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stepibarra

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I am an extreme newbie and so friggin tired of failure.... I have made 8 batches so far and only my first two came out... Everything else either has seperated and two seized... I have no idea Kitten Love is going on. I haven't veered from any recipe, same one all of them, make sure I ran thru soapcalc, but to no avail. I don't want to give up, but it seems that I will not be a great(hah, not even a good) soapmaker.... :( .... Ok well just needed to rant and rave... I am done with my temper tantrum....Just wanted to get it off my chest.....thanks for listening... :)
 

anhoki

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If the recipe hasn't changed...what has? Did you use a floral scent or soap warmer than before? I like to soap room temp. I let the lye solution melt my oils and add the scent after a light trace has been reached. Does your recipe have a large water discount or is it the soap calc default setting? Let's figure this out because soaping can be a very relaxing experience.
 

stepibarra

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Thank you anhoki, yes the soapcalc is at the default settings,(still to new to change anything). Only thing changed in any recipe was in one I used orange spice brewed tea as my water... also in two I used lavender and oatmeal instead of my other frangrance that I had been using..

This is my latest batch and it looks horrible.....

 
G

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FOs can be tricky. I had one batch ruined by the FO, turned everything so dark brown that it was only one shade from black. I ruined another batch with too much colorant. You should look to what you have changed, which brings up the advice to not change too many things at the same time or you won't know which one ruined your batch.

And keep good notes!!! :)
 

anhoki

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If I have learned anything in the 5+ years I have been doing this it is to take good notes. For sure. Make a note of what fragrances do to each and every recipe you try. Keep with the one that has worked and try it again. I do suggest smaller batches to start with too. The first batch of CP soap I ever made was 3#. Thank Gawd it worked. After that I made 1# batches and used Tony's molds for a looooong time. Relax. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is "the perfect soaper". You'll get there. And when you do...you'll be dreaming about soap like me. :D
 

cdwinsby

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stepibarra said:
I have made 8 batches so far and only my first two came out... Everything else either has seperated and two seized...
The orange spice tea could have caused a sieze since spices can be tempermental. Especially cinnamon and clove.

The seperations could be from pouring before you had a real trace. Sometimes it might look like a trace but not quite be there. I haven't known Lavender E/O to cause any problems or oatmeal either.

What temperature are you mixing at? Lower temperatures can trace quite quickly at lower temperatures like 80 - 90 degrees F or 27 - 32 degrees C.
On the other hand mixing at 95 - 105 degrees F or 35 - 41 degrees C can cause the mix to be quite liquid and you must make sure you reach a trace before pouring. Seperation can also occur if the mix isn't kept in constant motion or if it cools too quickly once in the mold.This info comes from Susan Millers book

I agree with those above about taking notes. Its very important. I just recently came across the notebook my mother and I used when we first started in 1998. It was wonderful to remember the different batches and how excited we were.

What is your recipe? Chances are the problem will be a number of combined factors.
 

mandolyn

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Can we start with your last batch maybe? If you can give us the recipe, we can help you figure out just what went wrong.

We want you to succeed at soapmaking, so we'll help in any way we can. You can become a happy soapmaker. I promise! :D
 

stepibarra

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Ok here is my last batch(recipe) soaped at 110F for the lye and 100F oils....

30% OO
30% CO
40% Crisco
12.2oz. water
4.6oz. lye

added lavender FO 1oz.
left the soapcalc at default
 

Martin

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Are you hand stirring or using a stick blender? I know when I started I hand stirred and had a couple turn out like the one you pictured. Now I use a stick blender and have had no problems, but it could be the FOs you used too.
Pluse I soap at 85-90 for both oils and lye.
Sonja
 

anhoki

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K...I use canola and safflower instead of olive and often use lard also. I do a room temp process where I allow the warm lye sollution to melt my oils. Once I add the warm lye solution to the cold oils I stick blend a little to incorporate all of the solution into the oils. Then I whisk for a while and see how it will react. If it seems to be going slowly I will stick blend. If it is slow to trace I will add the scent and stick blend. Fast moving and I add the scent and whisk it. Usually works like a champ. I don't see anything wrong with the recipe btw.
 

mandolyn

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OK. I ran your numbers through soapcalc. The numbers match up to a 2 lb batch. Is that what you did? If so, your water & lye amounts are fine.

I'd be interested, too, in whether or not you used a stick blender. It looks as if things didn't get mixed well. Did riceing occur while you were stirring? It almost looks that way.

One thing I do with FO's I'm not sure about is mix them in one cup of the soap mix just to see how it behaves. If it seizes, it's only one cup of the whole batch. I have a chance then to brave it, or forget about that FO & use one I know won't cause problems. The most I've wasted, then, is the oz or so of FO & 1 cup of soap mix.

