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Topic: Soft Soap
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Jun 21, 2007 05:46PM)
Last week when I was in Manhattan, I finally got Soft Soap at Tannens - I liked the whole set-up, but found the cotton cloths were very hard to work with. I even put them through the real wash to soften them up, but they were just too stiff to easily put more than one where the dirty hanks should go. I decided to get six 12" white silks from Abbott's because I've worked with their silks before (Billy McComb's Half-Dyed Hank) and liked the way the Abbott's silks both handle and can be pretty opaque when needed.

I removed the gimmick from the cotton set and used that with the silks, and made my own "dirt" with black, off-white and silver spray paint, and the results are great - the dirty silks go where they need to like a dream, and display of the clean silks is smooth and deceptive. Box-wise, I'm saving boxes by reusing the same one and sealing the edges with rubber cement.

I suppose I could have gotten a real silk set in the first place, but another problem with the trick I've had in the past was not caring for the pre-painted "dirt", with polka dots, lipstick imprints and such.

I actually feel buying the commercial set was worth it, though, because I got an excellent gimmick and a nice set of directions (yes, it's also in Rice's Encyclopedia, but I like having several routine ideas).

It's a great routine and worth customizing if need be.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 21, 2007 09:25PM)
For many years I have performed soft soap (I call mine Spot Out.) using three different colored 18" silks. In my case, I shoot holes in them and need to get the spots out. (Or --- I'm in a Spot and need Out.)

I do destroy the box in every show and they have to be custom made. But it has served me well for the last three decades. It is a great routine when combined with other silk effects.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: graywolf (Jun 22, 2007 06:59PM)
Bob's idea is spot on. Yes, you need real silk.
Cordially,
Howard
Message: Posted by: charliemagic (Jun 23, 2007 06:36AM)
Soft Soap used to have silk years ago but the product now comes with cotton cloth like material. When I bought my set a few years ago I had handling issues too, till a fellow magician gave me his 'old set' from years ago. What a difference.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 24, 2007 06:07PM)
How many of you do use a Soft Soap that is made of silk? Mine is 18" silks. What size silks are others using?

Bob
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Jun 24, 2007 06:50PM)
I chose 12" silks because the original cotton hanks were 12" and I didn't want to end up still having trouble loading them because now they might be too big even though they were silk. However, now that I've been using my 12" silks, I wouldn't be surprised if I could get away with 18" after all.

But since I work close to my spectators, I don't need the larger silks at the moment in terms of the silks being able to be seen. I also like 15" silks a-la my Half-Dyed set and Duke's Dye Version (which I still need to buy at some point).
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 1, 2007 08:07AM)
Folksinger,

One of the real advantages of Soft Soap is that it can be done surrounded. As long as I can see into the box and they can't, I'm safe.

What I never liked about the original cotton models was the total lack of color and very limited visibility. (There was a time when larger ones made with actual men's handkerchiefs were available.) I like being able to take the silks from one trick and transitioning into the next (Soft Soap). Off-sized white rags just did not serve me. Mostly, it just exposes the trick. (I find this too true of many scaled-down bargain tricks.)

I wish I could solve the box problem. For the last twenty-five years, I've made my own boxes from poster board. Even old popcorn boxes would likely work. The little detergent boxes are not very good for my needs. But the trick is very good with all audiences. Add color and connection with other tricks to build a routine and it's a killer.

I have several sets so that different color combinations also fit the show. (Safety - Red, Yellow Green; Flag - Red, White and Blue; Halloween - Orange, Black Yellow; Spring - Turquoise, Purple, Yellow; etc.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- I did have several sets like I do use (18" silks) made up by the people who make mine to sell. However, boxes still have to be homemade.
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Jul 1, 2007 03:34PM)
Bob -
I also really like the all-angles advantage of this trick. I can see where using different color/design silks would really add to a whole slew of occasions - when you do the red, white & blue, do you end up with red, white & blue solid color silks or three actual silk flags?

Charley
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 1, 2007 07:39PM)
Charley,

The silks coming from the soapbox are three solid colored red, white and blue silks without holes. (These are just like the ones I started with.) Typically, I destroy the "evidence" by going to a Blendo. These can be any of a variety of types to include a single 36" flag. In showing the Blendo on both sides, I usually produce my last dove. And I'm on to other things with doves.

I try to never put down a flag on stage. I always respectfully hand it off to go off stage.

My actual favorite Blendos are dragons or a standing Asian girl. They match the drape cloths used over my other props. Under construction is a 36" Thank You! Blendo. (So far I'm not a happy camper on the colors there.)

