Exercises to learn from

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by KarenDK, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Sep 9, 2017 #1

    KarenDK

    KarenDK

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    The first time I tried to make bath bombs, I found a recipe online. I tried following it, but ended up with a disintegrated mess.
    On my second try I made a very simple recipe: citric acid, baking soda, color, FO and water in a spray bottle. This may not be the best recipe for bath bombs, but making them taught me a lot, and after I have been able to ad things to the recipe based on changes I wanted to make to the final product.
    Making the simple bath bombs was an Exersise, that taught me something valuable.
    This made me want to ask you, If you know of other exercises I can make. They don't have to make the best product, or any product at all. The goal is to learn or know something new, when the exercise is over.
    It can be a recipe, some way I can work with an ingredient that teaches me about it, a way to get hold of information or something else I have not even taught about.
    I hope you can help me get to the next level in my "soaping degree ".
     
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  2. Sep 9, 2017 #2

    SoapTrey

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    I learn by making mistakes. Often, I don't have the patience that I should have (or experience) and just railroad through things just to get them done and over with. But I learn a lot, and most of the time whatever I'm doing tends to work out. Could I have done it better... maybe (with soap most likely), but I'm happy if it works and learning new things is always fun and sometimes very challenging. Like learning to take apart and repair the carburetor on my lawn mower. I've never done anything like that before, but I dove right in and took my time and was able to get the mower running like new!

    Here are a couple of easy and very good cold process soap recipes IMO.

    The Lot's of Lather recipe is very easy to make and it's a good soap. I've made it several time and it's always turned out great.

    https://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-...cess-soap/my-favorite-cold-process-recipes-2/
     
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  3. Sep 9, 2017 #3

    Kittish

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    I'd highly recommend that you look into the book Scientific Soapmaking, by Kevin Dunn. I really think this book is about as close to a soapmaking 'bible' as exists at the current time. It goes into all the chemistry involved in making soap, using language that you don't have to be a chemist to understand. There are even experiments that you can do at home.

    There are on line resources where you can learn about the properties that individual oils bring to soap- http://www.lovinsoap.com/oils-chart/ and http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/free-beginners-guide-to-soapmaking-common-soapmaking-oils/ are two that I refer to often.

    One thing that several soapers here have done (and that I'll probably do myself at some point) is make tiny batches (one or two bar size) of single oil soaps with various different oils. This lets you experience and compare side by side the properties of the oils, not just depend on a chart or a list to tell you what they're like.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2017 #4

    IrishLass

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    I would start out with a very soap basic recipe, and then tweak things from there. One of the most basic of soap recipes is known as the 'holy trinity' recipe, containing equal amounts of palm oil, olive oil and coconut oil, although I'd switch out the palm for lard, but that's just me.

    After you have made and cured a batch of it, and have used it see how it feels and performs, go ahead and experiment by making several variations of it, changing only one thing in each variation at a time, and then compare them all in the end. That is one of the bests ways to learn the basics and get a feel for how different oils perform in soap.


    If you decide to do the above, just make sure to weigh your ingredients out (most especially the lye) on a very sensitive digital scale that can weigh accurately down to at least .001 grams, because the smaller you go with a batch size, the exponentially bigger the potential for problems to occur, even if your lye weight is off by a half of a gram. A digital jeweler's scale works perfectly for such tasks.


    IrishLass :)
     
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  5. Sep 9, 2017 #5

    penelopejane

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    I agree with Irish Lass.

    Rather than make single oil soaps or ones with a high percentage of one oil here are the links to this excellent long term experiment on single oil soaps.

    Phase 1
    http://alchemyandashes.blogspot.com....e-one.html?m=1
    Phase 2
    http://alchemyandashes.blogspot.com....e-oil.html?m=1
    Phase 3
    http://alchemyandashes.blogspot.com....3-one.html?m=1
     
  6. Sep 10, 2017 #6

    Susie

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    Read lots of the beginner forum, and start with the trinity recipe. Or ask for a simple recipe, we'll all be happy to share our favorite beginner recipes. My "beginner" recipe is my go-to recipe still. I tried all the super complicated recipes I could come up with, and I and my testers decided that the simple recipe was much better.
     
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  7. Sep 10, 2017 #7

    BattleGnome

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    I purchase kits when I buy supplies for just this reason. It helps me bump my order up just enough for free shipping (if appropriate for the site I'm on) and I learn a new skill. Everything is reasonably pre measured or I have left overs to play with certain ingredients (especially colorants).
     
  8. Sep 10, 2017 #8

    Zany_in_CO

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    Oooo the third one down with the Wheatgerm oil looks like a good recipe for a shampoo bar. Lotsa nourishing oils in that one. :thumbup: Thanks!

