Soap: without it, we would look like we were trying to channel Pig Pen from the Peanut’s gang — a little heavy on the dirt and friendly with the dust bunnies. However, soap is soap; there is really not that much to it. You can either get extremely technical or keep it simple. Case in point: have you ever been in a shopping mall and walked into out Bath and Body Works or Lush? Those are examples of soap getting technical. But why spend the extra chunk of change if you can make something yourself; especially if this is an item that you use every day, for the rest of your life? If you are a fan of keeping it simple— we are all for that— then we would like to provide you with an easy and fun soap making recipe that you can do yourself or with your friends or family in the comfort of your own home! Time to let the DIY-er in you shine!
Methods of Soap Making
Before we get into the recipes, let’s take a look at the different types of ways that you can make soap. Here are three different methods to consider trying:
- Melt and Pour: This involves melting down a premade block of soap and adding your own scents and colors to it. You then pour the soap in a mold where it becomes ready in about an hour.
- Hand Milled: This type of soap is referred to as “re-batching”, where you melt a soap scraps into a liquid. The best part of this is that your soap will be completely natural. However, it will take a few weeks to cure, and the consistency may be lumpy.
- Cold Process: The cold process of soap making is what we are going to outline for you today, which will create basic soap by dissolving a few ingredients in water.
Onto the Soaping!
We are going to start off with the most basic way to make soap from scratch using the cold process. Let’s get started!
You will need:
- 12 ounces of sodium hydroxide or lye.
- 32 ounces of distilled or spring water.
- 4 ounces of your favorite essential oil. For example: peppermint, lemon, rose or lavender. Pick your scent!
Accessories / Tools needed:
- Safety goggles
- Rubber gloves.
- Weighing scale for the ingredients.
- A stainless steel or enamel kettle. Make sure to not use aluminum or a non-stick surface pot.
- A plastic glass or pitcher.
- A measuring cup or a plastic cup that can hold 16 ounces.
- Spoons, either plastic or wooden.
- An immersion blender to help with stirring. However, if you enjoy manual stirring, that is fine, but it will just increase your preparation time.
- Two glass thermometers between 80-100F.
- Plastic molds for cold process soap making. If you decide to use a shoe box or wooden mold, be sure to line it with parchment paper.
- Towels for cleanup.
- Gather all of your ingredients. Most of them can be found at a craft or grocery store.
- Have all of your soap making tools set out so you will not have to go fishing for them later.
- Read about lye and how to work with it correctly. Make sure that you wear gloves and safety goggles at all times. Also, have your windows open and be working in a properly ventilated area.
- Take 12 ounces of lye and pour it into your measuring cup.
- Take 32 ounces of water and pour that into a stainless steel pot or glass bowl.
- Carefully add your 12 ounces of lye to your water. As you do this, it will release fumes, so make sure you are not looking directly into the pot or bowl.
- After you have added the lye to your water, set it aside to give it time to dissolve properly.
- Next, take out your oils.
- With your weighing scale, measure 24 ounces of coconut oil, 38 ounces of vegetable shortening, and 24 ounces of olive oil.
- Take a separate stainless steel pot and place it on the stove at low-medium heat.
- In the pot, add the coconut oil and vegetable shortening. Stir the contents until they are fully melted.
- Next, add in your olive oil and stir again until all contents are completely melted.
- Remove the pot from the stove.
- Take out your thermometer take the temperature of both the pot of lye and water and the pot of oil. They should both clock in at around 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit (35-36 degrees Celsius). The oils, however, can be at a lower temperature.
- Once they are at their desired temperatures, add the lye slowly and steadily into your pot of oils.
- Stir the contents with a wooden or heat resistant spoon; do not use a metal spoon!
- Time to add some fragrance to your soap! Choose your essential oil and add in around 4 ounces.
- Once you have done that, immediately get ready to pour your soap into molds.
- After pouring cover the molds and put a lid over it for protection. On top of the lid, place a few towels, which will help insulate the soap while it is molding.
- Let the soap sit, covered, for 24 hours.
After your soap has set for 24 hours, do not run your bath just yet!
- Check your soap after 24 hours, uncover it, and let it sit another for another 12 hours.
- After a total of 36 hours, take a look at your soap. It should have a white layer of an ashy-like substance on top of it, which means that your soap should be good to cure after the ash is scrapped off.
- Take your soap out of its mold.
- Cut your soap into bars using a knife, a wire handle, or a fine nylon string.
- Set your soap onto a piece of parchment paper and let it sit and Let cure for about 2 weeks (sorry!).
- After two weeks, let your soap sit, exposed to the air, for about one month (again, sorry!), and soon enough you will be able to enjoy!
All Soaped Out!
We know this is a long process, but it is also fun and rewarding. Once you are finished, go ahead and use it to your liking! For fun, package some of the soap (you should have a good amount), and give some to your friends. Nothing is better than a homemade gift that you know everyone can use.