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First soap this saturday

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NadiaLW

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Hello, fellow soap enthusiasts!
I am making my first soap, simple marseille soap, this weekend if everything goes well. I am reaching out to you with several questions, though.

First, I am wondering what type of oils to choose. As it's a test and not meant for selling, I was planning on using some cheap oils found in supermarkets. Are cooking oils suitable for soap making or is it bound to fail?

Secondly, I couldn't get an infrared thermometer. I see that it's one that is used a lot in soap making but I am wondering if a simple cooking thermometer will be good. Infrared ones are quite pricey.

Lastly, do you have any tips and tricks that could help me with my first soap? Things you wished you have known before trying for the first time?

I thank you in advance for your answers! Really hoping my first try will go well :thumbs:

Williams Nadia
 

szaza

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Exciting! Don't worry about the thermometer. I think it can be useful for swirls and other projects where you need the batter to stay fluid longer, but I've managed without one so far (though I'm often doing hot process, in which temps don't matter much). You might want to look into finding a thermometer later (Ali Express has some I think). But you definitely can start without one!
My first soap was something like 80% olive, 20% coconut oil and I think that's a good (cheap/easy) starting point as a beginning soap maker[emoji6]
Enjoy making your first soap!
 

shunt2011

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Hello and Welcome! I highly recommend reading the last 10 or so pages in the beginners section as well as this one. You will glean a whole lot of information from there to start.

A regular thermometer will work fine, infrared only measures the surface so not always the best. To each their own. The simple recipe above will work but will require a longer cure due to the higher OO.

If you tell us what you have access to we can help formulate something as well.
 

NadiaLW

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I will be doing a cold process and I understand that temperatures are quite important in that case ^^ but I guess a simple one would work for the first time :) thanks for the advice !
 

Alien

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A simple thermometer is actually better as, as shunt mentioned, the expensive ones just measure the surface temp. I have several basic thermometers and all were purchased at the local Goodwill for 25 cents to 50 cents, welcome and prepare to become addicted!
 

lsg

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Welcome to the forum. What oils/fats are readily available in your area? The trinity oils (coconut, palm, olive), are a good start. Soaping101 and Soapqueen have great tutuorials on YouTube for beginners.
 

earlene

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I used cooking oils, and I think most of us do at one time or another, with no problems. Some of my oils are mostly from the cooking oil aisle at either restaurant supply stores or grocery-type stores, while others I order from soap suppliers. It really depends on the price and availability where I get my oils, but basically they are all the same in soap.

Using what is available where you live is a good way to get started. Use a lye calculator (soap recipe calculator), of course.

I did not have a thermometer at first, either, except for a candy thermometer and I didn't bother to use it for soap. It really isn't that essential although it has become a habit and I like using the one I've got. But if I don't have it with me when I travel, I manage just time making soap without one.

Tips: start with a simple recipe, preferably a slow-moving recipe, without any fancy plans for color or fragrance or swirls. Expect the first few times will be slow and just take your time. It takes time to get comfortable making soap, which is why I suggest a slow moving recipe; one that does not contain oils that make the soap batter move so fast you don't have time to get it in the mold. So avoid pomace olive oil while still learning (it speeds trace), but regular olive oil is great as it moves slow.

Don't use the stick blender as long as you think you should. When new, often over-stick blending turns soap into soap on a stick because we don't realize we've gone too far until it is too late. If you don't have a lot of hard oils, room temperature oils and lye solution will give you plenty of time to work (in the beginning we all move slowly trying to make sure we do everything right and miss nothing). If you have to melt your hard oils, melt with the liquid oils together, then wait for them to cool enough that to your hands, the outside of the container feels about room temperature. You do want the oils, clear and not cloudy, though, so watch for that.

Make your lye solution ahead of time to allow it to cool down. In other words, don't wait until your oils are cool before you mix your lye solution because then you will have to wait even longer for it to cool.
 

