Best Soap Books

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Bubli

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In your opinion, what would be your all-time favorite soaping book ever? If you could keep only one of your many books on the trade which one would it be? And if different, which one do you think would have been more useful for you as a beginner?
 

TheOneWhoSoaps

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Craig is right! I have a couple books here, one on making, one is recipes (can't buy one without the other marketing trick), which are OK, but I do find them quite biased in their opinions expressed in the book.

Once you're comfortable with making soap, there are many people here who will share their recipes with you, and this site is full of creative types :D
 

boyago

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In your opinion, what would be your all-time favorite soaping book ever? If you could keep only one of your many books on the trade which one would it be? And if different, which one do you think would have been more useful for you as a beginner?
Melida Coss has a two books that I liked allot when I started one called natural soapmaking, and the other the handmade soap book. Natural is a newer book and probably more available. If I remember correctly I liked the format a little better on that one with the completely outstanding exception of the lamest index I have ever had the frustration of trying to use.

Scientific soapmaking is good, but I got about a third of the way through it before I decided it would be best to get together a dedicated soaping area and treat it more like a correspondence course. It's set up like a text for a soapmaking course even with questions at the end of each chapter. I want to go back and do the projects along with the lessons in the book.

As often noted though, this forum is incredibly helpful and where you will find everything that no one would put into their book. There are so many weird things and super specific things that tapping into the SMF brain-trust is often the best source for sage-like wisdom. Your not likely to figure out why your soap turned out smelling like cat food or whatever from a book.

Oh and if your more esthetically inclined Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola has all the other beginner books beat for making fancy pants swirly doodads and what nots.
 
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Susie

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I currently have 21 books on soapmaking. I learned more from the folks here than all of them added together. And this information, I can actually use.
 

navigator9

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Smart Soapmaking by Anne Watson. I felt like Anne was holding my hand through my first, scary batch of soap. It was completely successful, and gave me the confidence to continue. I've bought other soap books over the years, but hers is still my favorite. She has a very calm, methodical approach. This book doesn't go into fancy techniques, so if that's what you're looking for, this is not the book for you. I felt like after reading it, I had a firm grasp on the basics, and thatI fully understood what I was doing, and why I was doing it.
 

Meganmischke

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I think soapmaking books are a great read, can't get enough. There are great suggestions above.

I do have one issue with most soapmaking books. They give recipes and do not stress the importance of a soap calculator. When I first started making soap I picked up a book at the library and made my first batch soon after. It was a horribly harsh soap. I then did some internet research and found soap calc. Soap books are great but they shouldn't be used like cookbooks.
 

shunt2011

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I too had Smart Soapmaking by Ann Watson. However, I too learned way more via this forum (read just about every post/topic ever posted) and then by watching youtube. As stated when reading books you are only getting one perspective but it's a good way to start.
 

dixiedragon

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I don't particularly have a soap making book that I love. I made my first batch from a book called "Better Basics For the Home". It was written by a woman who had been poisoned by a natural gas leak, and after she recovered, she had developed a lot of severe sensititives. So the whole book is about doing stuff around your home naturally. Such as making your own furniture polish from beeswax, using washing soda to clean, and making your own soap. I think she had just one recipe. Made it once, fell in LOVE, then hopped on the internet. Every other soap making book I have, I've picked up at a whim, usually because it was really cheap at the used book store.

IMO, most soap books are more about pictures and specific recipes, than giving people an overall understanding. For example, they don't say, "Use about 1 tablespoon of fragrance oil per pound of oils." They just give you lots of recipe, each with a slightly different combination of oils.
 

Susie

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Some of them do have some good information on what qualities various oils can bring to soap, or additives, etc.

But, what they really lack is a "how to start this hobby cheaply and safely" section. They all start with expensive molds and equipment. They need to give folks a "go use this lye calculator" to make a "grocery store recipe" and a "dollar store equipment list". This way very new soap makers can get the feel for making soap before investing a lot of money. That alone would save many, many people the horrid first experience lots of folks get.
 

IrishLass

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I have 2 that I like and don't mind recommending: Scientific Soapmaking by Dr. Kevin Dunn, which is geared towards the scientific-minded instead of the craft-minded; and The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso, which is highly geared toward the craft-minded but also has a wee bit of sciencey stuff in it as well.

My best 'books', though, are the soap making forums.


