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About Deviant Artist Senior Member Marcus J Ranum52/Male/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 9 Years
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More soap molds by mjranum
More soap molds
This is a mold I made for soap-making. The soap is scented with gardenia and ylang-ylang -- don't you just want to jump in the shower and rub it all over your body?  Just don't lick it!

Technical details: original plaster (at right) made using alginate mold on a friend, plaster then used as a master from which to make molds in smooth-on rheoflex-40 rubber. Soap poured into mold when it hits trace, and allowed to dry for 3-4 days.

EDIT - by popular demand I have opened an etsy store where you can get these.

How this was done
Mold making isn't hard, it's exacting - you've got to practice, embrace a few failures, and learn to work neatly and slowly.

I mostly use materials from; they sell a complete life-casting kit that's got non-toxic alginate and hydrocal plaster; it's $29 or something like that and it's a great place to start. The steps to making soap are this:
1) make alginate casting of the subject
2) trim the alginate with a knife, put it in a mold box, and make a positive casting using hydrocal plaster
3) clean up the hydrocal plaster master using sharp knives, table saw, belt sander, bandsaw, whatever
- wait for the hydrocal master to completely dry; about 2 weeks -
4) put the hydrocal master in a mold box with space around it, adhered to the floor of the mold box with vaseline
5) make the soap mold by pouring smooth-on rheoflex-40 or similar urethane molding rubber around the master
6) gently demold the master and you've now got a soap mold
7) learn how to make soap (… )
8) spray release in mold then pour soap while at early trace stage
9) allow to cure for 3-4 days then demold

More detailed notes on each step:
1) a)  I have learned that during the alginate casting stage it helps to make a "dam" out of clay by rolling the clay out into thin but stable sheets, cutting them to size, and "welding" them at the corner by pinching them. This dam keeps the alginate from slopping all over the place and lets it form a thick enough mass that it doesn't require additional reinforcement.
1) b) If you want to do something larger or more complicated you may need to put cotton on the outside of the alginate then plaster bandage on top of that, to keep the alginate from stretching out of shape.
1) c) Forget doing anything with significant undercuts using alginate; it tears
1) d) Forget using plaster, it doesn't take enough detail
1) e) Make sure you've shaved the area thoroughly and used some kind of lubricant (I use siloxane, AKA "eros bodyglide" sex lube) - otherwise you're going to give yourself a plaster "brazilian"
2) a) If you don't know what a mold box is, you need to learn.
4) a) I use vaseline to seal the underside of my mold box, which usually rests on a glass sheet. It makes for easy demolding and cleans up nicely with solvent alcohol.
5) a) 2 piece molds are possible but the problem with using them for soap is that the pour hole isn't large enough to let the moisture out and you wind up with goo. Approach with caution!
Fight Club Soap and molds by mjranum
Fight Club Soap and molds
Fight Club soap mold and finished soap. I've gotten into soap-making (and, OMG, once you try real homemade soap you will never go back to the mineral-oil based garbage they sell in stores!!) So I made myself a set of molds of various types. For more on my soap-making projects, see here

The fight club soap is scented with black pepper oil and clove oil, with hickory smoke scent. It smells vaguely meaty and spicy and the red coloring runs down the drain like blood...

Some technical details: The black bar at the bottom is a delrin (very strong plastic!) master produced by a friend who has a CNC machine. From the master, I made the rubber molds using smooth-on rheoflex-40 urethane rubber. Then I make the soap, slop it into the molds, and leave it in my oven to dry for a couple days! Presto!!

By popular demand I've opened up an etsy store where you can get some of my soaps. I'm not sure if I'll keep it open; I don't intend to become a soap merchant.


Marcus J Ranum
United States
Current Residence: Morrisdale, Pennsylvania
Favourite genre of music: Operatic goth
Favourite photographer: Erwin Olaf / Helmut Newton / David Hamilton
Favourite style of art: sexy
Operating System: OpenBSD 2.6
MP3 player of choice: iPod 80 ("video porn" model)
Shell of choice: /bin/ksh
Wallpaper of choice: Black
Skin of choice: female
Favourite cartoon character: Marv from Sin City / Druuna / Honey
Personal Quote: If life gives you lemons - kick its ass.
I post stuff here, on fetlife, and on tumblr. Well, I used to - now I hardly do at all.

Not because of copyright. I understand that when you post something on the internet, you're posting it for everyone to look at, and it's going to get shared around. But the comped-up piece of shit you see above (minus my commentary) is all over the internet - it's far more widely distributed than my original version. Back when I used to read my messages here and on Fetlife, I had 12-20 messages per day about stuff like this. Mostly it was people trying to be helpful and telling me "HEY! Look over here, there's another person who smeared shit all over your art!"  And it used to take me an hour every morning to cut and paste URLs into DMCA requests to get this kind of crap taken down.

