First Timer :D

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by omdougherty, Jan 5, 2018.

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  1. Jan 5, 2018 #1

    omdougherty

    omdougherty

    omdougherty

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    Hello All <3 :bunny:

    This is my first time experimenting with the soap making process and I've got a couple newbie questions which i'm sure were answered somewhere but seem a bit specific to this experiment of a recipe - I didn't want to wait another few days for some of the other oils I ordered to arrive, so I started a bit prematurely.

    I didn't have a scale to measure exactly the amount of lye and oils, but used TBLS and TSP to get as exact as possible. The lye is 98.5% pure.

    I substituted Coconut Milk for the water, using the same amount that the lye calculator says. I also added a teaspoon of honey after the mixture started to get a bit thicker because I wanted it to get more thick faster! Which still hasn't thickened to a cake batter stage yet, it's more like liquidy mustard with some of the oils still remaining on top layer; I've been mixing for about 20-30 minutes already!

    I know I have used lots of soft oils, over 40% Olive Oil, which I know has a very long trace time, but I'm wondering if there is another variable i'm not considering.

    Is there maybe a way I can do something to get the mixture to trace faster or just keep using my electric wisk until it gets thick enough?

    Any help is highly appreciated! Laughing at myself :D :D

    Thanks !!

    Screenshot (1).jpg
     
  2. Jan 5, 2018 #2

    SaltedFig

    SaltedFig

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    Measuring by volume is too inaccurate for soaping.

    Unfortunately, you will not be able to get any realistic help with this particular batch of your recipe, as we have no way of knowing the actual quantities you have put in.

    And hi! ... (How on earth did you convert lye crystals to spoonsfuls?)

    PS. A stick blender, for when you have your scales, will speed things up quite a bit for you - an electric whisk doesn't mix up the batter nearly as thoroughly, so that will slow you down.

    And now that I've stopped to look at your recipe, you have a large percentage of oils that can cause your soap to end up soft (Evening Primrose Oil, Grapeseed Oil and Sesame Oil), so you may get some assistance with your recipe, if you want?
     
  3. Jan 6, 2018 #3

    jewels621

    jewels621

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    First of all, welcome to the forum and I'm glad you're so excited about making soap!

    Second of all, how in the world did you measure without a scale? Soapmaking is based on weight measurements as opposed to volume measurements. I feel like we can't help you with this recipe without knowing the weights of things you have in your pot.

    I know you're excited......we all are! I would recommend starting over after you've collected the necessary basics to make soap. A scale should be number one on your list.

    Please don't be discouraged.....we all started somewhere! Good luck in your new venture, and we can't wait to see pics of your first soap!
     
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  4. Jan 6, 2018 #4

    omdougherty

    omdougherty

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    Wow! No wonder why its been throwing me off.. Makes so much more sense that's its by weight and not volume!! I really don't want to scrap this batch LOL might be because i'm attached to my first try ;)

    I converted lye crystal Oz to Tsp because 1.57 oz of lye is 3.14 Tablespoon converted, and .14 tablespoons is .6 teaspoons.. so I got as accurate as I could without a scale !

    Is it impossible for this batch to yield any useful results or is that just a far off dream? :D I used some precious oils here haha

    And yes, my friend, it was a lot of soft oils used here because I was too impatient to wait for the others to be delivered. I have some harder oils coming soon which will help in the process of making a harder soap.. but, of course, any assistance is highly appreciated <3

    Thanks !
     
  5. Jan 6, 2018 #5

    jewels621

    jewels621

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    I'm not sure what to tell you. Has it traced yet? Is it in a mold? It may take a loooooong time to unmold with that many soft oils. If you do have it in a mold, give it some time to saponify, if it will, and then zap test it to make sure it's not lye heavy. It might be a few months before it becomes a decent soap, but think of all the good soaps you can make in the meantime. After you get your new scale. And hard oils. And maybe a stick blender so your arm doesn't fall off. I love your enthusiasm. Hang in there! You'll get usable soap at some point!

    Maybe one of the more science-y members will stroll in soon and be able to help you more than I can. They are way smarter about these things than I am!
     
  6. Jan 6, 2018 #6

    toxikon

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    Welcome! Digital kitchen scales are under $20 on Amazon or at Walmart, and absolutely essential for soapmaking, as others have said! :) You could always put this batch aside for a week then see how it is after a cure and check for zap. It's hard to know how to save it when we don't know your oil, lye and water weights. But don't worry about it, now you know for next time!! And this is such a great community that you'll be a pro in no time. :)
     
  7. Jan 6, 2018 #7

    omdougherty

    omdougherty

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    Thank you all for your great responses. You're all awesome With all this help I'll be making great soaps in no time for sure!

    A few quick questions about this

    The soap thickened a bit, which I think is in trace? Idk.. But now it's in the mold, how much time do you think is good enough for me to take it out..?

    Also, what hard oils do you all like to use most?

    Lastly, is substituting coconut milk completely for water to dissolve the lye in okay or should I use a percentage of water for the lye and the remaining percentage of coconut milk add in at some later point.

    Again, thanks so much!!
     
  8. Jan 6, 2018 #8

    dibbles

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    The amount of time before you can unmold is variable. When you can press a finger lightly on the top and it is firm (like cheddar cheese) that is an indication. If your mold is silicone and you can gently pull it away from the soap without any sticking, that is another indication. With a lot of soft oils, it can easily take a week or maybe even more to unmold, especially if the soap doesn't gel.

    Hard oils that are most commonly used are coconut, lard and/or tallow if you aren't opposed to animal fats, and palm. Palm kernel is another. I will say there are a lot of lard lovers here, and it does make a very nice soap.

