Pouring oils cleanly, mixing Palm oil and various other questions(aka tell me I'm not too stupid for this)

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LilianNoir

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well it turned out ok! Mostly. One of the things that went wrong is that I mis-understood/mis-calculated the amount of soap to separate to color and wound up having too much fragrance for the amount of soap that was separated, AND for the container. So much of my fragance wound up at the top of my whisk rather than in the batter. :/

It does still have a light scent, but I'm pretty disappointed b/c I really wanted to try out a scent idea I had.
Well. I know the scent idea works, but I wanted it actually IN my soap. I guess I'll just have to make another batch. ;)
 

TheGecko

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I tried the toothpick trick once when pouring a small amount of fo, yup, the toothpick went in the bottle. I went back to using a pipette if using a tiny amount.
LOL You dont put the toothpick IN the bottle, you put it against the outside of the bottle.

Yes! I got a rolling island too, and it has helped me to be more organized and have a dedicated space. Since getting the island i've been able to soap more often which helps. But mine isn't as well organized as I'd like. I don't have my oils in it (I keep those in the pantry) and one of my drawers is not at all organized. After yesterday I determined to better organize it. The way our kitchen is laid out, the only place for it is by the kitchen window so i'm not sure where i'll put my soap checklist and recipe.
This my cart. My spray bottles hang to the left along with a dish towel. Drawers hold quit a bit of stuff, but they aren’t as large as they look. Spatulas and whisks on the right, everything else on the left. Stuff has come and gone...I only keep what I would use for a weekends worth of soaping; everything else is just taking up valuable space.

The doors open fully with no divider with full shelf. I went to the Dollar Store and bought stackable, see-through containers to hold Cocoa and Shea Butter, Coconut and Palm Oils. And there is a large plastic spoon on a hook inside the door. The containers are big enough to hold a weekends worth of ingredients, but not so big that I cant easily slide them in and out with only a single door open. On the other side is my scale, a HL mold that holds individual molds for when I have extra batter, additives, bees wax, smaller cups. Bottom shelf holds six large bottles of Olive Oil, a couple of gallons of Distilled Water and my larger Bowls and containers.

On the right right are three shelves. Bottom shelf holds my Castor Oil, Sodium Lactate, Avocado Oil and Sodium Hydroxide. Other shelves hold Essential and Fragrance Oils that I use regularly. On top is a big cutting board on a non-skid mat; it has an indication all around. My stick blender has a rubber loop, so I put a Command Hook on the wall and its out of the way when no actively in use. And I have two shelves above for colorants and scents.

I have a small kitchen so I have to be organized. I like having everything I need in one place without clogging up my work surface. And best of all, when not soaping, I have a silicone mat that covers the top that I use for baking or pasta making, or I can cover with a tablecloth for an extra serving surface during the holidays.

AC17BA24-1082-4769-B2DF-15B35D94B932.png


I started soapmaking with the sole intent to make soap for my family. Then word got out, I gave out soap to friends, people offered me money, went to my first craft fair...then came home that Sunday night totally exhausted with a pocketful of money and the understanding that I was NOT ready to “run”. And I was okay with that.

I am a lot more settled now, not feeling like I am running around like a chicken with its head just cut off. I don’t stress when a soap doesn’t turn out the way I want. I just clean it up and set aside to donate later. I only recently found my design for my “stock” soaps...I was just having “fun” with my new-to-me molds. I wasn’t expecting anything but more soap to give away and then I cut, planed and trimmed and...oh wow...I really, really like these.

Just have fun.
 
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dippy

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Oh WOW look at Geckos cart - that looks lovely!

I just wanted to say Lilian stick with it. The sense of satisfaction when something goes right is usually bigger if it was a harder journey to get there. I think part of the appeal of soapmaking is that there are so many layers of learning so there are always challenges.

If you are finding it overwhelming doing different colours or patterns etc then just bring it back a step and do a plain bar with a bit of fragrance if you like. I am not even thinking about colours or layers until I get confident with the basics.

I am a complete newbie at this as you know but the thing I found helpful is measuring all my soft oils into one tub and all my hard oils into another then I don't have loads of tubs to think about! I just zero my scale after pouring an oil in and then do the next. I line the oils up and put them to the right of the table once they are in. You just have to be careful not to overpour.

