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Customer Discussions > Arts & Crafts forum

Soap Makers


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Showing 1-25 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2010, 8:47:47 AM PST
Howdy you crafty folks! Are the any other soap makers out there? I thought this would be a fun place to trade ideas and techniques.

Tell me your favorite methods, your best soap disaster stories, your favorite soap recipes.

To kick things off, I started making my own soap because I have fairly sensitive skin. Once I told my family, they all wanted to try some too. They all fell in love and quickly became my first loyal customers. Then my friends started joining in too. Heheh. Now, as soon as I make a batch, it's gone! haha.

My soaps are all natural, organic when possible, and completely vegan. To color my soaps, I rely on clays, powdered herbs, and the raw color of various plant oils (like unrefined hemp seed oil). I also make all natural lip balms, bath salts, salt and sugar scrubs, body balms, solid shampoos. My basic motto is: If I can't make it 100% natural, I won't make it.

My favorite soap making method is CPOP (cold process oven process).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010, 9:21:04 PM PST
ccas says:
Hey there, I've made soap a time or two, but it's been some years ago. I made mine with some recipes from books from the library and it involved heating the fat on the stove and mixing with the powdered lye that had been mixed with water.

Please elaborate on the CPOP method, since I've never heard of it.

I consider myself very lucky as I had no disasters to report, but I read about a few.
Thank you, ccas

Posted on Feb 27, 2010, 3:02:28 PM PST
K. Peterson says:
I think "disaster" is a rather harsh word, don't you? I found out later (much later) that I had gone against some fairly well established ways of combining lye and fat to make soap, but all of my batches came out with great soap! Ha! That being said, however, one should be fairly careful when combining anything with lye in it. Lye is very caustic and can cause blindness as well as some fairly serious burns. I spent several years making soap, but I have gotten away from it. But I miss doing it. I would also like to hear about the CPOP method, as I have never heard of it either. Since I am kind of a bibliophile, I would be interested also in any books that people found helpful in their quest to make their own soap.

Posted on Mar 1, 2010, 10:55:53 PM PST
ccas, it sounds like you were making what's known as Hot Process soap. This is where you use heat to cook the soap and lye until saponification is complete.

CPOP...

This is basically the same as Cold Process (oils and lye are mixed without additional heat) with a twist that ends up cutting the curing time in half. When you begin making your cold process soap, pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees. Once you've poured your soap into the mold, place it in the oven and let it bake for about an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off, but leave the soap in the over over night. The next day when you remove your soap, you'll find that it's already hardened a great deal, and the saponification process is complete. Cut it into bars, an let it dry for 10 to 14 days. Voila! Much better than waiting up to 12 weeks for your soap to dry out, eh?

Disaster is a pretty harsh word. Haha. I've never had anything terrible happen (knock on wood). The worst thing I can think of was when I made a batch of soap in which I used cassia cinnamon bark as an exfoliator. I put in waaaaaaaay too much, and ended up with a bar of soap that could pierce elephant hide. LOL. Alas, those bars were used as foot scrub bars mostly. The work great on rough feet. :)

So Kathy, you poured your fats into the lye solution instead of pouring the lye solution into your fats? Is that what you meant?

As far as books on soap making, I'd recommend "Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably, or How to Make Luxurious Handcrafted Soaps for Family, Friends, and Yourself" by Anne L. Watson. She cuts out all the superstitious junk surrounding soap making, and gives you honest methods that really work. Other than this book, I couldn't recommend any others, as I started off using basic methods found on the internet, and experimented from there. :)

I most recently made a shaving soap. I used Kaolin rose clay which when used in soap, causes what is called "slip." Slip means that a razor can glide easily over the skin. For my base oils, I used palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. Then I added dried crushed cranberries, and Kaolin rose clay. For frangrance, I used rose, sandalwood, and jasmine essential oils. I made this soap due to lots of my women customers asking me for a "girlie" soap, but the guys are all loving it too. hehe.

So what kinds of soap did you make? Did you guys use vegetable or animal fats? Soap made from animal fat (tallow) kind of wierds me out, but lots of people use it. I guess it makes the soap "creamier," but I find it slightly disturbing to rub animal fat on my body.... That's just me though lol.

