Note - Before you begin you will need to decide
on a soap recipe.(Check our soapmaking link below for free recipes.) I
would suggest using one that includes Palm or Coconut oil.
These two oils make for a hard bar of soap and have a fairly quick trace
time. Also, it is recommended that you run whatever recipe you choose
through a lye calculator like Soap-Calc or one of the free online ones.
This way you can adjust the lye content to leave the desired amount of
excess fat in your soap. A bar with a lot of excess fat (over 5%)
will moisturize your skin better than one with less than 5% however the
one with less than 5% will leave you feeling cleaner. A lot of this
depends on your skin type.
Making Soap from Scratch
Step One - Prepare your molds.
Molds can be anything from a greased pan to capped pvc pipes or candy molds.
Set up your molds on a flat and level surface. Grease them with PAM.
Make sure you have enough molds ready to accommodate all of your soap mix.
MOLDS : For molds you can use a
wooden or cardboard box lined with saran wrap, candy molds or even a pvc
pipe capped on one end. If you use a pvc pipe all you do is spray
the inside with PAM, pour the solution into the pipe,let it set, and then
uncap and push out the soap. You then can cut it into round pieces. Step Two - Measure out your
water and lye. Dissolve the correct amount of lye in cold water
(Do not use an aluminum container. Use stainless steel, enamel coated steel
or a heat resistant glass container like Pyrex). Do not pour
water into the lye. Pour the lye slowly into the water a little at
a time. Stir until dissolved and let cool. Your previously cold water
will become very HOT in a matter of seconds after stirring in the lye
Allow the lye/water solution to cool to around 110 degrees. At this
point it will be clear.
Step Three - Measure, Mix and Melt
Oils and fat and let cool gradually to around 110 degrees. If your oils
are already in liquid form such as canola oil or corn oil simply heat them
up to around 110 degrees. Make sure the pot that the oil is in is large
enough to hold the oil and lye solution with enough room left over for
stirring without splattering. If you wish you can use a separate
container for mixing the oil and lye. In this case you would pour
the warmed oil into this container prior to step 4.
Step Four - Pour the lye solution
into the oil/fat in a thin, steady, stream with slow, even stirring.
Be careful not to splatter the solution onto yourself or others. Continue
stirring. Depending upon the type of oil you are using the solution
will begin to thicken or trace in between 15 minutes to 3 hours. If you
are using a slow trace recipe you may want to stir for a few minutes and
then let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes and then repeat this process
until a trace appears. (a trace is when you can take a spoonful of the
soap solution and pour a stream across the top of the solution and have
it leave a trace)
Step Five - When the solution
begins to thicken you can add any essential oils or fragrances as well
as any other additives that your recipe calls for. (i.e. Oatmeal,herbs
etc..) Stir these ingredients into the soap mix thoroughly. Step Six - Pour this mixture
into your mold or molds. After you pour the solution into your mold
you should cover it with a towel to keep the soap from cooling to fast.
This will assist the soap in curing.
Step Seven - Let the soap harden
for a day or two and then pop it out of the mold, cut it and let it age
for about 3 weeks before using it.
TIP - You can purchase soap colorants from
a soap supply company or you can use crayons that are made with stearic
acid (most are). To use crayons melt a small piece and add it at
the trace stage.