Troubleshooting someones recipe

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AAShillito

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I've made this recipe from Lovin Soaps 2 times now,, following the directions for splitting out the oil and lye into 6 increments, mixing one at a time to trace. I have ended with an ounce of lye water short each time for my last color. I ran it through SMF this second time just to be sure and still an ounce short. Wth am I screwing up?
 

AliOop

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Are you losing some water due to evaporation? That can happen as the lye water is cooling. Try measuring it again after it cools, and if necessary, add back the extra distilled water.
 

AAShillito

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Are you losing some water due to evaporation? That can happen as the lye water is cooling. Try measuring it again after it cools, and if necessary, add back the extra distilled water.
So its ok to add back just distilled water? Or do I need to figure out lye too?
 

Quanta

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I've made this recipe from Lovin Soaps 2 times now,, following the directions for splitting out the oil and lye into 6 increments, mixing one at a time to trace. I have ended with an ounce of lye water short each time for my last color. I ran it through SMF this second time just to be sure and still an ounce short. Wth am I screwing up?
Did you scale the recipe up or down at all? How sensitive is the scale you are using? Does it weigh down to a fraction of a gram?

So its ok to add back just distilled water? Or do I need to figure out lye too?
You should be able to add the water back in, as long as you do it before you start portioning it off for the layers. If you add water back in only for the last layer, you would have less lye than you need and would have to calculate how much extra lye the other layers got, and add lye back in with the extra water.

When you make the lye water, as soon as you add the lye, take the container off the scale, tare the scale, and then weigh the whole lye water with container and write that down. Then let it cool to the correct temperature, and weigh it again. Add warm distilled water to make it back up to the weight you wrote down when you added the lye.

Another thing you can try, is making the lye water individually for each layer. I recommend only doing that if you have really sensitive scales that can measure to 0.1 or 0.01g. This is what I would do. I would still make one single batch for the oils, though, since those can't evaporate.
 

AAShillito

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Did you scale the recipe up or down at all? How sensitive is the scale you are using? Does it weigh down to a fraction of a gram?


You should be able to add the water back in, as long as you do it before you start portioning it off for the layers. If you add water back in only for the last layer, you would have less lye than you need and would have to calculate how much extra lye the other layers got, and add lye back in with the extra water.

When you make the lye water, as soon as you add the lye, take the container off the scale, tare the scale, and then weigh the whole lye water with container and write that down. Then let it cool to the correct temperature, and weigh it again. Add warm distilled water to make it back up to the weight you wrote down when you added the lye.

Another thing you can try, is making the lye water individually for each layer. I recommend only doing that if you have really sensitive scales that can measure to 0.1 or 0.01g. This is what I would do. I would still make one single batch for the oils, though, since those can't evaporate.
My scale can go to 0.02 gm. I'm going to use your recommendation for making it up and weighing after cooling . Thank you!
 

ResolvableOwl

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Slightly off-topic: The Lovin' Soap article you're linking shows a beautiful soap … which at the same time is a instructional example of partial gel, and how this ruins the look of different layers to various degrees (purple and yellow are hit hardest). If the mould were anywhere near transportable, I would have CPOPed the hell out of it.
 

AAShillito

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This is the batch my daughter and I made last week😍


Slightly off-topic: The Lovin' Soap article you're linking shows a beautiful soap … which at the same time is a instructional example of partial gel, and how this ruins the look of different layers to various degrees (purple and yellow are hit hardest). If the mould were anywhere near transportable, I would have CPOPed the hell out of it.
 

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KimW

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Slightly off-topic: The Lovin' Soap article you're linking shows a beautiful soap … which at the same time is a instructional example of partial gel, and how this ruins the look of different layers to various degrees (purple and yellow are hit hardest). If the mould were anywhere near transportable, I would have CPOPed the hell out of it.
Good eye, you. How odd that they left the soap partially gelled when it's so easy to correct. I have more to say, but I'll just finish with, I think @AAShillito's soap looks much better!
 

AliOop

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In response to your prior question, I add back the water as Quanta suggested, except that I don't warm it up - I just use room temp distilled water. I also masterbatch my lye, so it is room temp when I measure it out for making soap (which means that evaporation is not something I need to worry about except when making up the master batch).

Hopefully this eliminates your missing water problem. Meanwhile, your soap looks great!
 

