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Soapmaking Info, Questions, Problems, Etc.
November 8, 2009
6:47 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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I tried the microwave method the other day..........and I will never, ever, never do that again!!!  Oh my!!  It turned out very nice, but you have to stir down every 30 seconds!!  In theory I could have done a batch in 1/2 the time.....only I didn't take into account the stirring down.......1 hour and 10 minutes in front of the microwave and not walking away for a 2 pound batch of soap.........I'm back to the crockpot........40-45 minutes later, stirred down a couple times and it's done, and I have a 4 pound batch!!!

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 8, 2009
7:25 pm
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Pete
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Dumb question time here, ladies.  Is the crockpot you use for making soap now usuable for anythng else?  Surely it would be fine, since we use soap to wash them.  On the other hand...     Confused

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

November 8, 2009
7:28 pm
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CindyP
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Yes, it would be.  It's glass, so the lye won't leak into it.  But I have one that the crock doesn't come out of (had many, many years when that's the way they were sold) that I don't use for cooking, so I use that for my soap.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 8, 2009
7:39 pm
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Pete
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That's sort of where my mind was going, Cindy, but mine with the built in crock is not a large one.  It's the normal "large" size that was sold back then, and we do still use it occasionally.  (Oh, great, yet another excuse to buy one more crock pot when they go on sale after Christmas!)

It's going to be a while before I get around to soap making, but it is still on the list!

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

November 8, 2009
8:38 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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A 6 quart crock will make a 4 # recipe (17 5.5 oz bars)......if you don't want that much soap, then a 2 pound batch would work in a smaller crock pot.  But it's addicting with so many flavors available........

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 8, 2009
9:06 pm
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Pete
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How does it work if you have issues with scents?  Can't imagine that it would be necessary to make it "smell good," but what would happen if you just left it out?  Is the scent added to mask something unpleasant?

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

November 8, 2009
10:00 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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No, not at all.  I have one that is unscented and after sitting for a few days, it actually has a clean scent.....  also, adding honey and oatmeal has a nice smell as well.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 18, 2009
12:28 pm
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Runningtrails - Sheryl
Barrie, Ontario
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I like the cooked soap as it is ready right away, and I make it a lot of cooked soap right now as I need the soap for christmas, but no matter how you cook it, it is still more work. When I make uncooked, cold process soap, I don't even wait for trace, just stir in the lye, colour, scent, run the blender through it, and pour it into the mold. Done. I don't wait for trace. It traces in the mold and comes out ready to slice the next day. In four weeks we use it. When I have lots of soap and lots of time to wait for it, it is easier to make cold process and the soap is smoother since it is a liquid pouring into the mold. It is a thin liquid since I have just mixed it and it hasn't traced yet. That is how I will be making it for next Christmas, since I am not waiting until the last minute (or so I am promising myself.)

Sheryl - sherylgallant.blogspot.com - providence-acres.blogspot.com

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  - 1 Thes. 4:11

November 26, 2009
8:39 am
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Runningtrails - Sheryl
Barrie, Ontario
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I found a meat market that is giving me their beef fatty trimmings and scraps this week! I can also buy some pure chicken fat for $1/ lb from them too, if I want it. I am getting 10 lbs of beef fat when they have it ready. They are going to call me to come pick it up. I am going to render it all on the wood stove and make lots and lots of soap. It is so addictive!  I will try some in the slow cooker too. The Goodwill store near me is having a 50% off sale on Firday. I may see if they have an old slow cooker. They usually have a few of those old brown ones.

I friend is giving me a soap party on Dec 8. She is sending out invitations and everything! So, I am making lots and lots of soap. I have no idea how many people are coming but I have to have it ready in case there are a lot!

Its a handmade soap and craft party so I can make other things to sell too! I have been making lots of beaded lanyards, eyeglass thingies and key fobs. I can sell my grapevine wreaths too and I'm going to make some sugar scrub. I can use the french vanilla and almond biscotti fragrance oil in some of the sugar scrub jars, as well as the vanilla. They will all go well with the natural brownish colour. Now I just need to find some nice lids for my mason jars. Can you put a little salt in the scrub to preserve it? I looked at vit E capsules at Walmart yesterday and they were expensive. I use salt in my popourri mix to prevent mildrew and it works great! I also make a sea salt scrub soap that people like so I thought a tiny bit of salt in it might be ok. What do you think?

I bought some natural lilac fragrance for a batch of the upcoming soap. I had a request for it.

