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Navigating the World of Soap Making - Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned"

soap making in crockpot

This past week I spent a lot of time focusing on launching candles to my shop. As I was working on them, I was reminded of my first experiences making soap. While I still consider myself beginner after all these years, I thought I would share some tips, tricks, and the mistakes I made at the beginning.

Research- I was so confused at first. Which oils and fats to use, how much to use, how to mix it, how to mold it? I looked at so many, but it all helped. had a lot of help like articles and videos, as well as information on oils and butters that really helped me understand the differences in using them in soaps. I will always think of Castor Oil as a punishment for saying a bad word growing up, so it was amazing to learn that it creates a great lather and draws moisture to the skin in soap. Most helpful was learning about hot process (making soap with constant heat to speed things up), cold process soap (allowing the soap to process naturally, it's more traditional) , and melt and pour soap making (pre made soap base that colors and fragrances can be added then molded). I had no idea there were various methods.

man making plans

Plan- Determine which method to use, I suggest starting with cold process. It's a slower process - melt the oils/butters, dissolve the lye in water (in a well ventilated area, preferably outside), add the lye to the oils/butters, mix, color, scent and pour. Don't try to be all fancy at first, start basic and simple. To me it felt like cooking and following a recipe the first time and then you can put your own spin to it. Did I do that? NO! I thought it would be easier to do hot process where the whole process is sped in up, usually in a crockpot. I feel that because I didn't have this basic understanding of the process is why I missed some things in my first batch. Then get a "recipe" together. I use to determine the amounts of oils/butters, lye, and fragrance to use. It even gives you a breakdown of how bubbly, conditioning, and so on. So you can play around with your recipes and get an idea of how the soap will be when it is done.

soap mold

Prepare- I can't stress this enough. Gather all of your ingredients together before starting. It is easier to follow any instructions you may have when you have everything ready. Read your instructions several times so you know the flow of how things will go throughout the process, like when to add things. Did I do this? NO! What happened? I forgot to add by Shea butter before I put it in the mold. So I tried to add it while it was in the mold. Not a good idea, it won't mix thoroughly. And, my soap loaf stayed greasy.

Practice- I know it's said so often, but practice really does help. Don't give up if you make a mistake on your first try, like I made. Keep going. Keep watching videos, keep reading how other people make soap, keep learning. Eventually, you find a way that works best for you. For me, that is hot process. It may not be able to be designed as intricately as cold process, but I love the way it looks when it's done.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please feel free to ask me any questions. I may not have the answer, but I'll help you find it.

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