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Sunday, August 9th, 2009
9:48 pm
Hey everyone, I'm a soaper newbie.  I made it once with my aunt a year ago and she has since passed away from breast cancer.  She photo copied me all of her notes before she passed, so sad! It's been almost a year now and I am ready to try to make it on my own with her notes but I have a few questions.  First, since I'm on a pretty tight budget, can I use one of the really cheap-o scales to begin with and then buy a nicer one later on? I see this guy using one here and I saw them at Target for $5 the other day:


Also, does anyone have the "plans" written out for a DIY wooden mold? I really like the flat ones that make it easy for swirling.  Lastly, my aunt's basic recipe calls for vegetable shortening, coconut oil, olive oil, lye and rainwater.  Does this sound like a good combination to you more experienced soapers? I don't know how fond I am of the vegetable shortening!

Thanks for any help you can give!
Sunday, June 28th, 2009
1:41 pm
Newbie with a Question
I'm familiar with making a variety of bath time accessories (ie bath salts, washes, scrubs, etc.) but I'm new to soap making. I'm looking at different ways to add scent to my soaps. I'm used to using essential oils in my other bath accessories, but, after doing a little online research, it looks like a lot of companies make scented oils specifically for soap making.

This is awesome on some levels - I'd love to be able to make up a package of pumpkin-scented goodies for my future sister-in-law for her birthday and I'd never be able to do that with just the essential oils available at my local health food store. On the other hand, I'm totally unfamiliar with how to navigate this new world of fragrance - how do I know what's high quality? (Are there any sellers that are very good, but don't cost an arm and a leg?) A lot of these scents come with names, but not a description. Can I mix scents in the same way that I mix essential oils now? I'm in Central Massachusetts - would I be able to find any of these things in a local shop where I could talk to a real live sales person or should I just order online?

Current Mood: hopeful
Friday, June 26th, 2009
9:06 pm
newbie with a question
I am considering making soap using soapwort, however, in all of the recipes I have found the end result is liquid soaps/shampoos. This is fina and dandy, of course, however, I would really like to make bar soaps in similar fashion. I was curious if it would be worthwhile to use some combination of beeswax and oatmeal to thicken the soap enough to make it into bars.

Would this work?

Alternately, has someone made bars of soap using soapwort (without using lye, hydroxides, or pieces of other soaps)? If so, would you mind terribly sharing your methods/recipes?

Thank you so much in advance!
Sunday, May 10th, 2009
3:48 pm
Affordable Equipment, Shampoo/Conditioner Bars, and Natural Preservatives
Hello. I am new to soap making. I'm in the process of figuring out which oils, butters, etc. I want to use for making soaps and trying to learn as much as I can. So it seems that I will need a scale and some sort of double boiler. Does anyone have recommendations on where I can purchase a decent scale and double boiler or double boiler insert at a decent price? Online or offline is fine.

I am also trying to figure out how I can make a combined shampoo/conditioner bar similar to this: Hybrid Solid Shampoo from Lush.
I posted about this in naturalliving but was hoping I might get more suggestions here. I'm not crazy about the colors or scents used in this product I just want to understand which ingredients are necessary for cleansing and which are necessary for conditioning and what I need to do to make it all stick together.

I'm also trying to make a face wash similar to this: Lavender Seafoam Cleanser by 100% Pure. One of the ingredients is saponified coconut oil. Am I able to just saponify the coconut oil with lye without it becoming to hard and then add in the other ingredients?

I am also still trying to understand all the differences in natural preservatives. Which ones are best for different types of formulations, etc. I noticed that the above product contains Citric Acid, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Rosemary Oil Extract, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), and Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate). I'm assuming the main point of all of these is for their preserving qualities. I was wondering if it's necessary to have so many preservatives in one product and if I could get away with just using one or two of them, and also what the specific benefits of each one are. For example, would I be able to use powdered Calcium Ascorbate instead of the Ascorbyl Palmitate or just regular Vitamin E oil instead of 1-tocopherol?

