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How do you keep the soap batter thin enough to do a pattern?

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gigisiguenza

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I went to make my second batch tonight (a bigger batch in a small slab mold so I could use one of my colorants to try a simple pattern) and it got too thick too quickly to do any kind of pouring. The FO I used was the BB Pure Honey, which stated it doesn't accelerate or discolor, and I put it in at very very thin trace, just before I began separating out portions into smaller cups to add color. By the time I added the color and went to stir them all in, the soap batter was already thickening up to near pudding consistency and doing anything like a pattern was not gonna happen.

How do I keep the soap batter thin enough to be able to add the color and pour? It was the exact same recipe as my first batch, and in exactly the same order of steps. On my first batch, it didn't thicken up so quickly like that. The only change was the FO. I use BB Milk n Honey on the first batch, and I used the Pure Honey on this one.

Any suggestions?

TIA for the help folks :)
 

dillsandwitch

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What i do is after i get to thin trace i seperate what i want for colours. then add the colours and then i add the fo to the mix. That way if the fo is an accelorator i still have time to do my swirls
 

gigisiguenza

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What i do is after i get to thin trace i seperate what i want for colours. then add the colours and then i add the fo to the mix. That way if the fo is an accelorator i still have time to do my swirls
Duly noted.... I had not thought to do it in that order... thanks :)
 

TVivian

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In my experience, even fragrances that say "no acceleration" still accelerate to some degree. You really have to know the particular fragrance you're working with to know just how much and how fast it's going to speed things up for you. Some fragrances really don't speed up at all and actually slow trace and those are the best ones to work with when you're wanting a very intricate, time consuming swirl. As was said before, I also add fragrance last.
 

commoncenz

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I've found that adding the fragrance oil into the the carrier oils before adding the lye water and soaping at cooler temperatures helps me keep my recipe in line. Anything else and it wants to zoom on me.
 

gigisiguenza

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Ty both. I hadn't thought to add to the oils before adding the lye. For some reason I thought it would mess up the process. Also, maybe I SB too much? I mean I really only pulsed a few times before adding the FO, but I did SB pulse a few times after adding as well. Maybe I should try just stirring it in if I'm gonna add the FO after the iniitial emulsion. Hmmm.

This brings up.a second question I'm curious about - when to add the color.

Some of my colorants are ground (clays or powdered things like parsley or annatto). I mixed these with a tbs or two of the melted oils to make adding them easier. But the infusions are in oil already. Would adding them to the batter mess it up at all by throwing the oils:lye ratios off?

Thanks again folks, your help is greatly appreciated :)
 

gigisiguenza

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I think I just realized one of the reasons the batter thickened quicker than last time.

1- last time I used refrigerated water to make the lye. I was worried about heat, so it made sense to use very cold water. I didn't do that this time

2- last time, I heated my oils to melt them, then let them sit for quite some time while I set up other things. That made them a lot cooler than they were this time. This time, I set up first, then did the oils, so they were hotter. Combined with warmer lye solution, I think it accelerated trace.

Making notes. I will learn to do this right consistently LOL
 

Jstar

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Yup, soaping cooler will help slow trace. I soap no hotter than 100, and actually cold if Im doing milk.

Also, when adding colorants in oil, make sure you use the oil from your batch to mix them in, and not 'extra' oil since that will throw your calculations off.

I usually take about a TBSP or 2 of oil out of my main batch to mix my colorant in..for each color Im going to use, and mix them up first so they are ready to go.

Then I add my FO to my main batch oils..and SB well. {this is also where I add my kaolin clay} Next I add my lye mixture and give it a brief pulse or 2 and then use that SB to 'stir'..I do this a few times till I get a thin/med trace..then pour a bit into each colorant and mix well....then its all off to the mold.
 
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gigisiguenza

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Yup, soaping cooler will help slow trace. I soap no hotter than 100, and actually cold if Im doing milk.

Also, when adding colorants in oil, make sure you use the oil from your batch to mix them in, and not 'extra' oil since that will throw your calculations off.

