My best advice would be to type in google search your area of residence and soap classes, it all depends on location!
I would pick up some soap books (susan miller has quite a few). Check into all the safety precautions with using lye, then decide what types of soap youd like to make (there are a few types...MP=Melt&Pour, CP=Cold Process, HP=Hot process, RTCP = room temperature cold process (a variation which Paul was so gracious to provide a tutorial for...check the tutorials section of the forum!!)
check out all the threads on this forum you can about soapcalc,
heres a nice little list of things that are reccommended to get you started:
http://www.soapcalc.com/itemlist.asp , also browse this website, soapcalc is awesome (though may seem really confusing at first my best advice is to learn the theory behind soapmaking first then look into soapcalc!)
also...something that helped for me...get a notebook for your research, start with a list of questions that you would like to have answered (research the answers first before asking....you will learn much more this way..believe me...I was in your position only one month ago...now i have 2 batches of soap under my belt...and i cant wait to make more!)
It is definately an addiction! everyone on this forum is VERY helpful. I would not be comfortable as I am right now with soaps if it wasnt for some outstanding members on the forum...I dont consider myself a great knowledge body on this whole soapmaking thing yet, but i figured i would just give some help as to how I got started...it worked for me, though there are many different ways to learn! just have to find the one that works best for you!
hope this helped!
and good luck! you will be soaping in no time! but do alot of research first!
I've just started making CP soaps. There aren't any classes near where I live, so I read everything online I could find, especially anything with pictures. There are even videos you can watch on youtube. I think it's a great thing to SEE what things are supposed to look like. I did a lot of research.
You'll need a good kitchen scale that weighs at least to the 10th of an ounce, goggles and gloves.
Then you'll need your oils, lye, etc, (ingredients).
And, finally, you'll need a good starter recipe, nothing terribly complicated, and don't forget to run the ingredients through a lye calculator, just to be sure.
My first batch and those I made since have all turned out very well - except for the one where I put in too much dye - because of that one, I'm quite well versed on rebatching.
I've also started doing some Hot Process and I really enjoy that!
Don't forget to pick up a stick blender! However, when making my first three batches, I stirred the soap manually just to get a feel of what it's like (plus, I used fats that resulted in faster trace, like lard and coconut oil).
read, read and read some more! I have spent hours on the web, getting all the techniques and ingredients clear in my head. Then I started gathering the equipment and supplies! I guess I did about 3 weeks of prep before even opening the bottle of Lye!
Good luck, it is such a great thing to do, addictive even
I just want to add a quick comment about the videos on the web....yes they can be helpful but they don't always show the correct way to do things such as making your lye water. Do a LOT of reading as you will learn a tremendous amount. Good luck and ask questions! This is a great source to get your questions answered! :wink: