New to melt & pour - advice needed!!

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Lather_and_Frisk

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Hi all! So I recently started making melt and pour soap (and loving it even though almost everything has sort of failed a bit..) and I've searched for answers to my problems but haven't found any solid answers yet.. so I thought I'd come here for help!

My first problem is that my layers aren't sticking.. I've tried adjusting the amount of alcohol I use and varied the temp I've poured next layers at (and the set-ness of the previous layer) and tried cutting my soap earlier and later and with varying sharpness of knives. Nothing is working! Is there anything else I can try???

My second problem - today when I cut my soap it just crumbled! Crumblier than two crumble things. Would the temp of the room have caused this (on the cold side)? Did I cut too late (I made the soap two days ago)?

I'm going to just keep trying different things but if anyone has any advice I'm honestly all ears
 

lsg

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What M&P base are you using? When pouring in layers, I wait until the bottom layer has just formed a skin, spray with alcohol and pour the next layer. Do not overheat your base. If melting in the microwave, melt in 30 second or less bursts. Are you using the same base for each layer? Soapqueen blog has a lot of good tutorials on M&P soap.
 

Lather_and_Frisk

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Im using low sweat (both clear and opaque) and I've tried pouring just after skin formed/spraying with alcohol and have also been heating in thirty second bursts! Using same base for each layer and I've watched all the soap queen tutorials - I just don't know what else to do!!

I've ordered a variety of other bases to test in case thats the problem
 

lsg

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I think some of the members have recommended Stephenson M&P base.
 

BattleGnome

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If you wait too long for your first layer to harden try scoring/scratching it before a quick spritz of alcohol. Soapfantacy of YouTube has examples of this. Also, make sure you're using in a minimal amount of alcohol. A full pump may be too much. (I used to have this problem a lot) If you accidentally used a bit too much fan the soap and let it dry before pouring the next layer
 

cmzaha

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You might want to call the manufacturer of the base you are using to find out the optimal temperature for pouring. I find m&p has a huge learning curve that I have no interest in learning! My daughter on the other hand does beautiful m&p work. She uses a base from Essentials by Catalina and Stephens base, I know she had trouble transitioning from Catalina's base to Stephens, but also mixes them for some of her applications.
 

lenarenee

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Are chance you're mixing different types/brands of m&p? For ex: Stephenson aloe on the bottom, and layering Brambleberry on top?
 

Lather_and_Frisk

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I've only used the same brand (Brambleberry) and I've tried using only a little alcohol and using much more (there have been differing accounts - some people say use only a smidge and others say you can never use too much??). I've also tried letting it harden and scoring!

I'll see if I can order the Stephenson base and try that :)

This might sound silly but could humidity effect it? Otherwise could maybe the mold I'm using effect it? - I'm using a silicone loaf mold inside a wooden one to keep its shape. They're the only things left I can think of!
 

Cindy2428

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Brambleberry uses SFIC bases - my favorites. I've used Stephenson's as well; think they are a little too cleansing. I contacted SFIC a while ago and they recommend 140-160F temps for their soap. They say do not go above 180F.

Also are you putting additional additives in your soap? - A general consensus is 6% PP which includes your EO/FO
Are you reheating multiple times? - I can't think of any other reason why your soap would get "crumbly" with the exception of overheating/evaporation
 

Lather_and_Frisk

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I fixed the layer problems by buying different alcohol..which has made me feel like a bit of a dork.

Re the crumbling - not using additives and didn't reheat multiple times. It happened to three loaves but I've made more since and the problem hasn't reoccured so I'm hoping it was just something freaky about the day Inmade them
 

asmita

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This might sound silly but could humidity effect it?
Humidity could be a major factor. I had made couple of layered soaps in loaf molds when it was hot here but they turned out perfect. The I tried making them in humid weather and the layers would separate.

I too was wondering about the difference between the two times and weather had come in my mind too. I am not sure I had used rubbing alcohol too between all layers earlier so though use of rubbing alcohol is recommended between layers before pouring, lack or too much of it may not be the reason for separation of layers.
 

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