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gigisiguenza

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after trying to solve the trace issues on the recipe with the sunflower oil in it, I think I got it right thanks to all you lovely folks and your generous help.

1- It was suggested it might be the castor, and after checking the others batches where I did swirls, I noticed that only 1 of them was at 10%, the others were at 5% - so I bumped it down a tiny smidge (2.5 oz instead of 3 oz)

2- It was suggested that in was soaping too warm, or my oils were too warm because I was microwaving them - so I melted the hard oils on the stove on lowest temp and added them to the cool liquid oils. Took a little longer than nuking them, but it was worth it.

3- I *know* I was SBing too much - so I tried something different - I added my FOs and my kaolin clay to the oils and pulsed it thoroughly to incorporate them both well before I added my lye solution.

This seems to be a really nice method for me as once I had all the extras added to the oils, adding the lye solution last gave me much better control over how fast it traced. I only needed to pulse a very little bit to get it to emulsion/very light trace. And once I separated out my little portions to be colored, it stayed much more fluid than it has in the past couple of batches. It wasn't *as* fluid as I wanted, but it was much better.

I really want to master getting it to be very very liquid for specific swirls I wanna try, but I'm not sure how to do that. Maybe a recipe with more liquid oils instead of so many solids?

I welcome any and all feedback, and tyvm to all who have been helping me figure this out so far :)

G
 

Susie

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You are definitely on the right track. Depending on how much solid oils are in the recipe, you may not even want to melt your solid oils all the way. Just use warmer lye water. Trial and error is slow, but effective. There is only so much someone else can tell you.

Congratulations!
 

snappyllama

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I like to nuke my hard oils and then add liquid ones to save on cool-down time, too. I also add everything into my oils and SB before adding my lye (unless I'm reserving a portion to leave unscented for discoloring FOs). Soaping cooler definitely helps. So does just getting to emulsification before dividing out for colors. Some colorants seem to speed up trace... TD and some green micas have been noticeably faster moving for me.

I find high lard recipes to be very forgiving - they seem slow to trace and then tend to hang around without continuing to thicken longer. My recipes with lower lard amounts seem like they move faster once I'm done blending... if that makes sense. It's actually kind of annoying when I'm waiting on a consistency for piping - then I get bored, wander off, and miss my golden window of pipeable-batter-bliss. But that's probably just me.
 

gigisiguenza

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You are definitely on the right track. Depending on how much solid oils are in the recipe, you may not even want to melt your solid oils all the way. Just use warmer lye water. Trial and error is slow, but effective. There is only so much someone else can tell you.

Congratulations!
Susie - Ty :) And trial and error frustrates the begeebers outta me LOL, but it is indeed the only way for some things.

As to using warm lye solution - I thought using warm lye solution sped up trace? Up til now, I've always been very careful to make sure my lye solution is cool because I believed it would speed up trace. What your suggesting is that I *don't* melt the hard oils at all, just add the warm lye solution to my oil batch and let the heat from the lye solution melt them? Won't that risk it starting to react immediately, before I've even had a chance to emulsify any of it?

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I'm wanting to understand what you are recommending. If my understanding of any of it is wrong, it wouldn't at all surprise me LOL

TIA :)

I like to nuke my hard oils and then add liquid ones to save on cool-down time, too. I also add everything into my oils and SB before adding my lye (unless I'm reserving a portion to leave unscented for discoloring FOs). Soaping cooler definitely helps. So does just getting to emulsification before dividing out for colors. Some colorants seem to speed up trace... TD and some green micas have been noticeably faster moving for me.

I find high lard recipes to be very forgiving - they seem slow to trace and then tend to hang around without continuing to thicken longer. My recipes with lower lard amounts seem like they move faster once I'm done blending... if that makes sense. It's actually kind of annoying when I'm waiting on a consistency for piping - then I get bored, wander off, and miss my golden window of pipeable-batter-bliss. But that's probably just me.
snappy - that made total sense. So far, other than my first batch, pretty much every recipe I've used has been 50% Lard, 20% CO and I've been experimenting with the amounts of the other oils with each batch. I'm trying to decide on which combos I like the best so I can designate them as my "base" recipes, my goto recipes that I use for nearly everything, just changing the colors and scents and techniques etc. I've not yet tried piping, but I have plans for trying several very cool things I've seen.