Posted on Mar 13, 2010, 6:38:27 PM PST
K. Peterson says:
"ccas, it sounds like you were making what's known as Hot Process soap. This is where you use heat to cook the soap and lye until saponification is complete."

Yes, that sounds right.

"CPOP...

This is basically the same as Cold Process (oils and lye are mixed without additional heat) with a twist that ends up cutting the curing time in half. When you begin making your cold process soap, pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees. Once you've poured your soap into the mold, place it in the oven and let it bake for about an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off, but leave the soap in the over over night. The next day when you remove your soap, you'll find that it's already hardened a great deal, and the saponification process is complete. "

OK, but what you put into your oven was a combination of the lye and fat, right? So it isn't soap when you first put it in. Although I can believe that by the next day it may have turned into soap, especially at 170 degrees. But you just cross your fingers and hope that does occur?

"Cut it into bars, an let it dry for 10 to 14 days. Voila! Much better than waiting up to 12 weeks for your soap to dry out, eh?"

Sounds interesting...

"Disaster is a pretty harsh word. Haha. I've never had anything terrible happen (knock on wood). The worst thing I can think of was when I made a batch of soap in which I used cassia cinnamon bark as an exfoliator. I put in waaaaaaaay too much, and ended up with a bar of soap that could pierce elephant hide. LOL. Alas, those bars were used as foot scrub bars mostly. The work great on rough feet. :)

So Kathy, you poured your fats into the lye solution instead of pouring the lye solution into your fats? Is that what you meant?"

Um... no, that's not what I meant to say. I mixed up the lye and water and it got hot, and slowly it cooled down and I added it to the fat, which I had on my stove.

"As far as books on soap making, I'd recommend "Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably, or How to Make Luxurious Handcrafted Soaps for Family, Friends, and Yourself" by Anne L. Watson. She cuts out all the superstitious junk surrounding soap making, and gives you honest methods that really work. Other than this book, I couldn't recommend any others, as I started off using basic methods found on the internet, and experimented from there. :)

I most recently made a shaving soap. I used Kaolin rose clay which when used in soap, causes what is called "slip." Slip means that a razor can glide easily over the skin. For my base oils, I used palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. Then I added dried crushed cranberries, and Kaolin rose clay. For frangrance, I used rose, sandalwood, and jasmine essential oils. I made this soap due to lots of my women customers asking me for a "girlie" soap, but the guys are all loving it too. hehe.

So what kinds of soap did you make? Did you guys use vegetable or animal fats? Soap made from animal fat (tallow) kind of wierds me out, but lots of people use it. I guess it makes the soap "creamier," but I find it slightly disturbing to rub animal fat on my body.... That's just me though lol."

I made all of our soap at home for quite some time. I think the most memorable soap I made was a castille soap. It came out really good and everybody liked it. It seems to me I made a milk and honey soap, but the milk came out kind of... with spots in it... best way I can think of to describe it... the milk had nodules of what had been the milk. The soap still worked and everybody liked it, but it wasn't quite what I had wanted.

I think I mostly used animal fats in my soap, but that is mostly because it was cheap. I could use beef fat skimmed from something that I cooked and just render it for a really long time.

For quite some time my daughters made a glycerin soap, meaning that they formed and cut slices of a decorative soap that they put together. It was fun and they made a little money at it. The more we talk about this the more I think, I think I want to make soap again. I put the book that you mentioned on my wish list...

Posted on Mar 16, 2010, 10:07:06 AM PDT
"OK, but what you put into your oven was a combination of the lye and fat, right? So it isn't soap when you first put it in. Although I can believe that by the next day it may have turned into soap, especially at 170 degrees. But you just cross your fingers and hope that does occur?"

True, saponification isn't complete when I put the mixture into the oven. But there's no guess work here. I always calculate my lye solution / oil weights carefully. If everything is weighed correctly, at the right temperatures, and mixed well, you're going to get soap whether you want it or not. LOL. Really, putting the mixture in the oven just helps the water to evaporate faster. The saponification process should be complete (with either Cold Process or CPOP) within 24 to 48 hours if you have calculated the lye solution properly. The rest of the curing time is really just to allow more water to evaporate.

