Beginner needing correct amounts

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Sep 28, 2015
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New to soap making.

We have a few bees hives here and want to get into making soap with the honey and beeswax we collect from extracting from the hives. I was wondering if i could get some help on getting the right amounts of each ingredient for a mold that is 1 foot long 3.5 in tall and 3.5 in wide.

the ingredients we plan on using for our soap is:

Shea Butter
Olive Oil
Sunflower Seed Oil
Coconut Oil
Fragrance oil

any help would be much appreciated.
Hi and welcome!

I think the best place to start would be to go through the last few pages on the beginner forum and regular cp sections. Reading through the recipes mentioned will help to give an understanding of good recipes and how to formulate one. Once you have come up with one, post it back here along with what your intentions are (bar for people with dry skin, all around bath bar, etc). That will give us something juicy to review.

On those threads, you'll likely see folks mentioning a similar recipe over and over again. :)

Another helpful thing is to watch the Soaping 101 to see the basics in action. The videos build on one another so start with the oldest last.
Welcome! :wave:

Here is the formula for figuring out how big of a batch to make to fit a mold (all the measurements are taken from the inside dimensions of the mold): L x W x H x .4 = the size batch to make based on how much oil/fat the recipe contains. So, if those were the inside dimensions of your mold, the size batch that would fit in your mold would be 3.6 lbs.

Since it looks like this will be your first batch, I would not make a batch as big as 3.6 lbs. For those first starting out, it's best to stick to smaller size batches such as 1 lb. until you get a handle on things. The reason for that is the fairly big learning curve that comes part and parcel with making lye-based soaps. So many things can go wrong and it would be a shame to have wasted 3 pounds of oils/fats. Good news, though- you can easily make a 1 lb. batch in your mold by only pouring enough batter to fill the mold to a 1" depth. You'll end up with 4 perfect 3.5" x 2.5" x 1" bars with a little left over to cut into sample bars.

As for how much of each of your ingredients to use, that's really going to depend on several factors, such as your skin's personal likes/dislikes (do you have dry skin or oily skin?). If your skin tends towards the dry side, you may not want to use too much coconut oil in your formula. Another factor to take into consideration is the kind of lather you prefer- the fluffy bubble-type or more of the creamy-type?

I agree with Snappy in that it would be of tremendous benefit to read through the forum to get a handle on how to formulate towards your skin's personal likes/dislikes. The Soapmaking 101 videos are very helpful as well. Here is another great resource on how to formulate a recipe just for you:

As far as how much beeswax and honey to add, speaking only for myself (others will differ in what they prefer), I don't like going over 2% of beeswax ppo (per pound of oil) in my recipe. I find that too much more than that cuts in on the lathering abilities of my soap formula.

As for honey- again- speaking only for myself- I like to use 1 tablespoon ppo (per pound of oil).

IrishLass :)
Thanks for the reply Snapplyllama and Irish Lass. yes those are the correct deminisons of the inside of our mold. I'm going to throw some amounts out there and you tell me how it sounds.

Shea Butter- 2.5 ounces
Olive Oil- 14.4 ounces
Sunflower Seed Oil- 9 ounces
Coconut Oil- 7.2 ounces
Beeswax- 2.9 ounces
Honey- 2 ounces
Lye- 4.937 ounces
Water- 11.88 ounces
Oatmeal- 1.45 ounces
Fragrance oil- 2.45 ounces

i got some of these numbers from a soap calc. please let me know your thoughts.

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I'd separate your recipe into the following since recipes are normally handled in this manner so you can calculate your lye and resize it easily in case you get a new mold.

Regular Recipe
2.5 oz Shea Butter 7.55%
14.4 oz Olive Oil 43.50%
9.0 oz Sunflower 27.19%
7.2 oz Coconut Oil 21.75%
Water (run through a lye calculator - leave at SoapCalc default 38% while you're learning)
Lye (run through a lye calculator)

Beeswax: I don't use this additive, but you should be able to find amounts folks tend to use
Honey: I like 1 tsp ppo, but some folks go higher.
Oatmeal: I like 1 tbsp ppo
Fragrance: Varies based on allowable amounts. Your seller should give you a max amount. Don't go above 1oz ppo, but only go that high if it's within the manufacturer's allowable limit.

