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IanT

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I have decided that I would like to try to make some soaps for myself, which could eventually develop into a business. I have been ghosting the forums for some time now, picking up bits and pieces of info here and there....


I intend to make olive oil soaps, maybe with some coconut oils and avocado or some other types?

my question is can someone provide me with a little "shopping list" of all of the essentials needed to get started for your first batch of soap.


I have links to recipes already, just kind of confused about a few things...


can you use plastic molds? rubber? what types shouldnt you use?

is Lye illegal in FL?


thank you very much for the help!

Ian
 
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I have decided that I would like to try to make some soaps for myself, which could eventually develop into a business. I have been ghosting the forums for some time now, picking up bits and pieces of info here and there....
First thing about making soap and learning the process and the do's and don'ts and how to make a darn good bar of soap.


I intend to make olive oil soaps, maybe with some coconut oils and avocado or some other types?
Learn about the properties of oils and how they should be used and not used. Some oils if used together will produce a bar of soap that isn't very hard and won't lather or clean well. So read up on the oils and find out what you can buy locally and what you will need to order.



my question is can someone provide me with a little "shopping list" of all of the essentials needed to get started for your first batch of soap.
Your shopping list depends on the method of soap your going to make and what ingredints your going to use in your soap. However I highly suggest RTCP soap !!!! :D And when I make that I use a large heavy duty plastic container (heavy duty plastic) and you really need a stick blender that is a must have. And spatulas and a digital scale. Some only weigh up to 5 pounds so avoid them. Invest in one that will weigh up to say 30-40 pounds. (Then you can use it for many things.) And I like to put my lye/liquid into those ball plastic freezer jars. Cause they are heavy duty plastic and won't melt with the heat of the lye and they have a screw on lid. Then because I have kids in the house I put electrical tape around the lid as well.



I have links to recipes already, just kind of confused about a few things...
I don't care where you find your recipes, even if your own mother gave one to you. Always and I mean always run it though a lye calculator to make sure it's safe to use.
And use the liquid and lye amounts given on that calculator.
I like soapcal personally and I like to write recipes in % terms because it's easier to figure. Then I can use the same recipe if i want to make 1 pound or 4 pounds and have the same soap.
Soap cal also allows you to teak the numbers easier to get the best bar of soap possible with the oils you have and want to use.
http://www.soapcalc.com/calc/soapcalcWP.asp




can you use plastic molds? rubber? what types shouldnt you use?
Yes you can. My favorite is a box of all things. And I like to cut down a priority mail box (recycled of course) the one that is 12" long and 3" wide and I cut it so it's 3" tall. See my tutorial for how to line it with freezer paper. And because a box will bow in the middle I just slap on a piece of tape across the middle to help keep it's shape.


is Lye illegal in FL?
not that i am aware of, but then i live in North Dakota and I can buy it in menards here which is a lumber store kinda like home depo.


thank you very much for the help!
anytime
 

CiCi

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IanT, so sorry to hijak, but I had a question along the lines of the SoapCalc, which I think you may want to know as well...how does a soaper know what numbers to plug into the calc's blank sections? As a newbie, I have no idea what I need. For example...how would I know I need 33% H2O or that I want a 5% superfat, etc. Is there a book that can teach us these things? I've ordered about five and so far no one explains "how we are suppose to know" what numbers to plug in. This has me more confused than anything. If you can just tell me where I can go to get that knowledge...Thank you.

Hijak over. Thanks IanT.
 

soapgardener

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The lye calculator at Magestic Mountain Sage (www.thesage.com) is very very easy to use. The soapcalc one gives lots of great info but can be confusing for newbies. I used the sage's calculator when I first started making soap and I still use it when I need a quick answer.

Pure olive oil soaps can be a pain to make. They take longer to trace and MUCH longer to cure. Use mostly saturated fats when first starting out... you'll get quicker, more full-proof results. (Saturated fats are mostly solid at room temp)
 

IanT

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thank you!! no worries on the hijack, i need all the info i can get my hands on so its a welcome addition :)
 

Paula58

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This is really a weird coincidence. My son's name is Ian middle initial T and we live in Florida.

It is legal to purchase lye in Florida. Though it may be rather hard to find OTC. I purchase online from Certified Lye.

Welcome to soaping. And if this is my son, why aren't you over here helping me soap????
 

mandolyn

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soapcalc

Ok, keep in mind I'm totally new here, too & haven't even made my first batch of CP.

