A picture of ricing, volcanos, separating, overheating

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kayak1987

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I just want to show you my today's half disaster
huge gel phase with crackings
and.. better to call it "water phase" considering its consistency :D
 

TwoHandssoaps

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Re: Ricing: Speaking only for myself, if I see my batter beginning to rice, I beat it into submission with my stick blender, which (so far) has always worked well for me.

Re: Volcanoes: Thankfully, this has never happened to me in all the years I've been soaping, but if it did, I think I'd try to scoop up the volcano-ing mess into a pot and stir it into submission, maybe adding a little water and possibly applying low heat if needed in order to keep it fluid enough to re-pour.

Re: Separating in the mold: I've never had this happen either (so far), but if it did, I think I'd either try stick blending right in the mold or else just dump it out into a pot and stick blend it into submission that way.

Re: Cracking from overheating: If I catch it in the act, I remove my mold to a cooler place and smooth the crack over with a wet (gloved) finger and then babysit it until it cools back down from gel, which has worked well for me in my 100% CO soaps, which are notorious for cracking on me. If I don't catch it in the act, then I either just plane the crack off or try to repair it by rubbing over it with the back of my fingernail. By the way- I found a good trick to prevent cracks from forming in my 100% CO soaps- by placing bubble wrap on top of my soap batter in the mold. Works every time (so far).

Re: Soap-on-a-stick: Emergency HP on the spot....or else I grate it up and use it as confetti decorations in other batches.


IrishLass :)
Great information. Thank you very much

Thank you very much for all these pictures. They help new soapers a lot!
 
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NGSoaper

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What causes cracking and ricing? How can it be prevented? I took a soap making class, and one of my soaps cracked. The teacher had us use the hot lye to melt the oils and butters saying that it is not necessary to melt the butter before hand.
 
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Cracking is usually caused by the soap getting too hot in the mold. Some soapers put the mold on a heating pad or in the oven to try to force it to gel. If the soap gets too hot, it will crack. Ricing is often caused by something added to the batter, especially fragrance oils. Make sure to buy your fragrances from a reputable soap making supplier. They always tell you how each FO behaves in cold process soap so you can avoid problems.
 

NGSoaper

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Cracking is usually caused by the soap getting too hot in the mold. Some soapers put the mold on a heating pad or in the oven to try to force it to gel. If the soap gets too hot, it will crack. Ricing is often caused by something added to the batter, especially fragrance oils. Make sure to buy your fragrances from a reputable soap making supplier. They always tell you how each FO behaves in cold process soap so you can avoid problems.
Thanks, Jeannie. I’ll be mindful of the temperature when making my own batches.
 

dixiedragon

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@NGSoaper - neither of these is disastrous. If you get cracking, give the soap a quick stir. That will let some of the heat escape, and also break up the "crust" on top of the soap so you don't have a crack anymore. In my experience, when you insulate (or put your soap in a warm oven) to encourage gel, you don't get the crack. the crack happens when the top is cool and the interior is too warm. Just like lava beneath the earth's crust. If you are insulating, the whole log of soap is warm and so the whole thing will gel, vs just gelling in the middle.

If you get ricing, just keep stirring. You may need to put the soap in a slow cooker, or back on the stove, if you are using a pot.

Make sure that your container (pot or slow cooker) is NO MORE than 2/3 full. Checking out the Soaping 101 video on hot process to observe the stages.
 

NGSoaper

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@NGSoaper - neither of these is disastrous. If you get cracking, give the soap a quick stir. That will let some of the heat escape, and also break up the "crust" on top of the soap so you don't have a crack anymore. In my experience, when you insulate (or put your soap in a warm oven) to encourage gel, you don't get the crack. the crack happens when the top is cool and the interior is too warm. Just like lava beneath the earth's crust. If you are insulating, the whole log of soap is warm and so the whole thing will gel, vs just gelling in the middle.

If you get ricing, just keep stirring. You may need to put the soap in a slow cooker, or back on the stove, if you are using a pot.

Make sure that your container (pot or slow cooker) is NO MORE than 2/3 full. Checking out the Soaping 101 video on hot process to observe the stages.
Thanks but I was using the cold process method with a design on top. Breaking up the top ruins the design. I don’t care for gel phase so I will not be insulating my own soaps. In this case, the mold was covered when the crack happened so there was some sort of insulation going on.
 

Cherrydene soapy

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Thankfully not all these have happened to me. Well, everything but the volcanos have, unfortunately. I found a picture of ricing while I was browsing and thought new people might like to see it. Then I found pics of some other problems we encounter. I do better with visuals so I thought it might be helpful. It's hard to find a single picture that tells the whole soap on a stick story. That one would be best depicted in a video, I think.

Pictures of trace can be helpful too.

First is a picture of light trace. It can be detected before this but is difficult to photograph.

Second is what I would consider about a moderate trace. Kind of pudding-ish, mounds a bit, very workable, can swirl nicely with less risk of colors getting muddy.

Third is pretty heavy trace. This won't pour very well or at all and you'd most likely have to spoon it into the mold. Not completely set but getting there.

The last is a picture of a soap in gel stage. The middle is gelling but it hasn't reached the corners yet.

Different looks of stearic in soap. Spots, rivers, crackle.

Lye pockets in finished soap

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Wow thank you great pictures x
 

dixiedragon

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Yes, unfortunately giving it a stir will ruin the design. You can try to avoid it entirely by soaping cooler. Also, place your soap mold on something at each corner, so that the the mold is lifted off of your counter top and air can move under it.
 

