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mystical_angel1219

New CP Soapers Reference thread

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I've seen a flurry of new soapers in this topic lately.

Welcome to your newest addiction. I am thinking perhaps some of the seasoned soapers could help and add helpful tips, tricks and links to make it much easier to find information. Much of this all is already on this board.

Feel free to contribute~ ladies and gentlemen. :highfive:

First off, I'll add mine.

Everything I've ever learned from making soap was done by online research, books, trial and error and getting invaluable information from experienced soapers.

01. Always soap undisturbed, plan your recipe and allow extra time to complete your batch. Lye is a dangerous, deadly chemical. If you have small children- it is wise to make sure they aren't in any danger when you are handling lye. Also, make sure the lye you choose is 100% sodium hydroxide and isn't drain cleaner. Which contains metal shavings and is unsuitable for soapmaking.

02. Learn a good lye calculator and run every recipe thru it before making soap. There are many variables with online calculators. Learn one of them that you are most comfortable with and don't be afraid to ask questions. Miscalculating a recipe can make or break your batch.

03. You do not need a special mold to make soap. You can use a plethora of items easily found in any household. Shoe boxes, pringles cans, drawer organizers, even small shipping boxes. Line them with freezer paper and you have a mold.

04. A good scale is imperative. Preferably one that can measure down to grams. I wouldn't recommend a new soaper to do less than a 2 lb batch, as scales do have variance and the lye needs to be precise for tiny batches.

05. Use more of the slotted spoon or whisk and less of the stick blender. You only need to emulisify the mixture with the lye solution, not whip it like butter. The less time you blast it with the stick blender, the more time you will have to play with colors, swirlies, and additives. Have fun with it, don't play beat the clock. Soaping should be fun and creative!

06. Metal is a no-no in soaping. Only good quality stainless steel can withstand the lye process. If in doubt, get some silicone cooking tools from the dollar store. They working wonderfully. You can use wooden spoons, but they will wear down in time as the lye does eat the wood and can leave tiny shavings in the finished product.

07. Assemble ALL your ingredients for the recipe you choose, and measure them out before you start anything. This way, you see them right in front of you and have less chance of omitting something on accident. This happens a lot, even with the most experienced soaper.

08. Read and preferably print the tutorials on soaping when you do your first soap. It is good to have in front of you as a point of reference.

09. Do not stress too much on temperatures. I've found in my soaping adventures, the cooler I soap, the better it works for me. I am room-temp to borderline stone cold soaper. I measure everything out the day before, including the lye and soap the next day. This may not be practical for everyone. But for me, it works. If you soap anything over 100'- you will be playing beat the clock, as trace will be really fast.

10. You can make GREAT soap with grocery store oils. I do not recommend a new soaper starting out with a recipe that has more than five oils. You can use Crisco, lard, soy, canola, sunflower, olive, grapeseed and safflower just to name a few. Save the more expensive oils like jojoba, hemp, apricot kernal, meadowfoam and avocado oils for once you are completely comfortable with the soapmaking process.

11. Use good quality fragrance oils and/or essential oils that are made to stand up to the lye process. I cannot stress this enough. Cold-process soapmaking is probably the most harsh environment for fragrance oils. Low cost candlemaking oils will not cut it, most of the time. Read the soaping notes on supplier sites. It will give you more information on what they do, if they discolor, rice, seize, accelerate or are unsuitable for CP soap.

I would strongly advise anyone to do research on essential oils before using them in any application, as some do have side effects on pregnant women, children with epilepsy and can be harmful to people with certain health conditions. They do have therapeutic properties as well, but researching them will give you a much better understanding of how they work.

12. Once you have completed the first batch, be sure to soak everything overnight in a lot of cold water, or use gloves and wash throughly with hot water and soap. Raw soap can burn you, even a small amount. Never be careless with raw soap, not even for a second. It will burn holes in the skin quickly. Also, once you cut the first batch, do NOT just had it out to people to use. It needs to cure for a least a few weeks. Saponification can continue in soap for a day or more. I'd recommend using fresh soap on YOUR hands only, at the sink if you can't wait to try it.

