Hello! I'm Siobhan from Washington.

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Siobhan

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Hello all!

My name is Siobhan, and I'm from Washington State. I'm a women's fiction author who was inspired by a science fiction writer to create soaps inspired by the characters in my novels. My intention is to include my homemade soap in giveaway baskets when I attend book conventions and reader events.

As I'm completely new to soap-making, I am here to learn and ask thousands of questions! I am still gathering supplies, and that's what brought me to this forum.

I'm hoping to do hot process soap, and I found the Essential Depot (Non-Animal) recipe which I would like to try. However, I am unsure what size crockpot I will need for this.

Anyway, I'll save my questions for the newbie forum. I just wanted to pop in and introduce myself.

Thanks!
 

Arimara

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Hi and welcome aboard. Since you're new to soaping, it's really suggested that you hold off on aspirations of giving soap away within your first year. The reason being that you will need the time to really learn what oils do what and how they feel in a soap. During your time soaping, you may also run into some common soaping issues which can derail your projects a bit. On the plus side, you may also learn what you like in your soaps. It's also suggested that you make small batches of soap, which is usually around 16oz or 500g oil weight. That way, you won't have too many bars to use up should you happen to make a bad batch. As for what size crockpot to get- I personally suggest a 1qt for the first year.

As a side note, hot processed soaps are in no shape ready to be given away once they're out the mold. They need the same curing time that cold processed soaps need, if not a little longer. A lot of people confuse the saponification in hot processed for curing and the processes are in fact different.
 

Susie

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Hey, and welcome!

We have lots of answers, and no question is a dumb one. If you don't understand something, I guarantee that there are folks lurking out there that will never ask the question, so thank you in advance for asking on their behalf.
 

CaraBou

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Hi Siobhan! I'd suggest a 2 or 3 quart crockpot for one to two pound batches, but I don't use one so consider the advice given by others.

All soap recipes, including the one you found on Essential Depot, can be resized via a soap calculator to any size you want. I recommend starting with a one pound batch (or 450 grams) because that is large enough to avoid precision errors that could result if your scale only measures to the nearest tenth of an ounce (or to the nearest gram). It is also small enough to minimize wasted ingredients if you encounter problems. A pringles can will easily hold this much if you don't already have a mold you were planning to use.

You should always run your recipes through a soap calculator even if you don't want to resize it, because written recipes can have errors in the amount of lye called for. A soap calculator will compute the correct number for you, eliminating this potential error.

Two popular soap calculators are http://soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp and http://soapee.com/calculator - see if you find one more intuitive than the other. There is a tutorial for SoapCalc at http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49627 that you might find helpful.

If your recipe is given by mass, plug in the oil weights and it will calculate not only the amount of lye you need, but also the percentages for each of your individual oils. Once you know that, you use (input) those same percentages along with whatever your desired batch size is to have the calculator determine the adjusted amounts of those oils.
 

Kamahido

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Greetings and welcome. If you are going to use hot process there are a couple things I would like to point out...

1. Hot process soap will expand (temporarily) while cooking. Make sure your crock pot is large enough to accommodate this.

2. Regardless of what some people online think, hot process does indeed need a cure time just like cold process.

3. Run every recipe through a soap calculator. There are a lot of bad recipes online. Don't trust that the person who uploaded it checked it for safety.

I suggest watching the below video series to teach you about soap safety and answer common questions beginner soap makers have. Personally I started out with cold process myself, but went over to cold process to make more aesthetically pleasing soap.

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR6ttCSrLJI&list=PLAADF6209996265D2[/ame]
 

earlene

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Welcome, Siobhan. Love your name.

I started out doing HP soap, and I have a couple of crockpots I use for it, one is oval and one is round. The first one I started using is a 6 or 8 quart, not sure which because I've had it for at least 15 years and I just don't remember. It's pretty big. I also bought a smaller one from the Goodwill that I use when I travel (sometimes I bring it with me to make soap because I like making soap so much.) The reason I decided to use the large one for soaping is because I already had 2 crockpots and it was the larger one I had stopped using as often for cooking because there are only two of us at home and we don't need too much food.

Anyway, I recommend going to a thrift store and buying a crockpot for a good savings. Just look for one that is deep (tall sides) because HP soap crawls up the sides during the cook and you need height. I have also found some pretty nice molds at thrift stores as well. Not every time I go, but I am amazed at the numbers of silicon baking molds people apparently decided they didn't want to bake with anymore. Remember, once you use it for soap, you really don't want to use it for cooking anymore. Also a good source for lye-mixing-containers is a thrift store. BUT be careful to choose a container that has the recycle symbol on the bottom with a 2 or a 5 in the little triangle, otherwise it isn't going to withstand the lye solution.

Silicon spatulas are pretty cheap at Walmart. If you have a Dollar General or one of those Dollar stores nearby, you can also find plastics that you can use for molds at a pretty reasonable price.

Cardboard boxes (any size you want) lined with freezer paper work just as well for molds, too and can cost you only the cost of the freezer paper. Or line them with plastic wrap, but that's more trouble than it's worth in my opinion. I've done it both ways and prefer the freezer paper. Some plastic ice cream containers are perfect for HP soap molds, too. If you buy Blue Bunny Ice Cream (I don't know if it's available in Washington state), their containers are perfect if you don't mind oddly mismatched sizes of soap. :) My point is, check your recycle bin for potential mold materials.

One other thing. Check out this article for tips on doing swirls in HP soap. It's pretty useful, especially when you decide you want to branch out into colors.

Oh, and another useful tidbit, I used lanolin as my release agent in the plastic and silicon molds when doing hot process, because without a release agent sometimes they were really hard to get out of the mold. But then I learned that sitting in the freezer for a few minutes often helped with an easier release, too.
 

Siobhan

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and the awesome suggestions. I stopped into a thrift store, and I found several crockpots. The funny thing is that these used crockpots were the same price as new crockpots at Walmart. They ranged from $9 to $12. I figure I might as well buy a new crockpot.

I will hit up a local Dollar Store to pick up bowls and utensils. I have more questions, but I'll save those for the newbie section.

Thanks again!
 

CaraBou

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I would think a 6 qt is too big to effectively stick blend small batches, but that's a good point about soap crawling up the sides. Maybe a 4 qt would be more ideal.
 

shunt2011

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Hello and welcome to the forum!
 

lsg

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Welcome to the forum.:)
 

earlene

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I would think a 6 qt is too big to effectively stick blend small batches, but that's a good point about soap crawling up the sides. Maybe a 4 qt would be more ideal.
That is so true. I started using the larger crockpot because I already had two crockpots in my kitchen. I originally used to use two crockpots to make dinner; one for vegetarian soups and one for meat-containing soups. One day it dawned on my that I could just make one pot of vegetarian soup and then ladle out each bowl and add meat separately for my husband's portion. So I ended up with an extra crockpot sitting around for a few years before I started making soap.

It just so happens that the extra one was pretty large, but since I already had it that was the one I started using when I started making soap.

Smaller batches can be done in containers that can go into the microwave oven and stickblending is easier in smaller containers. (Not glass as it will eventually shatter from the lye.) So when I did/do smaller batches I don't use the crockpot. I also don't use the crockpot for soaping in the summer as it is just too hot here in the summer to use a crockpot.
 
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