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Melt and Pour Help Hotline

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Incrtalent

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Hey, ya'll. Just thought I'd start this hotline, seeing as how I need to be ON IT!!! Sorry I haven't been around much of late, but I've been really rather up to my eyeballs trying to get this biz off the ground--you know, the part when I actually stop SPENDING all my money and start making some? Righto. I have a few good things to report, (arguably). A) I got a fundraiser with a local school system. If I get a bazillion orders, it should be interesting, because I will have to order all my supplies from SCRATCH when they place their order with me, and then will have about 2 1/2 weeks or so to get the product out. I also have a couple of stores and a salon interested. All good stuff--potentially. But then there's a coupla little snafus. For instance...I'm making these things six or so bars at a time, (really need to get bigger/more molds, etc., etc.), and I'm wondering...what happens if I get into MAJOR production...i.e., I want to actually make money? I know, I know. Shooting for the moon here, but as long as I got into the rocket... Can one actually get this stuff manufactured, OR is there manufacturing equipment that would aid in large scale production? 'Cause what I'm really hoping is that, before long, my little microwave/pyrex cups/freezer thing isn't going to cut it any more.

Tips, comments, suggestions? And be gentle. :) I have a dream!!!!
 

Incrtalent

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BIG.

Shooting for the moon here. I'm going to try to get my soaps into a major hotel, a few satellites here in Florida to start with. If I can sell it, (and I think I can), then I would actually have to be able to produce it. Before I spout off, I want to know there is an escape hatch; i.e., that I can actualy put my soap where my mouth is! :)
 

Tabitha

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There are labs you can send your recipes to & they will produce for you to your specs. Is that what you mean?

There are also massive pices of equipement you can buy to make huge batches, IE) mixers that are 4 feet tall.

I have seen both options more than once on the internet, I have no idea where...
 

Incrtalent

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Hey!

I was looking at this stuff last night! In fact, I got computer neck and my equilibrium is all askew this a.m. from it. And here I am, with my little PVC molds thinking...only cold process people can use this, right? How on EARTH would I even BEGIN to melt that much soap in a microwave? Now, everybody take a deep breath and pat me on the head, please. Remember, I am SUCH a newbie, (a newbie with BIG AMBITIONS and a lot of...let's just say "verve." :) Until August, the biggest thing I had ever created was some soaps with a kit I bought at Michael's and a few gift baskets at Christmas. Now, here I sit. I've REALLY gone and done it. I have a biz, and with any luck, soon I'll have a website, and I'm aspiring to getting this stuff out commercially. Somebody stop me. (Or tell me I ROCK.) In any case, I'm a whole lot more educated than I was, but STILL. I think I need a WHOLE lot more education, but I'm not going to let a little thing like ignorance stand in my way. :) If I do get the hotel, (and it's a stretch), they may very well want a novelty mold which is designed specially for them. But meanwhile, I have to figure out how to beef up production for salons, and I'm thinking bar molds. I'm looking at myself as your personal pet project, so keep those cards and letters coming! It seems as if all of you have reasonably long-time successful businesses, but I know that most of you do cold-process, and I'm not there yet. I don't know if I even want to BE there, 'cause that's a whole different ball of wax! BUT...if anyone is doing M & P on a large scale basis or knows of anyone who is, that would be a great place to start!

Oh, and thanks for putting up with me! :)
 

Becky

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hey Irena, how do you cut those suckers? I'm having trouble just getting my head around the batch of soap you would have to make to fill it :shock:
 

Tabitha

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How many bars are you thinking about pouring at 1 time/ M&P is easy to do many at once, even hundreds.

Hotel soap is going to be 1 once. You can get 4cup pyrex cups which would hold 64oz, that is 64 bars, it would take 3-4 minuts to melt in a microwave & 2-3 minutes to pour, that means you could do 5-6 64 bar pours in an hour, that is 300-400 bars in 1 hour. No magic there unless you are taling about getting the Holiday in account than you are probably talking about factory production.

For hotel soaps I would suggest looking at candy molds, business card chocolate molds w/o a mesage do well.
 

dragonfly princess

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I do strickly M&P and don't want to do CP, I use a double boiler with a very large glass bowl. I can do up to 4lbs at a time. My poor microwave would fall over dead if I tried to use that for all the soap I make. I make soap almost every night, so I have quite a bit. I do them in molds with pretty things on them, but I am looking into a wood mold from Paul cuz you can do way more bars with those. Granted, they don't have pretty stuff on them, but you could do a rockin embed down the middle of your soap.

I wish you much success and luck. We are all here to help so don't worry about the newb questions. Technically you aren't a newb anymore so CHILL OUT OR I WILL SMACK YA!!!!!! :twisted:
 

Bret

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I tried asking in another post, but I know some people use a Presto Pot for melting M&P.
 

Tabitha

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Wow Incrtalent, only 45 posts & Dragon has already threatened you with violence, gusess you are family now :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: !
 

Incrtalent

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I love it! You guys are SOOOOO sweet! I've been completely out of the equation all day today...had some neck troubles and my equilibrium has literally been shot. Feeling better, now, though, so I'm sure I'll be back at it soon, and I can't wait to post back to some of you.

