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on: August 09, 2009 08:10:59 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by Eclecticlyfe
Relevance: 33.3%
YEAH! Yeah Yeah! Finally did it ! Thanks so much everybody !I've been doing melt n' pour but this is my first batch of CP ! I'm so excited. This is from the recipie from the soap tutorial. I'm going to attempt to attatch pictures.
This is the Basic Olive Oil soap recipie (w/ coconut oil)- the vegan recipie. Next time I'm going to add the lard so I can see the differences in how it processes. I was a little nervous about the measuring because it seemed that the scale switched from oz to grams in the middle of my measuring- but I think it turned out okay. Someone else mentioned that you may want to have an extra mold ready- I shoulda had it ready- I scrambled and came up with a small 'side-dish' for the extra. I was also impatient with how long it takes the lye-solution to cool down to temp.- I guess I should have realized that but anyway that was the longest part of the process. The soap smelled just fantastic even though it's 'unscented' the olive oil had a delicious fruity smell-made me want to bake bread next- but I was like 'hey my oven will be occupied for the next 15 hours' LOL. I was very curious about how long the whole process would take i.e. how long would my husband need to keep the children occupied in the back yard while I played around in the kitchen. For others needing to schedule their time so tightly I say give yourself an hour from set-up to clean-up. I did some basic cleaning and wiping down of surfaces while waiting for the lye-solution to cool down.  ANYWAY....I'm hooked !This last pic is what I did with the extra bits that were left in the molds - I have to work on my mold situation (that's a phrase commonly heard in Katrina territory).
on: February 20, 2011 04:40:09 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by chibilightangel
Relevance: 43.6%
ok, so here are the photo results of my first batch (olive oil, coconut oil and lard). It's been tongue tested and no zapping (though oddly doesn't taste like that purple soap gum I somewhat remember). It even makes some lather bubbles. I'm letting it sit out to harden before starting to use it.

In the oven and rising. The one that did most of the rising was actually filled less than the other mold. Could thickness of pour (and I mean by less instead of more) make the soap rise more??

The next day right before removing the freezer paper liner and cutting

This is what the side looked like on the soap that did all the rising.... kinda makes me think of a pocket in yeast bread

This is the first cut into the second loaf of soap. There's a small discoloration partway through (seems to go through the whole loaf) but overall much more bar-like look to it.

And finally the whole second loaf all cut up. Is that soda ash that formed on the top? When I run my fingers over it, it doesn't leave a residue or anything, most of it seems to be from the rising that both soaps did.
on: September 08, 2008 02:00:53 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by OhHappyDay
Relevance: 66.7%
Okay...let's get this started!

You will need:

1. a digital scale. This is a absolutely the most important piece of equipment. You can buy them at Target or Wal Mart....but I bought mine on ebay from Old Will Knot....a good one is an escali brand and weighs up to at least 6 pounds or so. If you think you will want to sell soap or make bigger batches, get one that will weigh more. You will need the "tare function" and it must be able to measure in 1/10 oz.or.10 ounce increments.

2. A stick blender. I have had a seriously reliable Betty Crocker "SB" that I bought for $10 probably 10 years ago. I am sure any brand will be fine to start out or for occasional soap making.

3. A large stainless steel or non-pourice bowl or smooth pot. Enamel is fine as long as there are no chips.

3. A glass or Pyrex measurer with a pour spout (4 cup will do for small batches). This will be to measure and pour your lye solution into your oils.

4. A stainless steel or plastic spoon or spatula to stir the soap with. Either will do.

4. A small sturdy cup to measure your lye into and to pour dry lye into your glass container. I have found that metal containers cause static electricity at times and the beads "jump" and stick to the sides when you pour. Plastic will be fine. Some people use paper or plastic cups but I like to use something low and wide-mouthed. I have a weird plastic scoop....I think it actually goes to a thermos. Know what I mean?

5. A mold. Any "box" will do...or a loaf pan, Tupperware, etc. As long as it would fit about the same amount as a loaf pan because that is the size bacth you will do the first time.

6. Liner. I use and suggest freezer paper - the paper that is shiny on one side. It's where you find plastic wrap and it's usually on the bottom shelf. You can also use plastic trash can liners, but they aren't as easy to smooth (but they work fine).

7. Oils. Lets start with olive and coconut. These oils will make a wonderful bar of soap (some of you may not believe me but you must!). You can find them all at Wal Mart. Buy the cheapest olive oil they have (it is actually better for the soap because it has more saponifiables Wink). The coconut oil is found where you find all the oils....and it's right above the lard. Don't get the kind of coconut oil in the popcorn aisle - it will soap too (any oil will!) but it's a little different, more expensive,  and it usually has beta carotene added. It will not hurt the soap but it will make it yellow Wink.

