What soapy thing have you done today?

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Zany_in_CO

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@therealshari Hi! and WELCOME!

Please take a moment to go to the Introduction Forum and tell us a little about yourself. You sound like you have a lot of experience! It would be helpful to us to know your level of experience so we don't mistake you for a "know-nothing" Noob (LOL) when you respond to a post. Repeat what you said in your post above and anything else you care to share. That way more members (like me) will get to know you rather than just the ones that hang out in this thread. (All lovely people, of course, just limited.) :nodding:
 
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I finally ordered some nag champa.
Can I ask how well you like their nag champa, and whether it's a woodsy scent or more patchouli-like?
I've been wanting to make a "hippie" scented bar just for myself. Maybe for my older son who also likes incense sometimes, but I'm a bit leery of ordering a musky scent when I have such a limited budget, and no one who I know that likes them like I do.
TIA for any recommendation! Bring back Peace and Love!
 
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My soapy thing today, yesterday, the day before... I've been trying to get a handle on getting soap done but it's been frustratingly NOT happening. Feels like 3 steps forward, 2 back type of thing.
My base recipe has had to change no less than 3 times because of oil amounts avaliable, then I got sick, and finally I couldn't find all my molds (I'm at my house overseas but since I only visit once a year now, nothing's quite where I left it).
Finally, turns out I'm not going home next Thurs but next Tues, so I leave my house THIS Sun, not next Tues.
:nonono:
Finally everything's set up. If I can drag myself out of bed early enough THIS morning, I can make 3 batches of holy trinity based soaps with hydrogenated palm: cucumber and rice water (just the starch), oatmeal and honey, and star anise and coffee. A 2nd soap batch, to use up the rest of the hydrogenated palm and coconut oil, will also be oatmeal and honey, and cucumber with rice water.
I'm lucky enough that these are soaps my Nanny requests every year and part of the reason I make the trip. The total weight of the batches will come to just over 15kg.
However, unlike Mexico, this time in flying solo. Please wish me luck!
o_O
 

Kimimarie84

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A woman with a local art studio reached out to me about teaching a soap making class, so we met yesterday to discuss how a class would look. I’m a CP soap maker, but we’re going with a MP class, and she wants me to formulate my own MP base. So I’ve already been scouring the MP forum for info on how to do that from scratch. I did a cost analysis for my expenses, cost per soap making student, etc.. And then I messaged the studio owner with marketing photos she asked me to send of my soaps, and I reached out to someone about designing a logo for my business.

I’m also going to cut four more loaves of soap today and take marketing photos of them once they’re set up enough to do so.

So lots of the business side of soap going on, but I’m excited!
 
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I've placed perferated sheet pans on my wish list at webrestaurantstore. I'm thinking that should allow enough air to circulate. If not, I'll order cooling racks for half the pans. At this point, I'm only doing soaps, lip balms and paw wax.

I'm getting a newly built soap studio next spring, so I will have all the room I need. For the past 5 years, I've been sharing our commercial kitchen with my caramel sauce. We're officially out of room now as everything we touch, we have to move something first.
I prefer the fiberglass to the metal pans because metal can interact with many ingredients.
 

Zany_in_CO

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she wants me to formulate my own MP base.
That sorta defeats the purpose of M&P doesn't it? To my mind, at least...

Reality Check:
The expense of formulating M&P from scratch, as well as the learning curve of trial & error to compete with what's readily available, makes no sense at all. I speak from experience from my early days of soaping, just taking on the challenge. T'ain't easy!

In addition, your expertise with CP doesn't transfer well to M&P. That's a whole new ball game. Once again, speaking from experience, I made M&P one time. It was fun and I was pleased with the result. BUT! I had the good fortune of having a highly knowledgeable mentor who was able to teach me the basic tricks of the trade that allowed me to succeed.

That being said, I wish you all the best in your new venture!
 
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@Kimimarie84 if you haven't already done so, you might want to take a look at this tutorial for making a vegan, palm-free M&P base. You might also check back with studio owner to find out why she prefers that you make the base. Perhaps you can find a premade base that might satisfy her concerns, whatever they may be. Good luck! I've taught some basic soapmaking classes (HP only) and had a blast - I hope you do, too!
 