IrishLass :)
 

Bubli

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I agree with you all. When I get interested in something, say soap making for example, I tend to get EVERY book I can find and compare information. Why I do this is beyond me. I seriously think it may be a mental issue. Sheez, you should have seen it when I went on my "Finding Jesus"kick (very short kick). I had every imaginable version of the bible. And until that fiasco (not sure I spelled that right), I had no clue there were so many ways to say the same thing. In the end, I had read three bibles from front to back, word for agonizing word. And through it all never considered myself Christian. I am more pegan if anything, or maybe intelligent life from elsewhere had a lot to with putting us here. hippy maybe even. Wouldn't that be funny if Hippy was a religion? I'd rather talk to a tree that pray to thin air.

Back to soap. Of all of my books, my favorites so far would have to be "Soap Naturally" by Garzena and Tadiello. They give a bit more info on the real how-to of it than some others. "The Natural Soap Book" by Susan miller Cavich, "Smart Soap Making" by Anne L. Watson, "The Everything Soap Making Book" by Alicia Grosso.

One common thread I notice with authors though is a tendency to sway you into a feel that their way is THE way. When really there is one right way, "water and lye and fats in proper amounts = good quality, safe to make and use soap, along with proper safety precautions and common sense. Oh, and a GAZILLION TONS OF PATIENCE!

I just ordered Kevin Dunn's Book "Scientific Soap Making" about a week ago. I have butterflies in my tummy waiting for it to get here, like Christmas. I love reading. But I love the mechanics of things even more. I like to be able to pick things apart and know for myself that "THAT's why it works that way,not just because some one said so." But I also want to know what everyone thinks about the same topic. When I was in high school, my science teacher actually called me "the littlest pain in her @$$ she'd ever known". I still laugh about that every time I think of it. I asked too many questions and questioned too many of her explanations. When she said it was this way for a reason, i said," why?" and ,"I'll just confirm your teachings for myself (right after you tell me how to do that without blowing myself up)." I always wanted to be a chemist but some life situations and set backs put some serious dampers on things. And before I knew which way was up, I was too old and to tied down with others that I had to put before myself. So maybe that's what soaping does for me, fills that little wanna be chemist void. Who knows!?
I HATE to cook food but love cooking up soap and cosmetics :)
Like you all said, there are great books out there. Though nothing beats the live, instantaneous, hands on experience you gather from real people like all of you guys/gals here. I appreciate all of you guys and all the help you offer and the time it take s you to help everyone else. Thanks for all your input. I also like to write, a lot....can you tell? A friend told me that the world should consider itself lucky that I didn't talk as much as I think. ;)
 

CaraBou

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Natural Soaps by Trew and Gould. It has writeups on just about everything needed for a good start -- even soapcalc and forums. I had never bought an Idiot's guide before but there it was the day I casually cruised the book store wondering if I'd ever find a hobby to hold my interest. Well it hooked me alright, and I read, re-read and read parts again during my first year of soapmaking. I have flags and highlights all over that book and still use it once in awhile for quick reference.

I appreciate what Dunn provided to soapers with his Scientific Soapmaking book, but honestly, if that had been the first book I had picked up, I wouldn't be here today. I still can't really read it, but instead just look up particular topics once in awhile when I think I can handle a hard core chemistry lesson. But for the most part, those days were over with my BS degree in 1989 :)
 

girlishcharm2004

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I picked up a book from the library to start. After doing more research on YouTube, mainly Bonnie G, Soap Queen, and Soaping 101, I realized some of the information in the book was incorrect. For example, adding the water to the lye. Yikes. Then, I perused this forum. You can learn everything on the internet. They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true -- I learned that on the internet. ;)
 

mx6inpenn

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I haven't been making soap for very long at all, but I read up on it for a couple years before actually doing it. I read a number of books, but as others have said, I learned more reading blogs and this forum than anywhere else. If you really want to read books, check out your local library and save the money for supplies!
 

SpringLily16

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I have 2 that I like and don't mind recommending: Scientific Soapmaking by Dr. Kevin Dunn, which is geared towards the scientific-minded instead of the craft-minded; and The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso, which is highly geared toward the craft-minded but also has a wee bit of sciencey stuff in it as well.

My best 'books', though, are the soap making forums.


IrishLass :)
Ditto IrishLass on The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso----awesome book! :)
 
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