An old friend of mine doesn't do doves. So his production is the flagstaff and it ends the show. And yes, people stand!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Jul 14, 2007 09:53AM)
I have had Soft Soap for many years, and I too got the cotton one that just did not work for me. I later found that Laflin had a silk set, so I purchased it. It works very well, however I am kind of liking the idea of using different colors and customizing the act to my shows. Thanks for the ideas Bob!
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 14, 2007 04:06PM)
Nanci,

My hair is white but I love colored silks! In stage lights they really make the show.

Once you have a set, remember that two of the three colors can be substituted (Thus, Red, White and Blue can become Red, Green and Yellow! Just make sure that you specify the gimmick color.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jul 14, 2007 08:54PM)
At least Bob still has hair.. mine is vanishing quickly.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 14, 2007 09:08PM)
LOL --- Richard,

It's a trick! (Once the kids get out on their own, it comes back!)

I do wish that a good source for boxes reappeared. I have to make my own. (Richard knows that I'm not allowed to work with sharp instruments.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: 1939nyc (Jul 15, 2007 12:02AM)
Hey -
Just a heads-up -it's Charley, AKA drhackenbush - I tried updating my profile and ended up being given, without realizing it, a new password that I have no way of getting access to, so I decided to start fom scratch, hence my new screen name. But it is I, beginning at 1 post again...

Bob - Sounds like red will stay the common one that needs to be whoziwatzed - having three options for routines is a great way of maximizing the usefulness of a prop.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 15, 2007 12:24AM)
[quote]
On 2007-07-15 01:02, 1939nyc wrote:
Hey -
Just a heads-up -it's Charley, AKA drhackenbush - I tried updating my profile and ended up being given, without realizing it, a new password that I have no way of getting access to, so I decided to start fom scratch, hence my new screen name. But it is I, beginning at 1 post again...

Bob - Sounds like red will stay the common one that needs to be whoziwatzed - having three options for routines is a great way of maximizing the usefulness of a prop.

[/quote]

Flexibility is often the difference between a pro and a hobbyist. (Packs small and plays big in More Places!)

Bob

PS --- I marked your post for HELP to get you back to "normal". Watch your mail for a notice from support.
Message: Posted by: 1939nyc (Jul 15, 2007 03:01AM)
I might buy the "Tips on Soft Soap" book - that looks interesting, too.

Bob - thanks for alerting Tech help. The glitch is that the email address they'll try to contact me at no longer exists, which caused the problem in the first place. But if they PM me here on the Café, I'll get the message. We'll see what happens...
Charley
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Jul 22, 2007 08:59PM)
Bob -
Just an update - thanks to your initial help, and also that of Dave Scribner and the Tech staff, I got my screen ID back. I appreciate everyone's help, and it's good to be back to normal (well, as far as I'm "normal") :)

Charley
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 23, 2007 07:56AM)
Charley,

That is good news! We're in good company.

Bob

PS --- I can't believe that you mentioned Dave and me in the same paragraph with "normal". Can you hear Mary and Gene laughing?
Message: Posted by: Moxahalla (Mar 10, 2008 11:44AM)
For those that prefer to use real SILKs in their "Soft Soap" routine....Don't forget to read Rice vol. #2: "Soft Soap Improved" (p. 798)...

Use ANY silks that you own - NONE of them are gimmicked.

The gimmick is easily made-up, and is stolen away via a thumb-loop, while displaying the produced silks.

Only disadvantage - can NOT be done surrounded.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 10, 2008 04:13PM)
Rice's books are still the best kept secret in magic.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: chmara (Mar 11, 2008 12:20AM)
My "silks" for soft soap are now made of nylon for durability. Lining the fek with non-slip als helped.

But that brings to mind another well kept secret -- the good old Tommy Windsor popcorn box. Used to be able to buy them by the dozen.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 11, 2008 06:21AM)
Gregg,

The difficulty getting good boxes is still a real problem.

The most common reason for using Nylon is money and anyone can sew them! They deteriorate in any kind of light. The strength is a very temporary thing. (Ask the US Navy why they quit using it where strength counts.)

The fake in mine are custom handmade and don't slip. They are also weighted to hang correctly. However, I have seen the problem in the cheaper sets. It can ruin your whole day! On the magic shop sets, at least sew a piece of elastic over the opening of the gimmick to help hold the "damaged" hanks in. (Good point you brought up! "Fall Out")

This is a audience pleaser.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: HappyJay (Mar 12, 2008 08:43AM)
There are boxes for Soft Soap that can be acquired through the wholesaler, Magic City. The soft soap is a cotton variety, but the boxes are good for a 12-inch version of the trick in my experience. I am not sure how well they would work for 18-inch handkerchiefs. http://www.magicity.com/product_info.php?products_id=1196

I have a 15 year old cotton Soft Soap that works very well for me, but the newer cotton handkerchiefs I have found to be horrible.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 12, 2008 09:18PM)
These boxes are too small for my 18" silk Soft Soap use.

