1. Gather all equipment.
2. Line the soap mold with a plastic garbage bag or freezer paper.
3. Select a recipe. The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss is a great starting point.
4. Select your scents and superfatting oils. Measure and set aside in a small measuring cup.
5. Select dried herbs, clays, or powders. Measure and set aside in small bowl.
6. Weigh base oils, such as coconut, palm, palm kernel, and olive in ounces. This is also the time to add shea butter.
7. Continue low heat until all base oils are completely melted. Remove from heat.
8. Measure out lye. This is the time to wear your protective eye gear and gloves.
9. Weigh out liquid-either water or milk. Add the measured out lye to mixture unitl dissolved. If using goat's milk, I use the stick blender here. Allow for adequate ventilation.
10. Place a candy thermometer into the lye mixture and one into the base oil mixture. When both cool to 120-140 degrees F, and are both at the same temperature, it is time to combine them together.
11. Add lye liquid to oils. Use your stick blender to mix until you have reached trace.
12. Trace is defined as the point where saponification actually occurs. You have reached trace when you are able to spoon some soap from the pot and then dribble it back over the surface of the mixture. At this point, you must work quickly.
13. Add superfat oils and scents. Mix well with trace blender. Beware...some scents create an increase in trace and your soap can become really chunky...example cinnamon essential oil.
14. This is where you can choose to marble your soap if you would like. If you don't want to marble, then just add all the color/herbs to the entire soap pot.
15. Alternate pouring the plain mixture and then the colored mixture into the lined soap mold. Then swirl through with a butter knife..
16. Cover top of soap mold with towel then place lid on it. Allow to cool for at least 24 hours.
17. Release soap from mold as long as it is firm like hard cheese.
18. Cut soaps and allow to cure for 3-6 weeks in a cool, ventilated area.
Soap is a result of mixing an acid (fats and oils)with a caustic alkali (caustic soda/lye) which creates a reaction known as saponification. The cold process method of making soaps has been around for centuries. The only real difference today is that we now have an exact way to measure out the lye used to initiate the saponification process. Many years ago lye was made by running rain water over wooden ashes. Without percise measurement of the lye soap would either be caustic or soupy. Thanks to advances in scientific technology chemists have been able to create sodium hydroxide and give soapmakers lye that is easy to calculate.
Anyone can make homemade soap. All's you need is a basic recipe and a little imagination and you are on your way to making your own soap.
Leave the soaps cure for approximately 3-6 weeks and there is no lye left in the soap.
Follow the pictures to the right of this text for a step by step process of making soap...the cold process way!
A good soapmaker always keeps a bottle of vinegar next to their working area-it is the antidote to an accident with lye!
Basic recipe for a 2 pound patch of soap:
12 oz Coconut oil
12 oz Palm oil
8 oz Olive oil
2 Tablespoons Essential oil of your choice
1-2 Tablespoons Herb/Powder of your choice
12.5 oz Water
5 oz Lye