Tips for Making Bigger Batches

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Elysium

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Hello! I just posted in the welcome thread. I'm not a brand-new soaper;I've been soaping for at least 6 years, but I have a sort-of newb-ish question:

How the heck do you size up?

What I mean is, I've been using 2 lbs. silicon log molds for the past several years. (Or a 16 bar slab mold, but I use that one differently.) I just bought the Crafters Choice 6 lbs. wood log mold with silicone liner, and...

It was hard!

Soaping took about the same amount of time, so that was cool.

But most of my bowls, measuring cups, etc. are so small for it! I'm used to doing my soaping in a 32 oz measuring cup -- which is fairly easy to pour from.

I have one glass bowl that will fit my batter plus, but JUST BARELY. So, when it became time to pour, it was not easy for me. And I was making a one color soap! I can't imagine how much more difficult this would be if I was doing a design!

I'm wondering if there any special tips or tools I can use to make this a bit easier.

Thanks in advance! I really appreciate your taking the time to read this. :)
 
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dixiedragon

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You can pick up some extra bowls for cheap at thrift stores. Look for the 5 on the bottom. For me, the biggest issue is weight. Make sure you are able to comfortable maneuver the pot.

Spoons - I've picked up big stainless steel spoons at Bargain Hunt.

I personally rarely make batches bigger than 7 lbs (two of my logs) and my average batch is 3.5 pounds. I often make batches with 20 oz of oils b/c that uses 1 oz of FO. I don't enjoy the physical strain of trying to maneuver a large metal pot full of more than a 7.5 oz batch, trying not to make a mess, etc.
 

shunt2011

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You can also use a plastic paint bucket from thee hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes, Menards). I make 6 lb batches and sometimes 12 lbs and the buckets work great for me.

I use mostly silicone spatulas and spoons or stainless.
 

rosyrobyn

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I just made my first 'large' batch - 5lbs of oil, and it got so close to the top of my bowl that I wasn't comfortable. I bought an Home Depot orange 2 gallon bucket and it worked fine with room to spare.
 

Elysium

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I think I'll head out to Lowes, then. Curious: do they make buckets that are flexible enough (even just a little!) to bend to make it easier to pour? *crossing fingers*

I'm also open to anyone else's ideas!

Thanks, folks!
 

Seawolfe

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+1 for plastic paint buckets. You can get them in all sizes at the hardware store.
 

Navaria

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I think I'll head out to Lowes, then. Curious: do they make buckets that are flexible enough (even just a little!) to bend to make it easier to pour? *crossing fingers*

I'm also open to anyone else's ideas!

Thanks, folks!
They have 2 1/2 gallon buckets with a pour built in. It's not a huge spout but every little bit will help. I had one around here somewhere but it seems to have walked off. Guess I'm not the only one who like the pour on it :evil:
 

rosyrobyn

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My bucket's not flexible at all but I like that it's sturdy. If it's still too unwieldy perhaps you could split the batter between a couple of your bowls. I've seen the dollar store bowls that some people use but I found them to be too flimsy. I like the Ikea Vispad mixing bowls with handle and spout for easy pouring.
 

snappyllama

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One note of caution: glass is not safe (even pyrex). Over time, lye can cause micro-fractures and the container will suddenly shatter. The container can look fine and one day... BLAM raw soap or lye solution all over the place + glass shards. It might never happen to you or it might happen the next time you soap.

Best to be safe and switch to plastic or stainless steel containers. Since you're sizing up, its the perfect opportunity to grab a few smaller containers at the hardware store too!
 

topofmurrayhill

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Hello!I'm wondering if there any special tips or tools I can use to make this a bit easier.
Multiple colors isn't that much harder, apart from the usual trace speed anxiety. In that process, your pouring containers don't have to be so large since they won't be holding the whole batch. I put oils, lye and usually fragrance in a big 3 or 5 gallon plastic jug with a screw cap and shake briefly but vigorously to emulsify, then pour out the portions into bowls or pitchers that pour well.

And yes, if you look at the slight scratching and/or frost in your glass bowl, that's the lye devilishly trying to make it shatter in your hands.
 
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KristaY

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I had the same problem when I sized up and mixed the large batch in a big stainless steel stock pot. So I decided to bring to emulsion then portion it into my 1 and/or 2 1/2 qt paint buckets, color, scent and pour from there. Smaller portions are much easier for me to deal with.
 

lenarenee

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Multiple colors isn't that much harder, apart from the usual trace speed anxiety. In that process, your pouring containers don't have to be so large since they won't be holding the whole batch. I put oils, lye and usually fragrance in a big 3 or 5 gallon plastic jug with a screw cap and shake briefly but vigorously to emulsify, then pour out the portions into bowls or pitchers that pour well.
Do you mean something like a plastic milk jug? Or do you have something better with a larger opening?

That method sounds like fun!
 

topofmurrayhill

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Elysium

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Made soap again today and used my new soap bucket. :)

It worked MUCH better! Still a little trace anxiety, since I was soaping rose and honeysuckle scent. But I'm *pretty sure* everything got to where in needed to be in the nick of time!

I would NEVER have thought about using paint buckets. Thanks!! :D

Also, so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who had a little trouble learning how to make bigger batches.

Andi
 

topofmurrayhill

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Those look just like the jugs that the 7 lbs of oils come in from soapers choice! Maybe that's where yours came from?
Nope mine are WAY bigger. I used them to make 11 lb batches. They are 5 gallons I think and probably come up nearly to my knees. Thing is, you need a lot of head space to shake properly. I don't think you would want the jug more than half full. So for a 6 lb batch I suppose you could use those 2 1/2 gal ones. For 6 lb OILS they probably aren't big enough.

You could use the Soaper's Choice jugs for small batches, but I usually use a bowl.
 

cmzaha

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I like these buckets in 1 & 2 gallon sizes. The one gallon will give you plenty of head room after adding in lye. Usually I remove the handles if they are metal handles but leave the plastic handles on if they come with plastic. They are not hard to pour out of and they last for years. I find paint buckets can crack quite easily. My normal batches are 62 oz of oil
 

gdawgs

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Maybe a dumb question here. How are you heating your oils? It obviously can't be done in a five gallon bucket. Are you heating each oil individually to a higher temp than what you want to add the lye at. THen dump each into the bucket, stir and wait for it to cool?
 

topofmurrayhill

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Maybe a dumb question here. How are you heating your oils? It obviously can't be done in a five gallon bucket. Are you heating each oil individually to a higher temp than what you want to add the lye at. THen dump each into the bucket, stir and wait for it to cool?
When I was using this process for production batches, I masterbatched oils into a 7 gallon pail and used a belt heater.
 
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