The boxes I use are 6" x 8.75" x 2" deep.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: HappyJay (Mar 13, 2008 07:37AM)
I figured that they would be too small, but thought that I ought to mention them.

This is probably a dying question, but if I were to make my own silk set of Soft Soap, what is the best way to "stain" the dirty handkerchiefs, supposing that I should like one with lipstick-looking prints, and the other two with other, but different from each other, markings?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Mar 13, 2008 11:48AM)
I have an old home-made set where one hank is spattered with “food stains” (red, yellow, purple, brown, and green inks) it is funny when I talk about the buffet I ate at and name the foods. Then I have one that has black hand prints on it (from working on the truck), and another with holes in it (some with burn edges – ink color of course) again the source of jokes (putting out my girlfriend’s hair, etc.) and one with a lot of brownish-red (suggesting blood from where she punched me in the nose for setting it afire in the first place).

I have others too but that gives you some ideas. The stains, damage, etc. to the hanks are only limited to your imagination and your story line. Man I have to dig this stuff out and start doing it again! I put it aside for my “Red-Neck Washing Machine” routine (it’s posted here on the Café some where)!

All of my hanks are 18 inch and like others here, back in the day I used to make my own boxes. I played this routine as much for adults (in the comedy club days) as I ever did for kids.
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Mar 13, 2008 06:34PM)
I used black, off-white and silver spray paints to "dirty" up my silks, just spattering them randomly.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 13, 2008 08:17PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-13 08:37, HappyJay wrote:
I figured that they would be too small, but thought that I ought to mention them.

This is probably a dying question, but if I were to make my own silk set of Soft Soap, what is the best way to "stain" the dirty handkerchiefs, supposing that I should like one with lipstick-looking prints, and the other two with other, but different from each other, markings?
[/quote]

Thanks for the effort!

Don't forget that Sharpie pens work great on real silk. At one time I had some homemade silks with dog paw prints. Try it!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: chmara (Mar 14, 2008 02:30PM)
Ever wonder how a how a bizarrist would use soft soap -- and what the "dirty" hanks would look like?
Message: Posted by: Steven True (Mar 23, 2008 03:36AM)
Bob, where do you get your boxes made? I want to go back to using the effect again but the new ones are..well like it has already been said...just not real good to work with.

Thanks
Steven
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 23, 2008 10:33AM)
Steven,

I have to make my own from poster board. That is a habit I'm willing to kick!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: robinr (Mar 23, 2008 04:30PM)
Like Chmara, my first version, many years ago, was the Tommy Wonder version using a pop corn box with a secret compartment. I bought it from the the long defunct Douglas Magicland. Ken Allen described an easy way of making a change box (of sorts) in his book "T.I.P.S."

Robin
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 21, 2008 09:45AM)
As the USA goes out of the production business, it gets harder to find the products we need or people who know how to make them.

The good news is that a lot of magicians are do-it-yourselfers! LOL

Even 20 years ago, the South was covered with paper and box companies. Now we think of pine trees as a way to turn $3000/acre land into $75/acre land. Paper products are imports. Pine trees are just future dangerous fires and liabilities to the land owners. Things change!

Keep up the search for boxes!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- I haven't performed Soft Soap since Saturday night at a banquet at Incahoots! But I don't think I'm cured.
Message: Posted by: Rick Fisher (May 17, 2009 07:03AM)
I have always liked this effect and thought it was time to modernize a bit so we came up with our own version called Popcorn Surprise using laminated popcorn boxes. The hanks we use aren't 100% cotton...cotton is just too difficult to load into the tube. We have 'stained' the cloths with lipstick,butter/mustard stains and chocolate stains. The box is laminated so it can be used over and over again. But as Bob pointed out it is a real crowd pleaser!
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (May 17, 2009 01:41PM)
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Jim Gerrish used to take his Wiz Kids on summer tours, staying at KOA campgrounds rather than motels. These always have an on-site laundromat and the Kids would grab empty detergent boxes from the trash and use them for Soft Soap boxes. They worked with an ungimmicked box method and just needed a soap box of any size to use for the effect, then tore them up at the end. Even the small machine dispensed boxes worked.

Today they sometimes get boxes of detergent from Dollar Stores, start by opening the box and dumping out the detergent (carefully saved for later use in a plastic waste basket) and then do the effect with the empty box. It costs a buck (plus tax) per show, but that's still pretty cheap.