Introduction to Soap Making 36


This is an announcement: I am going to learn to make soap. Now that I am getting comfortable with lotion and lip balm recipes I need to focus on cold process soap. I have never done it before and it is a bit intimidating to me. I know the dangers of using lye and what it can do. It is time to conquer the fear and dive in! And really, who can work here at TheSage.com and NOT make soap? I am going to launch a full week of recipes focusing on cold process soap making. Are you a new soap maker like I am? What do you want to know? I have questions ready but I am sure I will have more once I start my lessons. I am going to be covering basic beginner stuff. Please send in a lot of questions before I get to my beginner week. We can have a good laugh at my expense when (not if) I make a mistake. I promise to take lots of pictures!My beginner week is October 22nd through the 26th. Send in questions in ASAP so I can start coming up with recipes and getting answers from the pros here at TheSage.com

Joy

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36 thoughts on “Introduction to Soap Making

  • Margaret Julian

    I have been making soap for about 4 yrs and always ready to learn more..so many recipes to try and ways to make pretty soaps. Looking forward to your blogs.

    Margaret

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  • jen

    yay! I hope you have fun, Joy. I predict you’ll be an expert soapmaker in no time. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • Jennifer Gale

    There was an Intro to Cold Process Soap a while back (February 2009); you could use that as a jumping-off point, or an expansion point, or just, “Play along with Joy as we tackle this!”

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  • CLAUDIA

    Hi there and GOOD LUCK!
    I am sure that you will have a lot of fun with cold process soap!
    Just take your time, take it eassy, protect your eyes with special glasses and hands with gloves.
    Also experiment until you will be satisfied and always take notices about what you do,ok?!

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  • Jamie Greer

    Here are a couple of questions from a beginner-How do you determine the number of pounds a soap recipe will make? Is it the amount of oils, the amount of oil and water or the total of everything including lye? Is there a gerneral rule of thumb to determine how much fragrance to use?

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  • Karen Harvey

    Hi, I also just recently started making soap. All batches turned out, but the first two are too strongly fragranced for my taste. The third batch I used very little fragrance and it isn’t quite fragranced enough. But, I’ll use it. The first two, not so sure. I really enjoy making soap; knowing just good healthy oils are in it is very satisfying.

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  • MyFourGirls

    Joy you couldn’t know how excited I was to read this notice. I too am in the learning stages of soap making. Now I can learn with someone who has experts right beside her. I can take the info you are giving and apply it to my learning process. Super dubber excited. Lets get started. I think I have everything on hand now. Stick blender, bowls, oils, lye, etc. yahoo!!!

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  • MyFourGirls

    I meant that to be a 5 star not a 4. Sorry my fingers are too big and fast this morning.

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  • Carolyn

    Hi, Joy! This is going to be fun as I’ve only made a few batches so I know I’ll learn a LOT. But I made one (it was kind of a mistake batch–dang it!) but it was wonderful to use on my hair. I don’t really know what was in there, and I’ve tried it with the batches that I did “correctly” but they just don’dt work the same. My hair is kind of dry, almost stiff. I guess that’s from being a little drier. I would love to reconstruct that one, or come up with a different one. But it left my hair soft and shiny, and was so fast in the morining because I could literally wash head to toe with one bar of soap. Any ideas?

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    • Joy

      Do you want me to come up with a soap bar that is formulated for dry skin and hair? Just checking on what you really want.

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  • caren

    I’m sure you will do fine, I have been making soap now for more than 3 years. If I had taken film of my first time and watched it now, I probably would be on the floor laughing in tears. If I had to do it all again, I would have taken better notes each time I made soap and kept them in a file for reference like I do now. The first time, I was so scared of the lye that I looked like I was going into space with all the stuff I had on, even a respirator. I don’t go that overboard anymore, but I still give lye all the respect in making soap. Good Luck!!!

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  • Julie

    This is perfect timing, I too am a newbie at soap making and plan on diving in shortly. This blog will really help!

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  • Dawn

    Just jump in the water is fine…..it is a lot of fun and you will be eating and dreaming and creating like the rest of us….ENJOY!!!! If I don’t play around with soap making I am quilting….welcome aboard. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Mesha

    True. true!!! Plain sinful to work at The Sage with all those fantastic ingredients and not put them to full use. Looking forward to your adventure!

