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I'm almost ready to make my first batch! Eeeee!

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gigisiguenza

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I'm so exicted, I'm *this* close to making my first batch :D

I've been researching for months, learning as much as I can, and slowly accumulating the tools and supplies from thrift stores, garage sales, donations from friends, the dollar store lol. I even splurged and bought some things online that were on sale for very inexpensive, even though I know I won't be using them for a bit. I figured if I grab them when they're on sale, I'll have them when I'm ready and won't have to hunt them down (plus it just felt good to order supplies lol). I feel so fortunate that my friends are excited with me about this new adventure, some donating odds and ends, others being willing to go thrift store hopping with me for goodies.

The only thing missing at this point, I think, is lye (which I have to call Ace hardware tomorrow to see if they have) and a reliable recipe. I've done a ton of research on the oils etc and played with the lye calc, but I don't feel comfy using my own recipe yet, I'm gonna use an established recipe to learn the process and get comfy with it first.

Here's what I have so far. Please feel free to point out any holes in my supplies. I value all the input and feedback I can get from more experienced diapers and I want to be well prepared before I begin :)

Oils: Olive, Avacado, Grapeseed
Clays: White Kaolin, Green Zeolite
Some small FO samples that were described as non discoloring
Scales: 2 -11lb. scales that do metric, one with a basin and one flat top (both donated! yay!)
A stick blender
Rubber gloves, various plastic pitchers in various sizes, silicone spatulas
Various plastic containers to use for molds (don't wanna get fancy til I get more experienced)

Like I said, I know I need lye and am on the hunt for it, and I'm undecided on the Coconut and Palm oil, mostly because I don't have a basic recipe yet lol.

Please - Feel free to point out my errors and and anything I've overlooked. I'm eager to start but I'm also surprisingly nervous. Geez. You would think I was building a rocket, not preparing to make soap hahahaha.

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Susie

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You need some sort of safety goggles to protect your eyes. Regular glasses will not suffice. Also some sort of long sleeved shirt will be useful until you get the hang of keeping the stick blender in the liquid and debubbling it correctly.

You will definitely need lye, but Essential Depot or the lye guy are much cheaper, and you can buy in 2 lb quantities.

http://www.essentialdepot.com/product/NAOH-4-FOOD_GRADE.html

http://www.thelyeguy.com/store.php?crn=211

Be sure to find out shipping costs, then compare total price to local hardware store. I get my emergency lye at Lowe's, so if you have one, check there also.

You will also need coconut oil and either lard, tallow, or palm oil. Sam's is carrying coconut oil again, and it is a better price/oz than Walmart.

You will probably find that nitrile gloves are easier to work in than the "dishwashing" gloves. They are too bulky for most of what you will be doing. But YMMV.

Please be sure to let us know what recipe you are thinking of trying and any particulars like vegan/eczema/skin type/etc before you make a recipe, we will be happy to look it over and help you.
 
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gigisiguenza

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Susie - I totally forgot goggles! I wear glasses, so it never occured to me. And a long sleeves shirt for sure (adding both to the list). And I grabbed 4 different types of gloves so I can see which type I prefer. I figure the rest won't go to waste because I'll use em for other things.

Thanks for the link, I will check their prices, and my cousin has a Sam's club membership, so I'll ask her to take me.

As to the recipe, I prefer vegan, and want something mild, conditioning, with rich lather (I don't care about big pretty bubbles), and gentle cleansing.

I have played for many hours on soapcalc with ingredients and came up.with a preliminary recipe, but since I've never made soap, I'm still not sure lol. I'll post the recipe and the soap calc screenshot in a few to.get feedback from the pros :)

Thanks heaps for the input and feedback!
 

not_ally

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You *are* ready! You poor thing, you will never see the top of your dining room table again. I lost mine months ago :) I am tired so am just going to brainstorm here, sorry if it is higgledy-piggledy.

Couple of things. Re oils, you need at least one hard oil, I would suggest coconut. Sure you already know this, but don't use fractionated, use the CO that gets solid at lower temps.

You can make a fine soap w/olive, coconut and palm/lard/tallow. The olive and avocado are sort of interchangeable, for now save the avocado since it is more expensive and you don't want to waste it on the first few attempts if you don't have lots of it. Grapeseed: fine for now, but not a v. long shelf life, said to be a DOS candidate (I've never used it b/c of the foregoing) replace w/lard if you are OK using it, ie, not vegan/vegetarian/otherwise averse. Lard is awesome and cheap and you can get it at most grocery stores. Sometimes called Manteca.

Once you have the coconut and lard/palm on hand, Susie will suggest a beautiful beginner's recipe for you, or I - as her loyal lard disciple - will do so if she doesn't see this. Just use a really simple recipe at first, don't use the clay. Just three or four oils in a slow trace recipe, use full water and (some people will even advise against this) an FO you are sure will not accelerate trace. If you are unsure, ask here, someone is bound to if it is relatively commonly used, or one of us can try and look it up for you.

