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Old 06-21-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
BlueSky
 
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Default Learning to change a recipe

I made this soap:

5.9 oz fractionated coconut oil
22.1 oz almond oil
7.0 oz distilled water
4.1 oz lye

It is still curing but I can already tell it will be very soft. I want to make this a harder bar of soap, so I think I can add cocoa butter to this recipe. Can I lessen the almond oil to 12.1 oz and add 10 oz of cocoa butter. If I leave the lye at 4.1 oz, this should produce a discount of approx. 8%. Correct?

Will this make a harder bar of soap that is still moisturizing?


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Old 06-21-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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hi there!

i'm out in the field, so i can't check your recipe, but may i suggest you check out www.soapcalc.com

it is one of the best tools a soapmaker has. it will take you about a half hour to go thru and read all the soap qualities info-then it has a tut. for using the site. in an hour you will be able to make all sorts of different recipes using different oils and making informed decisions on the different qualities of your soap.


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Old 06-21-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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Thank you--this is going to be fun. Now I get it!
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:33 AM   #4
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Do most people stick to 38 as a "water as % of oils" ratio. Some of the recipes in my book are coming out to 25-27. I'm thinking the % of water depends on the ratio of liquid and solid fats. If the recipe has a high percentage of liquid fats, the water ratio should be lower.

So is the range 25 - 38 and, if I am not sure what to use, will 38 work for all recipes.

You are all a great deal of help--I am happy I found this forum.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:00 AM   #5
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Blue, it's usually safe to go with about 33% lye solution. That is two parts water to one part lye (For instance: if your recipe calls for 5 oz. of lye, you would use 10 oz. of water...that would give you a 33.33% lye mixture, which is a good middle of the road solution).

Before you make anymore soap, you should read-up a bit more on oil characteristics... you know, what makes soap "tick" according to what oils/fats you use. Do a LOT of forum reading and try to learn by other people's mistakes as well as their successes.

Some oils add bubbles but not much else. Some oils add stability to the lather. Some oils add gentleness. Some oils add high cleansing. You want a "balanced" soap. One that cleans well but does not dry-out your skin. One that is firm but not too soft, or too hard to cut.

A couple of rules of thumb:
1. For an the average soap recipe, you will need a high-lather oil for about 10 to 20% of your recipe. High lather oils are coconut, palm kernel or babassu (the latter being the most expensive of the three most common ones).

2. You'll need a "base" hard oil that will give your bar hardness and stability to the lather. Good ones for this are: palm, lard, tallow, vegetable or meat fat shortenings, and olive oil. Olive oil adds a lot of hardess, but it makes a more gel-like lather. It is good used in moderation (10 to 30%) unless you are going for a more "castile" type soap. Your base hard oil will be around 40 to 60% of your recipe (sometimes a little more or less....these are ballpark figures). Using combinations of hard oils is a fantastic idea as some oils/fats complement each other really well. Example: lard and olive oil go really well together, as does lard/tallow, vegetable shortening and olive, the combinations are endless.

3. A good "soft oil" is used to help balance out the bar and make the solid soap more manageable. Good ones are canola, safflower, soybean, sunflower, castor. Thes oils are good used at about 5 to 20% of the recipe (the more you use, the softer and stickier the soap will be when you go to cut it, but it will usually firm up well if you don't use too much water). You can combine more than one in a recipe, like using canola and castor, or safflower and castor. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Castor used at over 10% can make a soap pretty sticky and hard to get out of the mold unless you balance it out with a good hard butter or palm.

These are basics. Not set in stone, but guidelines.

*NOTE: Specialty oils and butters should be tried later on down the road, after you have a few good batches under your belt and you have a real good feel for your oils and how they soap. This will really help you down the road to trouble-shoot problems you might have in the future when you are experimenting with newer stuff.

Hope this helps sweetie! I am no expert, but I've been making soap for well over ten years for daily use and for sale, so I have made some messes and learned some lessons! LOL.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:00 AM   #6
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happy to help!

oops, bunny and i posted at the same time!

i have a different way of getting to the same water/lye ration, but before i forget, always always weigh your lye by grams not oz's to get the most reliable measurement.

next for someone starting out i figure a lye/water soloution of about 27%. the easiest way to figure this is: lye x 2.5=liquids. after you become more familiar you can begin to reduce it a little at a time. i now soap at 33% which is lye x 2=water. some here soap with even less water.

i suggest using a golden olive oil (not virgin) like walmart's great value olive oil. you can get the coconut oil there, too.

i would soap around 100 degrees, depending on your recipe. a good starting recipe is 70% olive and 30% coconut. you may have to hit it a few times with a stick blender.

a 1 quart wax milk carton makes a great mold-you can tear it off to get the soap out and it won't stick! I usually wrap with a towel to insulate.

www.soapersmarket.com has a mold calculator that figures out how much oil you need for the size of the mold. it even does round molds!

start either unscented, of with an essential oil, like lavender or litsea cubeba (lemony) or maybe a little patchouli or sandalwood or eucalyptus. none of these are "drama queens" in soaping-in other words, no suprises. depending on the e/o, you will use approx .5-.75 per pound of oil.

hope you have fun. when you have the time, try reading a page or two of our past forum posts or do a "search" (top right of page) for a particular subject on soaping. there is a wealth of info here, just waiting to be brought to light!

happy soaping!
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:13 AM   #7
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me again!

almost forgot! check out www.soap-making-essential.com wonderful site full of info, recipes and inspiration!
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:18 AM   #8
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Whoops....... you left off the "s" at the end of essentials!

http://www.soap-making-essentials.com/

HTH

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Old 06-22-2009, 01:24 AM   #9
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Thank you so much for the comments and the links--I am printing them out. Visited the link for the mold calculator (beautiful soaps), it will be very useful. I have combed through the forum and found a lot of good information. I check in routinely to see how everyone else is doing. Once I get that first batch of soap that I am really proud of, I will be sure to post pictures.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:29 AM   #10
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Ive never used so much almond oil, too spendy for me, but try maybe olive, coconut and almond? I really like olive, palm, coconut and some castor for bubbles! Isnt it fun, i love it, made 50$ this weekend, just to mom inlaws friends. Are you doing hp or cp? I like both, but hardly any cure time with hp, i like that.


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