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Adventures in Homemade Soap Making

how to make homemade soapI started making soap about a month ago in hopes of giving it as Christmas gifts this year.  It took a few tries but I think I finally have it down and I’m ready to share the process with you.

This is actually only the fourth batch I’ve ever made.  So if there are any experienced soap makers out there who have any pointers please feel free to share.  I’m a total newbie at this!

You can find the soap recipe here  that I use.  I’m not saying this is the best recipe for beginners, it’s just the one I used.  I picked it because I understood what all the oils were and it makes a reasonable sized batch.  It comes out to be about the size of a small loaf of bread.

What you will need.


You will also need some special tools


Ok, now that you have everything you need it’s time to get started.  Put your gloves on!  You might also want to lay down some newspaper on your counters.

First measure out 3oz of  lye into the plastic pitcher.  My kitchen scale is not the best.  It jumps around.  I err on the side of too little lye and too much oil.  During the curing process the lye reacts with the fat in the oils and turns into soap.  You don’t want too much lye or there will be lye in your mixture that never turned to soap and that’s not good.

Measured Lye for site

Then add 8oz of water to the lye.  Do this outside if possible because it makes bleach-like fumes.

The chemical reaction that is taking place gives off quite a bit of heat.  While you are waiting for it to cool start measuring out your oils.

Crisco measured for site

Olive Oil measured for site

coconut oil for site

Coconut oil is a funny oil.  It gets solid at 76 degrees.  So depending on the temp in your house it will be more solid or more liquidy.

Once you have your oils all measured out you can melt them.

Once they are all melted you have to wait for them to cool.  You want both your oils and your lye to be between 100 and 110 degrees.  This can be kinda tough to make sure one isn’t cooling faster than the other.  I find that I usually have to speed up the cooling of the oils.  I set the pan on top of a few ice cubes and keep stirring the oils.  That helps cool it down quicker.  If it’s cool outside you could put the pan outside too if you need to.

Also when I went back to make sure I’m doing it all according to the recipe I noticed that it says to leave out the liquid oils when heating them.  That might also help the oils cool down quicker because you could add some room temp oil to the mix.  Play with it and see what works best for you.

While you are waiting for everything to cool down you can lightly grease your mold with a little petroleum jelly if you want.  I read it helps your soap pop out of the mold easier.

waiting to cool for site

Once both are at the proper temperature it’s time to mix them together!  My 7 year old took this video because I needed both hands.  I think he did a pretty good job!

Now that you have your soap in the mold set it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed for a few days.  I only make soap on Saturdays so I leave it in the mold for a full week.

Here is video of me taking my soap out of the mold and then cutting it up.  Once again, my 7 year old took the video.  :)

Yay!!!  We did it!  Homemade soap.


2 comments… add one

  • dojo November 11, 2013, 8:21 am

    I’ve never in my life made my own soap, but you make it sound so easy. And it’s probably healthier than all the junk we’re washing our skin with, from the store bought soaps.

    • Ashley @ Money Talks November 11, 2013, 9:10 am

      It really isn’t hard. (looking back I realize I forgot to put up a pic of the coconut oil being measured… apparently writing about it is harder than actually doing it) From what I read the soap in the store doesn’t use lye which means it isn’t technically considered soap. I don’t know if that’s true but that’s what I was reading. I can say that the homemade soap rinses off very clean and doesn’t leave any residue on your skin.

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