Then to double check my measuring I have the weight of my tub written on the side and I calculate the tub weight and the weight of all the soft oils in the recipe combined and check it tallies with what I have got on my scale.

I do the lye solution in advance (earlier that day or day before) and it is left outside in a plastic storage box. I find it helps slow the process down into stages so when I am making the lye that is all I am doing and I don't need to be thinking about any other parts of the process at that time.

So once I bring my lye solution in all I have on my table is my oils combined in one mixing tub and any additives next to it. I find not having clutter on the table when actually soaping helps.
 

JuliaNegusuk

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I have a checklist for each soap recipe like Deana and tick off each ingredient which I weigh and set out before starting anything. In fact after weighing out all the ingredients I usually walk away and have a cup of tea before I actually start the making process.

One interesting thing I discovered was the importance of thoroughly scraping out your containers when mixing. As an experiment once I decided to pour out my hard oils after melting in a pan without scraping the pan with my spatula and weighed the result. I can't remember the figures now but I remember being shocked at how much oil was left just sticking to the sides of the pan, something like 10 or 15 grams, which for my smallish batches is a significant amount. Since the I have always manically scraped my containers to get every last bit of oil and lye into the mix.

Another shocker was how little difference in lye quantity you need to have a significant effect. I usually soap at 5% superfat. But I also tend to round down my lye eg if it's 86.4 I'll use 86 g (I never round up!). I decided to try superfatting at 8% but found when I ran it through the lye calculator that because I rounded down the lye I already was!
 

KiwiMoose

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I don't know what i can add - but luckily for me I seem to be a very clean, mess-free soaper (except for that ONE time....)
I definitely think the more you soap, the more relaxed and calm you become. I was making 1 - 2 batches per week when i first started, so I got into the groove quite quickly.
Not sure if this is helpful, but since moving into our new house I've had to become a bit more organised as my craft room is upstairs, and I soap in the kitchen downstairs - SO:
1) My hard oils ( which are all in containers of no more than 2 litres) are in one bin, and my liquid oils (no more than 1 litre bottles) are all in another bin.
2) My colourants are all in a flat 'tray' box lid, and my additives (pumice, calendula petals, ground orange peel etc) are in a separate box.
3) MY essential oils are in a box, and FOs in another. I select the ones for the batch I am making and pop them into the tray with the colourants to bring them downstairs.
4) I have a small cupboard in the kitchen where I keep my jugs/pots/spatulas/stickblender. I take out everything and put it on the counter top. My lye is also in the same cupboard.

Procedure:
1) I measure out my water/ice/frozen aloe or oat milk and then add the lye to mix (I use the the counter on the other size of the kitchen to do this which is clear of all debris.
2) While that is cooling I go upstairs and get my bin of hard oils, then weigh out what I need into a pot which I put on the lowest heat on the stove top.
3) I take the bin of hard oils back upstairs ( small kitchen too so I hate having clutter) and then bring down the liquid oils and weigh them into a separate jug to add once the hard oils have melted.
4) I then take them back upstairs and bring down all other things I need - colours, additives, fragrance, etc.
5) Prepare any micas or additives as appropriate, measure out my fragrance. Put all of these over on the counter where I have my lye solution cooling, and large mixing bowl ready to go.
6) Hard oils are now melted so I turn off the element and I add my liquid oils to these. Stir gently and check lye water is cool enough now (usually about 40 degrees celsius) which it usually is.
7) Pour all the oils into my plastic mixing bowl. Scrape out all oils from the pot with spatula and put to the right of the counter ( I use this pot to rest my stick blender in during soaping). Sometimes I add my FOs at this point.
8) Pour in my lye mixture and stir with the spatula. Sometimes i add my FOs at this point.
9) Stick blend to emulsion. Sometimes i add my FOs at this point.
10) Split into different containers and add colours if required. Sometimes i add my FOs at this point.
11) Pour, swirl, bang as appropriate.

I very rarely stray from this procedure. Even in the old house when I didn't have an upstairs, I still used the same 'stages'. I now just get more exercise is all : )
Getting into a routine such as this helps me to eliminate the risk of faux pas. I'm sure once you've used your checklist several times, you will develop your own groove and everything will run smoothly. My checklist is totally in my head now and i rarely miss a step.
Go forth and soap my friend!
 

