How to make handmade soap.

November Blog Post!

How to make handmade soap.

If you are a beginner looking to make your own handmade soap products this is a guide to the steps you will need to take.  The great thing about making your own soap batches is it can be a customizable process that can come down to the last ingredients you wish to add into your soap batch. You may select the choice of oils, colorants, fragrances, and inclusions. There are a few different types of soap making including:  cold process, melt and pour, and hot process and liquid based. Cold process soap is made by combining oils and sodium hydroxide (lye). A chemical reaction occurs called saponification.  In melt and pour soap the saponification process had already occurred. Hot processing the soap mixture has additional heating applied to speed up the reaction process.  Liquid based soaps are similarly made in the hot process method but use potassium hydroxide to form the chemical reaction.  Once you have identified the type of soap making process you wish to try, it is time to find the perfect recipe.  This is the fun part because you get your creative juices going to come up with your designs.

 More detailed steps are listed below for cold process soap.

1. Measure Water and Lye: Weigh lye in a heatproof (Non-aluminum) container. Weigh water in a separate container.  (Lye and Lye water are caustic solutions that are dangerous to the skin and eyes.  Be sure to read about Lye safety and use proper protective equipment prior to using)

2. Mix Water and Lye:  Carefully pour the lye into water, stirring gently with a heatproof utensil until the lye has fully dissolved. 

3. Weigh the Oils:  While the lye solution is cooling, weigh oils or solid butters. Melt with a double-boiler until temperature reaches up to 120 degrees.  You will know that your oils have melted and combined together as the cloudy solution becomes clear.

4. Mix Oils and Lye:  Pour the lye solution into the container of oils. Stir until trace is reached. (Trace is referencing the point where the oils and lye solution have emulsified.)

5. Mix Additional Ingredients:  Add any extra ingredients including, natural exfoliants, colorants, and scent oil.  Exfoliates may include herbs, oatmeal, seeds, salt.  To mix the colorants, remove some emulsified oil to add, stir and combine colorant.  To add scents to your oil mixture, select the essential or fragrance oil of your choice.  Review the acceleration information, this will tell you how quickly you will need to move.  Stir the scented oil into your soap batch. 

6. Pour Soap Mixture: Carefully pour emulsified oils into soap mold.  Allow to cool and cure for several days.

7. Cured Mixture: Carefully demold and cut the saponified soap.

I would recommend starting your soap making skills with a scent such as a citrus and one colorant.  This will allow you time to feel the trace and get a good method to pour your batch to mold.  After you have success, you can attempt different fragrances and multiple colors.  Eventually the soap will set up, so more complicated ingredients and more colors increase difficulty.  After mastering this skill, you can try designs or a faster accelerator scent like a strong floral.  Best of luck and we look forward to hearing about your soap and creativity.