My first batch.

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Jennfromoz

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So this is my first batch ever. I guess it's not too bad for a beginner. As I said in a previous thread, the soap mixture jellied too quickly after I added the lye water. I think it was a combination of adding the lye too quickly when it was still too hot and pulsing with the stick blender too much.
Firstly I added the fragrance then separated 3 cups and coloured them while they were thickening. I really wanted to make those pretty swirls. I put the soap in the mould and plopped the coloured soap on top and swirled. I could have swirled more, but I was afraid of the colours mixing together.
Next time I'll make alot less, maybe 500g, and I will use palm oil instead of Lard. I just have to find somewhere that sells it in Australia. I will definitely have to get a thermometer. I could have sworn I had a candy thermometer, but couldn't find it anywhere.
The one thing I would like to know is, how do I slow down the jelling so that I have plenty of time to work with the designs? I am a very creative person and really want to make pretty soap. I saw one person on YouTube put the lye into iced water. Would that help?
I also just want to thank everyone for all the valuable advice you've been giving me. I feel like I have a little online community.
 

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Zing

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I totally get wanting to get to the swirling action! But I'll also put a plug in for your first few batches to focus on the process. There's a lot to remember plus learning how the batter "feels" as it gets to various stages of trace. An 'in the pot' swirl is an easy one. Good luck!
 

AliOop

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I notice that you added your fragrance right after mixing the oils and lye solution. Because many fragrance oils and EOs will accelerate your batter, the FO or EO is not added until after the batch has been split and colored. The only time to add fragrance up front is if your fragrance is known to decelerate (uncommon, but there are a few).

To summarize what everyone has said so far, you have three things to adjust for the next batch:

1. Soap cooler - oils and lye solution
2. Stick blend way less - a few pulses here and there will typically be enough; hand-stir the rest of the way if needed.
3. Add your fragrance last, right before you are ready to pour.

And I'll add a possible fourth adjustment: make sure your colors and fragrances are intended for CP soap; if they don't specifically say they are, they probably arent, and can cause lots of problems (esp stuff from craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby). Read all the reviews to see if they cause acceleration, morphing, overheating, etc.
 

MellonFriend

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I hear you about wanting to be creative while still learning the basics. What I did for my first batch was refrained from scent and then did just a colored top with some botanicals. This way I needed to color only a small amount of batter, but I still ended up with a really pretty bar. Here's what I mean, if you are interested. MellonFriend's First Soap

I just want to say, don't give up! When it boils right down to it, you still successfully made soap, so congratulations!
 

Tara_H

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I think a lot of us can empathize with wanting to be creative right away! It's only natural to try everything at one, but maybe it will help to realise that you will get to be creative faster once you have a solid grounding. If you try too many things at once it can be hard to know what caused which outcome.
I know you said you don't believe it was the fragrance that caused the issue, and that makes sense for this batch where you say it had seized even before you added it. But I'm concerned you're setting yourself up for future frustration by using fragrances not formulated for soap. If you're determined to try them, I'd suggest splitting off a small amount of your next batch and adding some to see how it behaves. Have a look at some of the posts here on FO testing to see that even soap-specific fragrances can do very unexpected things!

(Here's one of my own posts which illustrates the point: What soapy thing have you done today? )
 
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