SPowers

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You might think, since I'm a mathy, nerdy type, that I'm as cool as a cucumber when making soap, but I'm not. Especially in the first year, I often had to take a break between getting everything ready and actually making the soap. I was so flustered and flummoxed with all the measuring and melting and stirring, that I needed a moment to chill before the real fun started. ;)

Some things I do that help me to keep a sharp mental focus --

I make a recipe checklist with boxes for entering weights for measured ingredients. If there's no weight to enter, I put a tick mark at each step as I finish it.

I put ingredients on the counter in the same order as they are listed in the recipe.

Once an ingredient has been used, it gets put out of easy reach on a separate counter so I'm not tempted to grab it absentmindedly.

If possible, I put everything into the soap pot up front, rather than hold anything back to add later on. Some fragrances and some designs don't allow that, but many do.
I am new and I think anyone more experience might think I'm operating in slow motion! I don't have a check list, but think that will be my next task - (great idea - thanks) but I have most of my tools and stuff in a large basket which I bring to my soaping area and take out what I think I will need) Then I grab the oils, colorants and fragrances. Like you, as I've used it, I put it back where it belongs and it works pretty well.
I wish there was a better way of storing recipes online or even on my laptop. I like soapcalc the best but can't save the finished recipe and worse if you want to tweak it, all info other than the formula is gone. I have soap making recipe builder but don't particularly like how the finished recipe looks - but it can be saved, edited if necessary and resaved. Is there anything else out that that is a good option?
Didn't mean to hijack... sorry!
 

TheGecko

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I like soapcalc the best but can't save the finished recipe and worse if you want to tweak it, all info other than the formula is gone.
Actually you can.

Option 1) SoapCalc allows you to 'save' up to 12 recipes...they are stored as 'cookies' on your computer. There are limitations. You can't give the file name a distinctive name...it's just Recipe 1, Recipe 2, Recipe 3 and so on. Any information added to the View/Print Recipe...Recipe Name, Additives, Notes are NOT saved. And if you delete your cookies, you lose your recipes.

I generally only keep two recipes, Regular (Recipe 1) and Goat Milk (Recipe 2). I then 'Load Recipe', make any modifications and then use Option 2 below.

Save Recipe.png

Option 2) When you go to print your recipe, you generally have options. Two of the options I have with Windows 10 is "Save as PDF" or "Microsoft Print to PDF". I have a Netbook running Windows 7 and it has "Microsoft Print to PDF".

Print Recipe.png

The first will generate a <save> button, the second a <print>...either option will bring up another window that allows your save your file to your computer.
 

dippy

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Another option is to print to Microsoft one note if you have it. Someone on here said they use it (sorry forgot who) and I have tried it out. I find it really great as you can add notes onto your recipe in the document.
 

CathyB

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I too have terrible trouble keeping my fragrance oils, and sometimes other oils, off the scale and counter. But those Kirkland Oilve Oil jugs--wonders of design with their no drip pour cap. Is there anything commercially available that you can pop onto other bottles? I've been eying the bartender spouts, but I think they would be a nightmare to clean and likely wouldn't fit the small mouths of fragrance bottles.
 

LilianNoir

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Another option is to print to Microsoft one note if you have it. Someone on here said they use it (sorry forgot who) and I have tried it out. I find it really great as you can add notes onto your recipe in the document.
It's funny you mention that b/c I created a OneNote notebook last year when I started soaping, and still use it gather notes and such. That's where I created the checklist too. I love OneNote!
So @SPowers that's another recommendation for OneNote. The online version is free.

@TheGecko That description of how your organize your cart really helps to give me some ideas on how to organize mine. Thank you!
I was/am in a sort of in-between spot for soaping. I started because I had ideas I wanted to try, especially in regards to scent. Soap seemed (and I still think this) a great intersection of scent creativity, aesthetic/art, science and function. It hits all the buttons for me. As I came up with more and more ideas, and friends got excited when I shared those ideas (I want to do a set of soap that aligns with characters for a novel I'm writing) and the idea to eventually sell became attractive. I know I am not ready to sell though.
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, so learning to relax is part of the lesson for me here.
XD

It's nice hearing everyone's journey and experiences.