Also, for the future, I would add castor, you will start wanting to add it for stabilizing lather. When you make an order on line get a couple of bottles. It is much cheaper that way, really expensive in the drugstore, as I found out when I ran out.

Also 91% alcohol in a spray bottle for ash prevention.

Thinner/latrile gloves are easier to use, essential if you are a klutz like me, I would be spilling left and right with those rubber ones.

Good luck and have fun!

ETA: crossposted w/susie, take her advice over mine if any conflicts :)

ETA again: Get the goggles at the dollar store. I bought a fancy pair of onion goggles starting out and always use my dollar store ones instead.
 
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Susie

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This recipe is all over this forum, but if something goes wrong, enough of us can help you troubleshoot:

Lard/palm/tallow 55%
Olive Oil 20%
Coconut Oil 20%
Castor Oil 5%
Superfat 5%

This is not going to be the most spectacular soap, but it is a great starter recipe because it is well behaved and slow trace.

I am going to second what not_ally said about the additives-save them for later. Also she is right on target about the oils.
 

gigisiguenza

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Ally - I know! My table has been hijacked for weeks lol. Tonight I gutted my coat closet and put a book case in it so I now have storage for supplies and equipment. :)

As to ingredients, I thought the grapeseed would be ok in small amounts and was good for leaving you with soft skin. But if it's gonna gimme DOS, then that bad boy can wait til I've had a few batches under my belt before I give it a try lol.

Now, lard. Lard could be any lard yes? What's the difference between Crisco and Manteca? I don't use either, except when baking I use Crisco, so I'm curious.

As to full water, I had planned on sticking to the 3:1 ratio. Even though it would be nice to have it cure faster, I'm worried it will come to trace too quick, freak me out, and I'll mess it up lol. So I'm all good with the full water policy for now :)

Castor oil... ugh why does it have to be so expensive locally? I avoid online ordering because it's a pain getting my packages from my cousin (all my online orders are shipped to her house). But if it's needed, I'll add it to the list :)

Is drugstore alcohol ok?

Susie - tyvm for the recipe! What oil do you suggest for the superfat?

Susie - also, not_ally mentioned FO... I got several that I will list in a minute. When I bought them, I specifically looked for ones that did not accelerate trace or discolor, and I bought them from BB. They smell divine, by w lol.

The FOs I got from BB -


Pure Honey
http://www.brambleberry.com/Pure-Honey-Fragrance-Oil-P6218.aspx

Milk & Honey
http://www.brambleberry.com/Milk-Honey-Candle-Soap-Fragrance-P2985.aspx

Cherry Blossom
http://www.brambleberry.com/Cherry-Blossom-Fragrance-Oil-P4986.aspx

Ginger Patchouli - this one was a bonus that they put into my order, I didn't order it, but it's lovely. It does accelerate slightly, according to the description, but doesn't discolor.
http://www.brambleberry.com/Ginger-Patchouli-Fragrance-Oil-P6125.aspx
 

spenny92

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Susie - tyvm for the recipe! What oil do you suggest for the superfat?
I'm sure Susie will be along to tell you in a mo, but I learnt this by posting on this forum before I made my first soap! You can't choose your superfat in cold process soap - I'm assuming that's the method you're using, correct me if I'm wrong. The lye will choose what it wants to saponify and which oils it wants to leave.

I'm also a new soaper, but have been playing around with vegan recipes. I did use palm and lard to start with, but am no longer able to source lard locally and don't want to use palm for environmental reasons. You can still make soap without palm/lard/tallow, but it's a good place to start. :)

If you can source some cheap silicone baking moulds, they're really great for soap. Mine pop out so easy using those, but they can bow slightly so you won't have perfectly straight edges but they're good to start with. You can also chuck soap in the freezer so it's easier to unmould.

Can't wait to see your first soap - keep us updated!
 

gigisiguenza

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Spenny - thanks for the info, especially about the lard, because I really don't want to use it. I'm going to use it anyway because I've got to learn someplace, and it's affordable. Once I get comfy and more experienced, I'll move away from lard. :)
 

not_ally

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Gigi, lard is pig fat, to put it bluntly. I've never used or soaped w/Crisco, but I believe it might be vegetable shortening? A different beast altogether, pun intended :)

Of those FO's, the only one I wouldn't use is the Milk and Honey. Just b/c it contains enough vanilla (4 or 5%?) that the bar will darken/discolor, and you want your first batch to stay the color you intended. I found reviews for the Ginger Patch on the FO chart here (review by Snappy Llama, she says no A/D) and for the Cherry Blossom on the Soap Scent Review Board, where one person did say that she experienced some A/ricing with it, the other two reviewers had none.

If you are not swirling (and I wouldn't on the first few batches), I would think any of them would be OK. You might want to start out w/a whisk and then switch over to the SB on low when you get bored of whisking :)
 

gigisiguenza

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If you can source some cheap silicone baking moulds, they're really great for soap. Mine pop out so easy using those, but they can bow slightly so you won't have perfectly straight edges but they're good to start with. You can also chuck soap in the freezer so it's easier to unmould.

