Homemade Soap: How To Make Homemade Soap

Homemade soap; this may have never crossed your mind before.  Maybe you want to make homemade soap to avoid the harsh chemicals that are found in store bought soap, or to save money.  Maybe you want to make homemade soap so you can mix your own scents and mold the bars into your own design; whatever the reason, homemade soap is a fun hobby to get into. 

Homemade soap is a perfect gift for the upcomming holidays.

Before making homemade soap, just be aware of the dangers in the process of making your own homemade soap and how to avoid them. When making homemade soap, lye is a main ingredient, and the most dangerous part of the process.  Lye is a dangerous, corrosive chemical.  It can blind you, burn your skin, or could even cause death if ingested.  Don’t let this scare you away from making homemade soap though -- it’s very easy to manage if you are careful.  The following article from EHow.com gives instructions on how to make your very own homemade soap.

How to Make Homemade Soap

This soap is a pleasure to give - and to receive.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

Soap Making 101
    1.  Dissolve 12 oz. lye in 32 oz. softened water in a plastic or glass bowl. If at all possible, do this outside or under an exhaust fan.
    1.  Add the lye to the water, not vice versa. Pour the lye slowly and in a steady stream, and stir constantly with a plastic spoon.
    1. Set the mixture aside to cool. The mixture will heat up considerably due to the lye reacting with fats in the oils. This is called saponification.
    1. Melt 24 oz. coconut oil and 38 oz. solid vegetable shortening in a stainless steel pot.
    1. Add 25 oz. olive oil (not virgin) and any fragrance oils you want to use.
    1. Allow the oils to cool.
    1. Grease the soap mold with Crisco.
    1. When both the oil and lye mixtures have cooled to room temperature, slowly combine them, adding the lye to the oils.
    1. Stir slowly and constantly. If you see bubbles, stir more slowly.
    1. Drizzle the soap into the pot once in a while. When it keeps its shape momentarily before sinking into the rest of the mix (tracing), it's time to add whatever extras you want.
    1. Stir your botanicals, grains and coloring into a cup of soap taken from the mix.
    1. Combine that back into the original mixture.
    1. Pour the soap into the mold.
    1. Wrap the mold in a towel and leave it undisturbed for 18 hours. The soap mixture will heat up and then cool down. Avoid uncovering it until it's cooled.
    1. Allow the soap to sit in the uncovered mold for another 12 hours.
    1. Loosen the sides by wiggling the mold a little.
    1. Turn the mold over onto a clean counter.
    1. Cut the soap into bars with a knife. Some people use a miter box to make square corners.
    1. Allow the bars to cure for three to four weeks before using. Smaller bars cure faster than larger ones.

Additives

    • Mix candle coloring into the oil solution. If it's wax-based, melt it first in a couple of tablespoons of oil and then add it to the rest of the oil mix.
    • Realize that you can also use crayons for coloring. Experiment with colors. Note that purples are very difficult to keep true.
    • Use 1 tsp. per pound of soap of the following ingredients: cocoa powder for brown, cayenne pepper for pink-peach, liquid chlorophyll for light green, turmeric for yellow, paprika for peach and titanium dioxide for white.
    • Use 1 oz. essential oil to scent a 4-lb. batch of soap.
    • Know that 2 tsp. ground cloves makes a great-smelling soap. Try grated orange or lemon peel or ginger, too.
    • Use rose water instead of regular water for rose soap.
    • Oatmeal makes a great complexion soap. Use 8 oz.
    • Add 4 oz. cornmeal for a gritty texture.
    • Make soap with 1/2 oz. geranium oil for dry skin.
    • Use tea tree oil - 1/2 oz. - for problem skin.

If you wanted to take the more cautious approach on making homemade soap, you could “rebatch” your own soap to avoid contact with lye.  “Rebatching” soap is a process where you use pre-made grated soap and add your own herbs, fragrances and colors to it.  This is still considered homemade soap because you are adding your touches to it, just steering away from having to deal with the harsh chemicals.

Either way you feel like making your homemade soap, the experience can be a very rewarding hobby.  Once you make your first few batches of homemade soap you will be able to venture out and experiment more.  Eventually you can even come up with your own homemade soap recipes.  Keep in mind that the holidays are coming, and what better gift than personalized homemade soap!