Newbie Lessons Learned!

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Kcryss, Jan 20, 2020.

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  1. Jan 20, 2020 #1

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

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    7 batches of soap under my belt! Yay!

    Hoping this will help other new soap makers. I still don't have it all figured out, but I think I'm getting closer!

    Lessons learned from this forum that you will not learn from anywhere else (ex: youtube :))

    1. Olive oil soaps, whether CP or HP need "months" to cure. If you want to use your first batches of soap any time soon ... do not use olive oil. I'm still waiting to use my first 4 batches of soap!

    2. Read! Read everything you can, then read it again. That's the part I missed. Read it all once, thought I had it figured out and now re-reading I see where I went wrong and what didn't stick in my head the first time. Take notes on what you're reading to help with remembering. Soaping is an exact science. There are no shortcuts. Every gram of ingredients matters. All the fatty acid profiles matter.

    3. Don't bother trying to get swirls or pretty soap the first time out. Just work on getting the recipe correct. Use the soapcalc or soapmakersfriend and take notes ... lots and lots of notes. What went well, what didn't go well. What was the process you used, how long before ready to unmold etc..

    4. Find a tried and true recipe online with oils you have on hand or can get easily. Fancy butters and oils will not make a better soap, it will just drain your pocket book a little faster while you learn. You will have failed batches, you will make mistakes. It's just part of the soap learning process.

    5. If you HP as I do, resist the temptation to stir, stir, stir. Step away from the crockpot - not too far away. Still need to pay attention, but standing too close makes you want to stir more. DON'T DO IT. Your soap will take twice as long and likely will get very dark and dry ... haven't totally figured this one out yet but I know stirring too much was part of the problem.

    6. IGNORE all the "fast" hot process vid's. Not sure how they do it, but I haven't been able to get a batch of soap done in a crockpot in less then an hour. Even soaping with oils and lye at 200 ... it did not happen quickly.

    7. Hot process soaps take just as long as cold process soaps to cure before using. Do not believe what you see elsewhere online. HP is "safe" to use right away, but it is not fully cured. It still needs as much cure time as CP.

    8. The benefit (in my opinion) to using the HP method, is the ability to add things after the cook that would otherwise be ruined if added to CP soap while the lye is still fully active and the oils have not soapanified.

    9. Start with small batches. 500g is a good starting point for first batches.

    Hope this helps someone! If anyone has anything to add, feel free!
     
    SmockingRN, Ladka, jules92207 and 4 others like this.
  2. Jan 20, 2020 #2

    amd

    amd

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    I think this should be clarified to high olive oil soaps. Typical usage OO (40% or less is what I would consider typical) will be fine with a normal 4-6 week cure. Anything more than that will likely need an adjusted cure time. I've been on the extremes - either 40% (or less) = normal cure time, or 90-100% = 8-12 months, so I'm not sure what adjustments to make for the 40-89% range cure time, but I expect it would be needed.
     
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  3. Jan 20, 2020 #3

    Kcryss

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    Thanks AMD! I thought 40% and above was a long cure time. Good to know. :)

    Is the cure time for Rice Bran Oil soap the same as Olive oil soap or is it normal?
     
  4. Jan 20, 2020 #4

    amd

    amd

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    Hmm... interesting question. I haven't made a high RBO soap, the most I've done is 35%. Looking at fatty acid profile I wouldn't think so - the oleic for RBO is roughly half that of OO. I believe it is the oleic that makes OO slimey and stringy in large percentages. However a high RBO soap will be completely different than a high OO as far as soap quality goes. I think there's a few members here who make high RBO soaps, but I'm not one of them. [not because I'm prejudiced against RBO, I've never had a reason to make it, I like high OO soaps]
     
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  5. Jan 20, 2020 #5

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

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    Thanks AMD! In a batch I made yesterday I used RBO after recalculating everything, but I only used 25% so guessing should be ready in 4 to 6 weeks. :)
     
  6. Jan 20, 2020 #6

    carrie71

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    I am a virgin soap maker and am still gathering up my supplies. I have a question maybe you can answer for me. I just bought a very nice double boiler. Once I’ve made soap (melt and pour) in it, can I use it for other things? I really appreciate your help on this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2020
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  7. Jan 21, 2020 #7

    TheGecko

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    If you’re only doing M&P you’re okay. It’s when you’re making CP or HP and working with lye that you want to use dedicated equipment.

