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The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life)

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The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life) [Paperback]

Susan Miller Cavitch
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 7, 1997
In this comprehensive guide, Susan Miller Cavitch covers everything you need to know to make your own soaps. Learn the basic techniques for crafting oil-, cream-, and vegetable-based soaps, and then start experimenting with your own personalized scents and effects. Cavitch provides tips for making more than 40 different specialty soaps, showing you how to design colorful marbled bars and expertly blend ingredients to create custom fragrances. You’ll soon be making luxurious soaps at a fraction of the cost of boutique products.

Important Notice
Early printings of this book contain a recipe variation in a sidebar note on page 36. As a result of further testing, author Susan Miller Cavitch and Storey Publishing strongly recommend that you do not try this variation. Adding honey when you are combining the sodium hydroxide and water may result in a stronger reaction with more intense heat. The mixture may bubble up quickly and come out of the pot, posing a potential hazard.

Frequently Bought Together

The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life) + The Everything Soapmaking Book: Learn How to Make Soap at Home with Recipes, Techniques, and Step-by-Step Instructions - Purchase the right equipment ... soaps, and Package and sell your creations + Soap Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making 31 Unique Cold-Process Soaps
Price for all three: $36.37

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Editorial Reviews


"The Soapmaker's Companion will teach you everything you need to know about making liquid soap; laundry soap; marbled soap; transparent soap; multicolored, layered soap; and more."

“…a must-have book for anyone interested in soapmaking.” 

From the Back Cover

The most comprehensive guide to soapmaking ever!

From the author of the best-selling The Natural Soap Book comes this illustrated guide to making over 40 specialty soaps -- from exquisite stained-glass, marbled, and layered soaps to soothing masseuse bars, hardworking laundry soap, and practical liquid soaps.

Through clear, step-by-step instructions, master soapmaker Susan Miller Cavitch leads you through every step of the soapmaking process and teaches you how to:

*craft exotic and practical soaps in your home

* blend and use essential oils and natural colorants

* design multi-colored, marbled, and imprinted soaps

* understand the chemistry of soapmaking and create your own personal bars

Plus, you'll get tips on how to get started selling soaps!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (January 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882669656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882669656
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
132 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly the best book for beginners -- bar none. March 18, 2001
If you are a beginning soapmaker, there is no other book you should buy. Other books have helpful information; this book, however, compiles all the information you need into one helpful guide. It has frequently asked questions, lists properties of oils, discusses colorants and scents, and explains the chemical process that occurs. If you have never made soap before, it is an incredibly useful guide.
I have read some of the criticisms in the other reviews, and I must disagree with some of them. I did not find most of her recipes to be unduly expensive to make; those that are can easily be avoided by the soapmaker on a budget. Furthermore, I rarely use the recipe section of the book; I use her formulas and the other information she provides to construct my own recipes instead. Also, I disagree that a 10% fat discount (which she typically recommends) is way too much. Some people choose to use a lesser fat discount, and that is fine; for the beginning soapmaker, I think it might be better to provide more of a margin of safety. Once you are more experienced, you can experiment with lowering the fat discount if that's what you prefer.
Really, a beginning soapmaker cannot do better than this book. It compiles all the information you need. Once you are more experienced, you will do well to explore other sources of information (there are some good resources on the Internet, and some other decent soapmaking books as well), but if you are a beginner, Cavitch is definitely the place to start.
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97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is one of my favorite books I've found on the wonderful, newly found hobby of mine - Soapmaking!
The author does a brilliant job of combining the must-have step-by-step detailed instructions on soapmaking basics for beginners, with the best list and descriptions of all soapmaking ingredients!
Beginners and experts alike will enjoy the many tried and true recipes, even specialty soaps! It also covers the "Chemistry of soapmaking", including tables for making your own recipes! She even has a section on starting up your own business to sell your handmade soap creations! And it is all put together in an easy to understand and follow format, for us beginners, or "dummys" in soapmaking!
The only reason that I rated this book at "4 stars", instead of "5 stars" is because it does not include any pictures (and I LOVE pictures!)- only the hand-drawn illustrations in green ink, as is the print, featured throughout the book. She does use alot of fragrances & different oils in her soap recipes, but includes a list of buying resources in the back.
This, along with my other favorite book on soapmaking, "The Complete Soapmaker", by Norma Coney, (full of beautiful pictures!)which features mostly "hand-milled" or rebatched soaps, are the ones I find myself going to time and time again for reference and inspiration!
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113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
By Chris
I bought this book years ago, when I first started making soap. It has a wealth of good reference information on different oils, colorants, additives, etc., information that I still refer to occasionally. Unfortunately it's usefulness as a guide is somewhat limited by several things:

1) She is biased against the use of any ingredients of animal origin, especially animal fats. No coverage of the use of animal fats in soap is given at all, and her only excuse is lame, not backed up by any actual science, and demonstrably untrue.

2) Her recipes are too large, are overly complicated, and way too superfatted. Plus she recommends the use of GSE, an ingredient whose use as a preservative has been thoroughly discredited.

3) Some of her warnings/cautions are odd, to say the least. Her paranoia of clay, for one, is downright bizarre. Her admonition against pouring raw soap down the drain, in the event of a ruined batch, is utterly nonsensical.

4) The chapter on the chemistry of soap making is too much. She tries to go so in-depth that she's obviously in over her head, to the point that I was embarassed for her when I read it. The information here that would be useful/interesting to soap makers could have been condensed to a couple of pages.

5) She only covers cold process, and then, only cold process where the ingredients are combined at higher temperatures. There's no excuse for only covering the cold process in a "comprehensive" guide, but the fact that she only gives one basic cold process method may be an artifact of the next problem...

6) This book is dated. I started making soap around 2000, and even then people were using stick (aka immersion) blenders to mix their soap.
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384 of 429 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive with some serious limitations September 15, 1999
By A Customer
It really is too bad that the author published her first book before anyone else could publish something with more accurate and flexible information, because she is now regarded as an expert in the soapmaking realm. Some basic problems with Cavitch are logistical and procedural. No one has to weigh water, no one needs to use some of the ingredients she calls for in every single recipe, such as grapefruit seed extract. Her recipes call for GSE because her overly superfatted soaps will go rancid without addition of this preservative. Why does she superfat so greatly? Some speculate she had a lousy scale and poor math skills in terms of calculating amounts of lye and accurate fat measurements back when she was learning this craft, and never bothered to perfect her science nor correct the recipe problems (and if you can get it in print and people buy it, well, you must be doing something right), it certainly is a logical reason for the way she does things. Cavitch is a good example of a good resource with serious limitations, she's done her homework on vegetable-based oils/fats and you get all kinds of great info on these, but it's clear she never researched thoroughly enough to make statements on things like the use of animal fats, using a stick blender rather than spoon for stirring to trace, etc. Soaping isn't rocket science, but it isn't a very strict methodology either, and there are far better resources on the web and mailing lists therein, where one can learn much more than this book promises, with a multitude of perspectives and approaches. Please don't buy into the hype and buy this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
Nothing left out. Good reference book.
Published 9 days ago by Crayola
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good book
Published 13 days ago by NATHAN CASTLEMAN
1.0 out of 5 stars Brush up on your Chemistry before buying this book.
Chemistry lesson. You would need to be a serious soap maker to enjoy this book.
Published 22 days ago by Kelly Chaires
5.0 out of 5 stars So great
It is awesome book. Very good information was given. So useful.
Published 1 month ago by maryam
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
I absolutely love your book. Wonderfully written and great pictures.... Easy to understand recipes. I purchased both of your books
Published 1 month ago by Renee Swindle
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipes and needed information for soaping
Easy recipes and advice on soaping

I would recommend this book for those beginners and looking for recipes.
Published 1 month ago by Daisy Mae
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must have for soapers, especially ...
This book is a must have for soapers, especially for those just starting out. When I began years ago, I took chemistry and had an arsenal of library books on soaping. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipes for natural soaps.
Great comprehensive book for making natural soaps.

I'm just getting started in this hobby. So I'm shopping around for the best deals on ingredients and supplies. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good product, would buy from seller again!!
Published 2 months ago by street5
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine enough
I have mixed feelings for this. I found that the recipes are use oils no one but a soap maker would have on hand. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TMI
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