I've never tried making castille soap. Sounds interesting.

Glycerin soap is fun to make. That's how I got started. Then I read all the chemical additives on the bases I had been using, and decided to try something a little more difficult so that I could produce something totally natural.

I think you should get back into the swing of things. Soap making, for me, is loads of fun and therapeutic. Besides, it's nice to know exactly what I'm putting on my skin. I think you'll really like that book I recommended. I really like the author's "no frills" style of writing. She includes some nice recipes too.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010, 6:43:28 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
Ok, I do have to admit that one time I made soap (it was my first time) and I sort of followed the directions, but in my mind, I thought that bars of soap were made by kind of ... jelling... the soap mixture, so (after pouring into a mold) I put it out into my freezing cold garage. Furthermore, I wanted it to smell nice, so I added a bunch of fairly expensive perfume that I happened to have around. And all I can say is that it did turn into soap! But I had a friend who was a lot more careful about following directions than I was and she had flop after flop. We never did figure that one out. Eventually, I did make all of our soap. It had started as a home-school project and ended up being something that I enjoyed doing. And then down the road from that, my two girls were interested in making a little money off of this, so we purchased glycerin soap (kind of clear) and they colored it and shaped it and sold it for a pretty good price.

Your description of cold processed soap sounds very interesting. What is the difference between Cold Process and CPOP soap? We found with making the soap where you heat the fat and add the lye the longer you cured the soap, the better. So, consequently, I had a little spot in my house that housed curing soap bars (where my water heater was). But if what you are doing is allowing water to evaporate (when you make the cold process or CPOP soap), then is your soap cured already? Does the book you mentioned, "Smart Soapmaking" talk about the Cold Process and CPOP methods of soap making?

Yes, I doubt that I could talk either of my daughters into making soap again, even for money! Eventually we just moved to a place where the soap didn't get snapped up like it used to (when they sold it), so they stopped doing it. I did hear that the glycerin soap that we were purchasing at the time was kind of chemically (full of chemicals), and I would be more inclined to make my soaps now anyway.

I think you may be right that I should get back to soap making. I enjoyed it when I was doing it.

Oh, I found the Castile Soap recipe that I used many years ago. It used 1 lb 9 oz olive oil, 3 lbs 10 ozs tallow, 11.5 ozs lye and 2 pts of water. The lye is mixed with the water and allowed to cool. It says to get both the fat and the lye to between 95 and 98 degrees and then add the lye solution to the fat solution. I might have varied the temperatures a bit, knowing me. But it looks like the Castile soap recipe that I used did use beef tallow. It is from the book Back to Basics. There is a soap making site http://www.millersoap.com/castile.html and they say that they use olive oil and other oils in their castile soap, but in the recipes that I checked, it doesn't look like they use beef tallow at all.

That sight also mentions something interesting and I haven't been to the store yet to check this out, but they seem to say that regular grocery stores don't sell lye, like we used to be able to buy it. Like I remember buying cans of red devil lye at the grocery store. Is this no longer possible? They said that lye was used in making methamphetamines. Wow, if they are using lye, then making methamphetamines must be risky business for a number of reasons!

Posted on Mar 16, 2010, 6:58:58 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
Oh, and one more question: the site that says that it would be hard to find lye at the grocery store also asks for Titanium dioxide in its recipes. What is that?

Posted on Mar 17, 2010, 9:41:43 AM PDT
"What is the difference between Cold Process and CPOP soap?"

***With Cold Process, you heat the oils (fats) to somewhere between 90 to 110 degrees. Once your lye solution has cooled down to somewhere in that temperature range, you pour it into the oils, stir until "trace" and pour into a mold. Once this is done, you set it aside for about 24 to 48 hours, cut it into bars, and set aside for the long curing time. There is no heat added once you combine the oils and lye solution - thus, "cold" process.