8. Sodium Hydroxide (lye). I really have no idea where to buy it these days (I bought mine in drums from a chemical company until recently). I've heard that you can find it at Home Depot and at some drugstores or hardware stores. You used to be able to just go to the grocery and bye a 14 oz can of Red Devil - maybe you can in your state, but you can't in my town very easily (they take your idea and turn it in to the police because it is used in making meth Roll Eyes). Be sure it's sodium hydroxide (beads, pellets, flakes - it doesn't matter). If you can't find it, you can order it quite cheaply and in small amounts from soap supply companies like here:

Once you have all of these things....you're on your way to making your very first batch of plain soap Smiley. I want you guys to make a simple, unscented batch to start because it's best to get the feel and the basic process down before adding fancies. Believe me....I'm saving you money and time by encouraging you to do it this way. I made several really bad mistakes before I finally made a stripped down recipe and the light bulb went off Wink.
Oh! If you have city water or water with a lot of lead you'll need distilled water.

Safety Precautions:

Lye is a caustic substance, which means it can cause burns to the skin. It is activated by moisture so even if you touch it dry, your skin has enough moisture in it to cause a lye burn. It will feel like you have been splattered with bacon grease. I have never had lye-water splashed or spilled on me so I don't know what it feels like...I'd assume it feels the same way but worse! I have however, felt raw lye and raw soap many times (ouch!).

WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES OR GLASSES and rubber gloves as you make soap, from beginning to end. Wear long sleeves, pants and cover your feet.

Hot soap, as you are pouring it  is still active and WILL BURN YOUR SKIN if you touch it. DON'T touch it! I once got hot RAW soap on my gloved thumb, reached up to push my glasses up and stuck my thumb in my eye. I ended up going to the emergency room - no permanent damage but it scared the crap out of me and hurt like you can't believe! After your skin has been burned by hot soap it will sting much like a sunburn for a few minutes.

IF you do come in to contact with lye or hot soap - RINSE WITH COOL RUNNING WATER. Do NOT use vinegar as people have suggested in years past (they thought it deactivated it, but it does not). Running water will sweep it away from the skin.

Just as important: When lye and water combine there is a chemical reaction that heats the solution up very fast. DO NOT BREATHE THE FUMES emitted from the lye water as it is heating up. This form can cause burns to your trachea and lungs if inhaled. Fortunately your body helps you immediatly by causing you to cough (reactively) before it gets to your lungs. But don't stick your head over the lye water to  look at it - always stand off to the side a bit. Don't use a fan in the room while you are soaping as it will disperse the fumes and you will inadvertantly breathe them. The fumes will rise straight up otherwise and can be easily avoided. It doesn't last very long - maybe the first 4-5 minutes but it is mostly colorless so don't EVER check by sniffing or putting you head over  - just assume at all times it is unsafe. Once the heating process halts, the fumes will not continue (again, assume they are there for safety's sake). There will be no active fumes if the lye-water is cooling or cooled but treat it with care because it will still burn if you touch it. *This is why I have you set your container into your sink basin in the instructions below - this way there is less risk of it being knocked over, and the container is lower and farther from your face.

Lye + water +fat/protien makes soap. By mixing these things together in the proper ratio will change the chemical structure of all 3 ingredients and make SOAP (hence the comments you may read, there is no other way to make soap - if it doesn't have lye in it, it isn't soap). You must measure carefully (using a digital scale) because if you don't, you may have too much lye. Lye heavy soap contains lye that has not made partners with liquid and fat....and it's hanging out in it's pure form -  and MAY STILL BE ACTIVE. If you make lye- heavy soap it can dry your skin horribly and possibly burn. This is where "lye soap" has gotten it's horrible reputation Sad. Having said that - I make soap purposely a tad-bit heavy (+.025%) to use on poison ivy Wink.

*Never touch the lye.
*Never touch the lye water or breath the fumes, or smell the mixture.
*Never move the container that you have combined your lye and water in. Combine them in the sink basin where you can leave it to cool.
*Never add water to lye (in that order). Only add the measured lye to the water, other wise you cause an inadvertant super heated solution at first and cause a volcanic eruption in the container.
*Never touch the raw soap while it is in liquid or soft stages (until you are experienced enough to recognize and predict when the soap is ready to be handled).
*Never "fudge" a recipe - if you make a mistake, START OVER. Soap making is an exact science and until you are very experienced you can't risk making a soap that has improper ratios.
*Never substitute one oil for another without running the recipe through a lye calculator first (I'll talk about that more at the bottom of this tutorial).