What are some other natural preservatives and what types of forumlations do they work best in? I want to make several different skin and hair products and was hoping I could get away with buying maybe 2-3 different preservatives that I could use in all of them, and hopefully ones that would be okay and non-irritating for people with skin conditions like rosacea, excema, and psoriasis to use.

Thanks for any help.

Friday, March 20th, 2009
10:49 am
CP - newbie question
Hi! New here. I haven't actually made any soap yet, I'm just starting to do as much research as I can at the moment. I'm most interested in cold process. So, I have a question... I hope this isn't too obvious :P But how do you know how much finished soap a recipe will yield? Recipes seem strictly to be in either ounces or percentages. Is it just a matter of adding the weight of all the ingredients? Total oz of oils to oz of lye? The reason I ask is, how should I know how big my mold should be for that batch or if I'll need to use more than one? Otherwise you'll end up too short on soap for the mold(s) you have, or you'll end up with an excess of soap because your mold isn't big enough, or you only have one, and then what?

Thanks for your help!
Monday, January 19th, 2009
4:27 am
Hi! Some help please!

Where can i buy soapmaking supplies in manhattan or brooklyn, new york? Real stores i mean, not the online ones.
Been looking for one for the whole night with no results.((

i want to smell and touch the stuff before i buy it.

thank you.)

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
4:19 pm
Hope this is allowed, if not, please feel free to delete:

I just moved Bath Cake into its new space ... its just in my kitchen still, but my Dh built me a cabinet so now Bath Cake has its very own dedicated space! Yay. While moving and doing inventory I came across a couple of things I bought but won't ever use. I'd rather not throw them away so for the cost of shipping they're yours if you have use for them:

approx 8 oz shampoo pearls, Mable's (says 1-5% to hot water or liquid)
8oz conditioner pearls, Mable's (same ratio) - this is unopened
approx 12 oz sodium lauryl sulfate (from before I learned the difference between sulfate and sulfoacetate), BB's
Sunday, December 21st, 2008
9:52 am
Some soap questions formulation, rancid oil, skin issues
Hi All,

1. I would really like some info on telling if an oil has gone rancid. I have mostly only been able to find people saying "You'll know" and that isn't very helpful. I really do need some characteristics... how will it smell will it be a slightly off smell, or like over powering and knock you over.

The problem is I have some Sweet almond oil that I had lost and just found I've had it for probably 3 years, it's been closed and in the dark but has been through temperature fluctuations has it was in a cupboard in my carport. It smells slightly... I don't really know how to describe it... it could be a nutty sorta of smell or maybe musky would be a better description, but I haven't used sweet almond in so long I haven't the faintest idea if that is how it is supposed to smell or if it's too far gone to use for soaps.

Please help I really wanna start on some crock pot HP ASAP.

2. I have had to stop using my homemade soaps because my skin gets horribly dry and itchy in the winter. This makes em really sad. But even the super conditioning soaps with a 10-15% super fat (I am afraid to go any higher for fear of dreaded orange spots) in the best conditions... summer high humidity and so on... leave my skin with a squeaky tight feeling in the winter it gets simply awful with itchy, flaky skin. Mostly the soaps I've been making are 1/3rd lard, olive, and coconut. I also tried reducing the coconut and adding shea with still no luck. I even tried using lotions, aloe, and oils as after products but it still wasn't enough finally I just had to go get some super moisture body wash and quit using my homemade soaps in the winter.

Any suggestions? Would taking the coconut out completely help? Would a totally different formula? What about using KOH instead of NaOH?

If anyone wants to help me figure out a good formulation here are the oils I have at home. If I don't have them currently The only other oils I have quick enough access to are found at grocery stores.

Have on hand:
liquid lanolin
Castor oil
Olive oil
Shea butter
Coconut oil
and if it's not rancid the sweet almond

Thanks so much for your help
x-posted to craftgrrl, and craftygoths
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
8:57 pm
To add to my prior post, tonight I played a bit with clear M&P base and olive oil. I did about 30% olive oil, using a whisk, it incorporated flawlessly. The soap did soften but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing, BUT it will not layer! The layers slip off each other when hardened. Adding normal M&P "icing" didn't help either.