The oven process is the same as cold process, with the exception that once your lye and oil solution has been mixed and poured into a mold, it goes into the oven overnight. :)

"We found with making the soap where you heat the fat and add the lye the longer you cured the soap, the better. So, consequently, I had a little spot in my house that housed curing soap bars (where my water heater was)."

***It sounds to me like you were using the Hot Process method. The you mix the oil and lye mixture continuously over heat until the solution becomes soap.

"But if what you are doing is allowing water to evaporate (when you make the cold process or CPOP soap), then is your soap cured already? Does the book you mentioned, "Smart Soapmaking" talk about the Cold Process and CPOP methods of soap making?"

***With cold process, the curing time can take 6 to 12 weeks. With CPOP, the amount of curing time is reduced to about 2 weeks. I know the book I mentioned covers Cold Process. Honestly, I can't remember if it talks about CPOP, but I'm pretty sure it does.

"That sight also mentions something interesting and I haven't been to the store yet to check this out, but they seem to say that regular grocery stores don't sell lye, like we used to be able to buy it. Like I remember buying cans of red devil lye at the grocery store. Is this no longer possible?"

***Red Devil lye is no longer available in grocery stores for the reason you indicated. :( However, it is still readily available from online suppliers, which is how I get mine.

Now on to Titanium Dioxide...This is what you get when titanium is oxidized (rusts). It's a fine white powder that whitens the color of your soap. Some oils can discolor your soap, making them appear slightly tan or "wheat" colored. Some people like the natural look of this. For those who don't, there's titanium dioxide. :) It won't always turn your soap a brilliant white, but it can certainly lighten the color. Other than used for color, I've not heard of any other uses for it. Lots of soap makers use various oxides to color their soap. I've always used different clays (some clays contain natural oxides that turn them red, orange, pink, yellow, black, etc.) and/or powdered herbs to achieve different colors in my soap. Something I really want to try as a natural colorant is indigo. The color blue is pretty hard to make when you're dealing with all natural stuff. So, the only plant I could think of was indigo. It works on jeans...let's hope it works in soap. LOL.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010, 6:30:56 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
A little while back (well before we started this discussion) I thought to myself, "I did so like making soap. I just might try it again sometime soon." So I bought a container of lye. I must have gotten it at Menards, since it was in a Menards bag (I just went and dug it out) but it says on the label "100% lye drain opener." Apparently it is Rooto brand drain opener. Maybe this is no longer available (I honestly can't remember exactly when I got this, but it doesn't seem like it was too long ago) but maybe it is. I guess I will find out when I run out of this 1 lb package.

Adding different clays to your soap sounds appealing. For some reason, I have it in my head that clays are astringent to skin (drying?). Somehow it runs in my mind that clay is often in soaps that are used for facials.

I have used "bluing" in my laundry. Is that indigo? I guess I have never looked closely at the package of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (I think that is the name) to see what exactly was in the bottle. My mom used to say the same thing about how it was hard to find a substance that was naturally blue. She used to arrange flowers and she said that what was called blue was really more like a purple.

I will have to think about whether to use titanium dioxide to whiten soap. Maybe for the first shot, it would be better to stick with simple ingredients.

I think I am going to have to get the soap making book we have been discussing.

Thank you for all of the information about soap making! This is really interesting, and I will let you know what comes of my efforts (I already have the lye...).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2010, 4:32:11 AM PDT
100% lye isn't easy to come by in physical stores anymore. When you need more, do a google search for "buy sodium hydroxide" and you should be able to find some suppliers of pure lye.

Some clays are drying to the skin, some are not. Since soap isn't a "leave on" product, the drying effects are reduced greatly anyway. When you add clay into your mix, you'll end up with a soap that is great to use for shaving. The clay provides "slip," which basically means it allows a razor to glide smoothly over your skin. The last clay soap I made sold out completely, and now everyone is asking for more. haha. I have one friend who thanks me on a weekly basis for making a shaving soap that doesn't make her legs break out. She's got really sensitive skin, and has never been able to find a single product that keeps her skin from having an adverse reaction. She now refuses to shave with anything but my shaving soap.