The Process:

It is very, very important to set up a dry run before actually making soap. This may sound rudimentary, but it is important so that you know where everything will be sitting and if you have room for everything on your counter and sink. Believe me....this is really good advice so please don't ignore it (yep, I learned this the hard way too).

Milk Soaps and soaps with special additives will be a little different. PLEASE take my advice and make at least 2-3 batches of a simple unscented recipe first. Then after you have a good feel of how things work, move on to adding just one additive; after that you will be ready to tackle blending scents and adding colorants and botanicals, etc.

There are many different processes for making soap, and mine happens to be sort of a combination of several. This is MY method and routine...I would call it a mixture between CP and RT (Cold Process and Room Temerature soap making). But it's not just one process. It's the process I came up with after much trial and error. If you try this and find it's not your "thing" there are many other processes that may be more fun for you. But you will be successful at your first batch if you learn with this tutorial! Then you will be sucked into the Soap Makers Vortex and you will lay awake at night dreaming of oil combinations (fair warning!).


I have included 2 recipes actually; one vegan and one with lard. Yes, lard. Dove has lard in it, as does Lever 2000 and Caress...and all of them really (only it's called "sodium lardate"...it makes a nive hard, lathery bar and it's inexpensive). So don't panic unless you are vegan and never knew that. Then, the good news is you can make your own vegan soap now Grin.
This recipe is for a 40 ounce batch of soap. In soap making terms, that means that is the amount of oils used in the recipe. It does not include water or liquids used when identifying it this way.

I am basing this on a 9x4 inch (cm:23x10x7deep) loaf pan. If you do not have one, you can use anything similar in size or shape. If you are using something totally different, post the size here and I'll resize the recipe.

Basic Unscented 40 ounces:
Coconut Oil 6 (15%)
Olive Oil     28 (70%)
Lard            6 (15%)
Lye            5.4 ounces
Water         10 ounces

or for those of you outside of the US ~

Basic Unscented 1130 grams:
Coconut Oil 170 (15%)
Olive Oil      790 (70%)
Lard            170 (15%)
Lye            152 grams
Water         285 grams

Basic Unscented Vegan:
Coconut Oil   6 ounces(170g)
Olive oil        34 ounces (964g)
Lye               5.4 ounces (152g)
Water           10 ounces (285g)

Print these directions off and set them on the counter and do a "dry run" before you try it for real.

To line your pan/mold, simply cut a piece of freezer paper about the same size that you would need to wrap it (like a gift). Then you will do a "reverse wrap", creasing it inward (shiny side to the soap) and tape along the outside edge. It's a PITA.... but will be important to know how to do if you move on to  wooden molds later. This needs to be done before you start making soap. If you don't you'll have a serious problem!

***If you are using a glass or silicone (or tupperware/rubbermaid) mold, you will not need to line it. You only need to line a metal (wooden or cardboard) mold.***** And if it is a non stick pan, you probably won't have to line it either (never tried this though but I don't recommend it as you may need to slide a knife down the side of the soap to get it out and you'll mar the coating on your pan).

If you are using a plastic liner (like a trash can liner) you simply smooth it along the inside (cut it down of course) and tape it to the outside. The corners will be funky but you can trim those ends of the soap off so it won't matter.


1. Preheat the oven at about 160-170 F48-60*C.
2. Set your water container on your scale and use the tare function; measure your water. A glass, heat proof Pyrex measure with a spout works very well I prefer glass but stainless or plastic are fine as well. Set the container in the sink basin.

3. Set a small container on your scale to measure the lye (use the tare again). Carefully pour the lye into the container on the scale.

4. Very carefully and slowly pour the measured lye into your measured water (while it's still setting in the sink). Handle the lye with extreme caution (do not spill it on the counter, or leave some in measuring containers). Use a non wooden spoon to stir the mixture gently, scraping the bottom to move granules about the water. Do not breathe the fumes during this process. Do not to stand with your face directly over the lye water as the fumes will rise straight up. Just stir a bit and step away. Its important to turn your faucet away so that by some accident someone doesnt turn the water on (or drips into the carefully weighed solution). Leave to cool. DO NOT TOUCH THIS MIXTURE FOR ANY REASON.

4A. (added to fit posted recipe). Gently warm Coconut oil and lard on low heat. Just heat until they are soft - not liquid. Set aside.