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LynetteO

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Can I ask how well you like their nag champa, and whether it's a woodsy scent or more patchouli-like?
I've been wanting to make a "hippie" scented bar just for myself. Maybe for my older son who also likes incense sometimes, but I'm a bit leery of ordering a musky scent when I have such a limited budget, and no one who I know that likes them like I do.
TIA for any recommendation! Bring back Peace and Love!
I like the scent out of the bottle. It does remind me of the incense my Dad used to burn in the 70’s. However, I haven’t soaped with it yet. I will make a test batch soon & report back!
 

Kimimarie84

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That sorta defeats the purpose of M&P doesn't it? To my mind, at least...

Reality Check:
The expense of formulating M&P from scratch, as well as the learning curve of trial & error to compete with what's readily available, makes no sense at all. I speak from experience from my early days of soaping, just taking on the challenge. T'ain't easy!

In addition, your expertise with CP doesn't transfer well to M&P. That's a whole new ball game. Once again, speaking from experience, I made M&P one time. It was fun and I was pleased with the result. BUT! I had the good fortune of having a highly knowledgeable mentor who was able to teach me the basic tricks of the trade that allowed me to succeed.

That being said, I wish you all the best in your new venture!
I met with the owner of the studio yesterday, and she likes my particular soap recipes and looks, and she wants to put my soaps into her retail space within her studio, so she said she’d prefer for me to formulate my own M&P because she seems to think that it will help my CP soaps sell better. However, she, by her own admission, knows nothing about soap.
I’ve never made M&P before, so I’ve been watching videos and looking at recipes, and when I first saw the videos and commented here, I was hopeful. But now that you’re telling me it’s not an easy thing to do, I’m having second thoughts.
I do think it would be easier to buy a good M&P base and have students in the class melt that down. That would make it easier on me. I’m torn. Once I started looking into the cost to myself to buy the extra ingredients, it does seem like a waste to take the extra step just so others can melt it all down again just to add their own color and scent. Seems a waste of talent, resources, time, and money.

The only advantage I can think of is that if it’s successful, I could make sell my own M&P base for others to make my soap recipe at home.
But I’m not super thrilled with the idea of spending a lot of time and resources on something that might not even work out. That concerns me.

@Kimimarie84 if you haven't already done so, you might want to take a look at this tutorial for making a vegan, palm-free M&P base. You might also check back with studio owner to find out why she prefers that you make the base. Perhaps you can find a premade base that might satisfy her concerns, whatever they may be. Good luck! I've taught some basic soapmaking classes (HP only) and had a blast - I hope you do, too!
I think the studio owner wants people to be able to make my recipe of soap themselves, but now that you and @Zany_in_CO have mentioned the potential pitfalls of making my own M&P base, I think I need to discuss the possibility to saving us both some money and just buying a good ready-made M&P base. Do you know of any good ones with goat milk?

I’m definitely going to reach back out to the studio owner and let her know what y’all have told me. Thank you for the help and advice!

Also, how did the HP class go? Lye with a bunch of beginners in a classroom setting scares me due to potential liability, problems during soaping, etc… Any tips you can offer? Would it be better to do a HP class rather than a M&P? Any reason for why HP versus CP?
 
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Also, how did the HP class go? Lye with a bunch of beginners in a classroom setting scares me due to potential liability, problems during soaping, etc… Any tips you can offer? Would it be better to do a HP class rather than a M&P? Any reason for why HP versus CP?
The classes were fun! I choose to do unscented, uncolored, 100% CO with 20% SF via HP for several reasons:

1. We only had the room for several hours on a single day. That eliminated CP, which would have required them to transport sloshy, caustic soap batter from the site to their home. Going the HP route meant that the soap was zap-free and fairly firm when molded, making transportation from the site to their home much safer. However, if you have access to the studio on two separate days, CP is doable if you make a recipe that is relatively sure to firm up enough for unmolding by the time they return.