Sheryl - sherylgallant.blogspot.com - providence-acres.blogspot.com

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  - 1 Thes. 4:11

November 26, 2009
1:46 pm
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Helen
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Sounds to me like you got it going, girl!  I like all your ideas very much.  If you have found a market for your crafts, that is a great thing...I wish you much luck and joy.  If you can make some money doing things you love, that is great! Happy FlowerHappy FlowerHappy Flower

p.s.  Its great that you found a butcher that will work with you.  My Mom always says..."always make friends with the butcher."

p.p.s.  Vitamin E is expensive...no matter where you buy it. 

George Orwell - 1984
- Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

November 26, 2009
7:00 pm
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johnzegirl
Rose City, TX
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Tea Tree Oil and Lavender essential oil are anti microbial I believe, and the Vit E is a preservative. Although sale can be a little of both, the problem comes into effect once the product is being used, as water is introduced into the mixture.

Once in awhile I find pure Vit E oil in the lotion section at Walmart or the pharmacy, less expensive than the vitamins I think.

I ran across a blogger that was answering a similar question and she offered to email this person with additional info on homemade products for public sale. Here is the link to her

http://bookchick50.vox.com/library/post/make-your-own-brown-sugar-scrub.html

Maybe she would share the info with you as well, looks like you both have common interests. Let us know what you find out.

November 29, 2009
7:04 am
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Runningtrails - Sheryl
Barrie, Ontario
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Thanks so much for the link!   I will check it out.

Cindy,

I didn't mean to sound so dictatorial in the previous post about cooking soap in the slow cooker. I'm not really that controlling. As a matter of fact, I have been giving it some thought and it has been taking some time for me to get the two ingredients the right temperature and if I can save that time by cooking it, then the cooked soap will not be taking me any longer and will be ready to use right away, so it may be a better way to go. I want to find a deep mold so the rough top of the cooked soap will be the small end and not the flat top of the soap bar. I will make one from a heavy cardboard box if I don't find a tupperware box the right size. I line the mold with waxed paper so I can use anything and just lift the soap square out to slice. 

I remember, when I  used to cook soap all the time, that I did not worry about the temp then either, just mixed together and heated up. It has been so many years that I have forgotten some things.

I might make some candles too. Hubby wants me to make waxed fire starters so I will be buying a huge bag of scrap wax from the candle factory nearby and I already have the fragrance oils. They will be container candles, however, as I don't want to get into using steric acid and worrying too much about the hardness of the wax. Not sure, just an idea I had this morning...

Sheryl - sherylgallant.blogspot.com - providence-acres.blogspot.com

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  - 1 Thes. 4:11

November 29, 2009
7:18 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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Sheryl, I don't think you really sounded controlling Kiss  I just found that with the amount of time that it took to cook, while I was doing something else in the kitchen, it really wasn't much time!!

An idea for a mold.........When I had the one John made me filled, I used 4 boards nailed together in a square, leaving the bottom open, you just lift the box off the soap when it's hard.  Just set it on a cutting board or another scrap board, line it with your wax paper and you're done!!  You can make it as deep, shallow, wide, thin as you want!!!  OR...holy cow, just had a thought!!!  If you look back at the picture of the mold john built me, use the nails (with holes drilled), to make that one mold customizable each time you need it.......and you can take it all apart and store it flat!  Don't nail the corners together, use finish nails as sort of like brads, they go in and out.   Heehee....John has a project today!

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

October 12, 2009
8:57 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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moving this over here to keep soapmaking together

Runningtrails said:  

I  made soap today for the first time in years. It was fun! I put the entire thing on my blog. Its French vanilla. I am going to make more soon that is vegan. A few people have requested it lately.

Many years ago I used to teach soap making but I sold all my stuff and got out of it. I got back into it last year when we were considering getting milk goats.

You can see the episode with instructions and pictures here:

http://providence-acres.blogspot.com/

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

August 21, 2008
9:49 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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moving this here to keep soaping together!

Kelleh said:

Okay, I did some digging, and I was able to find my notes I took in my Interpretive History Class from high school 10+ years ago. (Our mascot was the Pioneer, and we had this fabulous sort of living history museum class, complete with restored cabins and furnishings, that taught us spinning, and weaving, and.. yup soap making!)  I'm such a packrat, but dangit, I KNEW they would come in handy again one day, and I was right! hahaha!

My instructions were a little sketchy on the how to, so I used the wonderful resource of the internet, and googled the recipe I had to see if anything popped up… and 'lo there was lots of good info. So feel free to google the ingredients and see what else you find!

