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spenny92

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This is NOT a "look at my pretty soap" thread, by any means! This is more of a hey, look at all the mistakes I made and hopefully improve upon... I thought it would be kinda cool to see a visual progress in newbie soaping. My first batch was made around 4-5 weeks ago. The most recent batches are all made using the same base recipe, with minor tweaks. The first batches are literally just mash-up concoctions of whatever oils I had. I barely have any notes for them, as I was just too excited to be making the soap! Now I hope that I'm a little more organized - hah!

They're definitely not the prettiest, but I think they're improving appearance-wise. In chronological order, from my very first (very ugly, ash-y) soap through to my most recent creations.

1st soap: lavender turned into mouse droppings. Smells weird, looks weird. I used random oils that I had in the pantry. I remember being so pleased with myself after making this one, and now I look at it and cringe. I'll probably do the same with all my other soaps in a year's time hah!


2nd soap: used individual bar moulds. Supposed to be honey and oats. Again, it's horrible! Heeeeaps of soda ash, doesn't smell good.


3rd soap: lemongrass scrub. Used milled pumice and a better recipe. This is a nice soap to use, but not to look at!


Followed up in further posts...

4th soap: green tea and lemongrass. Nice to use, I used goat's milk and green tea for liquid so this was my first, slightly more "advanced" soap than the first 3.

5th soap: Goat's milk, coffee grounds and cocoa powder. I think I might have used honey and cedarwood in the white part, but my notes from these first batches are just awful.

6th soap: honey, oats and goat's milk.

7th soap: plain old lavender. First soap that I actively forced gel. I like using this one, it's really gentle.


8th soap: Raspberry tea. The tea liquid turned the soap brown, so I've reformulated this recipe as shown in later photos. My first palm-free and animal fat free recipe.

9th soap: Lemongrass and coconut milk salt bar. First salt bar! Drag marks from using a wire cheese cutter that was slightly too small. Now have a soap cutter - yay!

10th soap: chocolate ale soap. First time using an FO and beer. This smells soooo good! Hasn't fully cured yet.


11th soap: manuka honey and beer. Have had problems with this bar. Same recipe as the chocolate ale, but this one is still so super squidgy and fudgey. I think I messed my quantities up as I made such a teeny batch and my scales have screwed up.


12th soap: reformulated raspberry tea - this time with sweet orange EO and paprika/rose clay to colour. Still not happy with the colours and my swirls are god awful, but hey. I'll just have to practice more!


13th soap: raspberry and orange tea AGAIN. I tried to swirl again, this time using turmeric to colour and rose clay.



14th soap: green tea with green kaolin clay (more like brown) and tea leaves. Another poor attempt at an ITP swirl.

15th soap: charcoal and tea tree salt bar. Green kaolin clay and activated charcoal to colour.
 

not_ally

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I think they are really looking good. You know what, my favorite is the plain old lavendar. I just like the way the texture/bar looks.
 

spenny92

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I think they are really looking good. You know what, my favorite is the plain old lavendar. I just like the way the texture/bar looks.
A slight improvement to the first batch, at least! :lol:

I like the lavender too, nice and simple. Only issue is the recipe used palm oil, so I'm in the process of trying it out with a new palm-free, lard-free recipe. I hope it comes out as nice - maybe goat's milk and lavender. I think it's hard to go back to simple ideas once you get into soaping, I feel like my head is constantly full of new, exciting ideas! I want to play with colours and scents and additives - but sometimes simple is best...
 

commoncenz

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I absolutely LOVE this post. It shows your progression and growth as not only a "soaper" but as a "crafter". You can really see the confidence, skill level and willingness to experiment grow as you gain more and more experience. BRAVO! Oh, and personally love the tenacity with which you are approaching that raspberry tea soap to get it just the way you want it. Personal favorite is the green tea and lemongrass. For some reason, I just like the look of that one.
 

not_ally

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Of all the batches I have done so far, my favorite is a really simple one, just a plain green bar (cucumber/avocado w/nice additives.) No fancy swirls, but again, there is something about the texture and the simplicity.
 

navigator9

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I bet green tea and lemongrass smells divine, and I like all the scrubbies in it. You know, soap can be beautiful and crappy to use. The bottom line is always how does it feel? If it feels good, it's a success. You've got some nice soaps there, and you should be proud.
 

spenny92

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I bet green tea and lemongrass smells divine, and I like all the scrubbies in it. You know, soap can be beautiful and crappy to use. The bottom line is always how does it feel? If it feels good, it's a success. You've got some nice soaps there, and you should be proud.
Thank you.

