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JuneP

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I have a huge mess on my hands! I melted the melt and pour shea butter that I got from Michael's(just did one lb thankfully). I did it in 30 second increments till it was melted, stirring in between. But the temperature was in the high 130's, so I kept stirring after I took it out of the microwave, hoping to get it down to 125F before I added colorants and fragrance. It didn't seem to be cooling so I covered it and went away for 5 minutes. Guess that was my big mistake because when I came back it had a skin on top. So I mixed it and then repeatedly warmed it in anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds. Sometimes it looked melted, but when I went to pour out 8 oz of it, there were lumps that I hadn't seen. It just kept cooling super fast and clumping even though my laser thermometer said it was around 130 or so. And also, somehow, 1 lb of soap was nowhere near 1lb after the melting. So I scraped the 8oz back in the glass measuring cup and continued to try to melt it, but it's just clumping and I'm afraid to get it to hot. Please tell me what I did wrong and if I can save this soap. What temperature should I melt it to? And what temperature should I add the color and my fragrance oil (I'll be using a tsp pitake with a drop of two of lavender).
And I thought this was going to be easy. :-(
 

snappyllama

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M&P can be a pita when it doesn't behave. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. :)

One thing I found to help when it was cooling too fast, get a warm/hot bath for your M&P container to sit in or set the container on a heating pad turned on low. That way it can cool more gradually. For the skin, you can either try to mix it back in or just smush it out of the way. I melted mine until it just barely melted (the smell of burnt soap base is terrible). If just a few chunks were left un-melted, I slowly stirred until those disappeared too. One trick is to cut the base into small chunks before nuking. I reserved a chunk or two so I could pop them into my melted base to easily reduce temperature if needed.

For mixing in fragrance, check with the supplier - FOs will have a flash point that you do not want to exceed.
 

Ellacho

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It sounds like you are doing everything right in term of melting your MP soap. It could be just the quality of Michael's MP soap. Hmmm... try reducing your micro wave power to 50% when you are melting MP soap. It might help in cooling down too quickly. This is how I melt my MP soap and I had no problem.
 

JuneP

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Thank you

Thanks for the feedback. I had to quit because we had an appointment this afternoon but I'll try again tomorrow. I think I just didn't get it hot enough the first time. Tomorrow, I'll try the re-melt in a double boiler, and then do the other pound in the microwave if I can figure how to set it to half power. I rarely use the microwave, so I'm not sure it has that setting and I don't know if the previous owner left us the manual, since we didn't have manuals for many of the things in the house.
I'll also set aside some hot water in a bowl to set the pyrex mixing bowl in for the following batches. That's a great idea.
I think where I went wrong, was that I was so afraid of over heating it the M&P, that I didn't heat it enough. Searching the Internet I only found one place where it said to heat it to about 150, and I was well below that. My second mistake was waiting till it to to 125 before adding the colorants; but it cooled faster than I thought So next time, I won't leave it for 5 minutes like I did this time.
So I just covered everything (my colors are mixed, scent is set aside, etc), and I'll start over after breakfast.
PS: Where do you all buy your Melt and Pour Soaps? I have a feeling the soaps that I got at Michael's may not be the highest quality; but they were inexpensive with a 50% off coupon, and no shipping, so it felt like a good starting point. If my second try with fresh M&P turns out to be a mess, than maybe it is an inferior product. Hopefully, it will only be my own inexperience that was the problem.
 

snappyllama

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I've liked the ones from Brambleberry - they seemed to be a better quality than the ones from brick and mortar craft stores.
 

cmzaha

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Craft store m&p is just not a quality melt and pour soap. Essentials by Catalina makes wonderful melt and pour bases although they have started carrying Stephenson my daughter hates it. She loves the bases Catalina manufactures. I simply cannot work with melt and pour, I think it hate me!!
 

girlishcharm2004

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I have looked at the ingredients on the melt and pour "soap" block at Michael's before, it wasn't soap if I recall. It was a paragraph of detergents and whatnot. When I hear people refer to "high quality" melt and pour soap, it's actually soap (some form of oils mixed with lye) with propylene glycol added to it so it'll melt and harden again.

I, personally, can't use either. Propylene glycol give me a terrible rash and my skin sloughs off. But... that's completely irrelevant to your topic. Ha.
 

Ellacho

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I've used BB, WSP & Stephenson MP soap. My favorite is BB's so far and I won't buy Stephenson's again. Though I have not tried SFIC's yet, I have heard great things about their MP soap.
 
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cmzaha

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We are really hoping Essentials by Catalina decides to continue manufacturing their bases, they make very nice M&P.
 

JuneP

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So many thanks!

Thank you all for your input. I've made a note of the recommended suppliers and as soon as I go through all the M&P from Michaels, I'll order from BB or one of the another higher quality suppliers. These Michael soaps will give me some beginner practice, if nothing more, since I still have about 11 lbs of their soap. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day with it! I hope! LOL
 

Ellacho

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Thank you all for your input. I've made a note of the recommended suppliers and as soon as I go through all the M&P from Michaels, I'll order from BB or one of the another higher quality suppliers. These Michael soaps will give me some beginner practice, if nothing more, since I still have about 11 lbs of their soap. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day with it! I hope! LOL
WOW 11 lbs!! Did you use a coupon for each 2lb pack? I hope you did :). Would love see your MP creations!
 

snappyllama

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I've used BB, WSP & Stephenson MP soap. My favorite is BB's so far and I won't buy Stephenson's again. Though I have not tried SFIC's yet, I have heard great things about their MP soap.
If you've tried Brambleberry's, you've probably tried SFIC. I think that's the manufacturer they use. :)
 

lisamaliga

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I always recommend melting on the stove with a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can always use a pot and a glass Pyrex measuring cup.
 

JuneP

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Michales melt and pour

Ellacho, yes, I did purchase those with the 40 and 50% off coupons. I made just a couple of pieces of soap, so if I can figure out how to post a photo, I'll start a new thread here on the Melt and Pour section.

June
 

JLeigh

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I like a few suppliers, and here are the ones I use now:

Nature's Garden has nice soap bases and the prices are good. There are shipping costs of course, but they ship quickly and have good customer service.

Bramble Berry has excellent bases. The cost is only a little bit higher, but they take FOREVER to get product to me. I mean it can take 10 days!!! The quality is excellent though. I've gotten shipments from China faster LOL.

Bulk Apothecary (www.bulkapothecary.com) has top notch customer service, excellent prices and extremely fast shipping. I haven't used enough of their bases to make a personal judgment on the quality.

I don't like Stephenson's soap bases at all, and I've priced them at my local Micheal's craft store and the cost is through the roof. But that's here in Georgia. May be different elsewhere.

I'm always looking for others though and will try suggestions!
 

Sheila Pullar

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H.Foster & Co Ltd has been a good supplier very good customer service based in England Reading x
 

samirish

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Does anyone know how the base from soapers choice compares to the bb base?
 

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