Heh, I know there are some wonderfully helpful soapmakers in this group. I just made my first soap and while it will be serviceable and work as family soap, it did not come out of the mold pretty. I was really excited about the cool molds I bought so it is a little disapointing. Overall I'm actually proud of my first batch as far as everything else went. I was hoping someone out there can give me pointers for my next batch to improve. First of all, I was using a recipe using crisco as the oil. Everything seemed to go together properly, I could tell when I got to trace pretty easily and as I was finishing pouring it into the molds, it was setting up so I had to kind of flatten down the second mold just a little but I thought I timed it pretty good. By sheer luck my recipe seemed to fit my molds perfectly. I think they might have been a tad overfilled though now that I see what unmolding is like. By the way, I was using one of those plastic sheet molds you cut apart after unmolding and the patterns are not especially elaborate . Today it was 24 hours later like they said to unmold it. I couldn't get the darn things out of the mold easily. The soap is still a little soft. My husband convinced me that a little warm water on the outside of the mold (not touching the soap) would do the trick to slip it out and my daughter who went to culinary school chimed right in and agreed, so I tried that. It did make the soap pop out of the mold, but little bits of the pattern were softened and remained in the mold so all of them are mottled looking. One other factor that may have played into it, my recipe did not tell you how much fragrance to add at trace. That seemed rather unexact to me. It seems like my soap has the right amount of smell and even came out a nice color, but it isn't shaped like my pretty molds. Do you think my problem was the recipe, the heating it to unmold, or should I have waited for it to be harder before I even tried? I'd like to improve on this in my next batch. Should I spray Pam or something on my molds, or wait longer than a recipe might state to unmold that type of soap tray? Should I try paring this stuff into better shapes when it hardens a bit more? Any critiques/suggestions are welcome!