I just made soap..!

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spenny92

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Sorry if this is a silly thread, I'm just a little excited. I shouldn't really be celebrating yet as I've literally just poured it into the mould - it could turn out disastrously. :oops:

I'm also kicking myself as I completely forgot to include arrowroot powder and antioxidant! So I know that this batch will not be great, but it was my first one so it was more getting past the hurdle of fear and nerves and actually practicing the process. I found it easier than I had built it up in my head to be, especially the lye part.

It's a simple lavender and tea tree soap, and it's definitely not perfect. I also ran out of olive oil so had to sub for a little bit of canola oil - again, I just wanted to do it! The ingredients literally arrived by mail like 2 hours ago, and I got straight to it haha.

I also had a question about SoapCalc. Do I include the superfat (I used cocoa butte) in the oils list where it tells you how many grams of each to use? Or because it's already in section 4 as 5%, do I just work it out as 5% of the batch weight? :confused: I did the latter and used 25g, which could be entirely wrong - please correct me if so. I also couldn't get it to melt properly as I ended up in a rush - if you use cocoa butter, can you give me some tips? Should I melt it in another pot before trace so it's ready to go? Or can you grate it and use it as chunky bits...?

Sorry if these questions sound silly, I'm a complete and utter beginner.

lavteatree soap.jpg
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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For a first batch, you most certainly do not need colour or anti-oxident (in fact, I am not convinced that you ever need anti-oxident in soap, especially CP soap). Those are things that will distract you from the important thing - learning how to make soap.

Any time you sub one oil for another, you should re-run the recipe, especially as a beginner. If the SAP value (how much lye is needed to saponifiy the oil) is different, you could end up with a lot more or a lot less lye discount than you planned. As it is, they are fairly similar and you didn't change it by too much. Soaping is not something where one can always safely just throw things in as one feels like it. While I understand you WANTED to soap there and then, you need to actually be prepared to some extent and then, especially at the start, stick to the recipe until you know what you are doing as it makes trouble-shooting a batch so much easier.

If you're making CP soap, just put it all of the oils in to the calc - you CANNOT selectively superfat your CP soap. Anything that is added in at trace will also saponify. In HP, there are two main schools of thought on how to do it, but I can't find the thread where it was thoroughly discussed at the moment.
 
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Dorymae

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First, congratulations on your first soap, I'm sure it will turn out fine!

Now for your questions. Superfat on soap calc is actually a lye discount and is built in to the equation. In other words you should add in your cocoa butter with your other oils.

Speaking of superfat, if you are using cold process ( not cooking the soap in a crockpot) I regret to have to tell you that you can not choose your superfat. The process of saponification is such that the lye will choose which fats to combine with and which will become extra. It makes no difference that you added the extra oil last. Only in hot process can you chose your superfat, this is because you cook the soap first and after it is done (saponification is almost complete) do you add your superfatting oil.

I'm sure your soap will be wonderful without the arrowroot powder and antioxidant, so don't worry too much. Many great soaps are made without them.
 

spenny92

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For a first batch, you most certainly do not need colour or anti-oxident (in fact, I am not convinced that you ever need anti-oxident in soap, especially CP soap). Those are things that will distract you from the important thing - learning how to make soap.

Any time you sub one oil for another, you should re-run the recipe, especially as a beginner. If the SAP value (how much lye is needed to saponifiy the oil) is different, you could end up with a lot more or a lot less lye discount than you planned. As it is, they are fairly similar and you didn't change it by too much. Soaping is not something where one can always safely just throw things in as one feels like it. While I understand you WANTED to soap there and then, you need to actually be prepared to some extent and then, especially at the start, stick to the recipe until you know what you are doing as it makes trouble-shooting a batch so much easier.

If you're making CP soap, just put it all of the oils in to the calc - you CANNOT selectively superfat your CP soap. Anything that is added in at trace will also saponify. In HP, there are two main schools of thought on how to do it, but I can't find the thread where it was thoroughly discussed at the moment.
Absolutely. Next time, I'll definitely check how much oil I have first so that doesn't happen again! It made the process a little more stressful than it should have been.

I'm sticking to CP, so I'll remember that about the cocoa butter next time - thank you so much.

First, congratulations on your first soap, I'm sure it will turn out fine!

Now for your questions. Superfat on soap calc is actually a lye discount and is built in to the equation. In other words you should add in your cocoa butter with your other oils.