KiwiMoose

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Have you tried just mixing the whole lot together - then splitting off into sixths and adding the colour only before pouring each layer? That's what I do for my rainbow soap. Ok, so my layers aren't prefect like hers - but they're acceptable.
 

AAShillito

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Have you tried just mixing the whole lot together - then splitting off into sixths and adding the colour only before pouring each layer? That's what I do for my rainbow soap. Ok, so my layers aren't prefect like hers - but they're acceptable.
I haven't tried that yet because I was afraid it would set up too soon.

Came here to say the same! Humans are not robots, and it's a good thing to embrace the imperfection. The mini swirls add life to it, and each bar has its own character.
Thank you! I showed my daughter all the positivity, made her 😊
 

amd

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How comfortable are you with recognizing emulsion? [I ask because this took me years to nail down, lol]
What I would do is whisk the batter to emulsion, and then split off the first layer for color and fragrance, stick blend it and then pour. Your first layer will set up while you're repeating the process with the second layer, and so on.
 

AAShillito

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How comfortable are you with recognizing emulsion? [I ask because this took me years to nail down, lol]
What I would do is whisk the batter to emulsion, and then split off the first layer for color and fragrance, stick blend it and then pour. Your first layer will set up while you're repeating the process with the second layer, and so on.
Brand new soapie so still learning alot! Thanks!
 

jcandleattic

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You should be able to add the water back in, as long as you do it before you start portioning it off for the layers. If you add water back in only for the last layer, you would have less lye than you need and would have to calculate how much extra lye the other layers got, and add lye back in with the extra water.
No, the lye amount would remain the same for each layer, you would just have extra water in that one layer, so it may be softer for longer than the other layers. How much water is used has nothing to do with how much lye is needed to saponify an oil.
Have you tried just mixing the whole lot together - then splitting off into sixths and adding the colour only before pouring each layer?
This is what I do for my layered batches. Soooo much easier IMO than the method the OP posted.
 

Tara_H

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No, the lye amount would remain the same for each layer, you would just have extra water in that one layer, so it may be softer for longer than the other layers. How much water is used has nothing to do with how much lye is needed to saponify an oil.

This is what I do for my layered batches. Soooo much easier IMO than the method the OP posted.
I've been making my layered soaps the way the OP described, and to be honest, I love it! It may involve a little bit more measuring, but it's so controlled and everything moves at the pace you dictate - I can't imagine changing to another method now.

The only slight difference is that I weigh out the required lye individually each time (from masterbatch) to avoid this kind of problem caused by evaporation, drops being lost on spatulas, and whatnot.
 

jcandleattic

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The only slight difference is that I weigh out the required lye individually each time (from masterbatch) to avoid this kind of problem caused by evaporation, drops being lost on spatulas, and whatnot.
Yep, doing it that way is like making little mini batches for each layer.

I've been doing this for so long, I know my recipe well, and don't add the FO or color until after each layer has been separated from the big batch. I separate, then color and scent, then pour. On to the next separated layer.
 

Quanta

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No, the lye amount would remain the same for each layer, you would just have extra water in that one layer, so it may be softer for longer than the other layers. How much water is used has nothing to do with how much lye is needed to saponify an oil.
If you mix up a lye solution and some water evaporates out, you now have a slightly stronger lye solution than intended. If you pour off a certain amount and use it, what is left over for the last layer will be less than you need, which means there will be less lye than you need because the concentration will be constant (or nearly so, there is still some evaporation going on the whole time). The amount of water is completely irrelevant. The concentration of the lye is important because that is how you determine how much lye you're adding to each layer. Assuming a water to lye ratio of 2:1, every ounce of solution is one third of an ounce of lye. But if your solution has had some water evaporated out, then each ounce of solution contains more than a third of an ounce of lye because lye doesn't evaporate out, only the water does.

Which means, when you get to the last layer and you're an ounce short of solution, you are a third of an ounce short of lye for that layer, regardless of the amount of water present. Which is why I recommended adding the lost water back in before beginning to mix each layer. If your recipe calls for X amount of lye solution for each layer, and your solution isn't the correct concentration , you need to make it the correct concentration before you start or X ounces of water will not have the right amount of lye for each layer.

It is possible to just weigh what you have after cooling and divide that by the number of layers you're making, true. Depending on the recipe, it could even trace faster. The amount of water isn't important, but the ratio to lye is important when using this method.
 
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