I'm not sure if whipping the olive oil in will do anything vastly different, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my blender to soap only just yet.

Gosh this is so addicting!
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
7:51 am
cream soaps?
Has anyone tried making these hybrid lotion bars? I've seen recipes that include up to 25% almond oil and 75% M&P base, but my normal go to oil is olive oil. Anyone have any input?

Also I've seen that people have a dedicated blender for these, but I'm a cheapskate. Since its only M&P base, is there a reason a food use blender is a bad idea?
Friday, September 12th, 2008
1:20 pm
Soap making materials?

Hello everyone, I'm new to the comm, new to soap making though I've been reading up and researching on it for a long while, I feel that I'm ready to start and was wondering as to where I would find the materials? It appears as though most of the ingredients needed to make soap, bathbombs, bath salts and so on are for the most part available only online in the quantities that I'm looking for (enough to make 10 of each at least). Does anyone have suggestions as to where to find the materials at a decent price, locally? I'm in the Toronto area. If no such place exists, is there a good site anyone recommends?

Thank you kindly,

x-posted to [info]soapmakers 
Saturday, September 6th, 2008
4:46 pm
Soap swap!
I'm going to be hosting a soap swap! Anyone that crafts ANY kind of soap (cold process, hot process, M&P, rebatch, etc) is welcome to join. Once we have the group established (I'm posting this in multiple communities and boards) I will let you know how many soaps to send and where to send them. You send your soaps along with $9.50 (for a flat rate shipping box) and you will get that many soaps back! For instance if we're a group of 10, you send me 10 soaps and $9.50 and once I get everyone's soap, you'll get a box of 10 different soaps.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
11:07 pm
My first batch of soap is all cured and stored away for use and I can't be happier with it. It turned out really well and lathers like silky suds and I'm totally hooked on making soap for my family. Woohoo!

However, I am pretty sure now, having made a batch, that this is not something I'm going to want to do as a side job thing, selling bars on etsy or whatever. So, I'm thinking it'd be ok to part with it all. It's not just packaging. There's a bunch of pigments and some molds I'd like to get rid of, too.

Is it ok to post a listing of what I have to sell here? It'll be cheap. I just want it all gone, really.
Saturday, July 5th, 2008
7:29 am
Shampoo bars.
Popping in with a question:

I've been reading up, trying to tell what makes a 'shampoo bar' which has no SLS and no other detergents and is, in fact, made entirely with oils/fats and lye, a "shampoo" bar and not a soap. I know there's an emphasis on it washing away cleanly and not leaving a residue; are there only some recipes which produce a bar suitable for hair as well as body, or is this an advertising ploy, and any handmade soap (with all its natural glycerin intact, etc.) fine for hair?

Is there a well known answer to this, or is it the subject of debate and individual preference?

Thanks in advance for any clarifying information or educated opinions.
Monday, June 23rd, 2008
12:50 am
Total n00b
So, this friend of mine has a friend who has a soap-making business. And one day, this friend-of-a-friend decides to marry a guy and move to Texas. In the process of moving, she gives a bunch of her soap-making supplies to my friend, who, not having the time or inclination and knowing of my desire to adopt a back-to-basics lifestyle and make as many things as I can from scratch, gives all the supplies to me.

And when I say supplies, I mean it couldn't all fit in my roomy sedan and I have to go back tomorrow for the last few boxes. A lot of that is containers, but there is a HECK of a lot of supplies, and a lot of those supplies have price tags over $20 on them, so I'm feeling like a very lucky camper right now.

Thing is, I've never made soap before. So, yeah. Newbie. A book and a stack of recipes came along with the goods, and I've been googling around tonight, but I do have a few questions.