Bluing is a synthetic laundry whitening agent. Indigo is a plant. Blue jeans are dyed with indigo; however, most commercial indigo sold these days is synthetic. You can still find natural indigo though. I saw a youtube video not too long ago about a Japanese soapmaker who made blue soap using natural indigo. Your mom is right about blue flowers. In the plant world, almost anything called blue is more like purple. There are a few true blue flowers out there though - think blue morning glories.

I'm excited that you're thinking about getting back into soap making. I'd be glad to help if you have any questions.

I'm getting ready to make some soap this weekend. Can't wait!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2010, 5:16:27 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
Hmm...if all one has to do is do a Google search to find lye, you would think that the people who make meth would figure that out too.

I think morning glories were the one exception when it came to finding blue flowers. Mom always thought of morning glories as being a weed. She was from Hawaii, so she had a tendency to look at orchids that way too, blue or not.

I am excited to start back to making soap too. I will let you know when I try it. I received an e-mail saying that the soap making book is on its way and my 1 lb package of lye is sitting here on the table. I could actually get a little excited about this!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2010, 2:15:13 PM PDT
Any soapy news, Kathy?

I wasn't able to get around to making any last weekend. I've been so busy, I've hardly had time to do anything but work, eat, and sleep. Psheeeew.

I hope you like the book I recommended.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2010, 8:06:58 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
You know, my book still hasn't arrived, although I expect it any day now. I am thinking Castile soap... I want to pore over the book a bit first before I make this. I am also seriously considering making a vegetarian Castile soap. I am waiting (not so patiently) for the book, and then I will see.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2010, 9:13:45 PM PDT
D. Lowe says:
I so admire anyone who makes natl organic soaps the orig way!!! About 13 yrs ago, my best friend & I concluded this would be the greatest idea ever. So she & I literally stirred up a batch of natl organic soap OUTSIDE using her grandmother's HUGE black iron kettle over a hot fire, using a boat paddle to stir what we just knew was gonna become the best soap a person could use on their skin!!! We didn't know a thing about essential oils or base oils and the skin benefits of them. We didn't know much if anything regarding herbs & what they can offer. Oh - we had a MESS!!! And it took sooo long!! We had quite a day!!!! If we weren't just like Lucy & Ethel!! What a funny memory!! :) LOL!!! HOWEVER - it was the BEST laundry det. I've used to this day. I was able to spend a very memorable day with someone I love to laugh with and it taught me a very valuable lesson. When I finally grew up and did the research, I too, decided to make my own natl & organic soaps. Recalling my past experience with soap making, I purchased a natl hempseed oil melt & pour soap base from a supplier I throughly researched and came to trust & then rely on! It was so much easier than the first experience!! LOL!! Soap making is time consuming, takes a great deal of patience, heart & a whole lotta effort! And it takes skill and a lot of know how. Even with m&p soaps, I still have mishaps & make mistakes - but I love doing it. Making & coming up with my own soap recipies is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. My family & friends love them and I know my skin has never looked or felt better. I swore 13 yrs ago I would never make soap again. Just goes to show that God has quite a sense of humour & that life is a trip!! I even quit smoking because of this soap thing!! I didn't have time for a cigarette with all the stirring & temp worries so much that I didn't even THINK about a cigarette and when everything was finished I was too worn out to smoke one! :) I wish the best to all of you guys and I'll admire from a far! Blessings!! DJ :) I use organic powdered seaweed extract in most of mine. I have had great results but my "people" complain about the stench and I can not, no matter what I've tried, can seem to mask it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Posted on Mar 29, 2010, 10:12:03 PM PDT
K. Peterson says:
Ok, my book has arrived, and I have been looking it over. I found a recipe online that makes castile soap that does not have beef fat in it, so I will probably use that. The recipe is this:

*Favorite Castile (From the Soap Newbies Page)

78 oz. olive oil
6 oz. coconut oil
6 oz. palm oil
24 oz. cold water (if you want to up that, you can...soap will be softer after 24 hours. Don't exceed 32 ounces.)
12 oz. lye crystals

Oils at 140 degrees, Lye Solution at 110 degrees.