2. 100% CO HP soap traces, cooks, and firms up very quickly, especially in small batches. That mean less time stickblending and cooking. While we waited for it to firm up, we debriefed and reviewed proper soapmaking techniques. Some of them were able to cut the soaps before going home. Others were able to cut within a few hours after getting home.

For safety and ease of conducting the class, I chose to measure and mix all the students' lye solutions ahead of time. Dollar Store plastic cylinder containers with screw-on lids work perfectly for this. I did the same with the CO - I pre-measured it for each student into Dollar store rectangular containers with lids. Those containers then became their soap molds. They were ideal for a small batch that needs to be transported home.

This reduced the concerns for spills significantly because it allowed the students to observe while I measured and mixed my lye solution, and measured out my CO. It streamlined the class process, too, which was important given the limited amount of time that we had to use the site. Yes, that meant that students didn't get hands-on experience with measuring the oils, or measuring and mixing lye solution, but it was a trade-off that worked best in my situation.

As for the blending and heating, be sure to test the studio's electrical capacity to have a lot of stickblenders and crockpots (or microwaves) going at one time without tripping the circuit breakers. This will dictate how many people can attend the class. Of course, to lessen the electrical load, half of the group could mix and cook while the other half watches, and then switch. That actually helps most people retain more information, because they get to both watch and do, but it does make the class twice as long.

Here is the list that I used to remind me what to bring:

GROUP SOAP-MAKING SUPPLY LIST

Recipe printout with cutting and storage instructions for each student to take home
Coconut oil
Lye
Distilled water
Gloves
Eye protection
Scale
Small container or cup for measuring dry lye
Cylindrical plastic containers with lids for measuring distilled water and mixing/storing lye solution.
Buckets or tubs for wash-up water (if no sink is available).
Rags or paper towels
Crockpots
Spatulas
Molds (rectangular or square containers with lids)
Freezer paper for lining molds and covering work surfaces
Scissors for cutting freezer paper
Masking tape for taping freezer paper on work surfaces
Pastry knife for cutting bars
Aprons
 
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Kimimarie84

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The classes were fun! I choose to do unscented, uncolored, 100% CO with 20% SF via HP for several reasons:

1. We only had the room for several hours on a single day. That eliminated CP, which would have required them to transport sloshy, caustic soap batter from the site to their home. Going the HP route meant that the soap was zap-free and fairly firm when molded, making transportation from the site to their home much safer. However, if you have access to the studio on two separate days, CP is doable if you make a recipe that is relatively sure to firm up enough for unmolding by the time they return.

2. 100% CO HP soap traces, cooks, and firms up very quickly, especially in small batches. That mean less time stickblending and cooking. While we waited for it to firm up, we debriefed and reviewed proper soapmaking techniques. Some of them were able to cut the soaps before going home. Others were able to cut within a few hours after getting home.

For safety and ease of conducting the class, I chose to measure and mix all the students' lye solutions ahead of time. Dollar Store plastic cylinder containers with screw-on lids work perfectly for this. I did the same with the CO - I pre-measured it for each student into Dollar store rectangular containers with lids. Those containers then became their soap molds. They were ideal for a small batch that needs to be transported home.

This reduced the concerns for spills significantly because it allowed the students to observe while I measured and mixed my lye solution and CO. It streamlined the class process, too, which was important given the limited amount of time that we had to use the site. Yes, that meant that students didn't get hands-on experience with measuring and mixing lye solution, but it was a trade-off that worked best in my situation.

As for the blending and heating, be sure to test the studio's electrical capacity to have a lot of stickblenders and crockpots (or microwaves) going at one time without tripping the circuit breakers. This will dictate how many people can attend the class. Of course, to lessen the electrical load, half of the group could mix and cook while the other half watches, and then switch. That actually helps most people retain more information, because they get to both watch and do, but it does make the class twice as long.

