When I first started soap making I fell into this craft head over heels. I was so ecstatic to have found a hobby that was so fulfilling. I had always been somewhat crafty, but now unlike before I was brimming with new ideas. The possibilities were endless and so were the supplies I could purchase if I wanted to. Look around the internet, there are hundreds if not thousands of different soap molds, fragrance oils, essential oils, base oils, colorants etc. to choose from.
Being a newbie and wanting to get started right away I really didn’t think through what I really needed now and what I could add little by little in the future. So, on a whim one afternoon I placed a massive order and amongst basic things I bought stuff I really wish I hadn’t. Curious of what they were? Here we go:
A big soap cutter
I admit this thing is a beauty and I use it –now that I have it- quite often. So why do I wish I hadn’t purchased it?
Well, for one, it’s complete over kill. Considering that I really don’t make THAT much soap. I could easily cut them one by one with a single wire cutter or even with one of those handy cheese slicers (affiliate link). Do these few minutes that I save with a log cutter really warrant a 180$ price tag? Hmm, probably not.
Secondly, I can’t vary the size of my bars. What if I want a slightly slimmer soap or a slightly chunkier one? I can’t. My bars will always be 1 Inch thick. Bummer.
- A big loaf mold
I have used this mold maybe 6 times and 3 of those batches I pretty much ruined. Now that wasn’t the mold’s fault I know, but here is the thing with molds that hold 5 pounds of soap like this one, if you wreck a batch, 20+ dollars of raw materials go out the window.
I know, I know, there are ways to rebatch your soap. But what beginner is really comfortable shredding up their botched soap and throwing it into another batch? I wasn’t at the time.
What was even worse though was my disappointment (there was a lot of cursing going on, believe me). I could have shrugged off a smaller batch a lot easier.
Another thing with big molds is that if you make soap for personal use or gifts it gives you 18 bars of soap or more. That’s a lot of soap to use up. What if you don’t like the scent or the lather all that much? Well, you’re stuck with a meh soap for the next 6 months…
Smaller molds, in my opinion, will give you a greater learning experience. You will likely soap more often and you will, hopefully, be more adventurous. This will make you better at your craft and it will reveal what you personally like in a soap and what you don’t.
Too many colorants and the wrong kind
In the beginning I was so eager to start creating that I didn’t do a whole lot of research. I knew for instance very little about what to use to color soap.
So, I ordered a whole lot of different colored oxides.
Well, turns out I really don’t like working with oxides that much. I find them hard to incorporate. They always seem to clump on me no matter how well I premix them and they don’t give me that shimmery goodness that micas do. But since I now have so much of them I feel like I have to use them up, even though I would much rather experiment with natural colorants. Oh well.
So, what’s the moral of the story?
Trying out new things is great and it can really get your creative juices flowing – simply start small. Order as little supplies as possible even if buying in bulk seems more economical. What good is that 10 pound bucket of palm oil, if you decide you don’t want to use palm oil anymore (true story;)? Observe what you like to work with and really think hard about what you really need or want.
Wondering what you really DO need to make your first batch of cold process soap? I’ve got you covered. Click here to see my complete run down.
Until next time. Happy Tinkering!
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