Our recipe for lye soap:

1 can of 100% lye – 12 oz

6 pounds of animal fat or lard

3 cups of water

  1.  Pour your water into an enamel bowl, or something equally non-reactive that can take heat.
  2. Add the lye to the water slowly and stir gently until all the crystals are dissolved.  Do not breath the fumes. The water will get very hot during this step, so do not touch the container with your hands without protection.  — VERY IMPORTANT—> For this step you'll want to have on all your protective gear. Goggles, gloves, anything to protect your skin in case of spills or splatters.  Have a bottle of vineager on hand. Lye reacts with water, and is very caustic to your skin.  If you DO get some on you douse the affected area with the vineagar to stop the chemical reaction.
  3. Set the lye water aside and allow it to cool down and adjust to the room temperature.
  4. Melt the lard/animal fat in a glass or non-reactive bowl over the stove, and allow to cool to 90-95 degrees farenheit (I believe we used an enamel coated stock pot, and our target temperature was between 92 & 93 degrees farenheit.)
  5. Stir the melted lard with a wooden spoon, slowly pour the lye water, and keep stirring.
  6. Stir some more… and some more… and keep stirring until your soap mixture begins to "trace".  Tracing is when you can lift the spoon from the mixture and it leaves a little noticable trace like it's begginning to set up.  (Online sources say that the consistency should be sort of like pudding.)  Now here's the thing, sometimes it doesn't trace at all. In fact out of the batches and batches of soap that I made in my class, only 1 of them ever traced, and it wasn't anywhere near the pudding consistency.  Tracing can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 90 minutes; it's said that this is all based on the purity of your ingredients. Our rule of thumb in the classroom was, that after 90 minutes if it hasn't traced it's not going too.
  7. ***Optional*** When it traces, or during the last 5 minutes before you stop stirring, you can add in anything extras like fragrance or oatmeal if you'd like. This is not necessary at all, the soap will turn out just fine without it.
  8. So after stirring until it traces or at least 90 minutes if it doesn't, you're ready to pour into your mold(s). We used a wooden mold lined with a large trash bag. I can't find the dimensions, but I think we could get about 24 bars out of one batch.
  9. After you pour into the molds, give the soap a few days to set up so it's not soft to the touch. Then you can cut it into bars, and begin turning them daily to ensure even drying on all sides.
  10. Cure the soap for at least 4-6 weeks, turning daily. — I think we cured our soap for at least 4 weeks, but always test a bar, and it's not to your liking, then let it sit a few more days, etc.

Side Note: I remember our batches of soap having a lighter layer on top as it cured. I don't think that you have to cut this part of the soap away, but my teacher always did just because it was more visually pleasing for it to be all one shade.  Keep the shavings though; they're good stuff! We'd save ours in a jug, and gradually add water, so we would have hand soap and dish washing soap out at the cabins when we had tour groups and what not. It was great on my hands.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

December 13, 2009
6:52 am
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Lisa b
lexington ky
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Hi  I make lye   soap. I love it and havent used a store bought soap in over 3 yrs. I use mostly coconut oil..lard.soybean oil  and shea butter in mine.  I will herbs and different stuff from time to time . I run it all thru a lye calc whenever i change the ingredients . I dont make candles anymore  but i do still make the  scents wax melts .

December 13, 2009
7:37 am
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Runningtrails - Sheryl
Barrie, Ontario
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I have sold a lot of soap this Christmas, most at the soap and craft party. The Almoond Biscotti scent was by far the most popular. No one bought any of the flowery pretty soaps, everyone wants the food smells. Something to remember for next year.

Sheryl - sherylgallant.blogspot.com - providence-acres.blogspot.com

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  - 1 Thes. 4:11

December 13, 2009
9:00 am
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okbarb
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I  went on my annual sister/friend's trip last week to Natchez, MS and bought a beautiful bar of handmade soap at one of the plantation home gift shops.  It is called Monastery Soap and has a splash of holy water in it with parsley used for color and magnolia scent.  All the ladies were snatching this up because of the holy water.  We asked the clerk if we could visit the monastery and she said there was no monastery that the soap was made in someone's house but the Catholic priest in Natchez did bless the water for her to make the soap.  I thought it was a funny quirky story.  $4.00/bar

There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

December 13, 2009
10:47 am
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wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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LOL Barb! And kind of a not so cool marketing ploy, but that's the way it is, often. So, do you like the soap?

Dede

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

December 14, 2009
8:26 pm
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marionette
Banty
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I have made good ol' homemade lye soap for years, and it is quite popular with the family and friends.  It is so skin-friendly, and easy to make, as long as proper safety precautions are taken, as mentioned by everyone above.  There's just something special about a useful product you make yourself, that is enjoyed by everyone!  That obviously applies to more than soap, though!  (thinking... pies, candy, preserves, quilts, etc....) 

I highly encourage ANYONE to make their own soap.  It is very worth it!

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