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  • Madea

    I’m looking forward to the series. I am just getting interested in soap. I have to finish some unfinished projects lying around before I take on another hobby though. I made a promise and I have to keep it. lol. But I can live vicariously through your soaping adventures. lol

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  • Carolyn

    I can see how you were confused by my comment. What I meant was when I used my “correct” batches, they were fine on my skin, but left my hair kind of stiff, so I think they were probably too drying (whatever makes it drying?) And I made a “splurge” batch, but it left my hair limp, so I think there was too much moisturizing oils. But the one batch was perfect: it left my hair soft and shiny, no need for conditioner. Anyway, my hair is very fine, used to be oily when I was young, but now not so much. So, I’m looking for the perfect bar that would be amazing for hair and body, not drying, not oily. Ah, perfection….should be an easy order, right?
    Anything hints or ideas, or (could it possibly be…a complete recipe?) would be amazing because it really made my morning routine so much easier, plus my hair looked better than ever in my life, and I didn’t need to use any product or conditioner, or anything. Sigh. Thanks for your help!

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  • Dawn

    I had been making a fair amount of cold process soap and then a few family tragedies or crises needed tended to and I’m needing to get back in the groove again. Looking forward to your blog posts! Will help me get myself back into the swing. So fun too!

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  • Neal

    You have so many possibilites ahead of you, especially with all the oils available for testing and creating! You will really help alot of those who are on the fence about this wonderful process. I’ve made lots of cold process and every new recipe is an adventure. Thanks for moving in this direction.

    BTW, I appreciate the “No Hype” approach to your business. You supply good products supported by good formulations and creative ideas.

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  • Mickey

    I canโ€™t wait to see what you put together! Iโ€™ve been making soap for three weeks (canโ€™t wait for the last week of curing time!) Iโ€™d love to have you talk about why youโ€™ve chosen the various ingredients (including MMS botanicals) and their properties. Advice on how to create your own recipes would be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Leslie

    Is there a safe and easy way to make cold process soap in a small appartment with a rambunctious three year old? My niece lives with us and is very allergic to soy, and has excema. I’d like to be able to make soap for her that will help resolve the excema and not aggravate it.

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    • Andee

      Nap time! If the child still takes a nap then use nap time as your time. If the child does not take naps then use bed time to make soap. Be sure to store your supplies and freshly poured soap out of reach.

      If sleeping time is not long enough, may I suggest duct tape? ( just teasing!)

      As far as soap recipes, any recipe without soy will help!

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  • Pat

    I have been making soap for awhile, but I am still having trouble with the coloring process. I am not sure how much color to use. Can you help me.
    Thanks

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    • Andee

      Pat,
      Which types of colors are you wanting to use? Pigments? Dyes? Botanicals? Clays? This will help us help you determine the amount of material to use to color.

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  • Peter R.

    OK., my question is about the amount of soap. When my soap calls for x amount of pounds of fat is that the total amount of the final product? I am trying to get wooden molds and I can not decide which one to buy.
    Also, do most of the “experienced” soap makers get one “universal” recipe and then just change the fragrance oils and additives?

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    • Andee

      Peter,
      Figure about 20 to 22 ounces of finished soap for every pound of fat. If you can not make your own wood mold then only buy what you desire for the final shape of your bars, don’t look exclusively at the volume of the mold.

      Production soapmakers generally have a few production recipes and then change up fragrance and additives. Household soapmakers tend to vary their recipes. Think of this in terms of efficiency, restaurants have a set menu and household cooks handle all the requests. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Lorena Jordan

    I visited my sister in Ogden in July. She taught me how to make soap and other things. I am now ready to start out on my own. My question is how much does weather influence the soap making process. Utah has a different climate compared to Sacramento in that we are more humid here and hotter for longer periods of time.

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    • Andee

      It will alter your soapmaking a slight bit. The thing to consider most is that the soap must go through gel phase. Don’t try to stop it. Sacramento does not pose problems that you should worry about. Keep in mind the seasonal changes that your area brings and how that will play on your soap.

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  • Cydne

    I would like a little lesson in chemistry – why certain things are used, what ingredients are suitable substitutions for each other ( a chart, perhaps?), proper proportions of ingredient types, so that if I want to change recipes I know how to do it successfully and safely.

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    • Tina

      Cydne,

      Oh, there are many charts and the key to all of them is remembering that someone else’s opinion is not always good for you. We see “rules” pass by our desks all the time and we feel there are very few rules to soap making. Nearly all the myths we see come in through our technical support staff can be proven wrong in a 5 minute blog. Just because one person states you MUST do something does not make it true. Go forth and make soap. It isn’t as hard as people say and it isn’t as fragile a process either. The key is building confidence while you learn what you should see.
      And never throw away a batch until you call us first.
      Tina

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