Speaking of superfat, if you are using cold process ( not cooking the soap in a crockpot) I regret to have to tell you that you can not choose your superfat. The process of saponification is such that the lye will choose which fats to combine with and which will become extra. It makes no difference that you added the extra oil last. Only in hot process can you chose your superfat, this is because you cook the soap first and after it is done (saponification is almost complete) do you add your superfatting oil.

I'm sure your soap will be wonderful without the arrowroot powder and antioxidant, so don't worry too much. Many great soaps are made without them.
Ah, thank you for that. That's really interesting about the superfat, the tutorial I was following seemed to imply that whichever fat you added last ie, after blending and saponification, would be superfatted in the soap. The tutorial I used was Lovely Green's beginner's soapmaking guide to a CP soap. I'll remember to add the cocoa butter into the oils section on SoapCalc next time!

Thanks again, very helpful. I'm excited to have a peek at my soap tomorrow! :)
 
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commoncenz

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Congratulations! And welcome to the maddening, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder inducing, frustrating, yet ... totally enjoyable, relaxing, wonderful, exciting, feels just like Christmas world of soaping.

The others (as usual) have given you some great pointers. As somewhat of a novice myself, I hope you won't mind if I add to theirs. Go to Soapcalc and read the directions and pretty much every link that you will find at the top of the calculator. Doing so really helps with understanding what the calculator is showing you beyond just the basic weights, water as a % of oils, lye : Water ratio etc

Edit: As far as forgetting to add your additives. I totally understand that. I made two batches in a row where I forgot to add my essential/fragrance oils. What I found helped was setting out all of my ancillary ingredients after I make my lye solution and before I melt my hard oils. There's usually plenty of time available while the lye solution is cooling.
 
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Susie

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Congratulations!

I weigh out all ingredients before mixing the first two things together. That allows me to check to see that I have enough of everything, and double check that they all get into the batch. I check the box on the recipe when I weigh it, then highlight it when I mix it with the rest.
 

Seawolfe

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Congrats! Dont be in too much of a rush to cut it - I know its hard :)

Like everyone says - just put all your oils into the soap calc and it will figure out the lye discount. Remember that soap making is a VERY old skill that people have learned from generations and by trial and error. So there is a lot of misinformation out there. Always question!

Speaking of questions - why were you putting arrowroot power in your soap?
 

rbecca74

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awesome..... but be prepared to want to turn around and make every recipes that has ever caught your eye.... I'm 7 batches in, and have about a dozen more that I want to try....
 

kumudini

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Ah, thank you for that. That's really interesting about the superfat, the tutorial I was following seemed to imply that whichever fat you added last ie, after blending and saponification, would be superfatted in the soap.
Well, it might be true that whatever fat you add after the saponification is complete will end up being your superfat, it is important to know that in CP the saponification is just about getting started when it goes in the mold and it won't be complete for another day or two.
 

commoncenz

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awesome..... but be prepared to want to turn around and make every recipes that has ever caught your eye.... I'm 7 batches in, and have about a dozen more that I want to try....
So, so TRUE. Just got my first wooden mold in yesterday and I'm ready to soap. The only problem is that I developed a new (to me) recipe while waiting for the mold and placed an order with WSP over the weekend for additional supplies. Sooooo, "no soap for me". I mean, I "could" do some soaping with the supplies on hand, but I know I won't be satisfied until I try my new recipe. :-|


Edit: Four hours later and I'm here to confess that I broke down. Just had to use that mold. Couldn't resist. And as punishment, the soaping gods decreed that I would absolutely forget what type of swirl I was supposed to be attempting and my hands would move of their own volition creating .... Well, I won't know until I cut it Thursday afternoon (yeah, right). I just hope it's not the total mess I'm envisioning. lol
 
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spenny92

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Congrats! Dont be in too much of a rush to cut it - I know its hard :)

Like everyone says - just put all your oils into the soap calc and it will figure out the lye discount. Remember that soap making is a VERY old skill that people have learned from generations and by trial and error. So there is a lot of misinformation out there. Always question!

Speaking of questions - why were you putting arrowroot power in your soap?
Thanks! I read that arrowroot could be used as a scent fixer, and I didn't have any other EOs to help anchor the main scents. Have ordered more now so I'll be much better prepared next time!