5. Measure your oil into your large soap pot that is on the scale (again, use the tare function). Measure carefully and slowly. Pour the olive oil first, hit tare on your scale, then add the cococonut and lard (scrape every last bit out, using a rubber spatula), hit tare again. Your scale should read 40 ounces.

Set the soap pot with measured oils into the sink basin next to the lye water.

6.[This is where you WOULD measure essential oils and set aside...but not for your first recipe please!].

7. When the lye water is BBW to the touch (that is my own termit means baby bottle warm) you are ready to make soap. You determine this by touching the outside of the container. DO NOT TOUCH THE MIXTURE. Be sure it would be the temperature to feed to a baby (if it wasn't a caustic solution Wink).

Be sure to have the following ready:

Mold is ready, on the counter as close to sink as possible.
Stick blender is ready, plugged in and the cord will not get into soap.
Spatula is handy for scraping the soap into the mould
[Essential oils or additives are measured and close to your soap pot].

Carefully pour the lye water into the measured oils (in your soap pot); immediately begin mixing with your stick blender being careful not to allow the blender to break the surface (you dont want to splatter you can stop the blender to mix from the top down and then turn it back on again). The oil will begin to saponify instantly blending thoroughly is imperative. Scrape the sides with the spatula just as you would with batter.
8. [When soap is at thin cake batter consistency, [add the essential oils or fragrance here - but not on your first recipe!] Blend well (on high). Try not to let soap get to a thick pancake batter consistency [but get the eos blended quickly]. This is called "trace". You pour the soap at trace, when the soap will leave a trailing from a spoon.

9. At trace, pour the soap into the mold, using the spatula to scrape the sides of the pot.

10. Put the molded soap into preheated oven; leave the oven on for about 2-3 hours then turn off heat. Leave soap in the oven for at least 12 hours total. Try not to peek.

11. Remove soap from mold and slice with a smooth knife; arrange on wire racks and allow to cure in a dry, dark place (like a closet).

You will know when the soap is cured completely when you do a tongue test - if you touch your tongue to the soap and you feel a zap the soap is NOT ready to be used. If it simply tastes like salt.its ready!

This recipe has what is known as a "water discount". It will cure much more quickly than other recipes you will find on the net that use a higher % of water. Curing soap is traditionally done for about 4-8 weeks, but you only need to do this to allow the bar to harden so it will last longer. This soap can be used within a day or so, but will be best if allowed to cure for at least week. If you intend on making labels for it, allow another week so that you don't end up with loose wrappers because the bar will shrink slightly.

I will be adding pictures when I get my stupid camera to work!

Any questions, feel free to ask!

on: April 20, 2010 01:31:23 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by imbettinonalice
Relevance: 35.9%
My first batch is now curing!! I took some pics! There were some "oopsies" when I took it out of the mold, but overall, I am very pleased with my first attempt.  Especially since I have never tried anything bath and body.  I didn't trim the sides, but I kinda like the "rugged" look of it. 

Here are all the bars sitting on the rack about to go into the closet.

Closeup of an "oops"...I mentioned before that not all the lard got mixed by my immersion blender.  Well, here it is.  This only happened to a few bars and I'm using it as a "live and learn" thing.

Another pic of the group.

I know someone else mentioned that their soap was kind of oily when they took it out of the mold. Mine was too, but I'm guessing this will dry more as it cures?

Well, what do you think for my first try? Any suggestions?  I'm DEFINITELY trying this again (possibly tonight!) as I just got back from the store where I bought a ton of olive oil.  I'm hooked even though it wasn't a perfect outcome.  I'll still be clean Smiley
on: April 21, 2010 05:41:40 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by imbettinonalice
Relevance: 36%
Ok....Here is Soap Attempt #2.  I used MareMare's helpful tips on this one (thank you!) and I THINK (hope) that this batch is better.  It actually has the texture and smell of soap.  What do you think? 

on: March 06, 2012 10:22:06 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by jillybeans
Relevance: 51.1%
On Friday I read the tutorial and all 23 pages of comments.  ^_^   Saturday I picked up all the supplies I needed and Sunday I made soap for the first time!  YAY!  I think it turned out pretty well!  I licked it this morning and no zap!  So, I tried out a piece and it seems to be working great!  I'm very excited!

on: December 29, 2008 09:31:23 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by Fraugee728
Relevance: 33.3%
Ok, so I got my soap all made...though when I poured it into my loaf pan it didn't seem quite as thick as yours - it didn't fold over itself like it did in your pan - was a lot smoother (seemed thinner).  Maybe I didn't mix it enough?  If so, how will this effect the soap?