Can't wait to see your first soap - keep us updated!
I've been on the lookout for some, but haven't seen any affordable enough yet. And don't worry, I'll be so excited about my first batch, that I'll be fighting the urge to buy a billboard, so / photos will surely be posted LOL
 

Relle

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Scales: 2 -11lb. scales that do metric, one with a basin and one flat top (both donated! yay!)

You will need scales that start weighing from under the 2lb. Mine are metric because that's what we use here and they start at 1gram and go up in one gram increments. I'm not sure what quantities you are going to start making your soap in. Oils like castor I don't think you will be using 2lb in a recipe to start off with unless you are doing large batches.
 

not_ally

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Relle, from the pics I got the impression that Gigi meant two scales that measured up to eleven lbs, but probably also in grams. That was what I was assuming, at least.

Those bunnies on the bench are cute on the xmas thread. Bunny love galore. For some reason they reminded me of my puppies, which makes no sense, maybe it was the love part and the food/greedy anticipation part!
 

gigisiguenza

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Scales: 2 -11lb. scales that do metric, one with a basin and one flat top (both donated! yay!)

You will need scales that start weighing from under the 2lb. Mine are metric because that's what we use here and they start at 1gram and go up in one gram increments. I'm not sure what quantities you are going to start making your soap in. Oils like castor I don't think you will be using 2lb in a recipe to start off with unless you are doing large batches.
Relle - they're food scales and if I read the instructions correctly, will go below a gram. I'll experiment with them tomorrow and make sure. One came from a friend who used hers for dieting, the from a friend who used it for baking and other things, so I assume they both can measure a tenth of a gram. But I'll check n play to be sure.

Thanks for the heads up, I hadn't considered that when I received them :)
 

Relle

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Relle, from the pics I got the impression that Gigi meant two scales that measured up to eleven lbs, but probably also in grams. That was what I was assuming, at least.

Those bunnies on the bench are cute on the xmas thread. Bunny love galore. For some reason they reminded me of my puppies, which makes no sense, maybe it was the love part and the food/greedy anticipation part!

Must have read it wrong :crazy:.

Found the bunny pic the other day. I would love to eat my lunch in the park and feed the bunnies. That's what Pandora does when I toast raisin bread - gimme, gimme, gimme.
 

Relle

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Relle - they're food scales and if I read the instructions correctly, will go below a gram. I'll experiment with them tomorrow and make sure. One came from a friend who used hers for dieting, the from a friend who used it for baking and other things, so I assume they both can measure a tenth of a gram. But I'll check n play to be sure.

Thanks for the heads up, I hadn't considered that when I received them :)

If they go below a gram they will be ok Gigi, I read your sentence wrong.:silent:
 

gigisiguenza

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If they go below a gram they will be ok Gigi, I read your sentence wrong.:silent:
Cool, then I should be fine. And I figured you might have, but not until after I had already replied LOL
 

umeali

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gigi I envy you ,I made my first soap few days back and bought only one or things and made it .You bought every thing like a professional .
 

Susie

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Use the water amount specified on the lye calculator. Just stick with that for the first few batches to avoid mistakes.

Yes, lard is cheap, and makes the most marvelous soap. Crisco is hydrogenated soybean oil. It will do nothing for your soap.

Print your recipes out, and make notes right on that page. Save those, even the failures! You will thank yourself later!
 
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gigisiguenza

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Gigi, lard is pig fat, to put it bluntly. I've never used or soaped w/Crisco, but I believe it might be vegetable shortening? A different beast altogether, pun intended :)
Ick - precisely why I didn't wanna use it lol. I guess I'll be taking my behind to Sam's or somewhere to find palm. I didn't want to use that either for environmental reasons as well, but I guess it's gonna have to be one or the other for now.

Of those FO's, the only one I wouldn't use is the Milk and Honey. Just b/c it contains enough vanilla (4 or 5%?) that the bar will darken/discolor, and you want your first batch to stay the color you intended. I found reviews for the Ginger Patch on the FO chart here (review by Snappy Llama, she says no A/D) and for the Cherry Blossom on the Soap Scent Review Board, where one person did say that she experienced some A/ricing with it, the other two reviewers had none.
Thanks for checking those. The description for the milk and honey said no a/d, but if people are experiencing it, then I'll stay away from it until down the road. So it's gonna be Honey or Ginger Patchouli. Good thing they both smell awesome :)

[/QUOTE] If you are not swirling (and I wouldn't on the first few batches), I would think any of them would be OK. You might want to start out w/a whisk and then switch over to the SB on low when you get bored of whisking :)[/QUOTE]

Oh you have no idea how much I want to swirl! But I'm gonna wait til I've practiced on some cake batter first hehehe. And I will likely whisk until my arm dies cuz I'm gonna be nervous about messing up the batter by over blending with the SB LOL.

Thanks for all the help and feedback :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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If castor is too expensive for now, leave it out and put the difference in to the hard oil, or split it 1% in the co and the other 4 split evenly between the other two oils.

Also, water amount doesn't really impact cure time, but trace and unmoulding times, certainly. It will need a 4 week cure regardless
 
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