Equipment Question(s)

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cursivearts

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One, what do you soap in? Like, what container to do you mix lye in and what do you mix the lye and oils in? And what do you use when you have to split off batches for dye? Right now I use a big stainless steel pot for mixing and a large pyrex measuring cup for the lye, but the pot is almost too big (I tend to make 2 lb batches).

Also, what do you use for curing and where do you cure? Right now all of my soaps are in open cardboard boxes on top of a cabinet here in the kitchen, but there are getting to be too many and now they are spreading to the desk and I'm running out of room and I haven't even ummolded my beer soap yet...

I know I have a lot of questions today, but it's Mother's Day weekend and I'm hoping to get some soaping equipment for Mother's Day.
 

Bicycle808

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Stainless steel pots for lye h2o and for mixing the lye h2o with the oils (I have a few soap pots.) I don't use dyes. I sure on wire steel shelves that I got for cheap at home depot. I bought twos sets, but hung all the shelves on one set of supports, so the shelves are low-profile and space-efficient.
 

heatherglen

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I bought a small (3 gallon, I think) plastic paint bucket at Lowe's and that's what I use to mix everything. I just emptied my plastic pail from my coconut oil, so I will probably use that, too. I mix the lye in a plastic pitcher. I also use various sizes of plastic containers (cottage cheese, cool whip, etc.) for pour offs and mixing colors. I make about 2 lb. at a time and the bucket is just about the right size, so that I don't worry about splashes. My hand blender seems to have a mind of it's own!! :D
 

Marilyna

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For smaller batches, I use plastic measuring cups for lye and plastic containers for the fats and mixing the lye & fats. For large batches, I use a plastic pitcher for lye water and larger plastic containers for fats and mixing.
The large (1 quart) measuring cups are really nice, too.

Try going to your local Dollar Tree or other store that has everything for a dollar. They have a lot of useful stuff cheap.
 

lsg

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I use a plastic ice cream bucket from Schwan Food Sales to mix in. I use small disposable plastic cups to measure out the lye and a stainless steel pitcher to mix lye with water. I use large disposable drinking cups to divide the soap batch when I want to color. I have designated silicone spatulas and wooden spoons for mixing along with my trusty stick blender.
 

Candybee

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When I first started I went to my local Goodwill store and bought a nice set of bowls. They are white plastic bowls in 3 sizes with pour spouts. Later I found them at Walmart for about $30 for the set. I got them for $3. I also found another plastic bowl with a handle and pour spout I use for my lye water. Now I always scout flea markets and thrift shops for potential soaping equipment.

For curing 'racks' I have a few of those cheap steel/aluminum? shelving units. I converted them into curing racks by taking out a couple of shelves from the other units and putting them on one unit so it has several shelves. I can get 20 batches of 5lb soaps on one shelving unit this way. I do line the shelves with wax paper but will soon get some shelving paper at the dollar store.

I keep looking at bakers racks and wish I had the money to buy a couple of those for curing racks.

Also, in the future I am going to get some plastic buckets at Lowe's so I have extra soaping pails. For now I am saving the plastic buckets my oils and butters come in. I plan to use those for premixing batches to save time.
 

misskat22

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I have a nice glass bowl that I use for mixing my oils in, I measure my lye into my pyrex but mix it in a plastic juice jug (clearly marked!) that I got from the dollar store. I have a 4 cup and 8 cup pyrex measuring cups that I use to pour off for mixing colours. I'm just starting though so I'm sure I'll expand :)
 

cursivearts

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I'm glad I posted this question. It's giving me affordable ideas. The stainless pot I use is just too heavy. I would not mind having something I could manage one handed for pouring two colors at once. I do have a stick blender, a big slotted spoon and some small ones I use, plus a spatula, all just for soaping.
 

Lotus

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One, what do you soap in? Like, what container to do you mix lye in and what do you mix the lye and oils in? And what do you use when you have to split off batches for dye? Right now I use a big stainless steel pot for mixing and a large pyrex measuring cup for the lye, but the pot is almost too big (I tend to make 2 lb batches).

I do exactly the same (but recently was told [though I still doubt it] that perhaps pyrex can still break, and to use a plastic bucket. So, I use something I saved all these years from the first time I made soap. My stainless steel pot is too big too. I make 3 lb batches. I have to tip it sideways in order to submerge my stick blender.

Also, what do you use for curing and where do you cure? Right now all of my soaps are in open cardboard boxes on top of a cabinet here in the kitchen, but there are getting to be too many and now they are spreading to the desk and I'm running out of room and I haven't even ummolded my beer soap yet...

I have three pieces of plywood, that I cover with wax paper, and put my soaps on. But, those boards actually serve me a purpose other than holding soap. So, I just bought a stackable rack/shelf thing, which I think will be helpful. I'm still waiting for it to come.

I know I have a lot of questions today, but it's Mother's Day weekend and I'm hoping to get some soaping equipment for Mother's Day.
 

mel z

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Dedicated stick blender, spatulas, spoons, pot, recycled plastic tub for lye along with a Dollar Tree plastic pitcher (if I ever see a SS one at a thrift store I'm grabbing it), some Dollar Tree containers, some small paint plastic pails for colors, disposable cups and spoons, dedicated silicone molds of various sizes from thrift stores, some new just for soap, wooden mold, cardboard box molds of any shape and size, plastic food molds from store bought foods (cleaned of course), small jars for measuring EO, anything cheap that looks like it can serve a purpose, toothpicks, skewers, Parmesan shake container, I may never end the list, so I'll stop here.
 

ghia61

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I make 2 lb batches and use a 2 qt SS saucepan to melt the oils and do the blending. Lye water I mix in a silicone mixing cup. For curing, since it's such small batches I use a coated cooling rack set up on the dresser in the guest room.
 

lizflowers42

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I weigh my water in a rubbermade pitcher, weight my lye in an old yogurt/cottage cheese/sour cream container. Then I pour my lye into the rubbermade pitcher and stir with a silicone spatula I bought specifically for soap making. Depending on the size of the batch I will either use the stoneware crock from a crock pot I picked up from Goodwill just for soap making, or a plastic painters bucket as mentioned above, or I have a stainless steel pot (my largest soaping vehicle!) that was once used in the kitchen, but is now for soap making! I have a pyrex container that I will use to melt my hard oils in the microwave to add to the bucket, or pot, whatever I am using. Then I pour my lye water into my oil and start mixing with a stick blender, and then if I want to color some of my soap I split the batter out into more cottage cheese/sour cream/yogurt containers.