I'm sure I've forgot many things..... LOL!

This is just a start. I am going to throw a basic few links up here.

Soapmaking Tutorials

How to create a soap recipe:

Bunny: http://www.candletech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3164

Robin: http://www.candletech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45126

Eugenia:

Lining a mold- http://www.candletech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62609

Soap in a box- http://www.candletech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61968

Grumpy Girl [salt bars- advanced soapmaking]

http://www.candletech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62607

How to create beautiful swirls:

http://www.beauxeaux.com/swirltutorial/howtoswirl.htm

Soapmaking Reference Links:

Kathy Miller:

http://www.millersoap.com/

Soapcrafters:

http://www.soapcrafters.com/recipes_fromscratch.htm

Soap Naturally:

http://www.soapnaturally.org/soapmaking_information.html

About.com:

http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/coldprocesssoapmaking/ss/sscpsoap.htm

Lye Calculators:

Soo's or Soap Calc:

http://www.soapcalc.com/calc/SoapCalc.asp

MMS or The Sage:

http://www.thesage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php

Snowdrift:

http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/soapcalculator.htm

RJ's:

http://recipes.herbalsoapsbyrj.com/calculators/lye-calc1.php

Brambleberry:

http://www.brambleberry.com/lye_calc_1.php

Pine Meadows:

http://www.pinemeadows.net/lyecalc.php

North Country Mercantile:

http://www.northcountrymercantile.com/soapmakinglibrary/lye_calculator.html

Soap Nuts Conversion Calculator (not lye)

http://www.soapnuts.com/percentcalc.html

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Mystical,

What an awesome post! I could not have said it better myself and agree 100% with everything you've posted. I will add that I think that it's totally awesome how many new people we have lately. I love making soap and I love helping others learn this age old craft! You've given them some great links and excellent advice.

e

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ALWAYS add your lye to your liquids! Do NOT add your liquids to your lye. If you choose to add silk, sugar or salt to your lye water, do it before you add your lye. Sugar and salt must be thoroughly dissolved in your water before you add your lye. Silk will dissolve when you add your lye due to the heat it produces.

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here is the question everyone keeps asking: how do you calculate the size of your batch depending on the size of your mold (or shoe box).

W(in) x H(in) x L(in) x 0.4 = oz of oils needed for the recipe.

is there any way to make this topic as a sticky?

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this certainly has been one of my questions

here is the question everyone keeps asking: how do you calculate the size of your batch depending on the size of your mold (or shoe box).

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Do not soap with you animals around either, and make sure you clean you working surface and the floor well before letting your animals in the room in which you have soaped. Lye sometimes will fly a bit, for this you can use a dryer sheet and just rub it around the container from which you are pouring and the container you are pouring into. You may also have gotten raw soap on the floor and not even know it.

Mystical great thread.

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what a nice thing to do..

I will say as a new soaper, it can be overwhelming, but

you all have been so wonderful to me,,,and I know to others

too, that have had so many question..Thanks for the posting..

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here is the question everyone keeps asking: how do you calculate the size of your batch depending on the size of your mold (or shoe box).

W(in) x H(in) x L(in) x 0.4 = oz of oils needed for the recipe.

is there any way to make this topic as a sticky?

Heeheehee! I just asked this question in another post!:D

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Sticky it is. These are great - good job everyone.

Start simple. You'll learn more about soap if you take it one step at a time. While you can swirl, add cool additives and interesting fragrances on your first batch, you'll understand the process of soapmaking better if you do a plain, boring batch the first time. Less things to worry about - just worry about being safe around lye, and how the reaction progresses.

And have fun!

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All I can say is I"M SCARED!! I'd love to try to make soap and have thought about it for a while, but it seems a bit scarry to me. Of course candle making scared me at first too. Maybe in the near future I'll give it a try. How did you all get started, are their kits like for candles? I'm gonna keep reading for now.