The green tea and l/grass should smell great, but I didn't use enough EO and the scent is barely there. I'll probably make it again sometime soon with some tweaks, it really is lovely to use - such creamy lather. IIRC, that was a lard soap. I'll have to try it without lard and see how it compares. I now have the fun task of waiting for the rest of them to cure so I can test my new vegan friendly recipes!

My soap is never going to beautiful in the artsy, intricate way that some people's are (I'm far too clumsy and heavy-handed), but as long as it isn't hideously ugly and feels amazing to use then I'll be happy. Proof is in the pudding, as they say!
 

spenny92

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That description made me laugh. The turmeric and rose clay swirls are lovely, I may have to try this since I just got some rose clay.
Thank you! I made the mistake of using too much of the clay (the red "swirls" in the second r/berry tea soap) and it was too dark. I used 1 tsp (to a 650g oil weight) in the turmeric/clay batch, and it was just the right shade of pink. My swirls definitely need some work, though. :Kitten Love:
 

not_ally

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Spenny, you could not possibly be more clumsy/heavy handed than me, and if you decide you want to make fancy swirls, you will be able to. I have to say that my soaps are getting simpler (w/r/t design) as I go along. It was/is really fun to play with the way it looks, but it has become more rewarding to concentrate on the other stuff. That's just me, though, if I could do stuff like TV Viv I would probably swirl everything :)
 
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Seawolfe

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I made a lavender soap just like that first one - only my lavender was ground up a bit. I ADORE that soap - dont care what it looks like, the lavender was a mild exfoliant, and held the lavender EO SO nice. Im gonna make it again!

The other ones are sweet- lots to like there.
 

spenny92

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I made a lavender soap just like that first one - only my lavender was ground up a bit. I ADORE that soap - dont care what it looks like, the lavender was a mild exfoliant, and held the lavender EO SO nice. Im gonna make it again!

The other ones are sweet- lots to like there.
That sounds great! I think I'll try grinding some of the whole buds a little bit next time, as the scent didn't stick around too long. It's there, but it's very faint. I've learned that I love little gently exfoliating bits in my soap. :smile:

Its pretty awesome looking at the progression! you can really see how much you're learning as you progress
I think it's hilarious! I remember making that first lavender soap and I literally thought it was the bee's knees. I was so proud and excited, I took photos of it and showed everyone at work and I raaaved about it. Now, I look at it and I'm like wow, really? :Kitten Love: :lol: It's either gone mouldy or has some serious, thick ash.

I'm having heaps of fun learning (this forum is a god-send) and making new batches, and hopefully they'll keep on improving.
 

gigisiguenza

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I think it's hilarious! I remember making that first lavender soap and I literally thought it was the bee's knees. I was so proud and excited, I took photos of it and showed everyone at work and I raaaved about it. Now, I look at it and I'm like wow, really? :Kitten Love: :lol: It's either gone mouldy or has some serious, thick ash.

I'm having heaps of fun learning (this forum is a god-send) and making new batches, and hopefully they'll keep on improving.
spenny I'm with you... this forum is a god send for sure.... and I think your progression is an awesome thing to see.... my first bars are mega wonky looking LOL but I know I'll improve over time. I'm about to do another batch with the same recipe as first batch, but larger, so I can attempt adding a natural colorant. I'm hoping it doesn't come out super crappy but I'm sure I'll be dancing like it's a masterpiece anyway LOL. Will post pics when I'm done :)
 

jules92207

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What a great progression, I love all your soaps. That simple lavender is beautiful but I also like the coffee and cocoa powder one. Beautiful work!
 

Seawolfe

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Try soaking the ground up lavender in the EO, and add them together. It helps hold the scent and distributes the lavender bits easier. Theres no way around the cut streaks unless you use cavity molds, but after a few uses they go away anyways.
 

Dorymae

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This is great! If I were you I would print out the pictures and put them with the recipes. You can clearly see your learning and skill as a soaper improving. With each batch you learn something. Remember you never fail, you just find new things that don't work.

I think you are doing great, and the swirls will come. It is harder to get them nice and clear with natural colors but you are on your way!
 

spenny92

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Some new soaps from the past few weeks!

Blood Orange


Goat's Milk & Lavender with a mock-up label


Goat's Milk, Peppermint & Eucalyptus

 

jules92207

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Wow, looking really lovely! I love the new ones and your mock up label.
 

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