Rogue-Soaper

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Thankfully not all these have happened to me. Well, everything but the volcanos have, unfortunately. I found a picture of ricing while I was browsing and thought new people might like to see it. Then I found pics of some other problems we encounter. I do better with visuals so I thought it might be helpful. It's hard to find a single picture that tells the whole soap on a stick story. That one would be best depicted in a video, I think.

Pictures of trace can be helpful too.

First is a picture of light trace. It can be detected before this but is difficult to photograph.

Second is what I would consider about a moderate trace. Kind of pudding-ish, mounds a bit, very workable, can swirl nicely with less risk of colors getting muddy.

Third is pretty heavy trace. This won't pour very well or at all and you'd most likely have to spoon it into the mold. Not completely set but getting there.

The last is a picture of a soap in gel stage. The middle is gelling but it hasn't reached the corners yet.

Different looks of stearic in soap. Spots, rivers, crackle.

Lye pockets in finished soap

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Really a good idea to post these pictures. I did not know what any of these looked like when I began my soaping journey (before the internet). Sadly, I have a number of these things happen to me too. I didn't know how to resolve the problems; even though I purchased several books, it seemed as though no one (in the books) were acknowledging problems, they always had perfect soap. It is wonderful to see these pictures. Thank you!

Ewww that looks like chunks of meat floating in something nasty!!
LOL
 
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Rune

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Here is my disaster. It is not nearly as bad as some other disasters I've had. But, it is an example of serious glycerin rivers. Too bad, because I had low hopes for the look of this soap, and I was very pleasantly surprised that my thick blobs going in the mold actually made a drop swirl-ish design (in some bars, and some not so much). And then my joy were destroyed by those horrible glycerin rivers!

Why did the soap end up like this? Because I used too much water (36% of oils, 30% lye solution). I have a thick wooden mold that insulates well and keep the soap warm for a longer period of time. Prolonged gel phase, high water content and pigment/mica colorants, that is the way to get glycerin rivers.

I have always used a water discount, and have never had glycerin rivers before. This is the first time (I have not made tons of soap either). I will never use high water again, that is for sure!

Another problem with this soap is that I used too much ultramarine mica. I got blue lather. But I don't think that is the worst.

The pictures shows a control piece that does not have glycerin rivers (one of the end pieces) beside the bars of soap. The control piece show you how the colors were supposed to be, and how much of a difference glycerin rivers can make. Especially in the first picture. That looks horrible!

The good thing is that the soap is really nice and lathers well :)

So here you have it, the glycerin river monster of a soap :mad:
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KiwiMoose

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Yes, my soap pretty much always has glycerin rivers and I soap with relatively high water (between 28-30% lye concentration). I’m sorry that you are disappointed in your soap but I think it looks beautiful! Those tiny rivers would not bother me one iota.
 

Rune

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Thank you :)
It is especially the white part I don't like. If it was only in the blue, that would be not so bad. But the white looks all messed up, and I think that is the worst. It was a very strong daylight the day I took pictures, so it might not show as well as it does in real life. But the first picture is really bad, where the white has become almost brownish in the middle of the soap. Yes, well, that's how it is.

I had plans to sell this soap, if I really liked it. And I think the soap itself it is good enough for trying to sell online a few bars as a test (I have never sold any soap before, and I can't judge this early if the soap is good enough, since it has not been cured at all. But it looks promising already. Not the looks, of course, but the rest). But I will not sell it, I will use it myself, which is good, because I'm almost out of soap. Or well, I have lots of soap, but I don't like them very much. The one I like, I'm almost ran out of.
So I was extra disappointed that I could not get a try on selling, making labels, ingredient list, wrapping and shipping and so on. But that's how it goes. Just have to try again. At least I am closer to get a soap that feels how I want it. Hopefully very close. I just hope it could cure in a hurry, so I can have a final judgement and adjust the recipe to get it even better. I does not have to be perfect, though, since I'm very, very far from being a perfectionist.

I used more water this time to see if I could get the soap to stay fluid for longer. But it didn't. Maybe the fragrance oil also made it thicken quickly, I don't know. I was impatient and added 79 degrees (celsius) hot lye to 60 degrees oil. That heat could also speed things up. And my too powerful stickblender, always making trouble. I will not use it next time, only hand stir.
 

Rune

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I want to make a soap one day, full of glycerin rivers as the design. That is really beautiful (see the link below). But for this soap I did not want them at all. Some would been okey, but most of the bars are heavy full of them, making most of the white parts beige/yellow-ish, in contrast with the bright white parts. I think it only really shows in the first picture. The rivers in the blue part doesn't bother me too much, no.

Auntie Clara made some stunning soaps with glycerin rivers as the only design element. I find them really spectactular! Have a look:

https://auntieclaras.com/2018/05/how-to-make-glycerine-rivers/
 

penelopejane

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Glycerine rivers shrink at a different rate to the rest of the soap so overtime they look really awful to my nit-picking mind. My soap cures for a long time so the shrinkage always appears before people get to use the soap. As Auntie Clara says in the 2nd last paragraph of the page you linked to you can still allow the soap to cool down slowly as long as it gets up to a hot temp quickly. CPOP helps with this or soaping warmer.

Glycerine rivers are easy to avoid.

I think you have a few stearic spots in there too (white dots) that are recipe dependent. Recipes with high shea butter and/or coconut oil and/or palm oil require soaping at higher temps to avoid them.
 

Rune

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Thank you, Penelopejane! :) Really interesting.

Yes, they are easy to avoid. I have never had them before. I was just stupid and thought higher water would give me a more fluid batch, and totally forgot that more water means risk of glycerin rivers. On top of that, I miscalculated things in the recipe, and got even more water than I at first had in mind.

I saw those spots, but I don't find that the worst problem right now. But if I can avoid them, I will try to do so next time. By soaping hot, roughly how hot do you think I have to soap?
 
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