I'd encourage you to leave out the additives for your first few soaps, then add them in one at a time so you can see what it does to your soap. :)

Now onto the soap recipe you mentioned...

As far as the base soap goes, that Sunflower being so high will most likely cause DOS. Try to keep your fatty acids of linoleic + linolenic to under 15. I don;t tend to like recipes with a lot of soft oils, so someone else would be better to weigh in on that.

ETA: For FOs... most folks go between .5 and 1 oz ppo. Some EOs have a much lower allowable limit and can injure you at .5 ppo (like clove).
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Just throwing in my 2 cents worth. I would forego the honey and beeswax until you have a few batches of soap under your belt. Both are known to overheat in soap. I agree with IrishLass with the 2% beeswax and it is listed in soap calc. It is just better to start off with a simple recipe and 1-2 lb batches when learning.
I agree with the above - make a few 1lb/500g batches with the oil mix that you are interested in, plain water, no additives. Then try one additive alone, then another alone and so on, then combine two etc etc - otherwise you will never know what each one is bringing to the party.

As an example, the last time I made shaving soap I wanted to try out milk of the goat and lanolin. In order to find out what they were like, I made 4 batches - neither ingredient, one with lanolin, one with milk, one with both. That way I could test each to really understand what (if anything) the additive was bringing. Had I just made a batch with the lanolin and milk, I would never be sure which one was making my soap better.

Not only that, but troubleshooting for a beginner is easier with a more simple recipe.
alright here's another recipe idea. as for oils:

Shea Butter- 10.26%
Olive Oil- 36.36%
Sunflower Seed Oil- 17.6%
Coconut Oil- 35.77%
That would be much too much Coconut for many tastes - while coconut OIL is lovely, you are going to make soap and will have sodium cocoate, not coconut oil - this is a good example to remember that the properties of an oil do not always apply when you are making a soap with it. The two can be worlds apart, as is the case with coconut oil.

If you don't want to use lard then I would use the recipe that Snappyllama posted - but I would make sure to buy high oleic sunflower oil
OK here is another idea. I hope its OK that i'm posting multiple recipes.

15% shea butter
45% olive oil
12% sunflower oil
28% coconut oil
I only wonder WHY you are posting multiple recipes. I can't figure out if you are a newbie trying to guess at a good recipe, or an experienced person trying to help. If you also need a recipe, please state so. If you are trying to help, posting multiple recipes and asking for correction is unlikely to help the OP.
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If this is your first batch of soap, I suggest using the recipe Snappy posted above. It's fairly simple, uses the ingredients you have, and will give you a good starting point. Give it a few weeks to cure, and see how you like it. You might find it is too drying from higher % of coconut oil. Or you might like it, in which case you can experiment with additives.

If you are not opposed to animal fats, there is an awesome lard recipe that comes up often in the beginner threads. Give that a shot so you have a good solid recipe to get the hang of soapmaking.
I am the original poster. I am asking for recipes.

snappyllamas recipe is my original one but with percentages. that is what was confusing me.
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Haha its alright. I was kinda getting confused also. as for animal fats, i would rather not use them right now but maybe in the future. the recipe i narrowed it down to as for oils is

Shea Butter- 15%
Olive Oil- 45%
Sunflower Oil- 12%
Coconut Oil- 28%

and these numbers gave me quality of:

38 hardness
19 cleansing
59 conditioning
19 bubbly
19 creamy
65 Iodine
144 INS

does this sound like a good combo? i have been using soapcalc for these numbers.
Personally, I'd bump the coconut down to 20 and up the sunflower to 20. Give or take. That recipe might be great if you don't have dry skin though!

ETA: only use that much SO if it's high oleic
Why are you avoiding animal fats right now? I only ask because you are depriving yourself of some of the best soap. (Note-I said SOME of the best soap. I am not talking bad about vegan soaps!)

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