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Totally new to soap making

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poppie88

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Hey everyone, my names Chris and I recently found this page a couple days ago just never had the time to make a post. So like the title says I'm totally new to soap making. A little about me, I work shift work so I either have 5 days off or 2 days off every week. My wife is at work most days unless we off on the weekend together. When I'm not hunting I'm always looking for a side project to try. I've done paracord projects and stuff like that but looking for something new that I could use and give as gifts to my family. I plan on starting with just bars and would like any advice I could get. Is this something I have to sink a bunch of money into to get started, or I can get a lot of stuff at local stores for a decent price? Is this something I can get into quick or takes weeks or months to get started? Like I said I don't plan on selling anything unless it would come out half decent and maybe at a craft show or fundraiser, so not looking to sink all kind of money into it. Thanks for any advice!
 

snappyllama

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You can sink a ton of money or do it from mostly things you can find locally and at discount/dollar/hardware/thrift stores.

Things you must have:
Stick Blender
Gloves
Googles
Thermometer (you can do without if you're willing to wait until things get back to room temp)
Lye mixing container (stainless steel or plastic with a 2 or 5 at the bottom)
Batter mixing container (same as above). I like the $1 ones in the painting dept at Home Depot
Spoons/Spatulas: make sure they are silicone or stainless steel
Lye: hardware store but make sure it's 100% sodium hydroxide
Mold: you can use wood, cardboard, pvc, silicone. They will need to lined with freezer paper (except silicone).

Oils - these vary by recipe, but easy to get ones that make an excellent soap are:
Lard: grocery store
Olive Oil: grocery store or Costco
Coconut Oil: grocery store or amazon "snappy white popcorn oil"
Castor Oil (nice to have): pharmacy - later on you'll want to buy this from a less expensive place

Later on you'll probably want to play with colors and fragrance. That's where the money sink really starts up.
 

rparrny

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Welcome Chris! When getting supplies, the dollar store is your best friend. Measuring cups for mixing, spatulas for blending, dixie cups for blending colors...
You can get a cheap stick blender to start off with and if your wife has a silicone baking dish that she is willing to give up and not use for baking anymore you are pretty much set. Olive oil and coconut oil are in the stores, lard is another commonly loved ingredient here. Anne Watson's book Smart Soapmaking is a great beginning book and you can get it as a downloadable kindle book on Amazon for a reasonable price. Lye can be very dangerous so don't skimp on protective gear. Goggles and gloves are a must...I have a respirator but don't use it. Freezer paper is good for lining molds if they are not silicone. Stainless steel bowls and spoons can be used again for food if they are washed very well, plastic cannot.
Be careful...this hobby is very much addicting...have fun!
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome.

In addition to the above excellent suggestions, I might add to watch your local thrift stores for stick blenders and crock pots. They are often available and extremely cheap. You will want a back up stick blender (AKA immersion blender) so that you do not end up mid batch with a failed one. And sooner or later you will need to rebatch, so a crockpot you are willing to donate to the soapmaking cause is necessary. You might also want to watch for items like silicone baking dishes there to use as molds.

The one item that I would not scrimp on is a good digital scale. Do NOT try to use a postal scale, it won't work. Buy a KD7000 or KD8000 that will last. I use mine for both soaping and baking.

Once you make your first batch (depending on how long your research phase is), you are about a year away from selling. It just takes that long to develop a couple of dependable recipes with reliable techniques that you can reproduce over and over without "oopsies". I also have to warn you that soapmaking is highly addictive. ESPECIALLY after you use your soap for the first time. You will never want to go back to using commercial "soap" again. So, think long and hard before making the first batch.
 

poppie88

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So what would you recommend for me trying first, cold process or hot process. I could be totally wrong but they look like the same steps except the cold you have to wait for it to cure and the hot you can use right away.
 

KristaMarie

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So what would you recommend for me trying first, cold process or hot process. I could be totally wrong but they look like the same steps except the cold you have to wait for it to cure and the hot you can use right away.
That is a very common misconception. Well...You CAN use hot process soap right away, as in it is safe to do so, but HP will still benefit from a 4+ week cure. Some soapers even cure their HP soaps longer, as their recipes typically use more water than their cold process counterparts.

As far as which you should try? That's entirely up to you! Every soaper has a different process and preferences. I've never even done an HP soap. I feel like HP requires a little more babysitting than CP, so I've never bothered, but you'll get responses here for both!
 

commoncenz

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Welcome to the board Chris.
Let me add that many of the supplies that you will need can be found at your local dollar store. The exceptions being lye, stick stick blender and of course your fats/oils.
You can also use a cardboard box or shoe box for your first batch(es) to see if you like the craft without sinking a lot of money into molds. Just make sure that you line them with freezer paper - a plastic trash bag will do if you don't mind a few wrinkles in your first batch.
 

lenarenee

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If you start with cold process, you won't have the expense of a crockpot. Also, you'll have a little less to learn as when hp'ing you'll need to recognize the difference stages your soap goes through as it cooks. It's not difficult, and there's good YouTube videos that can help - Soaping101 is a great place to start. She even does a video on dollar store supplies, dollar store soap, and hot process.

Good luck and have fun!

Also, if you have access to coroplast (corrugated plastic) and mailing tape you can easily build your own log or slab mold and its pretty sturdy, cheap, easy to work with - just score with a sharp blade and bend. You will need to line it with freezer paper though. I shouldn't spend the money on a "real" slab mold myself so I thought I'd make one out of coroplast as we have some leftover from making our guinea pig's cage.
 
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Stacy

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Welcome! I totally agree on the CP to start with. HP isn't difficult by itself, but like others have said, you'll probably have an easier time when you've been through the CP process and can recognize the stages etc.
 

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