The first is whether there a source for 100% lye that I can find in a regular store or not? I found a link that said that the Roebic 2 Lbs. Heavy Duty Crystal Drain Opener from Lowes is 100% lye, and then I found a link saying that wasn't quite true. I'd really like to be able to find some lye locally, because it seems silly to buy it online for $7 and then pay $20 to have it shipped to me.

Second question is that amung all the supplies was about a gallon of shower gel that apparently never had any fragrance added. It's at least several months old. Can I add fragrance to it now? Should I heat it in a crock pot and then add some fragrance? The only website I could find about making liquid soap had you add the fragrance before the shower gel sequestered, so I'm worried that it's too late and I'll just have all this unscented shower gel. Really, not the end of the world, but it seems like a shame when I have so many fragrance oils and several of them are about to expire. It'd be nice to be able to throw some in the gel to use them up and scent the gel. Two birds, one stone and all. I'm pretty frugal with my shower gel, so a gallon of the stuff would probably last me a year, and I'd be sad to be fragrance-less for that long!

Thanks for any help you can offer!
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
9:23 pm
Just thought I would share
Tonight during a quick brows in my local Biglots I found they had Oster stick blenders for $12.
Friday, March 7th, 2008
4:55 pm
So I made a batch of soap about 3 days ago with high olive oil content. it's still slightly stickyish/soft and I cant really get it to come out of the mold easy..the other 2 batches I made just fell right out.  Is it stuck because it's a good amount of olive oil that it just takes longer to become solid? Can I get it out anyway.. hot water on the bottom/etc?

It's Sweet orange essential oil.. colored naturally, 40% olive oil, 20% coconut oil, 20% castor oil, 15% palm oil, 5% cocoa butter... Coated with crushed up orange peel granules.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
1:35 pm
soap questions
 So I am a beginner to soap making and I've only read 1 book about it..so I have some questions.

The first batch I made, I feel like it was pretty thick quicker than my last 2 batches.. maybe it's because the ingredients? I know youre supposed to wait for trace.. basically when I pour the lye/water it turns cloudy immediately and then I use the electric mixer. The last 2 times it seemed very liquidy.. and for example last night, I kept mixing because it was liquidy and the book said the temp should increase 5 degrees from what it was, and I think it went down, and so I kept mixing longer until it went a bit higher. I am afraid I poured before it saponified..is this possible/easy to do by accident? Right when I was pouring it, it did seem to thicken up. Will the soap not work right if it didnt saponify.. ? Will the PH be too high or something or what? I am also wondering if I possibly did the recipe wrong (I used soap calc).

When do you add colorant and fragrance, my book says to pour after you mix the oils/lye/water.. is this necessary? If I put the fragrance/colorant in before I pour the lye/water would it not work as well?

My book says to leave soap in mold 24 hours and check Ph, and if Ph is too high, leave for longer. How long do you generally keep your soap in the mold?

Soap needs air to dry/cure, correct? So I shouldnt put it in a plastic bag at least not for awhile, correct? I packaged up some soaps I made a few weeks ago in wax paper and then in a plastic bag, but I think maybe they need air to become even harder.

Olive oil. I have read different opinions on what to use.. I heard the pomace is easier/works better, but then some people want to use the highest quality kind, what's better?

To cut soap, I have a not very long swivel cutter and when I used it, it made the soap break apart where I didnt want it to, is there a super long soap cutter/wire ?

How do I know how long ingredients will last.. soap I think can generally last a long time before it goes bad, correct? But what about homemade lotions/sugar scrubs/etc, is there a site somewhere for this?

Is there a site that is similar to soap calc, but helps you determine the amount of ingredients to put into a 'set size' of lotion/sugar scrub/lip balm/etc batch? Like soap calc, but without the added water/lye, or could I use it and just ignore the lye/water?
Sunday, December 9th, 2007
3:29 am
So I made my first batch of soap in what seams like forever.

Clicky for a bigger photoCollapse )

Current Mood: amused
Sunday, November 18th, 2007
9:01 am
Organic Colours
what do you use to colour organic soap base?
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