    If you use a high percentage of Olive Oil, yes, it takes a LOT longer to cure. But I soap with 35% OO and have no problem (outside if it being cold and damp in my garage) with a 4 to 6 week cure.

    And the benefit to CP is I can make a batch of soap from start to finish in 15 minutes and I’m done until it’s time to unmold and cure. And the benefit to M&P is that I can use my soap in an hour. Moral to the story...EACH method of soap making has it’s Pros and Cons...it’s up to the individual which they prefer.

    10) You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get started. Visit your local second-hand shop and/or Dollar Store for bowls and spatulas. You can easily make a pound of soap in a milk or juice carton.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2020
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  8. Jan 21, 2020 #8

    MarnieSoapien

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    Holy guacamole!! 15 minutes from start to finish?! You are a speed demon! It takes me between 60-90 minutes, but I don't masterbatch my lye, have a microwave to melt any of my butters and that includes clean up time.
     
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  9. Jan 21, 2020 #9

    Dawni

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    Actually, I stir a lot. The consistency of the resulting batter is more consistent (lol) and I actually think it cooks faster. Darkness and dryness could be overcooking..
    I know for a fact that several members here, including myself of course, can go anywhere between 15-30mins after trace to molding. An hour for me with some recipes will result in overcooked soap. A lot depends on your recipe, and more on the heat of your cooker.

    Of course, your experiences and mine will always be different.... Just be careful of telling someone to ignore something. If the recipe cooks before an hour and the soaper ignores it, it might not come out as good as if they were paying attention and realize it's a possibility ;)
     
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  10. Jan 21, 2020 #10

    Kcryss

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    Agreed

    Very true! Even a Pringles can will work.

    That's what I thought too, but the last batch I made I resisted the urge to stir and just watched. All previous batches were 2 hrs cook time. This one was only an hour. But it could be this old cooker I'm using. Maybe time to buy a new one for soap making. :)

    That's true, everyone's experience is different. I was simply trying to help other people new to soaping. I think with more experience, anything is possible. But the first few batches should be about getting the process down and learning how/when the soap is ready to pour (or glop in some cases). Which to your point could absolutely be sooner then one hour. But I think telling a newbie to soap at 200 degrees is not a good idea which is what the "fast" hp recipes are telling them.
     
  11. Jan 21, 2020 #11

    Dawni

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    I agree :)

    But then again I'm not one to talk since I don't and never have taken temps lol. I can probably get away with it because it's HP. I'm scared to do CP designs because I have to watch out for temps lol.

    I will also not tell anyone to HP at 200 because, like you also pointed out, the cookers are also different. And what's the point? It'll all heat up anyway in there. There's no actual need to reach a certain temp, what the newbies need to learn is what I did from this forum - recognize gel or almost gel and stop cooking - so regardless of time and temps and stages, they'll know when the soap is done.

    I'm looking forward to you sharing your soaps with us. Nother HPer is always good in my book lol ;)
     
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  12. Jan 21, 2020 #12

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

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    I totally agree! :)

    My soaps have been nothing worth sharing yet. But I'm not giving up. One day I will have pretty soaps to share. :)
     
  13. Jan 21, 2020 #13

    Misschief

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    Not really. I use stainless steel bowls for my lye water and oils. Once I can easily rest my hand on the bottom of the bowls without discomfort, I go ahead with my recipe. I haven't used a thermometer for soaping in a long time.
     
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  14. Jan 21, 2020 #14

    Dawni

    Dawni

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    Oh yes I've read many here don't while many do. Maybe I'm worried about getting many things I don't encounter in my HP like stearic spots, overheating n cracking, etc.. I'm just too chicken lol
     

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