    For your next batch, keep it simple with a nice balance of hard and soft oils, and use distilled water for your liquid. You can play with milks, butters and other fun stuff after you have had the joy of a successful batch. If you do still want to use coconut milk, I would use the split method. Using your total liquid amount needed for the recipe, use 60% of it as distilled water and use that to mix your lye solution. Use the remaining 40% as coconut milk and add it to your oils before adding the lye solution. (You can use any percentages you want, but your lye solution has to be, at the lowest, 50% by weight water and 50% lye to dissolve completely. I like to give myself a bit of a buffer, so that's why I suggested 60%.)

    It's nice to see your excitement - I think you've already been hooked. Soap making is an endlessly entertaining hobby. Welcome!
     
  9. Jan 6, 2018 #9

    Kittish

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    Welcome to the obsession.

    When (if) it solidifies to the point where it feels like a firm cheese (cheddar or similar) when you press a finger into it, that's when it's ready to come out of the mold.

    I'm going to guess that you don't have enough lye in there to turn all the oils into soap. Lye crystals are kind of 'fluffy', so that one ounce by volume doesn't weigh one ounce by weight, so your conversions would have left you considerably short. About the only way I can think of to maybe correct for that would be to (once you have your scale) measure out the same amount you used in the soap, and weigh it, then subtract that from the amount of lye you should have used, then add the remainder (dissolved in water, lye crystals will not dissolve in your oils) and hot process it. I hope you kept good records of how much you used!
     
  10. Jan 6, 2018 #10

    omdougherty

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    Thanks so much! Can I still add more lye even after mixing all of it together? I can figure out how much more I would need but may also just scratch this batch and start over with more hard oils..

    I also had a question about curing the soap in cold temp rather than room temp? Would it make it faster.. my basement is very cold.. also is keeping track of temperature whole making the soap important? During cold process does it matter of water or lye solution is cooler or warmer, what about oils? From what ive seen it doesnt matter so much about temp, but it may speed up process or whatnot. Sorryy for such questions but Id like to know all one and outs.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. Jan 6, 2018 #11

    lsg

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    I usually mix the lye and liquid first. By the time my oils are ready the lye/liquid is ready to go.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2018 #12

    Kittish

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    Yes, you can add more lye, but you'll need to hot process the result so you can check that you haven't added too much extra lye. You're basically rebatching at that point.

    There is no making soap cure faster, though being in a very cold room might well slow it down.

    Temperature of your oils and lye is only of limited importance. You need your oils to be warm enough so that any hard oils are fully melted. Beyond that, the only major consideration is that soaping too warm can speed up trace, or cause problems such as soap volcanoes. A lot of people soap with their lye solution at room temperature (especially those who masterbatch lye solution), and their oils warmed only enough to melt their hard oils. I like to soap around 120* F, much warmer than that and I start seeing really fast trace regardless of effects from things like fragrance or other add ins that can effect it.
     
  13. Jan 6, 2018 #13

    earlene

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    I did that once when I forgot to bring my scale with me when I was traveling. There are websites that give the conversion for weights of different chemicals and oils from grams to tablespoons. I know, though, that measuring spoons are not all that reliable for accuracy, so was resigned to knowing I would only have a range of actual superfat in that soap.

    In the long run, the soap did not turn out bad, but it was a lesson that taught me to never forget my scale when I travel, and I have not since then. The effort it took to look up the conversion of each ingredient weight measure to volume measure was really quite a lot of work, and I had no desire to go down that road again.

    As far as how to recognize trace, pull your mixing utensil up out of your batter and drip a line of batter on top. If it leaves a trace or track on TOP of the rest of the batter, that is trace. With only hand stirring, an all soft oils recipe can take a very long time to come to trace, so that's why we like stick blenders. You can shorten an hour of stirring to only a couple of minutes or so.

    Welcome to the forum and have fun with your new equipment when it arrives.
     
  14. Jan 9, 2018 #14

    omdougherty

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    Hey all, so it's been a few days and I have the result of the soap after hardening. Just took it out of the mold and it is quite hard, but it's a bit whitish in parts, flaky, sticky/moist and a bit "rubbery".. I took a pic of my hands after touching it because some small pieces come off the top because of the dryness/stickiness.. hard to describe. I did the "zap" test and it only tasted a bit bitter, no ZAP. Any thoughts would be of help? Not sure if the soap would be in better quality and good to use on face and skin once completely cured.

    Thanks All!

    20180108_224820.jpg

    20180108_225959.jpg
     
  15. Jan 9, 2018 #15

    SunRiseArts

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    The only thing I would add is not to cure it in that aluminum pan.
     
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  16. Jan 9, 2018 #16

    jcandleattic

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    that white, dry stickiness stuff on top of your soaps is what we call ash. Nothing wrong with it, just an aesthetic.

    As SunRiseArts said, probably take it out of the aluminum pan and cure on plastic, or a covered wood surface. Uncured soap can have a reaction to metals causing DOS, and even though there is no active lye left in the resulting soap, aluminum has a bad reaction to lye,.
     
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  17. Jan 12, 2018 #17

    earlene

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    Only you can determine if your skin likes this soap once cured. For me, if my skin remains feeling well hydrated and does not feel dry and itchy or look dry and flaky after using my hand-crafted soap, I know my skin likes my soap. If after a few minutes or even half an hour or more, my skin starts to have those symptoms of dryness, I know my skin doesn't like the soap I used last. So I always wash and wait, observe how my skin reacts, before deciding if a soap is good or not. Since I don't use soap on my face, I can't really comment about what to expect, but I would guess it's much the same, in terms of how your skin reacts.
     

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