My First Batch of Soap
Okay, I'll be honest. My first batch of soap was just short of a disaster; and the only thing saving it is that it was a learning experience. The first bar I tried making was my cocoa dream. It's a solid deep brown with mica sparkles, and I love it. It took some experimenting and rethinking to get it to that point though. I had multiple problems. I actually created multiple bars before melting them down and trying again.
Problem #1 - I underestimated how much soap I would need.
I actually thought I had done enough research to ensure I knew how much soap to use for each batch. I quickly realized I only had enough for half of what I intended to do. I wasn't too worried about that. I was upset, but I'm a 'let's keep going and we'll figure it out on the way' type of person. So I wasn't phased for too long. However, not having enough soap only created more problems.
Problem #2 - I tried splitting small amounts of soap
At this point I wish I had taken a moment to regroup and think about what was going on, but I did not. Currently I'm using melt and pour soap to create my products. Melt and pour allows you to melt a base soap and customize it. To set the soap you simply need to leave it in a mold. I think it's pretty cool. While researching I learned what temperature the soap starts to solidify, when to mix, when it's too hot, etc. Now I already have less soap than I planned, but I decided to continue with my first design plan. I knew I wanted to swirl colors and so I divided the little soap I had. I was amazed and discouraged how how quickly the soap was losing it's liquid form; making it hard for me keep it liquid enough to pour. I was trying to cool the batches to the suggested temperature for swirling, but if I waited a second to late it would all become to solid to pour. The soap was quick to solidify around my containers and spoons. Ugh, so I kept reheating in the microwave and trying again. Now I understand I just had too little soap, and swirling may have been too complicated for my first try. I eventually didn't care about the temperature and just eyed it for a great pour. Since then I've been pretty good at eyeing soap and knowing when to do different things. Once you start I think you'll see the same. I don't think cold process soap has the same issue. Anyways, I eventually achieved an okay pour and was through with it. I still didn't like the bars though, the colors were all off.
Problem #3 - The color I bought was misleading
After a long night of melting and re-melting soap I was so sad that the color I bought was not coming through as I hoped. I bought all my products from Brambleberry and I was using a bronze color block. I'm not sure what it's called, but it was a really rich bronze color. I thought it would be perfect and I was super excited to use it. Well, sad face. It came through looking more like 'chocolate milk', a really dull, not exciting, brownish. My mom thought it looked gray, I do agree. So even after all that my color wasn't even right! I thought I just needed to add more, so that's what I did. Eventually the color wasn't changing so I knew that wasn't the answer. Plus the color blocks are supposed to color ten batches or so, and I used so much more than suggested. I then thought it might have been the soap I was using, but I've since used the same soaps with other color blocks. Other colors were vibrant and true. I figured it was just how the color block worked, so oh well.
How I fixed it -
The beautiful thing about melt and pour is that you can melt it and start again! So great for beginners. That's what I did. The next day, after still being disappointed in the outcome, chopped those bad boys up and tried again. I changed the color with another brown I had, the color it is now, and added some light gold mica. A significant part of the solution was combining the two batches I had. I like how they turned out the second time; I think it represents the bar better than the gray mess it was before.
Are you starting your soap making journey? What are some things you're struggling with? Have you found creative solutions?