Note that this is from the "newbies" section, so it sounds about right to me. The smart soapmaking book has a bunch of useful information, so I will be looking this over. I also need to find coconut oil and palm oil, which, in my neck of the woods (Nebraska) may not be easy. I do really like the soapmaking book, but it does not seem to have a castile soap recipe. Well, now I just need to find the oils, and I'm off.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2010, 5:12:55 PM PDT
I came from a long line of 'country folk' and my objective is being simple and frugal.We bought 60 lbs. of beef fat at a processing plant and rendered it ourselves.That yielded 32 lbs of beautiful white as snow tallow.The fat cost was .99 cents a lb.My coconut oil is popcorn oil that is 100% coconut but is yellow.I also bought 6 lbs of unrefined African Shea Butter and unrefined Coco Butter.I live in the country and am blessed with three friends who have milk goats.So I have pure fresh goats milk.I don't sell my soap,just give it away.My favorite soap recipe is made in my food processor.I have a 14 cup and can make a 2 lb. batch in less than an hour.Here's the recipe:16 oz tallow,8 oz coconut oil,8 oz of vegtable oil(cheap kind),5 oz lye,14 oz liquid(6 oz. rain water&8 oz goats milk)2 tsp sea salt,superfat with up to 3 oz (shea,sweet almond and essential combined).Dissolve salt in water (I use a glass jar) and place in bowl of ice,add lye and and stir well.Melt fats in microwave 'til just melted,place in processor,mix,when lye in glass is barely warm slowly add to processor while running on med. to high.Now pour in the milk(very cold)and continue to mix.After just a couple of min. it will look like thin pudding,stop.scrape down the sides.Turn back on and add melted shea,color,scent or whatever.1/4 cup oatmeal flour is nice also.Pour into molds that have been greased with vaseline.this soap is wonderful!I AM going to put my next batch in the oven!! Thank you for th info, Gale Osborn

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010, 7:11:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2010, 7:13:58 AM PDT
JW says:
Hi Kathy
Try this link for coconut oil. I get products from them quite often (they also have frequent sales!):
http://www.tropicaltraditions.com

Right now I have two quarts of coconut oil in the cabinet waiting for courage to overtake me. This group may just provide the needed inspiration.

When I was in college, I lived with a "little old lady" right off the farm that ran a boarding house for girls (in Nebraska by the way). She made her own bread, saurkraut, feather pillows and soap. I was very excited to try her soap, made from tallow and lye, however it was just plain greasy. Still however, the process is intriguing and the artistic possibilities endless.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010, 7:41:07 AM PDT
Kathy, glad you're enjoying the book.

You could probably get pretty fast delivery of base oils from Brambleberry.com. Happy soap making!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010, 7:44:56 AM PDT
D. Lowe,

Hmmm..Covering up the smell of seaweed is no easy task. For a deep earthy note, try using vetivert and patchouli essential oils. These will not totally mask the "ocean" smell, but should at least soften it somewhat.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010, 7:46:49 AM PDT
Wanda, I love that you use rainwater for your soap. In the Winter, I use snow. Hehe.

