beginner question about dried herbs and additives

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davoarts

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okay, I'm about to start my first batch tomorrow, I have read up on the basics and am ready to go, however I have a question about when to add my dried herbs and such. I am going to make about 10 lbs total soap, using olive, lard, and coconut oils in 45%, 44%, and 11% ratios respectively. At this point I have 6 fl oz of lemon, rosemary and sweet orange essential oils to add, and I have a bunch of dried rosemary and lemon zest as well. Do I add the rosemary and lemon zest at trace or before?

I read that I add the essential oils at trace but need confirmation that I add the dried rosemary and lemon peel at trace...

I am also wondering if I could stir until trace, then split the mixture in half, add paprika to half to color it and do a swirl pattern, would this work?

thanks for any tips, I'm a total home crafter but soap making is a new adventure.
 

Dharlee

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That's quite a large batch for a first time. Most people will recommend making a smaller batch for your first to test it out and see how it does. I quite agree. I am fairly new myself with about 15 batches under my belt, but honestly I had to learn to take things easier rather than lose so very much from a mistake my first several attempts. It really will pay you to try a batch that's maybe 1 or 2 pounds to start.

I don't know about the paprika, I have only ever colored with either clays, TD or micas so far. I would want to know if paprika could irritate skin and if it could be used, at what rate (percentage).
 

gigisiguenza

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I've never used the dried herbs myself, but I've used the paprika to color the batter. I got my best results by pouring a little bit (a small amount, a couple tablespoons) of the melted oils (before adding the lye solution to everything) off to the side to mix the paprika in. Then when I've got the batter to very very light trace, I split off the amount of batter I want to color, add my paprika oil mixture to it, and gently stir it in so it mixes thoroughly but I don't rush it farther along in trace. Then I go about doing the rest of my soapy thing.

I'm sure some of the more experienced soapers will come along and give suggestions too.

HTH :)
 

snappyllama

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For a first batch, I'd leave out the additives altogether. It's best to concentrate on making a few awesome, fully cured batches first so you know what additives are doing to your soap (and feel comfortable in the process and your recipe). Ten pounds is really much too big for a first batch. Start with a one or two pound batch. It's easier to manage, safer, and you want to test your recipe and process.

You'll also want to stick blend until a least emulsified or your arm is going to get incredibly tired/bored and you might have trouble keeping your batter together. Early soapmakers must have had Popeye forearms and a rich inner life...

I've never used any of those additives, but I imagine all sorts of downsides to them... scratchy and turning brown. I'm not sure what they would add to a soap. Hopefully someone that's tried them out will be along to tell me that I'm insane, and they are lovely. It's my understanding that folks use paprika infused oil to color - not the raw spice.

Welcome to the addiction!
:)
 

gigisiguenza

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. Early soapmakers must have had Popeye forearms and a rich inner life...
Lmao too funny.... I've got a mental image of these demure little women in their modest attire taking off their shirts at night and doing body builder poses showing off their Popeye arms.... Lmao .... hahahaha
 

IrishLass

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Welcome Davoarts! :wave:

As the others have said- 10 lbs is a huge endeavor to take on for a first-time batch. If it goes wrong, that's a lot of oils/fats, essential oils, and money wasted. I would start out much smaller- one pound at the least, and 2 pounds at the most. One pound will make about 4 or 5 bars of soap, depending on how you cut them, and 2 pounds will make double that.

I also agree with Snappyllama to leave the additives out for your first time. You'll want to make sure to have a good handle on the process before adding things that have the potential of making things go wonky.

Spoiler alert- as wonderful as adding dried rosemary to soap sounds, it will eventually turn brown, unfortunately, and will also make things scratchy.

Like Snappyllama, I've heard of people using paprika for color, but only when infused into oil and strained out because of the scratchiness issue.


IrishLass :)
 

navigator9

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Best of luck with your first batch! I would strongly agree with the others about making a smaller and simpler batch for your first. Also, just a thought...when you first start out making soap, the idea of adding wonderful herbs and botanicals is so appealing. At least it was to me. I placed a huge order, beet powder, carrot powder, jasmine buds, I can't even remember all of the exciting things I ordered. Unfortunately, as stated above, most of them will turn brown in soap, be scratchy, and not really add anything beneficial. I'm not urging you not to try them, but don't do as I did and go crazy and order willy nilly and then end up never using what I bought after the initial experiment. My favorite "extra" these days, after years of soaping is oatmeal. I like to grind it to a fine powder before adding, and also grind some less fine to add some scrubbiness. Enjoy your experiments and make yourself some wonderful soap!
 