I went to soapcalc & was totally confused!!!! I downloaded the help page & read it. I downloaded the page that shows what the ranges of hardness, cleansing, etc are. I then did some more research, & quickly realized all that info the calculator returns is IMPORTANT to a good batch of soap.

I found a basic recipe approved on the forum, plugged in the numbers & really studied the results. Then I started changing numbers & watched the results of hardness, cleansing properties, lathering properties, ect change.

The result is that I understand which oils add hardness, which oils shoot the cleansing up so high it would dry your skin out to prune-ness.

As a newby, I'm pushing you to perservere, find your spirit of play & discovery, & go play with soapcalc.

Like I said, I haven't attempted my first batch yet, but I feel I know waaaaaaaaay more than I did about which oils to use & how to combine them.

Mandy
 

CiCi

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That's reassuring Mandy. My problem is that when I look at the numbers, they don't have any meaning for me. An analogy would be that it is like picking up a foreign newspaper and all you see are the letters of the words, but the words do not mean anything because you do not understand them. Once you understand what the letters are forming, the words have meaning. I'm just trying to understand what the numbers are telling me. Once I can understand that, I'll be ready to soap. I'll go play with SoapCalc. Thanks for the info.
 

pjb31apb

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I would suggest doing a search on the forum about soapcalc or even type in numbers in the search field. I know there are a bunch of threads on here about the ideal soapcalc numbers for soaping. Here are a few to get you started...

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/forum/vi ... ht=numbers

This is one of the questions I posted about...
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/forum/vi ... ht=numbers

The numbers will gain meaning to you as time goes on. I really think that the most important part of any lye calc is getting the correct percentages of lye and water. Even though the calc gives you numbers on hardness and conditioning, they aren't always representative of what actually happens when you use the recipe. For expamle, the calc gives you numbers for OO that would lead you to believve that you will get a soft bar of soap, but most seasoned soapers will agree that OO actually gives you a nice hard bar over time. Some soapers even consider it (OO) to be a hard oil because of that!

Another thing that helped me with soap calc was that I simply enter my percentages that I want and let it do the work of converting it into weight. Just remember to select the correct unit of measure and enter the total weight in that unit be it lbs, oz, or grams at the top center of the soap calc page. So if I want to make a 2lb batch of soap, I enter in 32 oz at the top and then choose my oils and enter the percentage of them that I want. Then the calc will change it over to oz for me. HTH
 

mandolyn

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pjb31apb said:
Another thing that helped me with soap calc was that I simply enter my percentages that I want and let it do the work of converting it into weight. Just remember to select the correct unit of measure and enter the total weight in that unit be it lbs, oz, or grams at the top center of the soap calc page. So if I want to make a 2lb batch of soap, I enter in 32 oz at the top and then choose my oils and enter the percentage of them that I want. Then the calc will change it over to oz for me. HTH
Yep! That's where I tripped up. I didn't enter in the total oz for ALL my oils. Once I figured that out, I was on my way. It's really easy to plug in the ounces & percentages & then go from there.

Thanks for the info re: OO. I was a little concerned about the softness every time I bumped up my OO.

Mandy
 

Laurie

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pjb31apb wrote:
Another thing that helped me with soap calc was that I simply enter my percentages that I want and let it do the work of converting it into weight. Just remember to select the correct unit of measure and enter the total weight in that unit be it lbs, oz, or grams at the top center of the soap calc page. So if I want to make a 2lb batch of soap, I enter in 32 oz at the top and then choose my oils and enter the percentage of them that I want. Then the calc will change it over to oz for me. HTH

I would like to comment on this as well. I had not noticed that little box at the top in the center. It just so happen I was only making 1 1b batches for experimentation. But I kept wondering how to make my recipe larger. Now I know, thanks to you. There is always something to learn. So yes, thank you very much.
 

Laurie

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I am admitting ignorance again. I do not know how to quote someone and have it go in a box like you all do. Is it that little quote box above on this reply option?
 

NEASoapWorks

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Yes

Laurie said:
I am admitting ignorance again. I do not know how to quote someone and have it go in a box like you all do. Is it that little quote box above on this reply option?
Yes, I just clicked the "quote" button, to quote you right here.
 