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Even though I have not made my first soap yet I have a small piece of great advice.

Start at the very last page of this forum and read to the front. Keep a notebook next to you and jot down information as you find it. Write down you questions and start reading to find the answers. In doing this, you discover a wealth of information about the arena of soap making. There is a great deal to know and all the information is here but you should be willing to invest the time to find it. This also help to learn who people are in this forum!

Learn how to do a search in this forum.

Yes, the people in this forum are wonderful and experienced in the wonderful craft of soap making, but you also can learn more for yourself by reseaching a topic.

Fire

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When making soap, always wear sturdy shoes and don't soap in bare feet, flipflops, or just socks. If for any reason you spill lye or, heaven forbid, raw soap, you might burn either the tops or the bottoms of your feet!

I soaped today and I had a drop of raw soap land on my shoe. Had I been wearing flipflops, I would have been burned on the top of my foot. Also if you measured out oils and butter for your soap, you have less of a chance of slipping on a stray drop of oil or butter.:cheesy2:

Fire

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May I add my thanks for this post also. The people on this board have been AWESOME in their willingness to help this new soaper.

The links you have provided will answer a lot of questions we otherwise would be posting. Thanks again

Delia

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Thank you for this, I copied and pasted the relevant remarks into my Word program. I am going to put it in my soaping notebook!

Blessings, Jill~

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This is a wonderful stickie!!! Thanks!!

I have only been making soap for about 4 months but I do have a tip that I wish I had done when I first started to look into it.

When researching and gathering info, copy the URL into your notes. Then you know where to go back to if questions arise later or when you got a formulation or recipe from.

Digit

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Keep notes, and more notes. Everything you do, write it down. This way you can look back and see what you did if something goes wrong and it will be easier to narrow it down. It's also handy so when you finally come up with that perfect recipe, you'll have it to replicate again :)

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This is a great thread especially for new soapers.

I would say- the number 1 priority is to respect the lye. Use gloves and goggles and simple batches to start so you can work slower.

Keeping a soap diary- very important. I would be lost without that.

Get familiar with a soap calculator.

Don't worry about temps too much- I'm a room temp soaper too!:yay:

What I do is always cover my workspace with cardboard, newspaper, or heavy garbage bags just in case I spill the lye. It hasn't happened yet but you never know.

I also always keep a heavy duty rubbermaid pail thing next to me with some vinegar and water in it to put my used tools in until I wash them the next day.

I keep my gloves on until I'm totally done and put then back on to wash even the next day and when handling soap.

You can never be too cautious when using lye.

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This is fantastic information. I am thrilled to know how to figure out the amount of oils that I will need for a soap mold. Up until now I have just been guessing.

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The very first post says this: "Also, make sure the lye you choose is 100% sodium hydroxide and isn't drain cleaner. Which contains metal shavings and is unsuitable for soapmaking."

The lye I bought is a drain cleaner, but it does say 100% lye on the bottle. So is this ok or not?

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The very first post says this: "Also, make sure the lye you choose is 100% sodium hydroxide and isn't drain cleaner. Which contains metal shavings and is unsuitable for soapmaking."

The lye I bought is a drain cleaner, but it does say 100% lye on the bottle. So is this ok or not?

As long as it says 100% lye, you should be fine. What brand did you buy and where did you get it from? If you have an Ace Hardware near by, they sell Rooto 100% lye for $3 a bottle. That's what I have been using.

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As long as it says 100% lye, you should be fine. What brand did you buy and where did you get it from? If you have an Ace Hardware near by, they sell Rooto 100% lye for $3 a bottle. That's what I have been using.

Same brand, same store, except mine was almost 6 bucks for 16 oz.

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Wow this is some awesome information. I think I am going to need more than one notebook to keep notes in. I plan on doing lots of research before I even get started making soap. Now to figure out what the heck Lye is since I have never heard of it until I was researching the soap making process.

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