Welcome to the Internet - 1 by mjranum

But that's really only the tip of the emotional iceberg for me. About 1 in 10 times that I post a DMCA I'd get a message from the person who had posted it. So not only would my inbox be filled with woe from all the copyright violations, I'd get a breakdown approximately as follows:
10% You #*!@&^!ing @#*&!@! I hope your !&*!&^# falls off and you die of cancer!!!
30% By posting an image on the internet it's in the public domain (followed by 3 pages of complete wrongness about copyright)
30% You can't make me stop! Nyaa nyaa nyaa fuck you nyaa nyaa!
20% A lecture about how mean and rude I am
5% A genuine apology
5% Well, I like it anyway, so in spite of your having complained to me and explained why you don't like it, is it OK if I keep it up? (completely clueless in other words)

Understand, as I do, that that's a small percentage of a small percentage of all the people who share my images around. But with the size of the population on the internet, it's a large number in total. On a site like Fetlife, that equates to about 100 threatening or angry emails a year. Yeah, it really makes me feel appreciated.

I set that against the times when someone comes up to me at a conference and says "dude, I love your photography!" or I get an email from someone asking please please please for a high resolution version of the file because they want to make a big print of it and frame it for their sweetie. Or, the occasional emails where someone thanks me for my stock photography helping them get a cover gig for their first book cover. Those are great. I love those moments. But they sure as hell aren't as often as the angry, petulant, bratty, or downright snotty lectures I get from ignoramuses who want to hide behind their personal interpretation of copyright law (which, by the way, is universally wrong) or who are incapable of saying "I'm sorry."

Welcome to the Internet - 2 by mjranum

Let me tell you a true story: one of the better online friends I made on Deviantart is someone I got to know because they ripped off one of my artworks and photoshopped on it (brilliantly) to turn it into a photocomposite. I told them they couldn't do that, and they said they loved my stuff, and I suggested they use a different image - here - ... and we were off to the races. We've been swapping ideas and I've been shooting custom stock for them ever since; It's a positive and nurturing creative collaboration.

You see, I'm not some ogre. I want to get my art on just like you. But I am increasingly feeling backed into a corner. I got into doing the wet plates because a) it's cool  b) I get to work with nasty dangerous stuff  c) it looks awesome   d) you cannot duplicate a plate; it's a unique artwork. I started doing wet plates in order to protect myself emotionally and to protect my art. Oh, want to know how that turned out? Some cheese-brain was taking the scans I post of my wet plates and removing my art from them, so he could use the edges in his images because, yeah, they look cool!! He. Threw. My. Art. Away. Because. The. Only. Part. That. Was. Useable. Was. The. Edges. I almost offered him a wet plate so I could get his address and go talk to him about it face to face.

These are the emotional trade-offs I'm up against. I've finally had to confront the fact that if I want to keep posting stuff on the internet, I'm going to have to utterly concede to the faceless horde out there. I will have to either stop altogether or give it all away. Not just give it away technically, give it away emotionally. And that's the problem: if I don't care, it's not going to be any good.

Submission - 1 by mjranum

If I didn't give a shit how my photography looked, I wouldn't give a shit about someone photoshopping their bad high school poetry over top of it. I wouldn't argue with them. I'd just have to lie there and take it, and I know that eventually it's going to mean creative death for me. Perhaps where I am headed is toward making photos just for myself, and not sharing them with anyone. That's sort of where I am, already. I have boxes and boxes of wet plates on a shelf over at my studio. There, they sit. I have tens of thousands of digital images on my hard drive(s). There, they sit. I am frozen at the perfect apex between anger, disgust, and the desire to quit.
  • Mood: Torment
  • Listening to: My computer fan
  • Watching: my laptop
  • Playing: at being human
  • Eating: as little as possible
  • Drinking: tea

Who wins: Zombies -VS- Necrophiliacs -VS- Cannibals? 

505 deviants said Bruce Campbell (a late entry)
499 deviants said Zombies
222 deviants said Necrophiliacs
167 deviants said Cannibals

Journal History


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M4IAN Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
Happy "late" birthday!
HorheSoloma Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
xZendai Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday Sir! i hope it's a good one for You. :3
belial83 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014
happy birthday!
SkyfireDragon Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014   Artisan Crafter
Happy Birthday, Marcus! Have your cake and eat it too
Melalina Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY...have a lovely one. :iconbdayplz:
plnstgfx Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Happy Birthday!
Skunkman001 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional Photographer
Happy Birthday!  :cake:
Casazil Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014
Happy BirthdayParty
Belote-Art Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Happy Birthday there Marcus.   I think they could use your ass back at the White House to straighten 'em out!
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