Then I have some nice hand made wooden molds from my father in law for larger batch sizes, a silicone cupcake mold that I picked up from the Target dollar spot center, many saved OJ/half gallon milk cartons, shoe boxes, Pringles cans and cardboard boxes that I will line for molds!
 

Lotus

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I make 2 lb batches and use a 2 qt SS saucepan to melt the oils and do the blending. Lye water I mix in a silicone mixing cup. For curing, since it's such small batches I use a coated cooling rack set up on the dresser in the guest room.
Ooh! I didn't think of that. What do you coat it with?
 

cursivearts

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Cool, I think I need to get a dedicated small paint bucket for mixing the lye and oils as some of you have done. My stainless steel pot is just too big. I too have to tip it to submerge. We have one pitcher I could probably mix lye in. My husband once made kombu dashi in it (seaweed stock) and the smell lingered for so long, we don't use it anymore. I would also like to get a small whisk for mixing up my powdered pigments. Honestly, I think we have at least three small ones, so if I took one no one would notice.

For molds, I have two wooden ones by FIL made me and 2 pvc molds.
 

VanessaP

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One, what do you soap in? Like, what container to do you mix lye in and what do you mix the lye and oils in? And what do you use when you have to split off batches for dye? Right now I use a big stainless steel pot for mixing and a large pyrex measuring cup for the lye, but the pot is almost too big (I tend to make 2 lb batches).
To measure my lye, I use paper cups that I buy in bulk at Sam's Club. To mix my lye solution in, I have a PP 5 Mainstays 2 quart pitcher from Walmart or a HDPE 1 gallon pitcher, depending on how big a batch I'm making up. Please please please don't use pyrex for mixing up your lye solution. Glass etches from the lye over time and has been known to shatter with and without any solution in it.

To actually soap in, I use a HDPE bucket from the Walmart paint department. 5qt holds a 5.5lb batch perfectly. I have some 2.5 qt for splitting off portions to color. Plus, the 5qt fits in my microwave so I can warm up my oils gently.

Also, what do you use for curing and where do you cure? Right now all of my soaps are in open cardboard boxes on top of a cabinet here in the kitchen, but there are getting to be too many and now they are spreading to the desk and I'm running out of room and I haven't even ummolded my beer soap yet...
I had to suck it up and buy a 5 shelf unit from Lowe's to stack stuff on in my bedroom LOL I use stackable baker/cookie cooling racks. I have an older set of 3 that are really sturdy and are kind of like cross hatching but I also have a new set of 3 that are just parallel sets of wire so they tend to buckle a bit under the same amount of weight. The racks are just high enough that as long as I don't have high decorative tops, they're just the right height.
 

cursivearts

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Will any plastic work for these? I'd imagine at least 'dishwasher safe' to withstand the heat. I am going to go look at that pitcher. *looks at pitcher" Yup this will work. I just wrote LYE on the side in huge letters. I am going to get a smaller painting mixing bucket or two or three this weekend. So a lot of you guys use plastic disposable cups for mixing lye? Then you just toss them in the trash? I think I will keep using my Pyrex, but just for mixing colors in the lye. And I will keep an eye on them and if I see any etching, I will stop using them even for that.
 

Candybee

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I buy plastic party cups (not styrofoam) from my local grocers and use those to weigh my lye. When I'm done I just wash out and store for next soap batch. For clays, powder colorants, FOs, EOs, honey, etc., I saved empty plastic yogurt cups. I wash the cup out when I am done with it and stack with the others I have until I need one or two for the next soap batch. A bag of plastic party cups lasts a long time since I reuse the cups until they crack or start leaking. A real cheap way to acquire measuring cups for small items you use for soaping.
 

houseofwool

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I have a a rubbermaid container that I use for my lye water, the lye itself is measured into a canning jar (but no liquid is ever added to it).

I have a bunch of big yogurt containers that I use for separating off different colors.

I use a variety of bowls for mixing - I have a couple that I picked up at the dollar store that have spouts and handles, but the plastic is a bit thin and I worry about it spilling when I pick it up by the handle when it is full of batter. I also have 2 crock pot inserts that sometimes get pushed into services when the batches are large enough or even a 5 qt ice cream bucket upon occasion.

I do have dedicated silicone spatulas and a stick blender. I will 'fess up to grabbing a spoon from the silverware drawer for doing decorative tops. But, in my defense, they are all stainless.

ETA: I use the small red disposable cups to measure out EOs and colorants, but I am not really keen on disposable things in general.
 

cursivearts

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Candybee, I bet if I just cleaned out my fridge I could get some containers. I know there is at least one, possibly two large yogurt containers in there and there is usually a half-empty expired sour cream floating around. I think we actually have small party cups leftover, that would actually be great for measuring colorants and lye and FOs. I had been using small glass ramekins we have around ( I just wrote in sharpie on the bottom of one "lye") but in all honestly, they are a pain to wash, always slippery.
 

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