Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fake drinks

Another one of my favorite tricks is to use soap to create liquids in glasses. As long as the drink is allowed to be a little bit cloudy (can't use it for water or white wine) it is a great step up from painting the inside of the glass (a technique I always think looks bad). It is sold in 5 pound blocks at craft stores and if you don't have access to a stove will even melt in the microwave easily. One of the best results I got was hot apple cider. I used clear glass mugs, a little bit of food dye and real cinnamon sticks in each mug. It looked so real that the actors initially thought they were.

I have also used it in the past for soup and even for a bowl of hummus (for that one I waited until it was hardening and added texture).

Another bonus is that, unlike a two part resin or a paint, it is not permanant. If you want to reuse the glass for a new purpose all you need to do is run it under hot water for a while; the soap should slip right out.

I had a mishap recently when I tried to reuse the soap though. I had melted the soap down in a stockpot and added in some color and real spices to make soup. For a show I am currently working on I needed a carafe of orange juice and decided to save money by reusing the soap from the soup. I reheated it, added a yellow-orange paint and poured it into the carafe. Problem was that the soap had slowly eaten away the paint on the inside of the stockpot. The orange juice was the right color, but it was full of small chips of black paint...oops. There won't be a round two on this one because we decided to switch to real orange juice, but lesson learned for the next time, always strain the soap to make sure.


  1. That's an interesting solution. I'm always intrigued by new ways to fake food on stage. What type of soap do you use exactly? Is it just plain glycerin or something else?

  2. Just plain glycerine soap with paint, food dye and other mix-ins. Also, as a side note, it can tend to shrink back a little as it cools. Not a big deal in small glasses, but can make a bigger difference in a large pitcher.