a pile of crappie soft baits with the title overlay "Soft Plastic Lures: How To Make Amazing Soft Baits"

Soft Plastic Lures: How To Make Amazing Soft Baits

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My luremaking endeavors started with jigs.

I’ve built jigs, fished with jigs, written about jigs, and just generally loved jigs.

But throughout my jig adventures, there’s always been this underlying itch to make my own soft plastic baits.

Why?

Let me name the reasons.

It feeds creativity ➡️ Soft bait making is a marvelous creative outlet for anyone who loves to fish. Ask me how I know 😉.

It creates something unique ➡️ Baits you make yourself are totally unique to you. DIY soft baits offer a totally new look that fish don’t typically see!

It saves you money ➡️ The cost of soft baits adds up quickly. Invest in some simple equipment and you can build hundreds of soft baits and spend less compared to buying them!

With these reasons in mind, it’s uber obvious that DIY soft baits have tons to offer!

I can hear your protests now…

“But Blaine, surely making soft baits is a really complicated process.”

On the contrary!

Armed with the proper equipment, you can absolutely start making your own soft plastic fishing lures using a few basic steps.

Here’s what they are.

Materials Needed

Plastisol 👉 This is the basic material that soft baits are made from. M-F plastisol is my preferred choice here, for its low odor, low bubbles, and fantastic clarity.

Injector 👉 The injector pushes hot plastic into the injection mold like a giant syringe. A quality injector will last you many years!

Soft bait injection mold 👉 The mold you use dictates what soft bait you are making. Worms, creatures, and craws – oh my!

Colorant 👉 For giving your soft bait vibrant colors.

Microwave 👉 For cooking the plastisol. Keep this microwave dedicated to cooking plastisol only.

Digital infrared thermometer 👉 For quickly checking the temperature of cooked plastisol.

Pyrex cup 👉 For holding plastisol while it cooks in the microwave.

Heat resistant gloves 👉 To protect your hands when handling the hot Pyrex cup.

Safety glasses 👉 To protect your eyes if any hot plastic splatters.

How To Make Soft Plastic Fishing Lures

Making soft baits is a simple four step process. The more you make soft baits, the simpler this process becomes!

The 4 Steps Of Soft Bait Making
1. Cook the plastic
2. Add your colors
3. Inject the plastic
4. De-mold and cure

For today’s soft bait build, I will be crafting a 2.5″ Crappie Fluke in a Crystal Emerald color.

Crystal Emerald Crappie Fluke soft baits piled into a stack

Today’s Soft Bait Recipe 👇

(Click on each item to see the product link.)
Mold ➡️ Crappie Fluke mold by Do-It Molds.
Plastisol ➡️ 1/2 cup M-F Medium plastisol.
White colorant ➡️ 2 drops M-F White.
Black colorant ➡️ 1 drop M-F Black.
Green colorant ➡️ 40 drops M-F Green Smoke Pearl.
Silver glitter ➡️ 1/8 tsp 0.015” Silver Flake

👉 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, pour ½ cup of plastisol into the Pyrex cup.

pyrex cup with liquid plastisol

⚠️ 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.

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 a digital infrared thermometer. The plastic must reach 350 degrees for it to be fully cooked.

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

pyrex cup filled with milky uncooked plastisol
Milky uncooked plastisol

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 or just over.

pyrex cup full of clear cooked plastisol
Clear, fully cooked plastisol

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

👉 Add your colors

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.

M-F soft plastic colorants lined up on a table

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

Add in 1 drop of black colorant, then 2 drops of white colorant. Then count out 40 drops of Green Smoke Pearl colorant. This creates a shimmery silver color, with a very subtle green hue that catches the eye under certain lighting.

Pyrex cup filled with colored plastic ready to made into a soft bait

Add in ⅛ teaspoon of small silver flake for a little extra flash and shimmer, and we are ready to stir the plastic!

👉 Inject the plastic

Before injecting the plastic into the mold, clamp the mold shut and do a quick temperature check on the plastic. If the plastic has cooled below 330 degrees, you may want to reheat it for another 20-30 seconds to get it back up to operating temperature.

Once the plastic is back up to 330-360 degrees, place the tip of the injector into the plastic and suck it into the injector by pulling up the plunger.

Quick note on injectors 👇

I personally use a Do-It Molds 4 oz injector for injecting soft baits. This is a great budget-friendly injector for those who don’t pour large volumes of soft baits.

There are injectors out there with higher capacities and better build quality (such as the N2 Injector), but if you are a soft bait maker on a budget it’s hard to go wrong with a simple Do-It Molds injector.

Now place the injector tip into the injection port of the soft bait mold and steadily push the plunger down.

a soft plastic injector injecting plastisol into a mold for soft bait making

Once you feel resistance on the plunger, stop pressing it down and hold pressure for one or two seconds. This helps push the hot plastic into the nooks and crannies of the mold cavities.

Now pull the injector out of the mold and push a little more hot plastic into the injection port to make sure the mold is completely full of plastic.

👉 De-mold and cure

The plastic will need to cool for 2-3 minutes before being taken out of the mold.

Before de-molding, lightly touch the plastic that is in the mold’s injection port. 

If it is still very soft and sticky, you may need to wait another minute for the baits to set. If the plastic is relatively firm, the baits are ready to come out!

Soft baits sitting in a soft plastic lure mold
Ready to de-mold!

To cure the soft baits, toss them in a pan of water for 15 minutes. Pull the baits out and let them dry.

Congratulations, you now have a finished soft bait that you can fish with!

“Wow, I didn’t know soft bait making was so easy, Blaine! But this is a lot of info… where do I start?”

Start with getting the proper equipment. Once you have the right equipment in hand, then you can use the simple tips outlined in this article to start making your own soft baits!

If you want to make soft baits on a budget 👇

Check out equipment made by Do-It Molds. They carry a fantastic line of budget value injectors and soft bait molds for the DIY baitmaker!

Do-It Molds Equipment and Materials

If you want the best soft bait making equipment 👇

Consider obtaining a higher quality N2 injector. Also check out the plastisol and colorants made by M-F. In many ways, their products are the standard by which other plastisols and colorants are measured!

Premium Equipment and Materials

You’ll also want to consider soft bait molds from companies such as Angling AI Molds and Epic Bait Molds. These companies pride themselves on crafting super premium molds and providing great customer service. If you are in the market for a premium soft bait mold, do yourself a favor and check them out!

Interested in getting more soft bait recipes?

Then punch in your name and email below to get more soft bait making recipes and tips!

I periodically share insider tips and recipes with my subscribers – tips and tricks that help them make baits like the ones shown below!

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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