Soft craw on a wood background with title overlay "How To Make Soft Plastic Fishing Lures For $100"

How To Make Soft Plastic Fishing Lures (For $100)

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Picture this: you’re standing in your favorite tackle shop, searching for your favorite bait. You search and search, but you can’t find that bait. Then you realize – your confidence bait is out of stock!

Sound familiar?

Every angler knows the pain of not being able to find their favorite bait right when they need it. But what if I told you that you could create your own custom soft baits and never have to worry about that problem again?

What if I told you that with a $100 investment, you could start making super cool, super custom soft baits for dirt cheap.

Sound far fetched? Spoiler alert ➡️ it’s not!!!!

Welcome back to Jig Is Up Lurecraft! Today we will be diving into how you can start making your own soft plastic fishing lures with only a $100 budget!

Custom bait making can be as wallet friendly (or as extravagant) as you want it to be.

In this article, we’re going to look at assembling a soft bait making kit for right at $100. Then, we’ll look at soft bait making basics – how to cook your plastisol, how to mix in colors, and then how to pour your very first batch of soft plastic lures!

Without further ado, let’s get started…

Gathering Supplies to Make Soft Plastic Fishing Lures

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of creating your own soft plastic lures, let’s make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Don’t worry, you won’t need to break the bank – with a budget of just $100, you can get everything you need to start making your own soft baits!

👉 The Soft Bait Mold: Open Pour Mad Dad Craw ($22)

First things first, you need a mold for your custom soft plastics. Lots of really great molds out there – I recommend starting with an open pour CNC mold. Two big reasons for that decision. One, open pour molds are incredibly beginner friendly and do not require purchasing an expensive injector. Two, CNC aluminum molds are so hardy and so durable they will easily last a lifetime.

open pour soft plastic craw mad dad mold

With that being the case, I highly recommend starting with the Do-It Molds Mad Dad Open Pour Craw mold. This mold produces gorgeous soft craws for bass fishing at the super affordable price of about $22!

👉 Plastisol for Making Soft Plastic Lures ($15)

Next up is another star of this show: plastisol. You can snag a quart of quality plastisol at Barlow’s Tackle for around $15, which should be enough to create a whopping 90-100 Mad Dad Craws. Talk about getting some bang for your buck!

👉 Colors and Glitter for Custom Soft Plastic Fishing Lures ($12.68)

M-F Black Liquid Colorant for making soft plastic fishing lures

Now, let’s add some personality to your lures. Grab a bottle of M-F Liquid Colorant at $6.19 each and a jar of glitter for $6.49. For these bass craws, I recommend getting some olive colorant and black glitter, or some black colorant with blue glitter. These colors are incredibly versatile for soft craws and catch a ton of fish! Mix and match to create unique color combinations that’ll have the fish (and your fishing buddies) doing a double-take.

More investment, more colors 🎨

We’re trying to keep our investment within $100 in this guide. With that said, for a few dollars more you can unlock a whole new level of soft bait making fun!

For another $30-$40, you can add several more colorants and glitters to your arsenal, for making baits with different colors.

If you just want to try soft bait making to see if it’s for you, then you might not care to spend this extra $30. But if you really want to test out your soft bait creativity… investing in some additional colorants and glitters might be for you!

👉 Other Equipment Needed to Make Soft Plastic Fishing Lures ($40)

To round out your lure-making kit, you’ll need a few more essentials. Pick up a used microwave for around $20 to cook your plastisol, a Pyrex cup for $5 to cook and pour the plastic, and a butter knife and measuring spoons for stirring and measuring, which should cost about $3 at the dollar store.

pyrex cup with liquid plastisol
Pyrex cups are a must.

Then you’ll want to get a simple probe thermometer for around $12, which you can get from virtually any grocery store. A thermometer is essential for checking the temperature of the plastisol when you are cooking it.

Toss in $8.95 for shipping from Barlow’s Tackle, and you’re all set with a grand total of $98.63. Sure, it might seem like a bit of an investment upfront, but trust me – the savings (and the luremaking satisfaction) will be well worth it in the long run!

Materials List

Mad Dad Craw Mold ➡️ $22
Plastisol ➡️ $15
Colorant ➡️ $6.19
Glitter ➡️ $6.49
Shipping from Barlow’s ➡️ $8.95
Pyrex cup ➡️ $5
Microwave ➡️ $20
Thermometer ➡️ $12
Utensils ➡️ $3

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Soft Plastic Lures

Alright, you’ve got your supplies, and you’re ready to create some custom baits. Let’s break down the process into a few simple steps that’ll have you churning out custom soft plastic fishing lures like a pro in no time.

⚠️ Safety First ⚠️

Before making soft baits, make sure you are using the proper safety equipment.

Safety glasses ➡️ In case the hot plastic splatters.

Heat resistant gloves ➡️ To protect your hands from the hot Pyrex cup and from hot plastic.

Good air circulation ➡️ To dissipate any fumes that may come from the cooked plastic. If good air circulation is hard to come by, feel free to use a respirator instead to protect your lungs from any potential fumes.

Cooking the Plastisol

👉 Cook the plastic

To get started, shake the jug of plastisol before pouring any into the Pyrex cup. Liquid plastisol is made of plasticizers and resins, which tend to hard pack if the plastisol sits for very long.

Once you have thoroughly shaken the jug of plastisol, let it set for 5 minutes so the bubbles settle. Then pour ½ cup of plastisol into the Pyrex cup.

Once the plastisol is in the Pyrex cup, stick it in the microwave and cook it for 90 seconds to start with.

After the 90 seconds is up, pull out the cup and give the liquid plastic a good stir with a butter knife. (Make sure you use this butter knife only for soft bait making!)