Well, it might be true that whatever fat you add after the saponification is complete will end up being your superfat, it is important to know that in CP the saponification is just about getting started when it goes in the mold and it won't be complete for another day or two.
Thank you! I'll bear that in mind.

I think I'm addicted already, I just whipped up another batch before I head off to work - honey and tea tree. I'm excited to see how they turn out, but I'm not expecting much for these first 2 batches. It's trial and error at this stage.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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It doesn't have to be.

Ask us if something will work or fail - if you are trying to make something that either will not work or will be horrid if it does work, you have wasted your time and money (then people say "I have to sell my soap because my 'hobby' is so expensive!")

At the moment you need to learn how to make soap - using random recipes is not the best way to do it.
 

soapmage

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I agree with TEG, stick to one basic recipe to hone your skills and for practice. You can always slowly start adding EO's or FO's, additives, and what-not later by using your same base recipe. Also if you make any changes at all, run it thru a lye calc each and every time. Learn your oil properties, SAP values, etc... boring I know, but it will be so helpful to you in the long run and you'll have more successful batches under your belt that way. :) Also try to do just a small batch like maybe a pound when testing new ingredients or additives to keep from wasting valuable products and supplies when moving onto more challenging batches when you're more experienced. Good luck, post pics, and be sure to come to us for help and welcome to the addictive world of soapmaking!
 

spenny92

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Thank you, it's really comforting to know that you awesome guys are just a post away and willing to help. It really helps with the nerves of getting something wrong!

So I just got home from work and was awfully excited to unveil my first loaf of CP soap. I'm not disappointed, but it's far from perfect and I wondered if someone could take a look at the photos and recipe and see where I can improve. I know that one major flaw is that I didn't have a thermometer so I wasn't able to ensure that the lye solution and oils were combined at the same temperatures. I'll definitely be doing this in future batches.

The consistency at this stage is still quite soft and it feels almost delicate, but not crumbly as such. Is this how it's supposed to be 24 hours after putting it in the mould? My main concern is the different colour in the middle compared to the outside. Could this be due to the way it was insulated or overheating? Once in the mould, I placed it inside a cardboard box and covered with a thick towel.

Thanks in advance, you guys are great.

 

Dorymae

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Not to worry, the color difference is a partial gel. The soap heated up and gelled in the middle but it didn't have enough heat to gel all the way to the edges. It is common and in no way will it effect anything but the appearance.

Yes your soap will be firm but still able to be dented or smushed with pressure. It will harden up over the next couple weeks.


By the way, if you put botanicals on the top of your soap, next time cut it upside-down to avoid the drag marks. Oh and the botanicals will turn brown over the next few days, no way to avoid it, I believe it has to do with the high PH of soap.
 
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soapmage

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By the way, if you put botanicals on the top of your soap, next time cut it upside-down to avoid the drag marks. Oh and the botanicals will turn brown over the next few days, no way to avoid it, I believe it has to do with the high PH of soap.
Yup! I learned that the hard way lol... when I first started adding lavender even to just the tops, they looked like little mouse droppings after about a week lol. Lesson learned! I only add lavender to my HP now. ;) If you do want to do botanicals, try some nice calendula or cornflowers... they stay beautiful with CP soaps.
 

spenny92

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Not to worry, the color difference is a partial gel. The soap heated up and gelled in the middle but it didn't have enough heat to gel all the way to the edges. It is common and in no way will it effect anything but the appearance.

Yes your soap will be firm but still able to be dented or smushed with pressure. It will harden up over the next couple weeks.


By the way, if you put botanicals on the top of your soap, next time cut it upside-down to avoid the drag marks. Oh and the botanicals will turn brown over the next few days, no way to avoid it, I believe it has to do with the high PH of soap.
Ah that's really good to know - thank you.

Shame about the botanicals, but not a biggie! Will remember that next time. :)

Yup! I learned that the hard way lol... when I first started adding lavender even to just the tops, they looked like little mouse droppings after about a week lol. Lesson learned! I only add lavender to my HP now. ;) If you do want to do botanicals, try some nice calendula or cornflowers... they stay beautiful with CP soaps.
Mouse droppings - mm, lovely!

Thanks, I'll have a look for those. I'm finding it hard to come by pretty much anything soap-related here in NZ, we don't have much choice. Do you mean the calendula flowers or something else?
 

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