Nanette

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I bought books about soapmaking..my first cold process soap was the trinity of olive, coconut and palm oil...I believe it was the recipe in Susan Cavitchs' book Soapmakers Companion....I didnt color but did scent with lavender and eucalyptus. It came out beautifully and I was so proud! Leaning on the books helps a lot, or the tutorials from Soap Queen...
 

MarnieSoapien

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My biggest mistake when I made my first batch was using an unlined PVC pipe as my mold. I missed the part where it said to line the mold and I think we had to saw the soap out! Lol! I have become a HUGE fan of silicone molds, other folks like to line molds and I'm sure there's a tutorial here.

Make sure you are familiar with the safety precautions and equipment and like earlene said, take your time. Have fun!
 

Relle

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I will be doing a cold process and I understand that temperatures are quite important in that case ^^ but I guess a simple one would work for the first time :) thanks for the advice !
I do CP and don't own a thermometer, so temperature is not that important. Look up Room temperature cold process.
 

KiwiMoose

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If you are soaping in the kitchen as I do, put a silicone mat down on your work area because soap drips will ruin the surface of your bench top.
When I first started I bought ALL my oils from the supermarket or used what i had in the cupboard. Except maybe Shea butter - I did order some of that online. Luckily we always use coconut oil and I had a litre tub of that already here.
Don't use a whole lot of expensive ingredients - save that for when you are more experienced and know that they are not going to be wasted by a failed batch.
As @earlene has said - don't use that stick blender for anywhere near as long as they do in the you tube videos! By the time it gets to medium trace, it will keep moving and be too thick before you know it. Stop at very light trace - and for me that is only a few short 5 second bursts with the stick blender in between a bit of stirring.
 

NadiaLW

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Exciting! Don't worry about the thermometer. I think it can be useful for swirls and other projects where you need the batter to stay fluid longer, but I've managed without one so far (though I'm often doing hot process, in which temps don't matter much). You might want to look into finding a thermometer later (Ali Express has some I think). But you definitely can start without one!
My first soap was something like 80% olive, 20% coconut oil and I think that's a good (cheap/easy) starting point as a beginning soap maker[emoji6]
Enjoy making your first soap!
Thanks for your feedback ! I found a recipe very similar to yours that looks easy enough^^ as for the temperature, as I am doing cold process, I will just make sure that everything is at room temperature before starting.
 

NadiaLW

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Hello and Welcome! I highly recommend reading the last 10 or so pages in the beginners section as well as this one. You will glean a whole lot of information from there to start.

A regular thermometer will work fine, infrared only measures the surface so not always the best. To each their own. The simple recipe above will work but will require a longer cure due to the higher OO.

If you tell us what you have access to we can help formulate something as well.
I have read some of the threads, thank you :D it's really helpful and reassuring :) thank you for the answer
 

linne1gi

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Welcome! I don't think a thermometer is that important - at least at first. I never used one my first four years of soaping. Let your oils and lye water cool to room temp. Feel the outside of the pot or bowl with your hands, if it's cool - you are good to go. We all use oils from the grocery store. Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Lard - all those are easily obtainable (at least here in the US) I don't know about Belgium. Good luck!
 

katemz

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The first time I made soap was without a thermometer. I touched the bowls and blended them together when they felt warm not burning. Just warm to touch. Now I use the thermometer, it cost me around 14 dollars on Amazon I got prime so got free shipping..
 

Michelle0803

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Safety. Safety and safety! Glasses and gloves are a MUST!

Take your time, enjoy the process, write down your recipe and make notes throughout the process so that you remember what went well and what did not.

Even if you are using someone else's recipe, run in through the calculator to be sure!

Good luck and welcome to the amazing world of soaping!
 

NadiaLW

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Safety. Safety and safety! Glasses and gloves are a MUST!

Take your time, enjoy the process, write down your recipe and make notes throughout the process so that you remember what went well and what did not.

Even if you are using someone else's recipe, run in through the calculator to be sure!

Good luck and welcome to the amazing world of soaping!
Thanks a lot for your answer ! I was sure to note everything down :) the calculator is great,btw ! My fiancé did the calculations himself to verify and we got almost the same results the two ways :D
 
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