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Can anyone recommend a good book for someone who has never, ever made her own soap?? I would like to at least TRY to make some soap but I'd like a good book written for people who only have experience washing with soap! Suggestions? How did you learn??

Beverrlly said:
Can anyone recommend a good book for someone who has never, ever made her own soap?? I would like to at least TRY to make some soap but I'd like a good book written for people who only have experience washing with soap! Suggestions? How did you learn??
No book. Just Vicki. :laughcry

Here's the Wal-Mart recipe. Start with this, follow the directions. You can't go wrong. Ask questions if you need!

Good luck!


Walmart recipe
64 ounce bucket of lard (Wal Mart)
31.5 container of LouAnn coconut Oil (WalMart)
16.5 ounces of Sunflower Oil (WalMart)
28 to 34 ounces of liquid
16 ounces of lye

*Always put any recipe you get from any source through the lye calculator at thesage.com
*You can change up the oil in this if your store does not carry Sunflower, just put in 16.5 ounces of olive, salfflower or even peanut or corn, just put it into the lye calculator so you will see if you need to change the amount of lye you put into this recipe.
*Until you have made several batches of soap use the higher end up to 34 ounces of liquid, as you get more experienced you can go lower, and even much lower than 28 ounces, but it is not for the faint of heart!
*This 7 pound batch of butters and oils fills a Martha Stewart Utility tray all the way up, and it's what I use.
I use between 3 and 7 ounces of Fragrance oils or essential oils for this whole batch, depending upon the quality of the scent.
*When you print out your recipe on thesage.com always read and comply with the dangers of lye and making soap on the site. Always wear goggles or a face shield, always wear long sleeves, do not breath in the fumes when combining lye and liquid.
*Liquid is liquid, be it all milk, all water, a combnation of both, or fruit or veggy purees or juices. The more liquid in your recipe the longer it takes for your soap to harden (cure).
*Always add your lye slowly to your liquid, adding liquid to your lye can blow it up into your face.
*Using recipes that involve measurements and not weights is fine for soap for your family, do not even think about letting someone else use or buy this soap.

This is the recipe I teach and the instructions that I teach.....

Get your soaping equipment together. I soap in buckets, so get a 2 gallon bucket from Wallmart in the paint section. You will also need a scale, a cheap postal scale that will weight your 3 to 8 ounces of scent, your 16.5 ounces of oils, your lye and your water and up to your 7 pounds of soap in a bucket.... is all that you need. A big stainless spoon, I like the professional ones with the long handles so I can stand back when I mix my lye into my liquid. Assorted measuring cups and spoons. A small stainless bucket (mine is actually a ice bucket from Wallmart). Goggles, and apron to protect your clothes or a long sleeved big shirt and gloves (the playtex yellow ones for washing dishes are perfect).

Your first batch will be water, no GM.

Weigh out your liquid into your stainless steel lye pot, put it into one side of your cleaned out sink with the stopper in the bottom. Weight out your 16 ounces of lye in a clean dry container (a disposable drink cup works great for this, or even a rubber maid bowl). Put your stainless steel spoon into the water, and slowly start pouring in your lye, stir well to dissolve, hold your breath or look away, do not breath in the fumes. Once stirred in and you can't feel any lye crunching on the bottom of the container, start running cold water into the sink to cover about 1/2 of the lye container, to cool it, not so much water that the container starts to float and tip over. Leave this to cool.

Open your lard bucket, peel off the top and place in the microwave until it is almost melted. Overheated lard smells like bacon, and nobody wants bacon soap, so take it slowly, you are wanting it all soft an gushy not cooked. Pour and scrape the lard into your soaping bucket that is in the bottom of your sink. Now nuke your coconut oil, it only takes about 3 mintues during the warm summer, and about 5 mintues during the cold winter. Pour this into your soap bucket on top of the lard. Now use the coconut oil container to weigh out your sunflower oil on your scale, you need 16.5 ounces. Pour this into your soap bucket.

