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Deedles

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I'm trying to get together everything I need to make soap. I have a good friend who got me started soaping and I've been making soap with her at her house. It was great fun and nice to have someone handy who knew more than me! Although after joining here and reading everything, we both realized just how much we both still have to learn!

I'm now confident enough to do it at home on my own but I want to make sure I have the things, like bowls, SS pots, pitchers, etc. to make soaping easier. Through all kinds of crafts, one thing I've learned is your tools can make a huge difference is what you do! So far all I've made is goat milk soap in 2.5 and 5lb batches. I already have a stick blender and I bought one of the thermal guns and some silicone spatulas.

So I'd like to ask all of you for your advice on what you'd suggest. What size bowls, pitchers, etc. work best for you? Plastic or glass? I know to use only stainless steel and not aluminum. Other things that are very helpful?

TIA
Dee
 

shunt2011

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I use buckets from Home Depot. Also make sure you have a good scale, goggles, gloves, glass or stainless containers for your FO/EO. Welcome to the addiction.
 

zolveria

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Hi From Hudson Valley.

it very simple.
molds
Home depot
pvc pipe for round soap mold
or heat in oven to turn oval.
make your own have them cut the wood to your like and get hooks to hold
buy your mold online.
brambleberry
wholesale supplies

DOLLAR tree
bowls spatula spoons etc.

OILS
soaperchoice.com very good price
wholesalesupplies.com free shipping

CO : PO : PKO : OO :


Colorants.
Natural herbal plants
madder root , woad, indigo, beetpowder etc,

sites TKB TRADING
FDC COLORANT IF YOU LIKE THAT
MICAS ETC

ADDITVES
SUGAR TSP PER POUND OF OIL = BUBBLES
TUSSAH SILK OR NON COLORED NATURAL SILK THREAD FROM FABRIC STORE.
SODIUM LACTATE = FOR HARDNESS OF BAR
SALT TSP PPO FOR HARDNESS.
CARROTS PURREE
WATERMELON FROZEN
ETC


I'm trying to get together everything I need to make soap. I have a good friend who got me started soaping and I've been making soap with her at her house. It was great fun and nice to have someone handy who knew more than me! Although after joining here and reading everything, we both realized just how much we both still have to learn!

I'm now confident enough to do it at home on my own but I want to make sure I have the things, like bowls, SS pots, pitchers, etc. to make soaping easier. Through all kinds of crafts, one thing I've learned is your tools can make a huge difference is what you do! So far all I've made is goat milk soap in 2.5 and 5lb batches. I already have a stick blender and I bought one of the thermal guns and some silicone spatulas.

So I'd like to ask all of you for your advice on what you'd suggest. What size bowls, pitchers, etc. work best for you? Plastic or glass? I know to use only stainless steel and not aluminum. Other things that are very helpful?

TIA
Dee
 

Susie

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First you need a good digital scale. One that will weigh grams as well as hundreths of ounces. Go ahead and invest in a good soaping one like one of the KD7000 or better. Get an AC cord to fit it.

I was at Lowe's the other day, and they have lots of paint buckets in many, many sizes. I would start there. Your bucket size will depend on your batch sizes, but don't forget to get some small ones for color mixing. They are cheap enough to get several sizes.

The only thing I use Pyrex for is to weigh my oils in. Never, ever, ever use Pyrex or glass to mix lye water or soap in. Save your money and get the plastic ones from Lowe's.

I have a dedicated set of Dollar Store plastic spoons and silicone spatulas for soaping. This is not necessary if you use SS spoons. You will still need a spatula.

Don't forget the gloves and goggles. I would go ahead and invest in a face shield if I knew then what I know now. You can probably find a link to one on the forum here somewhere.
 

commoncenz

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I use a $2.88 tea/juice pitcher I bought at walmart for mixing my batter and a $3.00 Dollar General pitcher for mixing my lye water. I bought several $.98 rubber spatula sets and a bunch of steel whisks for less than a buck each at Walmart (find that you can't have too many of either). Big plastic stirring spoons as well as 2 Qt measuring cups and a wide assortment of other tools can be found at the dollar store.