I do the same when I'm adding a color I'm not sure about or any other additive I haven't used before. Take out a cup of the soap mix, add the whatever, see what it does, then decide to use it for the whole batch or not.

Sea Moss FO causes temporary riceing. I can NOT get it to mix in a full batch. My soap will have spots of FO all throughout it. :shock: So, I mix it in one cup, then hold my breath & very quickly & thoroughly (couldn't do it without a stick blender) mix that cup into the full batch.

My last batch of Sea Moss even has a nice swirl.
 

stepibarra

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Yes I do SB and yes it did rice...... I thought I could beat into submission..LOL guess not
 

PrincessMommy

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stepibarra said:
Ok here is my last batch(recipe) soaped at 110F for the lye and 100F oils....
I'm no expert but it looks like your temps were too far apart. I've been told they should be less than 5 degrees apart before mixing. 110F seems a bit high to me.
 

NEASoapWorks

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Failed Batches

Hmmm...I'm sorry about that. Don't give up!

A few things: I've been soaping, since October of last year, so I don't have many years under my belt, but I've only had two failed batches of soap — God has been VERY good to me, and I READ A LOT.

I've soaped quite a few different oil combos, in my short time as a soapmaker. Both failures (seizing and separation) had to do with FOs that were soaped too hot, for my particular recipe. Now, I do RTCP (heat transfer method) and I've hand stirred the majority of my batches, and recently returned to handstirring, because I prefer it to stickblending. My recipes trace pretty quick (for handstirring), because of the combo of oils I use, and the temp. I don't do castille/bastille soaps, nor do I use very high amounts of olive oil. My lye water is usually moderately hot, with my oils at room temperature.

I handstir with a wire whisk, which is WAY better for gettin' things going in the soap pot, than a plain ole' spoon — equipment is often as important as technique.

So, my advice is: Watch your FOs — especially florals and spice scents. Soap cool, and add at very light trace. Sometimes a SB can beat a tantrum causing FO into submission.

HTH
 
G

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NEASoapworks is right - the stick blender isn't always your friend. I make an orange Spice soap that I have to work really fast with too. I stick blend the oils and lye until I know they are well mixed and switch to a whisk when I add the FO. I don't discount water with that FO either.
 

stepibarra

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I would like to thank everyone for all the wonderful advice you have given me... I don't intend on giving up, just was extremely frustrated... I will take everyones advice and put it to good use and hopefully soon will have some beautiful soaps as a result..... :)
 
G

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stepibarra said:
Ok here is my last batch(recipe) soaped at 110F for the lye and 100F oils....
PrincessMommy said:
I'm no expert but it looks like your temps were too far apart. I've been told they should be less than 5 degrees apart before mixing. 110F seems a bit high to me.
kwahlne said:
Really? I've heard within 20 degrees is fine....
I often get my oils to 100 and the lye is cooling but I get tired of waiting, so I add lye at 120. I've done that on a lot of batches with no problems.
 
G

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NEASoapWorks said:
Sometimes a SB can beat a tantrum causing FO into submission.
I've found that more often than not the SB won't help, but enough times my SB has saved the day. I think it's worth trying and see if you are making progress. If not you may have to just mold it and hope for the best, planning on a rebatch at worst.
Marr said:
NEASoapworks is right - the stick blender isn't always your friend. I make an orange Spice soap that I have to work really fast with too. I stick blend the oils and lye until I know they are well mixed and switch to a whisk when I add the FO. I don't discount water with that FO either.
I am of course new to soapmaking, but I suspect that many beginners may use their SB too much, particularly when I hear of SBs being burned out. My initial feeling, still unchanged, is that you should use your SB judiciously. I recommend using it in a burst for 30-45 seconds or so, then put it down for 3-4 minutes and stir with a spoon or just let your mixture rest.

You can get things going too quickly with your SB, like get your tracing accelerated so that even if you stop hitting it with your stick when you reach light trace the reaction may already be progressing at a fast rate and you may be only 2-3 minutes from heavy trace even before you add your FO. If your FO causes acceleration you may be right on the verge of a chain reaction!

You should use your SB to get the reaction going at a reasonable rate, but if you speed it up too much you may find there is very little time between light trace and extremely heavy trace or even seizing.

Don't have too much of a good thing. Go easy on those sticks folks! :)
 

Deda

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Don't let it get to you, in a bit you'll find your own tempo.

Read, take notes, learn. In the end you will find a technique that feels natural to you. From then on, it's cake.

SB or whisk - you do what feels right for you.

Just my own observation, but I think I learned more from the seized, stinky, non-smelling, foul colored and generally yucky batches than I ever learned from a book.
 
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