New Soaper 9

Up until recently every batch of soap that I have participated in making has been directed by someone else. I might weigh oils, prepare molds, swirl soap and/or provide feed back. I have never been the woman behind the immersion blender. (The COOLEST job ever! Hey, it is where all of the fun is. Just like when you are learning to drive.)

I will soon be making my first solo batch and I am thrilled. ๐Ÿ˜› However, I am anxious about really messing up my first solo batch. As one becomes more familiar with their craft they pick up on little tips and hints that are very useful but not always part of the soap making instructions. We will be having an upcoming Newbie Soaper’s Week and I would love some assistance with helping beginners (including myself) gain a solid foundation for making soap. I want to benefit beginning soap makers by reducing the potential for a failed batch and forcing them to re-batch their soap. (In a perfect world, the word re-batch would not exist. Oh well, it is just part of the experience. You can’t learn without a few mistakes, right?)

Are there tools you would dearly miss? Recipes you wish you had as a beginner? General information that was overlooked? Resources to use? Advice on what to avoid? Any pearls of wisdom you could so kindly share with us green soap makers? ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love information of the tricks you veterans use to make safe, infallible soap. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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About Taylor

I'm a twenty something happy, animal loving, curious experimenter. I love reaching back into history and trying old recipes for cosmetics or foods. I'm constantly asking "Why?" My curiosity has me trying new things. I love taking walks with my dog as well as staying at home to cuddle with the dog and my cats. Some of my favorite scents include Hinoki Wood, Rose Garden, Jasmine and Gladiator.

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9 thoughts on “New Soaper

  • Zany

    I don’t know if I’d call them “Pearls of Wisdom”, but I have a couple of “Rules of Soapmaking”.

    1. Patience.
    2. Don’t panic.
    3. Be confident.
    4. Measure twice; soap once.

    “Don’t panic” came into play yesterday — my wonky old stick blender can’t stand straight any more. I was making a small test batch and when I set it in the bowl of soap while I reached for my mold. The SB fell, tipped the bowl over, and I watched in horror as the soap flowed across the counter and puddled. My first thought? “Don’t panic!” I calmly assessed the situation. I moved everything except the soap puddle off the sheet of 4-ply Mylar that I use to protect the counter. I set the bowl in the sink, pulled the Mylar over the edge of the sink, formed a trough with it, lifted it gently and that allowed almost 100% of the soap to slide back into the bowl. Gave it a couple of good stirs with the SB and poured. WHEW!


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  • brittanylane

    I’ve been making soap regularly for just over a year now, so I’m still somewhat of a “newbie”, but after nearly 30 batches of soap I have three pearls of wisdom to share:

    1. Take careful notes of each batch so you know exactly what you did, and when. You’ll forget if you don’t. I promise.

    2. When experimenting with formulating new recipes or trying new additives and fragrance oils, change only ONE variable at a time. Avoid the temptation to be super creative with your first few batches. Otherwise, you’ll never be sure what happened.

    3. Do not under any circumstances make soap when distracted, in a hurry, or if there is too much going on. Wait until you can give your soap your complete and undivided attention.

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  • Soapbuddy

    There is no need to add any oil(s) or butters at trace. The soap at this point has not completely saponified and it will take whatever oil or butter it wants. Unless you are swirling with color, add everything right up front, including essential oils or fragrances. Add it to your melted oils as soon as the oils/butters have cooled off, but before the lye water.

    The only exception to this would be if you are cooking the soap (HP, CPHP), then you can add your superfatting oils/butters after the cook.

    If you are working with a new formula, always run it though a lye calculator. Mistakes happen, even in books. I have been making soaps since 1969. I run any new recipes through The Sage Lye Calculator and have been since 2001. I have a few soap batches under my belt. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • atin_co

    I am an uber newbie as I have never made a bar of soap but would really, really like to! Only lotions, balms, whips, etc. Maybe I will try after Taylor shows us how easy it is!