I usually take about a TBSP or 2 of oil out of my main batch to mix my colorant in..for each color Im going to use, and mix them up first so they are ready to go.

Then I add my FO to my main batch oils..and SB well. {this is also where I add my kaolin clay} Next I add my lye mixture and give it a brief pulse or 2 and then use that SB to 'stir'..I do this a few times till I get a thin/med trace..then pour a bit into each colorant and mix well....then its all off to the mold.
Jstar - thank you, appreciate the feedback. What about those colorants I've made through infusion? I have several that I made through heat infusion then sat aside, so that they could continue to deepen. How/when would I add them? Or should I adjust the superfat to compensate?
 

Jstar

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I have never used infused colorants, but I would def add it in on soapcalc since it is extra oil.

As for when to add them, I would just do like I do and add your batter to the colorants if its not a large amount of oil..

Someone here may have used infused colorants so they may be better able to answer that one.
 

Seawolfe

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Yes count your infused oil as part of the calculation. So for example if you have 3 colors of infused olive oil, you would keep 6 ounces of OO out of the main soap batter, divide it into 3 equal parts, then add 2 ounces of each color to the 3 equal parts. Thats what works for me anyway.

Achieving and holding a thin trace for soaps depends on recipe, temperatures, fragrances, additions and technique. I find it helps me to just get to emulsion (the step before trace where everything is the same color and theres no oil see around the container edge). THEN I start separating out for colors and such. I also add my scents to the oils, or just at emulsion, but I only one of my EO's accelerates.
 

not_ally

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I add the FO to the oils, too. I add sodium lactate to the cooled lye liquid but pretty much everything else gets added at emulsion.

I usually do the split method and use the "second half" of the liquid (ie; the part w/o lye in it) to mix in everything else with a SB so they are all really well mixed/no clumps. Then add that (second half) liquid to the emulsified batter, mix it in w/a judicious number of SB pulses until I get to light trace, then divide into color cups/batchlets (usually have the colors in the cups, waiting) and switch to mini-whisks/little silicone stirrers to get the color well stirred in until it is clear that my color batchlets are not going to move too fast.

I also use a slow-tracing mix and soap cool, I like to swirl at a light/medium trace, so it is important to me to keep the batter that way.
 
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cmzaha

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Your recipe is going to make a huge difference in trace time. high palm, semi hard to hard butters, tallow, any with high palmitic or stearic, and castor will make a huge difference in trace time. Lard and olive oil will slow trace. Amanda from Lovin Soap has some slow trace recipes posted. What I like to do for colors is seperate out at emulsion and mix my colors, using only 1 color if I am using a new fo. I then some of the fo into the colored part to see how it acts. That way if it accelerates severely I can dump it back in the main batch stir, add in the balance of the fo, this way if it seizes to the point I have to dump in a crock pot I will not end up with muddy looking soap. Unlike most I do not use my batch oils for my colorants because I cannot control the color and all the colorant would have to be used. I am a low superfatter so if I do use infused oil I do not stress adding in some extra oil. Normally I use glycerin for pre-mixing colorants
 
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TVivian

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In my experience, even fragrances that say "no acceleration" still accelerate to some degree. You really have to know the particular fragrance you're working with to know just how much and how fast it's going to speed things up for you. Some fragrances really don't speed up at all and actually slow trace and those are the best ones to work with when you're wanting a very intricate, time consuming swirl. As was said before, I also add fragrance last.

I want to add that I add very well behaved FO's at the last minute. If I know one to be an accelerator, I add it to the oils before the lye. But I rarely/never try to swirl an FO I know is speedy, or one that I have no experience with. It's such a trial and error thing! :)
 

not_ally

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Viv (or anyone that has thoughts on this) re adding well behaved FOs at the last minute, is there any *downside* to adding FOs generally to the oils in your opinion?

I started doing it w/troublemakers but then ended up doing it w/all of them b/c it is easier for me to remember.
 

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