Susie

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I am going to add my voice about making small batches first. 1-2 lbs per batch is about right.

Also, leave out all those botanicals. You are going to increase the risk of something going wrong, and make scratchy soap with nasty brown bits.

You can add your essential oils (EOs) to the oil before the lye. Don't add them at trace. That way if one speeds trace, you are stickblending and see it happening, and can react calmer without the "exciting" race to the mold with a plop and pray method.

Oh, and if you have dreams of giving all that soap away for Christmas, don't. You have no idea how your first batches are going to turn out. If you ABSOLUTELY have your heart set on giving soap for Christmas, they make some amazing MP bases you can add color and scent to and have good soap to give away.
 
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shunt2011

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Hello and welcome! I have to agree with the excellent advice you've received about starting small. 10 lbs has a lot of room for things to go very wrong. Don't waste your money. Start small to see if you even like the process.
 

dixiedragon

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I'm going to agree with those saying 10 lbs is a lot. Is there a reason you want to make that much? If you want 10 lbs of soap for Christmas, you'd do better to do 2 five lb batches.

My first batch ever I divided it in half and scented 1 half with lavender EO and colored the other half green and scented it with mint EO. And added camellia buds - which I do not recommend!

But still - that is a lot going on. You don't even know if your recipe is well behaved yet.
 

Seawolfe

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+1 on the smaller batches - what if you make 10 lbs of soap you don't like?

Paprika will color, turmeric looks nice too - search this forum for natural colorants for more ideas.

One thing that suprirses a lot of people is just how much scent CP soap needs - your 3 ounces of scent for 10 lbs isnt enough for a 10 lb batch according to Brambleberrys fragrance calculator: http://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Fragrance-Calculator-Results.aspx
So that would be 3 ounces of EO wasted, if you cant smell it in the soap.
 

davoarts

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Wow, so many responses, thanks for the tips! I am dividing into 2-5lb batches, one I'll add dried lemon zest (ground) and lemon/sweet orange EO, and the other batch I'll do the ground rosemary (finely ground) and add rosemary EO and some mint EO. I'm currently waiting on the lye water to cool down before mixing the first batch with a mixer attachment on my drill so my arm doesnt fall off, I'll let you know how it goes! As for color, I decided to not worry about coloring or anything fancy visual-wise for this round. If I get a product that slightly resembles soap and smells decent I'll be happy! I also upped the EO to 3oz for 5 lb.

Thanks!

Both batches achieved trace about 30-45 minutes, the second was faster because I used my drill at a higher speed to try and speed things up. The smells are heavenly. The colors from the added herbs work just great, glad I didn't try and complicate things!

To recap, olive oil and lard at even ratio with about 11% coconut oil. 5% superfat, first batch I added dehydrated ground lemon peel and lemon/sweet orange EO at trace. Second batch I added dehydrated ground rosemary and rosemary/mint EO at trace. I also added a small bit of ground oatmeal to each.

The only thing I thought I did that I could have done better was the thickness/depth of pour into the molds, looking at them now the bars might come out a bit thick so I'll have to figure out the cuts to make a good size bar using that thickness.

I'll keep you updated as to how it turns out!






 

treegoddess

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I love putting herbs and such in soap, today i went crazy with basil haha :!:

I made a cedarwood eo and cypress eo soap with dandelion root powder and then basil on the top, next i made a eucalyptus and peppermint soap that was colored with green pigment powder and had basil mixed in!
 

davoarts

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I love putting herbs and such in soap, today i went crazy with basil haha :!:

I made a cedarwood eo and cypress eo soap with dandelion root powder and then basil on the top, next i made a eucalyptus and peppermint soap that was colored with green pigment powder and had basil mixed in!
both of those sound great! I had a ton of basil this year and was thinking about adding some dried basil into a batch or two if these two turned out well.
 

BakingNana

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Lovely creamy gorgeous batters. Congrats on your first soaps! You have more patience than I would ever have. 30-45 minutes to trace is a long time for 5 lbs of soap (for my attention span!).
 

penelopejane

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Lovely creamy gorgeous batters. Congrats on your first soaps! You have more patience than I would ever have. 30-45 minutes to trace is a long time for 5 lbs of soap (for my attention span!).

I don't understand why it took so long to get to trace. It takes me just over 5 mins with Castile soap and that is the most stubborn.
 

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