I bought a lot of new stuff because I didn't want to have any confusion between what was for soaping and what was for cooking. I didn't want to spend a lot of $$$ on these things however and so I tried to get as much as I could from the Dollar Store, Walmart and Dollar General. Also found a stick blender at Ollie's Discount for $9.99
 

snappyllama

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Like Susie mentioned, stay away from glass as it can develop etches over time and suddenly shatter. For mixing containers, make sure they are stainless steel or plastic with a 2 or 5 at the bottom. I like ones I get from Home Depot/Lowes/Ace in the painting section that are around a dollar in a variety of sizes. I have a dedicated plastic pitcher for mixing my lye. I wanted something with a good pouring spout and tall sides. I keep a big bucket with lid from Home Depot handy and chunk all my dirty containers in there until the batter fully saponifies - makes clean up much easier.

If you're planning on using micas or oxides, a mini-frother works great to get out the lumps. Cheapy ones on Amazon work fine. I like to mix colorants in stainless steel condiment cups, but dixie cups work well too. Wooden popsicle sticks come in really handy for taking out mica, stirring things, etc. For spatulas, I like to stick with solid silicone since I have a tendency to lose the heads at inopportune times. Chopsticks and wooden skewers are nice for swirling.

Remember not to put your FO/EO in dixie or solo cups as it can eat right through (ask me how I know).
 

IrishLass

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Hi Deedles!

As Susie and Snappy said, it's best to stay away from using glass pitchers with lye, even Pyrex. Over time, the lye chemically etches the glass, gradually weakening more and more until one day- kablooie! Several soapers have reported this happening to them, so we don't recommend glass as being something good for mixing lye solution or soap batter. It's much safer to use plastics or good stainless steel:

For mixing lye solution, pitchers made of PP#5 (polypropylene #5) are great (and easy to find). They are resistant to alkali and can withstand boiling water. Just look at the recycle code on their undersides.

Stainless steel and Nalgene lab-ware are good for mixing solution, too.

HDPE #2 is alkali-resistant, but since it can only withstand temps up to 190F, it's best to use them for storing lye solutions instead of for mixing them up. I store my cooled-down master-batched lye solution in HDPE. Works great.

Keep your lye solution away from these plastics: polystyrene, ABS, polycarbonate, nylon (polyamide). Acrylics are okay for short-term use, but not for repeated use.

As for what size bowls/pitchers....it really depends on your batch sizes, but it's good practice to make sure to buy a little larger than you think you may need in case you ever have a batch that volcanoes.

I also like to keep a stainless whisk handy for those times that I don't use the stick blender.

The KD 7000 scale Susie mentioned is awesome. That's what I use. As Susie said- make sure to get the adapter.


IrishLass :)
 

Deedles

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Thanks, Ladies! I didn't know that about the glass containers, never would have expected that! Like commoncenz mentioned, I want new stuff just for soaping so I don't have to worry about confusing cooking and soaping stuff.

I have an old WW scale I was going to use but since weights are most important I think I'll get a new one. I found a KD8000 with the cord on Amazon for about $50.

I do have a couple of spouted bowls picked up at the $ store but I don't know what the HDPE numbers are...I'll check that. Looks like a trip to Loew's/Ace/etc. is in order for various buckets. I did get a mini whisk for mixing color and have some plastic jars on order to pre-mix them.

I do still need a stainless pot to melt my oils and stainless bowls for the ice bath when mixing the lye and goats milk.

Thanks again, Ladies!
 

