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Cut my first soap! Pics & questions!!

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mandy318

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So I made this soap about 28hrs ago. This is my first batch ever!!

Questions:

* At what temp should I aim to mix my lye water & oils? I melted my oils, got all other ingredients ready, then mixed my lye water, but found myself having to wait a loooong time for it to cool to close to the temp of the oils. I mixed them at about 120 °f
* I think as a result of mixing at 120°, my soap gelled. Does this change the outcome of the soap in any way but appearance? I covered the mold with towels because, well, because I just thought that's what you are supposed to do. :) When do you or don't cover your mold?
* I think I may have cut a little early. How do you know when a loaf is ready to cut? Mine was solid, but soft--gave a little, but didn't change shape when I presssed it. It was oily on the surface and you can see in my pictures that it "pilled" when I cut it. It may be that I dont have the right tool for cutting--I used a serrated bread knife. I didn't saw. It was soft enough I didn't have to. What tool is best for this (preferably something I might already have in my kitchen)?

I think that covers it. For now. :)

Having a little trouble adding pics...I'll try again.

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ArtisanDesigns

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Your soap is beautiful! Congrats on first batch. Before I got my soap cutter a few weeks ago I used a basic BBQ huge knife I got in one of those BBQ kits. if you have a hobby lobby near you you might be able to find a cutter in the soaping isle (about a 4 foot square section LOL) that has a soap cutter for under 10 dollars but I am cheap and that knife worked great. Only reason I am not still using it is I wanted a consistent cut now I am wanting to sell.
As far as the gel question I like my soap to gel for the most part. I even oven process most to make sure it gels all the way through but that is a personal preference and if you use things high in sugar you can overheat that way and have all sorts of other problems.
I usually do my lye water first and then have it going while I heat the solid oils and then take off heat and mix in liquids. I have even been known to freeze the distilled water in ice cube trays and add the lye to the ice cubes if I knew I was not going to have a lot of time. I have never had a problem dong that but everyone else might have different suggestions.
I am really proud of you for taking the first step to getting your first bar of soap!!
 

Obsidian

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Congrats on your first soap, it looks good:)

I never bother trying to get my oils and lye close to the same temp, its not necessary. The warmer the temps, the faster it will trace so I usually try to soap cooler. My oils are room temp and my lye is around 100*. Make your lye solution first so it can cool while you are getting your oils and other stuff together.

The slight oily feel could possibly be from it getting a bit too hot while it was gelling. Gelled soap may last a little longer then non gelled but in a nice cured bar that is allowed to dry fully between uses the difference is small. I personally prefer the creamy look of non gelled soaps most of the time.
If you continue to gel your soap, take a peak once in a while, if you see droplets or a pebbly texture start to form on your soap, uncover it and get it in the fridge. Those are the beginning signs over overheating and it needs to be cooled. The surface oil will usually soak back into the soap in a few days and even if it doesn't, the soap is still fine to use if its not zapping. Do your first zap test when the soap is around a week old.

Don't use a serrated knife next time, a thin sharp knife is all you need. A wire cheese slicer works really well too. Determining when to cut is something that just takes time to learn. If you soap is sticky or sticks to the knife when you make your first cut, give it another couple hours.
 

commoncenz

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Welcome and Congratulations on your first soap! They are great looking bars! One of the best things that I've learned on this site is to take copious and thorough notes when soaping. That way, you can reference back to exactly what you noticed, liked, disliked about the soap as it happened rather than relying on memory. If you think you cut too soon at 28 hours, put that in your notes. Then next time, give it a little more time and note whether there was a noticeable difference. If you didn't want gel, but think it did because you insulated it. Note that. Next time, don't insulate with the towels and see if your soap still gels. If it does, note that. If it doesn't ... note that. lol.
 
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snappyllama

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Congratulations on your first soap! Those look very nice. Now the waiting begins... and the next soap planning. :)

Gelled soap looks a little more translucent, feels harder (especially initially), and gives richer colors. Maybe it lasts a little longer or maybe it's just that it lasts longer when not given a good cure like you should do with any soap. Some folks think resists DOS, but I'm just repeating rumors there. I personally don't gel very often, because I prefer the way ungelled feels. I also use milks and sugars so I don't want to chance overheating. I also *think* my scents stay a little stronger (that's pure speculation on my part).

If you want your lye to cool down faster, you can try putting your lye container in an ice bath once everything is dissolved.
 

Dana89

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Welcome and congrats on your first soap. It is such a great feeling isn't is? After I made my first batch I kept one bar beside me on my end table and fondled it, my poor molested soap! lol
Well as far as gelling goes you will probably figure out as you go along what soap you will want to gel and not to gel. If you use colors some get darker and some brighter when you gel.
When you use scents, always read the reviews so you won't have big surprises when you soap. Sometimes things will go wrong even if you do everything right and thats ok. Have fun!
 

mandy318

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Welcome and congrats on your first soap. It is such a great feeling isn't is? After I made my first batch I kept one bar beside me on my end table and fondled it, my poor molested soap! lol
Well as far as gelling goes you will probably figure out as you go along what soap you will want to gel and not to gel. If you use colors some get darker and some brighter when you gel.
When you use scents, always read the reviews so you won't have big surprises when you soap. Sometimes things will go wrong even if you do everything right and thats ok. Have fun!
This is hilarious! I thought about bringing a bar to work with me, you know, so I don't have to be parted from my soap all day! I think I'm in love!

Thank you all for the replies!! I can see this forum is going to be a priceless resource as I continue to learn!
 

shunt2011

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Congratulations on your first soap of many I'm sure. It turned out nicely. I too make my lye first (usually the night before) and then soap when the oils are just warm. (Though I usually soap at room temp as I masterbatch my oils). I always gel my soaps by laying a couple towels over my molds and just check it a couple times to make sure it's not overheating.
 

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