Friday, April 26, 2013

Soapmaking 101

Good Morning! I am going to attempt to show you somewhat step by step how to make soap. With permission from my friend Ashlee to share the recipe that she shared with me. 

First off you need to gather all your materials. 
Stainless Steel Stock Pot
Stainless Steel Spoon for stirring 
Hand blender
Soap Mold
Non reactive container (that is what I used my plastic coffee can for)

I will say this. These pictures are not great. I had planned on having someone man the camera for me, but my girls were babysitting, my boys were chasing a rooster and my husband was mowing the yard. So you get some blurry shots, and some haphazard directions, but hopefully you will be able to make yourself a batch of soap soon!

The recipe for the soap is:
20% coconut oil = 12 oz
20 % castor oil = 12 oz
30% olive oil = 18 oz
30% lard = 18 oz

Lye Solution
lye= 8.1 oz
water= 18 oz

A little bit about soap molds... You need something sturdy, that will withstand the heat. I saved an old coffee creamer box. I am trying not to buy these anymore (because of the horrid ingredients), but I knew this box would make a great mold. I opened it up and cut one whole side off. I folded the edge in and duct taped it. It's already got one of those waxy finishes, so I didn't line it with wax paper. IF it was a regular cardboard box or a dish. Line it with wax paper, that way you will easily be able to get your soap to release. 

Baby Stepping through friends... here we go!
Measure out your hard oils, which are coconut oil and lard. These two will need to be melted to get ready for your soaping. Measure exactly and go ahead and put them on low in your soap pot and melt them gently.
Measure out your liquid oils

Once your hard oils are melted and you combine your liquid oils, set it aside and get ready for your lye mixture. 

I measured 18 oz of ICE water. This helps cool the lye mixture down LOTS, because when lye mixes with a liquid it heats up DRAMATICALLY!!!! The ice is a great idea to bring down the temp easily. 

Measure your lye. I like to keep a glass measuring cup just for this purpose. It has a pouring spout to make transferring your lye into water a breeze.
Lye into water is so much smarter!
Always pour your lye into water, that way there are no splashes!
Here's my water waiting in an empty sink.
I thought this was a great place to do the lye solution because if there ever was an accident, this would be the place to contain it.
Thankfully there has been no issue whatsoever, so far. :)

Lye into water!
Mix well!
Now, I don't have a picture for the waiting time, but this is our rule of thumb for both containers. The lye solution container and the oils in the pot. Once you have given them both time to cool, you should be able to feel the bottom of the container and feel warmth. If it is hot to the touch... they are NOT ready. If you can rest your hand against the bottom of container and it is warm... You are ready for mixing.

Once comfortable to touch, take it to a spot where you can plug in your immersion blender and pour your lye into your oils and get ready to BLEND!
This process can take a little while 5 minutes to even a little longer... It really depends on your recipe. Thankfully this one is easy and basic and doesn't take that long.

You want to blend, blend, blend, without stopping til you have a nice pudding type consistency. Meaning if you were to pick the blender up and some soap dropped off the blender it would sit on the top of the mixture. Does that make sense? I tried to capture it in a picture. This is called trace.

See how goopy it is? That's what you want.
Ladle your soap into your container. I made a simple container just to show y'all that it doesn't have to be a mold like the one on the left. Soap can easily be made in pretty much anything!

Here's a bar that came out of the mold I made. I put some oats at the bottom for exfoliating. I also added just a bit of peppermint oil at trace to give it a light scent.

In 24 hours, you can take your soap out of your mold. Set it in a place that there is good ventilation. This will help in curing your soap. Your soap will set up and cure in about 4 weeks. The longer the soap sets, the dryer it will become and the longer it will last.

Thank you Ashlee for giving me the courage to step out and try this new craft! I am so excited and so thankful! And thank you for allowing me to share the recipe with my readers! 

Just a little disclaimer at the bottom here...
I am by no means a soap making pro. 
These are my ways of making soap. 
You may want to wear gloves and goggles because of the lye mixture. It's not a bad idea, I just don't do it. You may want to designate all your soap making supplies to soaping. That's a great idea too!
This is just an aspiring homesteader learning a craft and sharing what I do with you. I hope you enjoy and let me know if you have success with your own soap making adventure.



  1. Great job, Chas!! Thanks for the detailed tutorial....and to Ashlee for teaching you so well!

    1. Thanks Kristin! I am VERY grateful for Ashlee giving me the courage to go ahead and do it. :) I'm excited to try out new recipes! Shannon said...
      Chas... just how much soap are you going to make?
      I said, Honey, I'm a prepper! However much I can! :) haha

  2. I still like to stir with a wooden spoon when I'm making my goat milk soap. Not sure why....but I enjoyed your directions and your info!

    1. Hey... When we have a way we like it, and it works, no reason not to stick with it! :) Thanks for stopping by!