieved this, I took my piece of stocking and smoothed out the surface.
- I made another batch of soap mixture, piped on the crust using a piping bag and a basket weave nozzle in a tight ribbon pattern and piped the top crust as well.
- I carved the crust to remove the excess soap and hand-painted it with a bit of brown color. I let it dry.
- I spritzed on alcohol on top to give it a sheen.
That is how I made my cherry pie soap.
By this time, I had so many soap scraps from unused soap that I wanted to make something smaller: something I could put in my bathroom as decoration. So, I made pie slices I basically made them the same way as I did my tarts but this time, just a small slice would do.
Tips for Making Food Soaps
- Make What You Crave: If you are craving something, make it your inspiration to create something beautiful. Instead of baking a pie, try creating it out of other materials. It will last longer. Try to stretch your skill and make it look as close to the real thing as possible. It is a challenge worth taking on!
- Take Your Time and Be Patient: It takes some time to make these "food soaps"—and a whole lot of patience. But with practice, it is easy to create all sorts of things, since soap is very forgiving. It allows for quick do-overs and absorbs color quite easily.
- Stay Calm: The key to making soap in general is to be highly organized. Think and act quickly and respond to any situation in a calm manner. Soap making is both an art and a science: You have to be part artist, part magician and part chemist!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Anna Javier
Anna Javier (author) on September 07, 2020:
peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 05, 2020:
Wow you sure are talented in making these mouth watering soaps. Too good to bath with them.