Thanks in advance for all the tips and tricks o' the trade. I know there is a wealth of information to pursue! Hugs to all--

Lisa
 

sunflwrgrl7

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"...my little microwave/pyrex cups/freezer thing..." I had to chuckle when I read this, I so have a little microwave/pyrex cups/freezer thing going on too. My pyrex cups are too busy with soap to do anything else, these days. :)

Wow, much luck to you! I hope you get the hotel account and wishing much success on the fund raiser too!!

I sure need a M&P Hotline - and if anyone's seen my sanity around anywhere, please let me know, I need it back!! - cuz I'm about to rip my hair out in frustration! :x I have a craft fair in less than two weeks, and now matter how much tinkering I'm doing with my soaps, they are still turning out like crap - they smell nice, but they don't look professional at all. Part of my problem is I have these ideas about embedding, swirling, adding stuff, etc, and they are not turning out right, no matter who's advice I follow. Right now I am having major envy of all you CPer's. Your stuff looks so good all the time.

But this isn't about me, sorry to hijack a bit! Sounds like you got some good tips from others - plus it sounds like it's soon time for you to invest in a double boiler! Woo hoo! :D
 

Incrtalent

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Ha! Sounds like you're a woman after my own heart. I have had a devil of a time trying to swirl soaps. About the only one I got to come out looking even remotely decent was a mulberry - a white soap with purple in it - and it wasn't exactly "swirled," but it looked decent. I haven't even attempted embeds yet, and I'm stocking up on Advil for when I do!

Thanks so much for the encouragement. But question: if you go to a double boiler, or any other method, HOW do you pour your soaps into your molds without making a GIANT mess? Do you pour them into cups? That's adding a step which means MORE time.

Isn't this just a party?
 

Soapmaker Man

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I use a Presto Pot I made for melting my candle wax in years ago. I use it to melt all my hard oils, butters and fats. I also use it to melt my lotions & creams oils in. I have a spigot on it, but rarely use it any more, mainly ladle or pick it up and pour into my soap pot or my mixer when doing lotions. Love that Presto Pot! Welcome! I don't make M&P, but those 2 gals can sure fix you up when it comes to MN&P advice!

Paul....:)
 

Tabitha

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I feel ya sunflower. I have been making & selling M&P for 6 years & I do not like my soap. It NEVER turns out like I plan. I decided I would do all layered loaves for a few months, hated them, I did not think my stripes were of the correct thickness, then I did all swirl loaves, hated them, I did not think my swirls were defined enough, then I did only molded bars that were layered, then molded bars that were transparent w/ glitter, then chunked molded bars, then i desided shaped bars were cheesy & switched back to loaves, chunked loaves, then embedded loaves & I have to this day not settled in on a M&P look that I am happy with. Right now I am just doing M&P soap in dixie cups with netted shower pouffs stuffed down in them. That way there is no design involved, just basic soap.. no shapes, no stripes, no chunks, no frills.... is that boring :roll: ? I do a handful of seasonal shapes but don't really get into it.

With that being said, we are our own worst critic, when we look at a loaf & we know we wanted the embed on the right hand side but it settled in the middle we are disappointed, but our customers have NO idea we wanted it on the side, somehow we think they will know we wanted the stripe wider or the color softer, but they don't. We just knit-pick ourselves to death :roll: .
 

soapbuddy

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Becky said:
hey Irena, how do you cut those suckers? I'm having trouble just getting my head around the batch of soap you would have to make to fill it :shock:
I use a log cutter:



Irena
 

Incrtalent

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Okay, this is for Irena and Tabitha! Got my mind around the mold and the cutter. The question is, how do you melt all that soap? How much do you do at one time? 25 lbs? 50 lbs? That's a heck of a lot of soap!

I also love Tab's idea about being able to do 300 soaps in an hour. The problem is, I can't even seem to manage getting 8 BARS out of a two-pound batch of soap. I almost always wind up with 7 or 7 and a short-pour, (probably because either a) my molds are not exactly 4 oz molds, or b) I pour those suckers right to the top, or c) a combination of both! And then there's the setting issue. I know if I had a gagillion molds, I could probably pour a heck of a lot of soap a heck of alot faster. Right now, I rotate my molds and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to set up. Of course freezer space is at a premium, (as are my molds), so this holds me back time-wise. Do you set these up in the freezer or allow them to air dry, and if the latter, do you have special racks that you put them on? I can just imagine my kithcen countertop swimming with soap molds and the party my children and cats would have with them. If you use racks, where on earth could I find them?

Now. For my next trick:

While we're on the subject of things that make me go..."Hmmm," here's another trick question for you. My partner is starting to work on a website. Aside from my general bewilderment, which I will spare you all, I suppose my biggest fear/concern is shipping. When I order something online, typically the shipping charges pop right up, pre-calculated. But what happens on our end? Do we need a scale, or does the post office/UPS or whoever we use give us flat rates for shipping to different zip codes? It's a mystery. For me, aside from the other myriad of little challenges, a website is like...the final frontier. How often do you check this site for orders?

AND, last but certainly not least...has anyone had any of their older customers complain about sharp edges on their soap? All of the molds I use have flat backs and so do not have the nice contoured edges of, say, store-bought soap. Most people don't seem to mind, but some do. How does one get around this without going to a 3-D mold?

Okay, okay. I'll settle down. Just suffice it to say that I have more questions than I have answers! Those are my brain-teasers of the day! :)
 
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