Newbie soap-maker with questions!!!!!

phantom_whiteAugust 19, 2008

I've just started making soap (more like a mess than anything...) and need tips. Its mostly just MP soap right now, but I plan on making soap from "scratch" once I get the hang of it. Most everything I've made so far is too soft or just plain runny. A couple of my soap-making books suggest using beauty bars and unscented bar soap to make a higher quality product (by adding oils of course). I currently have palm oil, almond oil, coconut oil, a few tiny bottles of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (base I guess...), and Kirk's Castile soap bars on hand. Recipes are welcome! :)

Thanks!

Abby

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sara-s

I don't know about making soap from scratch, but I get pretty good results with MP soap. If it is too runny, what are you adding to it, and how much? I normally add a pinch (maybe 1/4 tsp.) to 4 oz. (by weight )MP soap. I add a little honey, because it is mildly antiseptic- no more than a tablespoon. Once it has hardened, I let it air-dry for 48 hours, before storing or using it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 6:35PM
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phantom_white

Well, I've tried to follow the recipes closely... one had 1/4 cup palm oil and 1/2 cup coconut oil to 2 cups of grated soap. It was okay, but still very soft and had NO lather. Maybe I'll have more luck using Castile soap for the recipes. What would happen if I used some of that runny soap? Would it just leave the skin feeling slick and oily?

Abby

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 6:45PM
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sara-s

Sorry, I just realized that I left something out of my previous post. What I add a pinch of is beeswax pearls.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 1:20PM
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phantom_white

Hmmm, no beeswax pearls but I do have regular beeswax. And tapioca pearls. Any idea what those are for?

Abby

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:57PM
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sara-s

Beeswax pearls are just tiny little beads of beeswax. They make it easier to measure small quantities. They are available at any craft shop in the soap & candle section. You can use whatever beeswax you have, of course. But use a small amount. Too much just won't mix into the soap.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:13AM
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phantom_white

I will certainly keep that in mind. :) I actually made a decent bar of soap a couple days back. Its flea soap for the dog. Lol. Figures. The one thing that turns out right isn't even for people.

Abby

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 9:55AM
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louiseb

Hello everyone - I'm new to the home forums but am on the garden forums some, and have been a soapmaker for seven years. Phantom, can I ask what soapmaking books you are using as reference? To make soap (not the melt and pour kind, which has its attributes also) you have to use sodium hydroxide (lye). No lye, no soap. :) The extra oils that you are adding to the grated soap does not have anything to react with to make it saponify, or turn into soap. You most likely will end up with a goopy oily mess that will not harden. A good website for beginning soapmakers is Kathy Miller's site. Good luck and have fun, soapmaking can be somewhat addictive. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Miller Soap

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Brent

"Tue, Aug 19, 08 at 16:32

I've just started making soap (more like a mess than anything...) and need tips. Its mostly just MP soap right now, but I plan on making soap from "scratch"
once I get the hang of it. Most everything I've made so far is too soft or just plain runny. A couple of my soap-making books suggest using beauty bars and unscented bar soap to make a higher quality product (by adding oils of course). I currently have palm oil, almond oil, coconut oil, a few tiny bottles
of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (base I guess...), and Kirk's Castile soap bars on hand. Recipes are welcome! :)

Thanks! "
Hi Abby,

I have not attempted MP (nor really want to), so keep this in mind; I am coming from purely a "from scratch" experience only.
If you are wanting to make your own soap, buy yourself a good quality scale. I use a triple beam scale, but you could get a digital scale that will measure down to the gram or tenth of an ounce, with a tare feature.

To me it sounds like your soap has too much added oil in it

You said that you are mixing ¾ of a cup of added oils/fats, to 2 cups of already made soap.

First of all, measuring by the cup is not accurate for CP soap (MP, I am not sure of remember)
Volume by the cup, is very different then by the weight. How much air is in that cup?
In order for the oils/fats to be incorporated into the grated soap, would have to be far less than the amount that you have used according to that recipe.
Most soap on the shelves, if it is indeed soap, the superfatting (this is what you are really doing, by adding the extra 0oils/fats, is at best around 8% and definately not close to zero at all. (Anything less than zero will burn skin = chemical burn from the sodium hydroxide, and just above zero could irritate)

I make CP soap at 3 ½% superfatting, and that is low to most soaperÂs preferences.
So, I would guess that the already made soap that you are grating is between, 4 to 9%; then you are adding more oils/fats. The amount that you should consider to add to that may be around 2 to 5%, but this is only a guess because we do not know how much "extra"/superfatting is in the store bought soap.

The oily soap that you have made must have far exceeded the 8 or 9% that I have mentioned. This will not harden up for you.
That soap is not usable in that state. Salvageable? Probably, but not at this stage of the game.
Find yourself a good scale, and a mentor for making your MP soap, even a local hobby shop may be a good start?

I hope this helps a bit and have fun with it!

I check this forum infrequently but post any more questions; some others may help as well.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 2:24PM
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