Single best piece of advice for a newbies soaper?

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NinaRey

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I just made my first batch of CP soap with the help of a friend. I'm really excited to pursue this more and i'm doing as much research as possible to get started. Just curious, if you had to start all over again, what is the one thing you wished you'd known in the beginning? Or what is the best advice you'd give to a newbie like me? Also, what has been your most valuable resource or book?
 

Loolee

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As a new soap maker myself, I wish someone had told me how expensive this hobby is. The oils are expensive. The shipping is expensive. The molds are expensive. And that isn't even adding in the fun stuff like fragrance or color.

Start with no more than 5 oils. You can make a terrific one with only four. Get someone to make you a mold, or use something around the house.

Make sure you research where to get your oils from and buy them all from one place as it will save on shipping. Or better yet, use lard and crisco from walmart, and olive oil from sams or costco.

But samples of fragrances, even though they are more expensive. Nothing is worse than having 7 oz of a fragrance you hate on hand!

Other than that, prepare to have tons of fun and enough soap to last a lifetime! Or gifts for years to come... :)
 

IrishLass

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Welcome NinaRey! :)

NinaRey said:
Just curious, if you had to start all over again, what is the one thing you wished you'd known in the beginning?
Well....it's sure hard to narrow it down to just one thing, but I would have to say that the biggest thing that changed things for me was learning that water discounts aren't as scarey as I had been led to believe they were. When I made my first batch with a 33% lye solution I thought the sky would fall or something, but it went very smoothly, and it was so nice to have finished bars that weren't warped from having to go through so much water-loss (among other things).


NinaRey said:
Or what is the best advice you'd give to a newbie like me?
Once you have all the bare basics and safety issues down, have fun, don't be afraid to experiment, and take notes!.

NinaRey said:
Also, what has been your most valuable resource or book?
Scientific Soapmaking by Dr. Kevin Dunn is my most valuable resource for the technical side of things.

For the artsy side, I really like The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso, even though I don't agree with one of her premises- at least in the edition I have. To explain, one of the well-held and oft-repeated (but as yet unproven at the time) myths/theories throughout soapdom in regards to superfatting were repeated in her book (at least the edition I have from 2007), but it has since been proven to be false in recent days by Dr. Dunn's experiments that put the theory to the test in his lab and were recorded in his book of 2010.


IrishLass :)
 

Hazel

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Loolee said:
But samples of fragrances, even though they are more expensive. Nothing is worse than having 7 oz of a fragrance you hate on hand!
+1 :lol: The FOs can really get expensive. Some suppliers are willing to send sniffies if you ask nicely.

I second what Loolee said about limiting oils. I spent so much money on "exotic" oils and found they didn't seem to make a difference in my batches. So now I stick to some basic oils and save the exotic ones for leave-on products.

The most valuable resource I had was the people on this forum. I'd been wanting to learn CP for years but I was intimidated by the thought of using lye. The members encouraged me to try and I believe I wouldn't have attempted it without their support and advice.
 

birchcoulee

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The things I wish I knew for my first few batches: Get a REALLY good scale, Measure carefully, Figure out the differences between emulsification and degrees of trace, Study things that cause accelleration like FOs or other additives. Stick with small batches and few oils at first. Lots of adds or expensive oils do not always make better soap....could go on
 

Relle

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Don't be scared of lye, but be careful, it will and does burn - how do I know ? I ALWAYS wear a mask for fumes, gloves, eye protection and don't work with pets around.
 

FOhoarder

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I echo the comments about starting with a few oils. Don't go crazy buying expensive molds when you can use just about anything when you first start out. Go to the thrift shops and the dollar stores for equipment. I have so many things that are just sitting on my shelf not being used because I couldnt control myself with supplies. Think simple! Some of my best recipes are my simplest ones. :)
 

ilove2soap

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Be careful not to let raw soap go down your drains when you are cleaning up after making a batch of soap. I used to wipe everything down with paper towels and then wash the equipment in the sink. After a few months, the tiny bit of raw soap left on the equipment (after wiping nearly all off with a paper towel) was enough to cause a blocked pipe. Yep, that was an expensive lesson learned :shock: . Somehow even small amounts of the raw soap can saponify in your pipes. Now I wash up in a big bucket and dump the water outside. Good luck with soapmaking! I'm sure you will love it!
 

NinaRey

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Wow, thanks for all the incredible advice! I have to admit, i've been super excited to try out all the exciting and exotic fragrances out there, but i think i will take it slow and just start out with some basics while i figure all this out.
 

new12soap

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Single most important piece of advice, no matter how long you have been soaping, is to me:

TAKE.

YOUR.

TIME.

Read, search the internet, watch videos, lurk and ask questions. When you are ready to make soap, lay out everything you will need before you start. Always make sure to run any recipe through a lye calclulator. Make certain there will be no other demands on your time for the next hour or two (don't start making soap 10 minutes before the kids get home from school or such). Be careful and thoughtful, keep it simple and progress slowly. Start with the basics and add a little bit at a time (oils, fragrances, molds, whatever). Really and truly that is the best single advice I can give you, in the learning stages and beyond, just take your time and understand what you are trying to do. :)
 

nebetmiw

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Remembet this is SOAP. It washes off so use the KISS method. I still use just 3 oils and they are the cheap ones but they make the best soap. I also only use a few FOs, no color. My expense goes in to stuff to enhance the soap like milk or salt ect. Oh and the program SOapMaker is so worth it even in the Lite version. I used SaopCal before I bought the SM lite, let me tell you there is a differeance having the program. It makes it much easier to calulate and play with formulas.
 

Davika

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Start small. Experimenting is fun and all, but i went overboard trying complicated recipes and processes before i had the basics down. Like has been stated previously, things add up fast and if you've spent all your money on exotic fragrances and ingredients you won't use regularly, you won't have $ when you run out of the basics. Just take it one step at a time and have fun!

Also, ask lots of questions. Forums have been a life saver for me. That and good old google and you tube.
 

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