    ETA: The Lots of Lather on that soap queen link is an example of the Trinity of Oils plus Castor.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2017 #9

    Susie

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    Yes, it is, however, I would absolutely not recommend using that much coconut oil in any soap. It will be very stripping to your skin. I would use more like this:

    Palm/Lard/Tallow 65%
    Coconut Oil 15%
    Olive Oil 15%
    Castor Oil 5%

    Superfat 5%
     
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  10. Sep 10, 2017 #10

    Cellador

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    I am very new to soap making, but I second (or third?) Working through those 3 SQ recipes. I have done so over the past couple of months, and it has been very interesting for me to see how different oils can create very different bars of soaps.
    Of course, get familiar with a lye calculator too if you are not already- that in itself is a great learning experience.
     
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  11. Sep 11, 2017 #11

    KarenDK

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    Thank you with your advice.
    I have considered this book. I can´t find the book in Denmark, so I will have to order it form the UK. Can you tell me a little more about its content?
    When I see lectures by Kevin Dunn on youtube, I think a big proportion of the time is used on explaining basic chemestry more than on soapmaking. Will i have the same expirience with the book?
     
  12. Sep 11, 2017 #12

    KarenDK

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    Thank you so much for your help
    I do not have a juwelers scale, so I will have to make bigger batches. Do you think the same experiment would work, if I start wih a recipe of 100% lard, and then do variations containing reasonble amounts of a single oil (40% for olive oil, 25 % Coconut oil, 10 % castor, 2% beeswax, 15% sunflower oil, 15 % rapeseed oil, 20% shea butter, 15% almond oil). Would I be able to feel the contribution of each oil with these variations?
    Would the holy trinity do a better job?
     
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  13. Sep 11, 2017 #13

    KarenDK

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    To all of you kind people taking the time to answer me, that I have not replied to direktly. Thank you so much for helping me.

    I have looked a lot on Soapqueens webpage as well as soaping 101. Both of these have taught me a lot, and I return to them, as well as other online resources again and again.
    In regard to starting with following their recipes, I have the problen though. I have not succeded in finding nonred palm oil anywhere close to me. This means I would have to order it online from Germany or the UK. This makes it an expensive oil to rely on. Therefor I would love to learn soaping without relying on palm oil. Unless I am so lucky someone can tell me where to buy palm oil i Denmark?
     
  14. Sep 11, 2017 #14

    Kittish

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    I haven't yet gotten all the way through the book, but it does go rather beyond just the basic chemistry. Here's a link to a chapter from the book in pdf format, concerning DOS (thank you for the link, earlene!) to maybe give you some idea of the tone of the book: http://cavemanchemistry.com/DreadedOrangeSpot-Dunn.pdf
     
  15. Sep 11, 2017 #15

    penelopejane

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    It is heavy duty chemistry. Not really necessary for making soap unless you want to know why things react the way they do in an indepth way. I have it and have read it.

    You don't need palm oil. Substitute olive, avocado, lard, almond or any other oil that is cheap for you. Use max 5% castor and change the others one at a time so you can feel the difference. Beeswax is difficult to work with for some people because it requires high temps to melt and stay fluid.

    Start simple.
     
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  16. Sep 12, 2017 #16

    Zany_in_CO

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    Hi Karen,

    I just started a thread over in the Beginner's Forum for you and other Newbies to get used to formulating on SoapCalc. That's the one I use, but you can also try Soapee to see if you like that one better. The Title of the thread is "Trinity of Oils - Starter Formula".

    :bath1:HAVE FUN!
     
  17. Sep 12, 2017 #17

    Zany_in_CO

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    Red palm soaps the same as regular palm oil -- it just makes your soaps orange instead of white. You can control the degree of orange by using some lard or even shea butter if you have those available. Oh, and what about soy shortening? Is that available? Oh no, it wouldn't be there -- due to its GMO nature. Ugh. Scratch that idea. LOL

    HTH
     
  18. Sep 12, 2017 #18

    KarenDK

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    It saddens me to read that. Before I read it, I could blame the nastiness of my yellow soapbar on the oil. Now I have to consider, if it could be the soapmaker;)

    And you are right. I dont think I have ever heard about it.
     
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  19. Sep 12, 2017 #19

    KarenDK

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    And that simple statement right there, might be the most difficult exercise of them all.
     
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  20. Sep 13, 2017 #20

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    What makes that even more difficult (but much funnier) is that many soapers either started or went complicated, lots of oils and additives, and then came back to simple.

    Amazing soaps can be simple. Don't let any bloggers convince you to add a recipe with 20 expensive oils directly in to your shopping cart.......
     
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