Seawolfe

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I use plastic buckets that fit in the microwave to melt my oils and mix my soap batter in - its really handy that they stack.
 

cmzaha

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In my opinion the Dollar Store bowls with a pour spout are to flimsy for mixing batter. A nice hdpe (#2) bucket is much safer with a flat bottom and not tipsy. Especially when just starting out nerves can get in the way and it is easy to spill. I do some spatulas etc from Dollar Store. Some have decent plastic measuring cups for separating batters and even mixing lye. These are the opaque not the hard plastic many dollar stores carry. Sorry they do not have a number on the bottom, but look and act like hdpe (#2) or pp (#5). The outside measurment marking will usually wash off the first time you use them. I use the KD 8000 scale and love it
 

not_ally

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I have some singular issues (extremely clumsy, no dishwasher) so will try to be organized about what/why I use. Not going to go into safety b/c that has already been addressed and not sure if you are asking about that.

For measuring and mixing oils and oil based colorants: Glass/Pyrex containers w/a spout for measuring the oils so that they are easy to pour and clean. I am pretty OCD about getting every last bit of the oils out, espec. w/a small batch, and usually pour all my oils into the general mixing pot, let the “empty” glass containers sit for a while, and then microwave them for a few seconds and scrape the remainder out w/my hands. A surprising additional amount comes out, espec. w/thick oils like castor. As others have said, no glass once lye has gone into the mix, though.

Plastic is really hard to clean w/o a dishwasher. I use glass/porcelain to mix oil based colorants, again, b/c they are easier to clean. Even my stainless condiments cup are hard to clean after I mix oil based colorants in them, I usually use them w/FO’s or water based additives.

For mixing the batter (ie, oils and lye together): Plastic wide based mixing container, like a paint bucket, they are less likely to spill/get knocked over. Big enough to give you some space on top so that when you mix/SB, you are not worried about having stuff come out of the top. Also, as Sea said, it is nice when they fit in the MW. I have some that came w/metal handles, I just cut them off so that I could use them in the MW (I sometimes do if the oil mix has cooled too much and I want to zap it for a few seconds to heat it up a bit before adding the lye).

More than one SB. This is a luxury, but I find it helpful when I am mixing a bunch of mini color batchlets. I like the Cuisinart ones, b/c I can switch out the mixer shafts if it is easier for whatever reason. I keep a container of soapy water standing by so that I can quickly clean/whirr the shaft if I need to get it clean enough that it will not discolor the next color batchlet, but it is nice to have two, and a stand-by SB in case of failure in the middle of a batch is a good idea anyway.

Similarly, several stainless or silicone coated whisks, big ones and little ones, if you do a bunch of colors, so that you can stick one in each batchlet. Also silicone spatulas, big and little (big to scrape out the big/base batter container, little to scrape out the color batchlet ones.)

If you use/intend to use dividers (for eg, Taiwan swirls) the pitchers with the long spouted pours, I am describing this really badly. I will post a link if someone else does not discuss the more clearly.

A big strainer for straining lye (makes sure it is SS).

A little strainer, like a tea strainer for shaking out mica.

A funnel with a handle (I love mine, it was cheap on ebay and so much easier if you want to do funnel/faux funnel pours. Funnels generally for pouring/transferring things, you can get a whole set of useful sized ones at the 99c store.
 
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not_ally

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I have no choice, my wobbly hands get me every time otherwise! Oh just got it, you saw repititions on that part :) I kept cut and pasting over and over from a word doc but it kept not showing up. Except on the actual post, where poor deedles would have thought I was a lunatic. I tried to edit it fast, but you are a speedy reader.

I do love me some funnels, though, smarty-pants!
 
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Stacy

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The only thing that saves my clumsy butt more than funnels is pipettes. :)

Not necessary for starting out though.

Other than that, I have nothing to add because everyone has given all the good advice already!
 

spenny92

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Ah, reading these threads always makes me pine for more soapy equipment! I really don't use many things that I didn't already have kicking around in the kitchen.

I use a small plastic container to measure out my lye (I just wrote life instead of lye, gosh I need to go back to bed!) and I mix my lye and water in a tall, plastic container - I used to use a pyrex jug before reading that that really isn't a good idea, so I stopped using it.

