Making Large Batch Soaps

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by J.D. Harrington, Jan 17, 2020.

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  1. Jan 17, 2020 #1

    J.D. Harrington

    J.D. Harrington

    J.D. Harrington

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    My wife and I have been making soaps for two years now and are ready to start making large batches. I made several large molds (14x18x4; 72 bars) and up-sized all the other tools (bowls, measuring cups, blender, bought a log splitter etc.) so we're basically ready. I've done lots of research with all the large batch youtubers, but before making our first batch, I wanted to make one last check here to see if there's anything that could trip us up. As I'm sure you know, large batches cost a tad bit more than small batches. so I'm looking for any tips to consider from all the resident experts that make large batches (i.e. superfating, water discounts, lye water ratios, etc.). Appreciate anything you can offer...
     
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  2. Jan 17, 2020 #2

    jcandleattic

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    Larger batches will behave differently than smaller batches. They are more prone to partial gel, take longer to unmold, can take longer to trace, etc,
    Might be worth (yes, even at the higher cost) to make a few test batches first so you are prepared and know what to expect.
     
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  3. Jan 17, 2020 #3

    geniash

    geniash

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    Also have a recipe at your hand at all time with all steps listed to make sure all your additives/fragrance/colors are added & in the right amount! If you are mixing/swirling etc make sure the pattern is listed on your recipe card so that it can be repeated in the future.
     
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  4. Jan 17, 2020 #4

    cmzaha

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    Can I be nosey and ask why you want to make approx 25 lb batches at a time? Are you going into wholesaling? I only ask because when I was selling online and selling in up to 6-8 markets per week I still used 6 lb (which gives me 14 bars) molds for control purposes and the fact that I pour a lot of different fragrances. I also do not want to get stuck with 25 lbs of a fragrance that does not sell. When making consistent sellers such as DB I mix double batches at a time. I usually carry 40-45 fragrances at all times. It is absolutely not my business why you want to pour large batches but they can go awry and it is a lot of material to waste, and it is harder to control coloring. I decided at one time to pour 12 lbs batches at a time but quickly returned back to my 6 lb molds. My recipes can be de-molded in 6-8 hrs so my molds are freed up and ready to go the next day or even by evening. Having multiple molds and keeping them lined I am always ready to pour.
     
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  5. Jan 19, 2020 #5

    CatahoulaBubble

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    All I can say is Don't Do It! You think it's going to be a great way to save time but in my experience I ended up wasting a lot of oils in large batches that just behaved differently in every pour. The blending was more difficult to control and if you get a soap on a stick effect it's almost impossible to recover it with such a large batch. Unless you are able to use more commercial equipment to mix, blend, and pour the soap there's not much benefit to the large batches. I'd rather spend 4 hours making 4 separate batches than spend 2 hours fighting with one large batch. The most I will make at a time anymore is 12 lb batches. I just couldn't get the same quality and consistency when I was doing large batches by hand. It's also very heavy to handle by yourself.
     
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  6. Jan 19, 2020 #6

    shunt2011

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    I agree with the others. I make and sell but never make more than 12 lbs at a time. Most are 6 lbs. Nothing worse than a large batch that either fails or doesn’t sell. I also carry 30-40 different fragrances on top of my other products.
     
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  7. Jan 19, 2020 #7

    Kcryss

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    All I can think of to say is WOW!!
    That's a LOT of soap!
    So, those of you that sell have 30 to 40 different types of soap to sell all at the same time I assume? I can't even imagine trying to come up with that many different fragrance combinations and swirls/designs.
    lol, you guys are amazing! :)
     
  8. Jan 19, 2020 #8

    TheGecko

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    By no means as expert, but what size batches have you made previously? Have you always used log molds or have you used smaller slab molds? If this was my first slab rodeo I would start with an uncolored, unscented basic batch and the watch to see how my recipe behaves. Does it gel okay, not get okay, partial gel? How long does it take to unmold? Is the soap solid all the way through or is it still soft in the middle?

    Speaking for myself, I will be going from making single log to a double-standard slab after tax season (all those extra hours are going to fund a a couple of new molds and log splitter). Then later I will try a triple-standard...one step at a time.
     
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  9. Jan 19, 2020 #9

    Kiti Williams

    Kiti Williams

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    The biggest amount of soap made so far here had 50oz of OO, and lye solution.
     
  10. Jan 19, 2020 #10

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

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    Yes, we keep that many in stock at all times. At least I do and am sure Shunt does too. It is much easier than you think to come up with that many scents and more. As for swirls/designs. I just do swirls and nothing real fancy, usually a 2-3 color swirl. I have spent my days playing with designs now I soap to replace stock. Which is why I never enter the challenges. There is just not enough time for me.
     
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  11. Jan 20, 2020 #11

    Primrose

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    I'm approaching that many, probably about 30 I stock permanently although I'm still always experimenting and making one-offs. I 100% agree with everything cmzaha said above. I played around with slabs but in the end I get better results from my smaller loaf moulds. I only have two (joys of being an upland mould snob) and with the help of the freezer I can do a set in the morning and a set in the evening so 4 x loafs of 19 bars each, per day. Which is more than enough to keep my stocks turned over at this stage.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2020 #12

    shunt2011

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    I'm trying to get it to 30 all the time. Most are permanent but I do make some one-offs to see how they go. I re-evaluate my scents every year to eliminate what doesn't sell and add in those that do. I have 9-7.5 lb Nurture silicone lined molds and I love them. I make 6 lbs in them though. I have 6 brambleberry molds I really should think of selling. Haven't used them in a few years. My ex-husband made the wooden boxed for their silicone molds.
     

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