CiCi

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Thanks for all of the helpful info. I think I have really hijaked this thread :oops: . So sorry IanT. Anyway, how do you know what percentages that you want? So...say you are ready to soap--how do you know that you want 20% of this oil and 15% of that oil, etc? Those are the numbers I am talking about. I don't know what percentage of oils that I need to make soap. I know that I have read somewhere that with such and such soap to get, for example, lather...the range is 14-42. So would I just pick a percentage somewhere within that? Sorry. I'm just not getting this and I want so much to understand it so that I get it right. I really appreciate your time and efforts in helping me to understand this.
 

Laurie

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Re: Yes

NEASoapWorks said:
Laurie said:
I am admitting ignorance again. I do not know how to quote someone and have it go in a box like you all do. Is it that little quote box above on this reply option?
Yes, I just clicked the "quote" button, to quote you right here.
GOT IT!!! Thanks NEA. That's all I will say about it because I am not trying to change this thread.
 

NEASoapWorks

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CiCi said:
Thanks for all of the helpful info. I think I have really hijaked this thread :oops: . So sorry IanT. Anyway, how do you know what percentages that you want? So...say you are ready to soap--how do you know that you want 20% of this oil and 15% of that oil, etc? Those are the numbers I am talking about. I don't know what percentage of oils that I need to make soap. I know that I have read somewhere that with such and such soap to get, for example, lather...the range is 14-42. So would I just pick a percentage somewhere within that? Sorry. I'm just not getting this and I want so much to understand it so that I get it right. I really appreciate your time and efforts in helping me to understand this.
SoapCalc may be hard to understand, unless you've done some other research first — like either reading a few soapmaking "bibles" and visiting a few sites (like Miller's and Mortar and Pestle).

When I decided I was going to learn to make soap, AND eventually sell it, I grabbed a few books, and read them, from cover to cover. THEN, I started to search online. When I would look at recipes, I began to see a "pattern" with oil percentages/amts. Meaning, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Palm Oil were the three most common oils I found in soap recipes. They also made up the largest "percentage" of the soap recipe. Other oils, like Sunflower, Castor, Sweet Almond, made up the smallest percentage of the recipe.

I wanted to know why. So, I continued to research, to find out what percentage of oils should be "hard" and what percentage should be "soft" (on average). Of course, the percentages together have to total 100%. I discovered, for instance, that too high percentages of certain oils will make soap too soft, or make it go rancid quickly.

THEN I started to play with SoapCalc, because I had some basic knowledge of oil properties AND I knew the more common formulations to help me get ideas. If you play with SoapCalc, and just start entering percentages of oils, and click "compute recipe", it'll tell you if your percentage total is more than, or less than 100%. It'll tell you to add or subtract oil amts/percentages to get to 100%.

You can NOT just "figure out" SoapCalc, if you've not done the preliminary research. It won't make sense, and even if it does, you won't be able to formulate a decent bar of soap. You don't start with SoapCalc. I didn't even mess with it, until I'd read and researched books and the internet.

Plug a few recipes you've found into SoapCalc — and look at the numbers. Now, some of them will surprise you — in good and bad ways. But what you'll learn is that SoapCalc is a guide. It's not going to instantly make someone a good soapmaker. I'm experimenting with different oils, to learn how they work in a recipe, to change the outcome of the finished bar of soap. I will never know it all.

Search this forum. There is so MUCH info.

Hope that helps...
 

Soapmaker Man

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That is great advice you just gave NEA! I started out at Soapcalc also. Even though I knew nothing about the oils properties and the correct "synergy" of said oils. After doing much research and asking questions, and about a year of trial test batches, I finally learned the different properties of the oils I select. At first, I thought I had to use 12 or 13 oils to get a great soap. My favorite recipe now uses 8 oils/butters/fats and is a much better bar that that 13 oil recipe I developed a year and a half ago. You simply must research, study the oils properties, then make and use test recipes to come up with a few great recipes. I still "tweak" every once in a while today, as I am always learning!

Paul
 

CiCi

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Okay, I guess there is hope for me. I was feeling like such a knucklehead. It reminds me of a course I had to take in college...Biostatistics. I thought I would have a nervous break down trying to get the formulas right. Then one day the light bulb came on and I understood the formulations and it became easy peasy. I'm assuming the same will happen in this instance. I intend to become a very good...no a great soaper. That is my goal.

I've bought about 5 books and have done exhaustive research on the net. I spend hours at a time. I just kept getting hung up on the oil percentages. Now I understand that it is mostly trial and error, once I have found a pattern. I'm waiting on my lye and my scale and colorant. Once I have that, I can get started and will let you know how it turned out.

Thank you all, it has been a great conversation. Nea, you have been exceptionally helpful.
 

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