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Mailbag Monday - Candle & Soap Making Questions (and answers!)

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Through email and through the Candle and Soap Making Forum, I get dozens of candle making and soap making questions each week. I do my best to answer them quickly and share my experience. Mailbag Monday is a feature where I'll share reader's questions and the answers. You can ask questions about candle making, soap making, or any of the related crafts that we engage in. Previous Mailbag Monday questions are archived here, with the most recent questions listed first. Read through the list to see what questions have already been answered, and submit your own inquiries to Mailbag Monday!

1. What Sort of Soap Can Be Used While Camping?

George Doyle / Getty Images

Going camping? Or just going to be washing your dishes or yourself in the outdoors? Natural cold processed soap can be made so that it is very safe for the environment

2. Can Crayons Be Used to Color Candles?

Jeffrey Hamilton / Getty Images

You've been eying your child's "azure blue" or "lemon yellow" and wanting to make a candle in just that shade. Sorry to disappoint you...but crayons just don't make very good candle colorants. Here's why.

3. How Do You Calculate the Volume of a Soap Mold?

George Doyle / Getty Images

You've found a really cool container...or inherited a new soap mold...and just aren't  sure how to calculate how much soap to make to fill it...here's how.

4. Is it O.K. to Use Leftover Candle Fragrance in Soap?

Robert Tardio / Getty Images

You've inherited some candle fragrances...or have some left over from a project. Is it o.k. to use them in your soap?

Well...maybe...but you have to be careful.

5. Keeping Your Body Butter from Melting Too Quickly

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

If you live in a climate (like I do) where it gets hot for many months of the year, you'll certainly have dealt with things melting. But if you're trying to make, sell and ship bath & body products like body butter, what can you do? This question came from a soap maker in India.

6. Basic Equipment You'll Need to Get Started Making Soap

Don Farrall / Getty Images

Most of it you'll already have in your kitchen...and the rest you can probably find in a thrift or discount store. Here are the tools you'll need to get started making soap right.

7. Soy vs. Paraffin - and Lead in Candle Wicks

Berit Myrekrok / Getty Images

Today's Mailbag Monday comes from "Joe". He posted a User-Answer to my question, Which Candle Wax is Better? Soy or Paraffin?

I have a number of questions that readers can answer on the site...and this one has generated a LOT of answers and discussion! But rather than just add it to the collected answers, I wanted to feature it here.

So...Joe's (unedited by me) answer was, "parrafin wax is like burning diesel fuel in your house. soy is cleaner and doesnt soot. also be sure to check what your wick is made from cheaper candles use lead.

Here's my answer to "Joe"...

8. How are Essential Oils Extracted from Plants?

alchemists extracting essential oils
Original Artist: Stradamus - Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Jonathan from Findlay, OH writes, "I love using aromatic plants in my cooking and (as essential oils) in my soap. I can understand how orange peel or mint or rosemary (really strong smelling plants) can have lots of essential oil, but how do you get essential oils from flowers, more delicate plants or things like cedarwood or cinnamon?"

9. Do You Have to Refrigerate Soap Making Oils?

George Marks / Getty Images

"Javablues" - a poster in the Candle & Soap Making Forum wrote a two part question. The first part was, "Just wondering if oils like castor, jojoba, and sweet almond need to be refrigerated."

10. What are Your Favorite Soap Making Recipes?

recipe box
Randy Mayor / Getty Images

Linda writes, "I love your articles and the great info you provide online. I've only recently started following you so please excuse me if this question has already been asked. Do you have a couple favorite cold process soapmaking methods and, if so, why do you like those particular recipes?"

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