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Topic: Finally venturing into CP....  (Read 1673 times)
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"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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Joined: 14-Nov-2008

I want to live 'til I die. No More, No Less

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« on: October 17, 2013 12:31:46 PM »

Just a couple questions about CP, I've been reading all sorts of stuff about it, especially the things you ladies recommend. But well, I'm pretty much at the point of absorbing too much and my head's about to explode lol.

I've played with the mms sage lye calculator til I'm fairly comfortable with reading it, but my question is, how much water should I actually use? Shoot for the middle range and hope for the best?

And has anybody used milk cartons as molds? Does it need to be lined? Can I just clothespin the top closed or cover the top of the soap first?

Thanks ladies and germs....off to mop the floor, I think some gray matter is oozing out my ears Tongue

« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013 10:05:25 AM »

Congrats on venturing in the CP world!!!!! 
It's a lot of fun and rewarding! 

Personally I prefer the soapcalc lye calculator.  It has the liquid amount given that you don't need to worry about. If your more experienced you can lower that amount, but for a beginner soapcalc is much better.   It also great for the benchmarks when you take the time to learn how to use them.

When making your first batch of soap I suggest that you use a recipe that is tried and true and not one found on the net net on someones blog from someone who makes one batch of soap and thinks they know it all.  There are a lot of BAD recipes that are NOT balanced on the net.  The oils and the amounts do make a difference.

Learn to make your recipes in percents instead, it's much easier.  Then convert them to the recipe size that you need.  It makes a difference because if you try a small recipe out and like it you can then make that exact recipe larger and it will be exact, not just close.

Milk cartons can be used as a mold, just cut them off on how tall you want your soap log to be and make it vertical instead of horizontal.   Then you can cut them into squares.  Cover the top with some press-n-seal, it's like saran wrap but it's sticky on one side so it will work nice on a milk carton.   You can line it if you want to but you don't have to because it's already wax lined.

You can also use other things like plastic drawer organizer or a box that you line with freezer paper.  There are plenty of tutorials online on how to do this. I prefer to use a quilting ruler to make my liner for my fold lines so it's fitted exactly rather than close.   But you can also line the milk carton if you want to and use it over and over.  I have not used a milk carton before myself.  You can also check out thrift stores or rummage sales (or buy new in stores) for silicone food pans.  Such as a loaf pan or muffin pans.  They work great for soap and it's easy to remove the soap from the mold.  Just don't use them for food once you have used them for soap!   

To figure out how much oil to use for your mold you use this math equation.

If you use a log mold that is 12 inches long, 3-1/2 inches wide, and you want to pour to a depth of 2-1/2 inches.

You take length X width X height of pour, that number X .40

12 X 3.5= 42

42 X 2.5= 105

105 X .40= 42 ounces of oils needed for this mold.

Or you could use this re-sizer calculator.

If you need help with a recipe post what oils that you have to use and I can help you with a recipe that will be good with the oils that you do have to work with. 

But if you ever do use a recipe found online, never use the lye and liquid amounts given on the recipe.  Don't trust the info posted for that and always run the recipe through a lye calculator yourself to get that information for yourself.   

Last but not least, even if you don't dress up like your going into a radioactive area, I personally don't wear long sleeve shirts (sometimes I wear tank tops), and I rarely wear gloves but I ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS wear goggles or eye protection.  Please don't ever make soap without eye protection.   If you do use gloves I suggest the blue nirtrile ones, you can buy them at walmart cheap enough.  They won't break down like latex gloves if oil touches the gloves. 

I also don't keep a gallon of vinegar at hand, but if there is a drip or spot I just dilute it with plain tap water by washing my hand or arm or whatever got splattered.   But I do know where my vinegar is if I need it, which IMHO is if there is a major spill, which I haven't ever had yet in hundreds of batches. 

Anywho I'll just leave it at that, if you have questions do ask....   


I make soap and other "cosmetics" as defined by the FDA and in my spare time I sew.... Sewing is therapy for me in dealing with life stresses and my chronic pain.  When I hurt and can't sew, I plan what I want to sew.  I also have a great husband, three kids and three fur kids.....
Earthen Step
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014 08:46:55 AM »

About 38% water is standard for beginning, you can discount it in order to cure your batch up quicker.  I like a longer cure so I still use 30-38% in all of my recipes.  The http://www.soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp calculator is fantastic like mentioned by Krissy.  

CP soap making is all about the prep work.  Make sure you have everything organized for each step before you do it.  I have not used plastic for molds, wax paper lining just about anything works great for me.  I have heard of people using plastic without wax paper, but I have also heard of it sticking and being a pain to get out.  Shout out if you have any more specific questions along the way, I'm sure many people here would love to help.

*One more note,  I cover my soap with cardboard and then insulate it for 8+ hours.  At first I used plastic wrap on top, but cardboard keeps the top looking great!  Plastic wrap created a ton of condensation, it took me a while to figure that out.  Also at times the plastic wrap dipped down and ruined the look of my soaps.  Starting out I used blankets to insulate, now I use foam insulation and/or a cooler.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014 08:50:23 AM by Earthen Step » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Earthen Step Homepage: www.earthenstep.com
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014 09:16:10 AM »

I would love to hear how your first batch of soap turned out (so far anyways) and what recipe you used. I just whipped up my first (and second) tiny batches of soap today. I have been researching for a couple weeks & took the leap this morning. So far so good. I found trace & got it into make shift molds. I was daring and did an oatmeal honey bar the first batch & a pumpkin spice bar the second (with a swirl). I was even further daring and made up my own recipe with the aid of a couple lye calculators and after reading 50-60 basic recipes. I do not have palm oil & wanted to use the oils I have in the house.

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