Posted on Apr 28, 2010, 10:26:28 PM PDT
There is a french clay with a slight natural blue hue, though if you're looking for something dark blue, this won't do it. There are completely natural pigments out there in a large variety of colors, including blue.
Soap can be made from things you can pick up at the grocery store, except lye. Lye is found on-line, just put soap making supplies into the search engine and a whole world of supplies, a lot at wholesale cost, is at your fingertips. I have used Wellington Fragrance, Brambleberry, Southern Soapers and a few other really reputable suppliers. If your going to 'wing it', make sure you use a good saponification calculator (a fancy name for a simple program that has a long list of oils and lets you put them into the table, and it tells you how much lye and water you'll need and the amount of the different oils to use to make soap). Different oils have different properties. Coconut oil is solid at room temp and gives the soap a nice lather, palm oil helps make a harder bar of soap. Olive oil is moisturizing and the main oil used in castile soap. You can even use crisco, just look for a simple recipe. Soap making takes patience, and is very soothing to the mind. It can't be rushed and it can't be short changed. The results are well worth it. Everything you put on your skin winds up in your body, even in trace amounts, so why slather on chemicals when there are so many healthier options? Plus, it will make you the most popular person on the block when people start smelling the wonderful fragrances of the soap being made. Everybody, and I mean everybody, comments on how nice my house smells. Considering I live on a farm, if they can smell my soap, instead of cow manure (cattle raised by hand, fed organically raised hay grown on our farm, and kept in a small herd of 20 or less, without antibiotics or GMO corn), my soap must really smell nice:)
Good luck, it really is worth it. If you're nervous about using lye, there are certified organic melt and pour soaps out there (try Southern Soapers). Melt and pour, is literally melt and pour. It can even be melted in the microwave. Melt it, put in the essential oil of your choice if you want to scent it, pour it into a mold (a plastic garbage liner in a shoe box will do, just make sure the box is well covered because you do not want hot soap pouring out any unlined corners), let it cool, pop it out, cut it up and your ready to go. It couldn't be easier.
My funniest disasters were my first try at hot processed soapmaking that resulted in a mold half filled with soap and half filled with goo, and when I forgot to line a soap mold, and didn't realize it, until there was hot soap forming a wonderful pink river that started on my kitchen table, cascaded onto a kitchen chair, and eventually formed a lovely pond on my brand new wood floors. Thankfully, nothing was ruined and the look on my husband's face, when he walked in from work, and saw the new pink koi pond on the floor, was worth it. We still laugh about it.

Posted on May 1, 2010, 1:53:09 PM PDT
Jennifer says:
I usually get soap making supplies off of brambleberry.com or camdengrey.com You can search the internet for really good recipes. I went to the local library and checked out a lot of soap making books, then used a lot of recipes from them. Here's a lye calculator and soap recipe website http://www.summerbeemeadow.com/content/sbm-soapmaking-calculator-and-recipe-resizer

I haven't made soap from scratch ever since we moved because we have a gas stove/oven, and it gets too hot to do hot process in the oven...guess that's my best soap making disaster story. It decided to rise out of the container, but luckily I caught it before it made a huge mess. I thought it had finished cooking because it was gel/somewhat translucent, but it was still caustic.

I find lye at the ace hardware store in the section where the drain-o stuff is. Just read labels and they should have a solid/granules product that's 100% sodium hydroxide. You can also get it at lyedepot.com

I don't know if this question was answered but titanium dioxide is a mineral that a lot of companies use to dye soap white, otherwise it is a cream color. It's also used in make up and to make sun screen because it helps block the sun. I don't use it.

I need to try a different soap making process. I enjoyed making it by hot process because it didn't have to cure after it was done cooking. Sounds similar to CPOP, but my oven gets too hot...*sigh* guess I'll have to do the cold process and let it cure for a month or two...or buy a crock pot...i think they have hot process recipes with crock pots.

I do still make my own laundry detergent. It's sooooo much cheaper than buying it at the store. Here's a good website for that. http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/ I also make my own lotion. And I'm thinking about making my own dish detergent, but not so sure about that...Again, you can find all different types of recipes on the internet.

Good luck everyone!

Posted on Jun 21, 2010, 9:35:04 AM PDT
Sara Simpson says:
I made a tallow soap years ago by rendering beef fat. I think I used a cold process method, because I remember having to cure the soap. I was maybe 15 years old and wanted to try making soap the "old fashioned" way. Later, I made some pretty melt & pour soaps for christmas gifts.

A few weeks ago the soap making "bug" bit me again. I am impatiently waiting for the lye I ordered to arrive. I have a recipe that I modified (with the help of an online lye calculator). i am going to try a goat's milk soap with coffee added to the lye solution and coffe grounds added at trace for an exfoliant. I am going to call it Cafe au Lait!

I certainly don't count myself as an expert (yet). But I have started a blog with all of my ideas and will post the results (good and bad) as I go along. If anyone wants to join me for the ride you can find me at http://seashorecrafts.blogspot.com/.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2010, 5:50:40 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2015, 3:12:39 PM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Arts & Crafts forum
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