Weigh out your scent. I set in a row the things I am going to add to this batch of soap, in order of usage so I don't forget anything.

Now prepare your mold. If you are using wood, line it with freezer paper, if you are using plastic or Martha molds, spray them with PAM or Walmarts fake spray. Using plastic bags over your molds works also, the soap simply settles the plastic bag into the mold, it does leave wrinkles in your soap though, but the ease of this is perfect for folks making home soap.

You have everything ready and your lye/liquid is cool. You are now ready to soap:

Using your lye stirring spoon, slowly pour your now cool lye water into your butters and oils, you can stir this soap together for the whole time or you can use a stick (immersion blender) blender also. Start with stirring, then move to your stick blender. The first thing you will notice when stirring the soap is that it turns from white to more clear looking, this is emulsion (this is when you would add oatmeal, or goat milk or clays or colorings or whatever you want, this means the lye is completely coated with butters and oils and can't burn anything you add to the soap. After a few more minutes, you will notice the soap thickening up, like gravy does. And if you turn off your stick blender and lift it up, you can make little trails of soap over the top of the soap in the bucket that take a few seconds to settle into the rest of the soap. This is trace, and what you are looking for. When it's cold out trace comes quickly, when hot out it takes a little longer to get to trace...to much liquid and you never hit really good trace. Now it's time to turn your stick blender off and stir in your fragrance oil, I use a rubber spatula, because I also use this to help me scrape all my soap into the molds (I pour 14 and 21 pound batches so it's more dumping than pouring Get the soap in the mold after putting in your fragrance oils, do not play with it, just get it in...fragrance oils and essential oils can cause all sorts of problems when adding it to the soap, it can accelerate trace so fast that you have oatmeal or worse cement in your bucket! It can cause lumps or little pieces of rice...so move fast, safely but don't dawdle!
I start cleaning up immediately so I don't have soap to soak or scrape out of my buckets and off my stickblender and spoons. Let the soap sit out on the counter for 24 to 48 hours than unmold and cut, it is ready to use after you cut it, but most of us let our soap cure, we set it out on racks for 3 to 6 weeks, where liquid is evaporated out of the soap, it makes the soap harder, and last longer. I use a dehumidifier to hasten this process.

Congrats, you have made soap!

Now comes swirling, water discounts, all goatmilk soaps, using water to melt your lye and then adding GM at emulsion, coloring, all the different scents and molds. Welcome!

*Start with the basic first. Most of us just barely go by the rules of soaping once we do it awhile: Adding our scents and everything but our swirl colors to our butters and oils before we even add our lyeliquid. I put my molds into the oven to speed cure and gel so I can sell my soap faster. Adding everything but the kitchen sink to our soaps for benefits or just pure label appeal. But do start slowly. Read up on saponification, know the chemical process of what you are doing as you aim for outside sales. Get a reliable source for your scents, your lye, and other products. Learn learn learn and be careful.

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When I first had an interest in soap making I read every book I could get my hands on. THat was oh, maybe 5 years ago. But I didn't actually get to the actual soap making part until the beginning of this year! Last year I combed the internet for info. I think I learned more from those on-line experienced soap makers than I did from any book I read.

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I agree that people tend to be the best way to learn from! But i didn't have that luxury when I first learned! :)

101 Soap Recipes by Elaine C White - may be out of print now but it's a small purple book. Recipes are all very simple and that's how I started.

Good luck!!

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Everything I ever need to learn about soapmaking was learned on the internet. The best is just to do it and maybe fail and try again. You learn so much just by doing. I tried books, but they just overwhelmed me. It was like when I first wanted to start canning and I read, "putting food by" and I was sure I was going to kill someone with my canned food by the time I was done and I would never do it. Then one day I just did it and now I pressure can and everything (well, it's been awhile since starting my soap business!)

I love this forum and also Candletech at www.candletech.com. The whisk is also good, but I guess they are pretty exclusive with thier membership. I've heard the soapdish is a good forum too, but I'm not a member there.

Millers soap and snow drift farms also have good formularies and tutorials.

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