ETA: This is my island:
black-with-natural-wood-top-homestyles-kitchen-carts-4510-95-64_1000.jpg
 

Claudette Carignan

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It looks like a great checklist. If I had to use one of those I would never soap again. :p I tried the toothpick trick once when pouring a small amount of fo, yup, the toothpick went in the bottle. I went back to using a pipette if using a tiny amount.
What an excellent idea! Do you mind if I copy And print your list for my own use?
 

JuliaNegusuk

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I use an excell spreadsheet to store my recipes. The ones I sell I have an ingredients column online side with the cost per gram of each ingredient listed and a formula which works out the cost of each soap to make. Then you can also work out the average cost of all the bars and total cost. It wasn',t that hard to set up and I am a super technophobe. But I just admit I haven't updated the costs for a while. I also have separate lists of ingredients and process instructions which I also use to record batch details for traceability. I could use the spreadsheet but it takes longer so I prefer a printout sheet, even though it ends up being covered in oil and soap.
 

LilianNoir

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For keeping track of supplies/ingredients, recipes, curing time left, etc. I have to say that soapmaker 3 has been really helpful.
 

SPowers

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It's funny you mention that b/c I created a OneNote notebook last year when I started soaping, and still use it gather notes and such. That's where I created the checklist too. I love OneNote!
So @SPowers that's another recommendation for OneNote. The online version is free.

@TheGecko That description of how your organize your cart really helps to give me some ideas on how to organize mine. Thank you!
I was/am in a sort of in-between spot for soaping. I started because I had ideas I wanted to try, especially in regards to scent. Soap seemed (and I still think this) a great intersection of scent creativity, aesthetic/art, science and function. It hits all the buttons for me. As I came up with more and more ideas, and friends got excited when I shared those ideas (I want to do a set of soap that aligns with characters for a novel I'm writing) and the idea to eventually sell became attractive. I know I am not ready to sell though.
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, so learning to relax is part of the lesson for me here.
XD

It's nice hearing everyone's journey and experiences.

ETA: This is my island:
View attachment 46613
First off, that cabinet is gorgeous! Alas I don't have the space but I found something on Amazon that has 4 or 5 draws - 2 bigger ones for larger supplies and 2 or 3 smaller ones. It's on wheels so I can bring to the kitchen at will. And it's less than $100 so bonus.
Thanks for the tip on OneNote... I'm not sure if I have it or not... I tend not to use Microsoft programs other than Windows so it's likely gathering dust in the basement of my laptop!
 

SPowers

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Actually you can.

Option 1) SoapCalc allows you to 'save' up to 12 recipes...they are stored as 'cookies' on your computer. There are limitations. You can't give the file name a distinctive name...it's just Recipe 1, Recipe 2, Recipe 3 and so on. Any information added to the View/Print Recipe...Recipe Name, Additives, Notes are NOT saved. And if you delete your cookies, you lose your recipes.

I generally only keep two recipes, Regular (Recipe 1) and Goat Milk (Recipe 2). I then 'Load Recipe', make any modifications and then use Option 2 below.

View attachment 46610

Option 2) When you go to print your recipe, you generally have options. Two of the options I have with Windows 10 is "Save as PDF" or "Microsoft Print to PDF". I have a Netbook running Windows 7 and it has "Microsoft Print to PDF".

View attachment 46611

The first will generate a <save> button, the second a <print>...either option will bring up another window that allows your save your file to your computer.
I knew I could save these as a pdf format but I didn't think they could be edited or added to unless you had a paid edition of Adobe. I will check and try it out.
*Edit... I don't get an option to save as pdf - the only option is to save it as a webfile. Problem is half the info is missing.
 
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KiwiMoose

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I knew I could save these as a pdf format but I didn't think they could be edited or added to unless you had a paid edition of Adobe. I will check and try it out.
I just save them as a PDF and then write up a word document (dated) with any amendments or notes I require. I pop it in a folder (inside my soap folder) on my desk top. Sometimes I don't save the actual recipe if it's my usual recipe, so i just save the word doc with the notes.Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 10.07.04 AM.png
 

SPowers

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It doesn't work for me... I have a work around that I will try. Thanks!
 

TheGecko

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[QUOTE="LilianNoir, post: 830518, member: 31418”]ETA: This is my island:[/QUOTE]

That is nice...I like those drawers. I had looked at similar one, but it was too big for my space.

Gotta be organized. It’s so easy to get weighed down with a lot of junk that you dont really need or have outgrown.
 
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