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  • LisaR

    My tips for just starting soapers would be:

    1.Print yr recipe off whichever lyecalc you prefer.Most have a section for notes,which I use to list colour,FO etc that I’ll need,print it out,then you can use it as a checklist & to take notes.

    2. Keep it simple,you can make great soap with 2 or 3 oils

    3. Small batches. 1kg/2lb is easy to handle,easy to measure,& not so heartbreaking if things don’t go as planned.

    And a warning!…making soap is extremely addictive,& once you’ve made that first batch,seen trace & gel for the first time,there’s no going back. This Soaping Life awaits. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Zany


    Make sure your work area and storage areas are clean.
    No distractions — put the pets out; send the kids to the neighborโ€™s; give hubby a list of errands that will keep him away for several hours.
    Always have molds ready.
    Always have ingredients measured and ready before you soap.
    Put a plastic bag over your scale. You can still use the buttons and your scale stays clean from drips and spills.
    Be sure your stick blender is beneath the surface before turning it on.
    The trunk of your car can be used for saponifying soaps in hot weather.
    Wrap intricate M&P soaps in Saran first, then place in a ZipLoc to avoid sweating.
    Freeze milk for milk soaps into ice cubes for later use. Once frozen, store in a ZipLoc marked with the date and contents.
    Print out your favorite recipes. Get clear sheet protectors from an office store with the three holes to put them in a 3-ring binder.. They stay spillproof & handy
    Babies, eat soap, so make baby soap as simple and chemical-free as possible.

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  • Zany

    Add fragrance to a bit of warmed oil from your batch before adding to the soap.
    Do not use styrofoam cups to measure fragrance ahead of time– the EO’s/FO’s will dissolve it.
    If your nose gets a bit ‘tainted’ from sniffing too many scents in one go, sniff yourself! Yes really! Just pull the neck line of your shirt up over your nose so that you are only smelling yourself. A few seconds later and your honker is good to go again!
    When shopping for fragrance, resist the temptation to buy everything, and just get what you need for a specific product.
    This bears repeating: When shopping for fragrance, resist the temptation to buy everything, and just get what you need for a specific product.
    On the other hand, even MORE oils and other stuff can be hidden in a large handbag and successfully smuggled into the house…

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  • Zany

    ALWAYS follow safe-soaping guidelines.
    Make up an 8 oz. bottle of 1 part cider vinegar and 7 parts water to neutalize lye burns and KEEP IT HANDY when mixing lye solution.
    Use a dryer sheet to wipe down the can of lye before opening.
    Replace cap ASAP to prevent moisture from getting in there.
    Mix lye outside or in a well ventilated area.
    Mix lye in the sink. Spills can be rinsed down the drain and youโ€™ll have the benefit of clean pipes.
    Cover the lye pitcher with a plastic bag and stir thru that… fumes.
    For beer soap, mix lye with totally flat beer in a container that is at least 2 times as large as your normal mixing vessel. The beer will foam up when the lye is added…. Therefore also mix in the sink!

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  • Zany

    Not everything you read on forums is correct. Do your own research. Too many people are misinformed and spread missleading information.
    Soap with an experienced soaper — preferably one who doesn’t mind (too much) those panicked soaping calls.
    DONโ€™T soap when you’re not in the mood to….that’s when things always seem to go wrong.
    When learning to make soap, make as much soap as you can easily afford to make. This will give you a lot of needed experience. What to do with all that soap? Give it away. Rescue Missions, Children’s Homes, Women’s Shelters, Food Banks, etc, all LOVE to get soap, and they do not care what they look like or smell like. They are just proud to get it. You don’t even have to wrap the bars separately… just count the bars, box them up in clean closable cardboard boxes with layers of white tissue between layers of soap bars. Write the number of bars on the outside of the box… this for your records and for theirs. Veteren soapers can benefit from this as well, to move bars that have not sold (that you don’t feel the need to rebatch).
    Do not soap in your underpants. Trust me on this one.

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