One of the members asked me if I was new to soaping. I didn't answer, but I guess, in a way, I am. I was an avid soaper from 1999 thru 2003 - 5 years. The thing is, I always did the same stuff over and over. I did oils, scents, botanicals, MMS's lye calculator, and that's about it. Coming to this forum, I have learned a ton already. and I am making mistakes! In my 5 previous years of soaping, I never had one mistake - and I made a LOT of soap. (Ok, ok. There was that one batch that tried to seize on me when I added the EO, but in the end I won.) So, here is another mistake and a noob question. I laid a piece of cardboard on my 9 cavity silicone mold. Some of it must have been touching the soap because the soap had slight signs of the cardboard's corrugation and the soap was brown where it was touching the cardboard. More ugliness to add to the corners that didn't get filled with batter. So, my question... Does the soap have to be covered and insulated to do its thing? Would it still become soap if I just left the mold out in the open? Would it still go to gel? Does it HAVE to go to gel to become soap? My slab molds were easy cuz they have dedicated covers. These silicone molds are new to me.