Which Book?

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alib

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I am very new to soap making & have just one book (The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Cross).
I'd like to buy another, but the choice is massive, was thinking 'Smart Soap Making by Anne L Watson' - can any one reccommend this book or any others??

I'd like something straight forward for beginners with a nice selection of recipes.
Thanks. x
 

ewenique

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That's a good starter book. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Natural Soaps by Zonella Gould is a brand new one that covers all the basics very well. It has more info.
 

BrittanyJRW

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I have The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso. It has been VERY helpful!
 

judymoody

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I have yet to find a soap making book that completely satisfies me. I am relatively new to soap making but I have looked at a half dozen books or so and I'm not rushing out to buy any of them.

For me, the best resource I've found (other than this forum) is Kathy Miller's website. http://www.millersoap.com/ She has lots of printouts in PDF format that have all sorts of useful tips and recipes.

Susan Cavitch's two books are very useful with loads of background information but they are a little dated.

Delores Boone's Hot Process soap book has interesting recipes and nice pictures. I haven't tried Hot Process but her book is simple and straightforward and has helpful information about fragrance oils and the various properties of different fats.

Robert McDaniel's book also has good information about how to produce a balanced recipe but for some weird reason I found the photos of his soaps to be kind of ugly. They look crumbly to me.

Sandy Maine's book is beautifully presented but basically has only one recipe that she varies only with different essential oils or fragrance oils.

I haven't read the Anne Watson book yet but I've heard it's good.

The lye calculator on the Majestic Mountain Sage website and the soapcalc program available on line are terrific.

Good luck!
 

DottieF.

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I second The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso. It's the best one out there.

Watch out for the recipes in the Melinda Coss book. I would run all the recipes through a lye calculator just to double check them. (Rumor has it that some of them are a bit lye heavy.)

Susan Cavitch's books are OK but confusing. A lot of misinformation and a SAP chart based on potassium hydroxide. I have both and still refer to them, just not for recipes. (Her lye discount is very high.)

Do not buy Norma Coney's book. It is garbage.

Dottie
 

cmd439

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alib said:
I am very new to soap making & have just one book (The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Cross).
I'd like to buy another, but the choice is massive, was thinking 'Smart Soap Making by Anne L Watson' - can any one reccommend this book or any others??

I'd like something straight forward for beginners with a nice selection of recipes.
Thanks. x
There are many valuabe books out there, but if I had to choose just one I would go with Anne Watsons Smart Soapmaking. Its concise and clear, without alot of anecdotes that are not very usefull. Its very easy reason and is still my go-to book.
 

Hazel

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I have several soap making books but Anne Watson's Smart Soapmaking is the one the clicked with me and got me to start soaping. For my first batch of salt bars, I used Dagmar's tutorial. It's clearly written and easy to follow.

http://www.smftutorials.com/how-to-make-salt-soap.html

However, I also like Alicia Grosso's The Everything Soapmaking Book. I use the lye calculator at soapcalc.net.

I also watched a lot of videos on youtube.
 

steffm

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I have The Complete Soapmaker by Norma Coney and The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch, and I agree, both are garbage! I used those two books when I started to make soap (4+ years ago). They turned me off to soapmaking for quite awhile :(. I haven't used a book since, thinking that they all must be this bad. Maybe I need to re-think that :D .
 

HenleyNatural

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The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch got me started in soap making. Be sure to use a stick blender when making soap. I made the mistake of standing over a soap pot for 45 minutes stirring with a spatula. I felt I wanted to be a purist at the time.

The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch has all sorts of recipes.

Steve
 

heyjude

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I started with The Everything Soapmaking Book as well. It's a great nuts and bolts book and used in conjunction with this and other forums you should be all set. For example, she covers swirling, but there are no pictures to go by. As a visual learner I love to see color pictures. (maybe the publisher didn't include them to keep costs down)

Anne Watson's book is nice, but doesn't cover all the material of the Grosso book.

It would be wonderful to have an advanced soapmaking book for folks who have some experience/batches under their belts and want to challenge themselves even more.
Judging from all the wonderful advice I see on this forum, I bet we have a few potential authors right here!
:)
 

ToniD

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I liked Anne Watsons books because they were so basic and had such great easy to follow directions. I have liked all the recipes I have tried. Naturally I have modified her procedures, as I have become familiar with soapmaking, so that they have become my style. But her clear and well written directions were a great place to start.
 

lily

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Dottie : what you heard is true. I calculated the lye used in her (Melinda Coss) recipes and she has a heavy hand on lye. Sometimes really too much !

Alib, look at that site : http://www.millersoap.com/
It is full of very good informations. Better than some books, sometimes.
 

ewenique

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I'm going to make another plug for the Idiot's Making Natural Soap by Zonella Gould. It's up to date, covers all the basics and more, has lots of photos, and the recipes that I've made have been very nice. Her recipes are mostly Palm based and some have higher amounts of Castor (up to 20%). I stumbled across it at Barnes & Noble. Cost is less than $20. I have all the other books listed previously, and this one is my favorite.
 

oh2bejoy

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Zonella's book will save you LOTS of time doing online research....it's all there....it is really really good....I also highly recommend the Miller website...it is very comprehensive. These two resources, I feel, give good and accurate information and should be all you need (with the exception of this and other forums) for a good long time.....
 

IrishLass

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Out of all the soapmaking books I've read, I liked Alicia Grosso's best. Having said that, though, I still think the forums are the best place to go for the most up-to-date, accurate info. There's just something to be said for the 'wisdom of many'.

IrishLass :)
 

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