Here it is all cut up waiting before I put it in it's dark and dry place to cure:

Also, I used a 9 by 5 loaf pan...and these bars of soap are HUGE!  I think I will stick with trying to find something that's only 4" wide like you used.

And I got some air bubbles in some of the soap, it looks like:

What causes them and what can I do differently to help prevent them?  Or are they just inevitable here and there?

Yay soap!  I'm totally going to go drool over all of the awesome FOs, EOs, molds and colorants that you listed right after the tut right now!
on: July 03, 2009 10:28:51 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by annabanana1234
Relevance: 33.3%
Here is the soap:

I have another question...here is a close up pic of the sides:

I've looked around the internet and found that it is called soda ash. Most places said that it's basically harmless and can be scraped or washed off with no problem. I want to know if there are any tips to minimize this in the future. I used a silicone mold, would a sturdier mold have helped?
on: August 09, 2009 12:22:14 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by fluxxii
Relevance: 33.3%
Thanks so much for this tutorial, it's amazing! I went with this tutorial for my first batch of soap so I can embrace the oven while I still have it. I have a feeling that once I go to college I won't be able to use this method; there's no way a communal oven will stay closed for 12 hours, even with a note! Unless...would this be okay in a toaster oven?

No pictures of my setup, but it wasn't anything special. I worked in my laundry room, since my oven is down there. I used the vegan recipe and it came out SUPER oily. Is that normal, and will it get better when it cures? I'm fairly sure I weighed everything out correctly. Anyway, on to the pictures!

Yay bars! They were super hard to cut because of the oiliness. I could barely get them to stack together because they kept slipping off.

Scraps. This is probably the result of the oil and 3am soapmaking. Can you say rebatch?
on: September 09, 2008 05:13:57 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by MareMare
Relevance: 33.3%
Heehee, I have a funny pic of a goat's milk soap that I got a partial gel on. I did not sell that batch lol! I think it was my second batch of milk soap and I tried to keep it from gelling by putting it outside, but the wood mold holds onto a decent amount of heat on its own. So the outside didn't gel and stayed light colored, but the inside did gel so the inside was much darker.

I found it~Yep, 12 bars of this! I think I swapped some of it, it was still good soap, just ugly.

Oh, and I use a spouted plastic 2 cup measure (like a pyrex shape, but plastic) that I drew a skull and crossbones on so I know it's for lye for measuring the lye crystals. I wipe the outside of it and the lye container with a fabric softener sheet to decrease the static-y lye hopping when you pour.

tracerace~Do you do a water discount with your oven processing? I used to do a pretty deep one (when I was selling a lot, so it would be harder sooner), but then found it just speeded up trace too much I couldn't get decent swirls, and I do love me some swirling! Also I do more of a room temp method, where I don't melt my solid oils at all (except maybe cocoa butter) and using too little of liquid just took forever to melt the hard oils that way.
on: September 09, 2008 09:43:59 AM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by MareMare
Relevance: 33.3%
I just went to find a pic of really bad accelerated trace--i..e soap on a stick! Florals can be some of the worst accelerants, and I had this lotus blossom fragrance that I had never soaped before. It was insane, it literally became solid in the pot in seconds and my spoon was stuck! I ended up heating it on the stove to force it into gel so I could smush it into a mold. I ended up rebatching it but it was still crap. I lost a million pics when my computer crashed, but after searching my myspace, photobucket, and winkflash I found the pic!

on: March 23, 2009 06:30:03 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by Nesse
Relevance: 33.3%
Thanks Nymeria! A friend of mine is prego, and me thinks baby soap would be a perfect gift for her Cheesy

Here's my first batch:

on: April 02, 2009 04:22:27 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by SunflowerSmiles
Relevance: 33.3%
whelp...here is my first batch of soap.....I could not for the life of me get it out of my loaf pan...I lined it...but it went around it...but eventually I got it out...not real pretty but it's my first!  I'm no longer a virgin soaper Cool
on: July 02, 2009 07:23:51 PM 
Started by OhHappyDay, Message by annabanana1234
Relevance: 33.3%
Thanks, OhHappyDay!

I just finished making my very first batch of soap and it's in the oven now. I couldn't wait for the lye that I'd ordered online to get here, so I hunted down an Ace Hardware and there it was. I was so nervous about dealing with the chemical, though, despite the fact that I've handled that (& more) in chem lab in high school/college Cheesy.  I think that I might have used a tad bit more oil than I needed to, but, all in all, everything went pretty smoothly. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

I did have one question, should I have covered the top of the mold with something before I put it in the oven? Is that something you only do when you're doing CP alone?

ETA Pics

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