Give the plastic a quick heat check using your probe thermometer. The plastic must reach 350 degrees for it to be fully cooked.

A Pyrex cup containing partially cooked plastisol
Partially cooked plastic

Plastisol that isn’t cooked all the way is very easy to identify. It is typically milky in color and globby in consistency.

In contrast, fully cooked plastic is very runny and ultra clear!

At this point, continue to cook the plastic in 30 second increments, periodically stirring and checking the temperature until the plastisol is at 350 degrees.

Clear, fully cooked plastic

Once the plastic is fully cooked, you are ready to add colorant and flake!

Adding Color and Glitter to the Plastic

Now for the fun part: adding color and flake. Add the desired amount of liquid colorant and glitter, then mix slowly and thoroughly into the cooked plastisol. Feel free to experiment with different ratios to create your own signature colors here.

For today’s recipe, I’ll be using 1/8 tsp of black flake and about 50 drops of olive colorant for 1/2 cup of plastisol.

The best advice I can offer for adding colorant and glitter to plastisol is to start with a small amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired color.

Think of it like this – you can always add color, but you can never take any color out of the plastic!

Pouring the Plastic into the Mold

With your plastisol all jazzed up, it’s time to pour it into your Mad Dad Open Pour Craw mold. With gloves on, use the Pyrex cup to slowly pour a thin, steady stream of hot plastic into the open pour mold.

Once you’ve filled the entire mold, you are finished pouring!

De-molding the Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

Once your plastic has cooled and set (which should only take a few minutes), carefully remove your lure from the mold. Use your trusty butter knife to trim away any excess material.

Toss the baits in a pan of water for 15 minutes to cure, and voila! You’ve just created your very own custom soft plastic bait!

mad dad craw soft plastic fishing lure
Green Pumpkin Mad Dad Craw

Repeat this process to your heart’s content, experimenting with different colors, glitters, and even scents (if you’re feeling adventurous). Before you know it, you’ll have a tackle box full of one-of-a-kind lures that you have confidence in!

Pssst, want to learn more?

Then check out the following articles! These guides showcase various methods, molds, and recipes you can use today to make amazing soft baits!

Cost Savings of Making Your Own Soft Plastic Fishing Lures

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to create your own soft plastic lures, let’s talk about the best part: saving money. While the initial investment in supplies might seem daunting, the long-term savings are well worth it.

Initial Investment in Lure Making Supplies

As we mentioned earlier, you can get started with a budget of around $100. This includes your mold, plastisol, colors, glitter, and all the necessary tools. It might seem like a lot upfront, but when you consider the number of lures you can create with these supplies, it’s a real bargain.

Think about it this way: a typical pack of soft plastic lures at your local tackle shop might cost anywhere from $5 to $10, depending on the brand and style. With your $100 investment, you can create up to 100 lures (or more, depending on the size of your mold). That’s a whole lot of fishing trips covered!

Price Per Lure: Homemade vs Store-Bought

But the savings don’t stop there. Once you’ve made your initial investment in supplies, the cost per lure drops dramatically. You’ll only need to restock your plastisol, colors, and glitter as needed, which means you can keep cranking out custom baits for pennies on the dollar compared to store-bought options.

Let’s break down the math. If you were to purchase 100 soft plastic lures at an average price of $7 per pack (assuming 10 lures per pack), you’d be looking at a total cost of $70. Compare that to the $15 worth of plastisol you used to create the same number of lures at home, and you’re already seeing significant savings.

Plus, with the ability to create your own unique color combinations and styles, you’ll have a tackle box full of lures that are tailored specifically to your fishing needs – and your wallet will thank you for it.

Conclusion

There you have it – your comprehensive guide for how to make soft plastic fishing lures on a budget!

Remember, with just a $100 investment in supplies, you can unlock a whole new level of fishing creativity and cost savings. No longer will you be at the mercy of tackle shop prices or limited color options. You’ll have the power to create custom lures that perfectly suit your fishing style and preferences!

But the benefits don’t end there. As you continue to hone your lure-making skills, you’ll find yourself becoming a more well-rounded and knowledgeable angler as well. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what makes a lure effective, and you’ll be able to adapt your creations on the fly to match the conditions at hand.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your supplies, fire up that microwave, and start pouring some plastic! Your tackle box (and your fishing buddies) will be forever grateful for the one-of-a-kind, budget-friendly lures you’ll soon be churning out.

Happy lure making!

FAQs

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide to making your own soft plastic lures, but you might still have some lingering questions. Fear not – I’ve got you covered with these frequently asked questions.

Can you save money by making your own soft baits?

Absolutely! While there’s an initial investment in supplies (around $100), you’ll quickly see the savings add up. With the ability to create up to 100 lures with just $15 worth of plastisol, you’ll be spending far less per lure than you would on store-bought options. Plus, you can create custom colors and styles that perfectly suit your needs.

How long do homemade soft plastic fishing lures last?

The beauty of making your own soft plastic lures is that they can last just as long as store-bought options, if not longer. By using high-quality plastisol and properly storing your lures, you can expect them to hold up to countless fishing trips. And if one gets torn up by a particularly feisty fish? No worries – just melt down the plastic and pour yourself a new one!

Can I reuse plastisol to make more lures?

Yes, you can! One of the great things about plastisol is that it can be remelted and reused multiple times. If you have leftover plastic from a previous pour or a lure that didn’t quite turn out right, simply reheat it in your microwave and start again. This not only saves you money in the long run but also reduces waste – a win-win for your wallet and the environment.

So there you have it – your burning questions, answered. Now get out there and start creating some one-of-a-kind soft plastic lures!


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a soft jerkbait, soft plastic craw, and soft plastic crappie fluke laying out on a tabletop
Jerkbaits, crappie flukes, and craws – oh my!

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