Here is the list that I used to remind me what to bring:

GROUP SOAP-MAKING SUPPLY LIST

Recipe printout with cutting and storage instructions for each student to take home
Coconut oil
Lye
Distilled water
Gloves
Eye protection
Scale
Small container or cup for measuring dry lye
Cylindrical plastic containers with lids for measuring distilled water and mixing/storing lye solution.
Buckets or tubs for wash-up water (if no sink is available).
Rags or paper towels
Crockpots
Spatulas
Molds (rectangular or square containers with lids)
Freezer paper for lining molds and covering work surfaces
Scissors for cutting freezer paper
Masking tape for taping freezer paper on work surfaces
Pastry knife for cutting bars
Aprons
Thank you so much for this info! This helps me a lot. I really appreciate you taking the time to type it all out.

I’m going to chat with the studio owner and see how she feels about switching from a M&P class to a HP class.
 

CelineEnilec

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Now that I have received Brambleberry's new IFRA rates for their Oatmeal Milk and Honey (hereafter OMH) fragrance (if you're interested, the new IFRA 49 rate is 1.95% now), I decided to try 4 small batches of Oatmeal Milk and Honey. Batches 1 and 2 were made yesterday, and 3 and 4 today.
Batches 1 and 2 are my standard recipe but with the lowered IFRA of BB's OMH I wanted to first see if it still smelled great at 1.95% vs the old 3% and also test Nurture Soap's version of OMH.
Batches 3 and 4 are my standard recipe adjusted to allow for 11% of soy wax (I read a lot of @KiwiMoose 's posts and decided to give it a try as my palm-free recipe does tend to not last very long so looking to add a bit of longevity). In the interest of science (as in, my own nose and skin feeling), I kept the FO rates the same for standard and soy.
Batch 1: standard recipe with Brambleberry OMH at 1.95%.
Batch 2: standard recipe with Nurture Soap's OMH at 3%.
Batch 3: standard recipe with soy, Brambleberry OMH at 1.95%.
Batch 4: standard recipe with soy, Nurture Soap's OMH at 3%.

More to come in 4 to 6 weeks!
 
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I'll re-cap a soapy conversation I had over Zoom with good friends. These are 2 friends that like to NOT unwrap their soaps until they use them in order to build suspense.

Marita commented on one of my landscape soaps with a moon (I love my moons!). She said, it initally was a crescent moon and as she used it, it turned into a full moon. I told her, LOL, it was total skill, yeah, that's it, total skill. She must have gotten an end piece where the mini-cylinder didn't quite line up with the loaf mold.

And then Tim demanded what exfoliants I put in "my" black soap because it was rubbing his a-- off. I knew I didn't give him black soap and demanded to see proof on camera. When he showed me, I said that was not my work. Falsely accused! Then he wondered out loud if it was from his friend soap maker Jack. And then he said, wait, it could be from his friend and soap maker Jill! I told him, um, dude, it sounds like several people are sending you a message....

Anyhoo, it was a super fun conversation filled with laughter after an incredily stressful week -- is it Friday yet?!
 
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I had a lesson in humble pie soapmaking on Monday evening. I decided to make a briny loaf (“loaf” was mistake #1) so added 2 Tbsp sea salt in with my water for the lye sol’n. I made my soap, got it into my loaf mold and into the oven to CPOP. Yesterday morning, in a rush I turned ON the oven (mistake #2) to bake some last minute scones to take to friends. 10 minutes later, realized SOAP IN OVEN!! Got it out 🤯 and left for the day. Came home and unmolded my soap, cut it 20 hours after making it (still counting? Mistake #3!) and it crumbled as I cut it. Sigh. I totally forgot to review what I know is somewhere in my brain box - high amounts of salt make for a hard soap that needs to be watched, and cut early. Or, it should have been poured into individual molds. And it sure didn’t need the extra oven heat!

I did get two small individual molds poured for samples; they popped out of their molds and look lovely. maybe they will turn out to be good enough to give away 😁

I suppose I can cut myself some slack ‘cause I’m a relative newbie. I guess I am between the “Conscious Incompetence” and “Conscious Competence” learning stages - that period when I know the foundations of soapmaking and might relax just a leeetle bit too much as I am prepping and working. In soapmaking it’s likely best NOT to aspire to reaching the “Unconscious Competence” stage - too much can go wrong with inattention!

anyway - it is always good learning, and I’m glad it was a small batch! I’m going to take a break for a bit. It’s just too darn hot to make soap right now!
 

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