I melt my solid oils in a stainless steel saucepan, measure my liquid oils into a tall glass tumbler and mix my oils and lye in the same saucepan - I also SB in here. I hadn't even thought about using a different container for that, but I make small batches so my pot is never too heavy or difficult to pour.

If I'm mixing colours, I use a few short glass tumblers to mix my oils/colourant, then separate my batter into small plastic containers - I have lots of these lying around the kitchen, too, now purely dedicated to soaping!

What I really need, and hadn't thought about before I started soaping, is a few silicone scraper spatulas. They would be very useful for scraping any excess soap batter/oils to minimise wastage. I've just been using the stainless steels spoons that I use for everything else, but it's not very effective. So, I'm glad you've got spatulas already! :)

I'm trying to describe the size of my utensils - hmmm. They're all very small containers, actually. Except the lye/water mixing container I use, it's really tall and holds a few litres I think. But if you're just doing small batches (and I expect you will be to start off with), I would stick with smaller, more manageable equipment - it's easier to work with and to wash up. I make 1kg batches and my SS pot is only ever about half full, and it's just a regular large sized pot - like, the size of the largest one when you get those sets of 3? That might only make sense to me!
 

IrishLass

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not_ally said:
I am pretty OCD about getting every last bit of the oils out, espec. w/a small batch
LOL I'm the same way. I like to squeegee every last possible drop of oil out of my bowl when I'm transferring it to my pot of melted hard fats. Instead of using my hands, though, I have an awesome silicone spatula made by Wilton that's just amazing. I found it at Bed Bath & Beyond. It scrapes my bowls practically dry of oil: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01149VXBU/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Once I saw how well it worked, I went back to the store and bought 2 more. lol I'm always amazed at seeing how much oil would have been left behind had I not scraped it out with this spatula.


IrishLass :)
 
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amd

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I soap at room temp, using the lye water to melt my hard oils. I never make batches more than 32oz oils. Here's what I use:
A good scale
A good stick blender. I think I went through 3 Procter Silax before I bought a Hamilton Beach. Twice the price but worth it.
I use this bowl from Dollar Tree http://www.dollartree.com/household...t-/500c526c529p185884/index.pro?method=search It holds up to the heat very well (I'm still using the original that I bought March 2014 when I started making soap), and it has a flat bottom with a rubber ring so it stays very steady while stick blending like a mad woman. I often use two hands because I'm not dexterous enough to push the sb button and stir at the same time. I've never tipped the bowl.
I use plastic measuring cups and silicone spatulas from Dollar Tree also.
All the other utensils that I use are stainless steel (spoons for scooping out hard oils, measuring spoons for clay and fragrances, etc).

Molds:
I use anything that isn't glass or metal that holds still long enough! Waxy juice milk cartons, lined ritz boxes, cute shaped silicone ice cube trays, the bf made me a loaf mold after a year of me drooling over them online. (and so worth it! if you are or know someone who is handy like that, DO IT!) I use milkyway molds (do not insulate and put in the freezer before unmolding) and I've only lost one to overheating (bad soap batch).
 

Susie

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I have an old WW scale I was going to use but since weights are most important I think I'll get a new one. I found a KD8000 with the cord on Amazon for about $50.
Triple check with Amazon AND the KD folks before buying the cord. I ordered the one that was linked with the scale, and it was the wrong one. Sending it back would have cost as much as another adapter. So I have a piece of junk now.
 

not_ally

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IL, that is a bit ouch-y in terms of costs, but I will take your word for it and get one :) It is weird how the spatulas can vary w/even small differences in quality/curvature, and if you use them all the time it is worth it.
 

cmzaha

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The pitchers NA is talking with the long spout are funnel cake pitchers. They are nice for thin batter but a lot of batter will stick in the funnel section. I use them for pouring fo's out of large containers into bottles
 

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