ETA btw all my colors are natural colorants like spices, herbs, etc. I've not tried micas or oxides yet as I'm focusing on experimenting with these plant based colorants first.

It's funny... when I embarked on my soapy adventure, I figured I would learn a lot and maybe enjoy a new hobby of making soap... I had no idea it would turn out the be the trifecta of Gigi bait and grab me by my nerdgirl-geeky brain and suck me in with its combo of science, art, and practicality :)
 

vmakkers

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I feel the same way about soaping. I started out soaping because I was so curious about Genny's shampoo bar recipe and after the first time I made actual bubbles from my soap, it was over. I think I made 3 more batches that same weekend just because I was super excited that I actually made soap. I started watching more and more videos and became entranced by the beautiful works of soap I saw. I wanted to be able to do it myself. Now I pretty much watch soaping videos everyday or have some kinda of soaping info playing while I'm at work. Info on soaping techniques beats out Pandora any day in my book.

I think I finally found a hobby that I can put my creativity into and is actually usable. I went on an ornament making spree one Christmas because I wanted a theme that I just couldn't find. I ended up with 5 huge totes of custom ornaments and toppers. BF looked at me and said I better not plan on doing this every year because we don't have a garage. Now he looks at my soap and asks when it'll be ready so he can try it. He even took my soaps with him to Ireland cause he's not willing to go back to normal soaps.

I think we're both glad I finally found a hobby where the items leave my house since I give a lot of them away to friends and family. Only downside: I didn't realize how endless the supplies could be...all the FOs, all the new colorants, the different molds, it really just doesn't stop. I feel like I have enough stuff to be an actual business and I still don't have everything I want. BF probably didn't anticipate that I would create an entire soap room to contain all the stuff.
 

gigisiguenza

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I feel the same way about soaping. I started out soaping because I was so curious about Genny's shampoo bar recipe and after the first time I made actual bubbles from my soap, it was over. I think I made 3 more batches that same weekend just because I was super excited that I actually made soap. I started watching more and more videos and became entranced by the beautiful works of soap I saw. I wanted to be able to do it myself. Now I pretty much watch soaping videos everyday or have some kinda of soaping info playing while I'm at work. Info on soaping techniques beats out Pandora any day in my book.

I think I finally found a hobby that I can put my creativity into and is actually usable. I went on an ornament making spree one Christmas because I wanted a theme that I just couldn't find. I ended up with 5 huge totes of custom ornaments and toppers. BF looked at me and said I better not plan on doing this every year because we don't have a garage. Now he looks at my soap and asks when it'll be ready so he can try it. He even took my soaps with him to Ireland cause he's not willing to go back to normal soaps.

I think we're both glad I finally found a hobby where the items leave my house since I give a lot of them away to friends and family. Only downside: I didn't realize how endless the supplies could be...all the FOs, all the new colorants, the different molds, it really just doesn't stop. I feel like I have enough stuff to be an actual business and I still don't have everything I want. BF probably didn't anticipate that I would create an entire soap room to contain all the stuff.
LOL I feel ya... I've become a soap making junkie and I'm going to have to convert my bedroom closet into a curing closet soon, or there will be no flat surfaces left in my apartment.

I wish I could afford to buy the goodies I see you all discussing, but my budget is very tight, and I cannot afford things like fancy molds etc. I make due with my dollar store foam core board self made molds and my limited supply of oils and dream of things I see online like colored clays, oils I can't find at the grocery store, and molds that I can use more than twice LOL.

I'm with you though... I love this hobby and the fact that it produces something so very useful :)
 

Jhonywalker4090

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LOL I feel ya... I've become a soap making junkie and I'm going to have to convert my bedroom closet into a curing closet soon, or there will be no flat surfaces left in my apartment.

I wish I could afford to buy the goodies I see you all discussing, but my budget is very tight, and I cannot afford things like fancy molds etc. I make due with my dollar store foam core board self made molds and my limited supply of oils and dream of things I see online like colored clays, oils I can't find at the grocery store, and molds that I can use more than twice LOL.

I'm with you though... I love this hobby and the fact that it produces something so very useful :)
I don't know if you can use the plastic molds that are used for m&p but the one I bought at hobby lobby was 2 or 3 dollars.
 

Susie

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I use the heat transfer method of soaping.(pouring hot lye water over solid oils) Since I use a high lard percentage, this is really not a problem. Remember that I don't do fancy swirls, so I like faster trace.
 
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