I am including recipes that fit the mold that is shown on this page. Soapmaking recipes have to be an exact formula, so do not try to experiment with different oils without carefully calculating how much lye you will need to change all of the oils and lye to soap, while leaving about 5-8 % of oils unsaponified to give you a gentle bar of soap. Any more that that and you would get a soap that will eventually turn rancid, any less than that and you would get a soap that will be harsh. I have selected a variety of recipes for you to experiment with until you feel confident enough to create your own recipes. There are a variety of resources on the internet and at the end of these instructions. I have included some addresses of on line calculators that you can go to and experiment with your own recipes. One of the joys of soapmaking is the many varieties of soap you can make. When you use your imagination, you can make soap that is truly your own work of art. Soapmaking recipes are always weighed, except for the water, which is a liquid measurement, so if you are going to be venturing into experimenting with different recipes buy yourself an accurate scale.
This is the recipe that is included with the basic starter kit that we sell. We have used a variety of oils with a variety of properties to make a nice balanced bar of soap. The water measurements are not crucial, but the less water you use, the faster the soap will trace, sometimes at an alarming rate. I have used a water amount that will give a nice amount of time before trace.
87.5 gm Coconut Oil 175 gm Olive Oil
210 gm Lard 385 gm Tallow
115 gm Lye 322 ml Distilled Water
This soap is made with no animal fats. If you are looking for a vegan recipe you could not use the beeswax and the recipe will still be within acceptable limits.
139 gm Coconut Oil 238 gm Olive Oil
160 gm Palm Oil 337 gm Soybean Oil
15 gm Beeswax 120 gm Lye
325 ml Water
The fullers earth makes the soap slippery so the blade will glide over the skin, and the shea butter is added for moisturizing.
44 gm Castor Oil 270 gm Coconut Oil
22 gm Shea Butter 540 gm Tallow
15 gm Beeswax 125 gm Lye
325 ml Water 15 gm of Fullers Earth
Store Bought Soap
This recipe is for someone who wants to go to the grocery store for all of their supplies. The stearic acid is to add a bit of extra hardness, but it speeds up trace to be ready when you start to stir. You can find Stearic Acid at the craft store.
90 gm Coconut Oil 160 gm Olive Oil
10 gm Stearic Acid 624 gm Lard
15 gm Beeswax 119 gm Lye
325 gm Water
There is so much glycerin in hand made soaps that, if you have long hair, you will need a vinegar rinse.
65 gm Castor Oil 162 gm Coconut Oil
550 gm Olive Oil 97 gm Tallow
15 gm Beeswax 119 gm Lye
325 gm Water
Things you can add to your soap:
When you add ingredients, remember that lye is quite caustic and some things may not make it through or mutate in your soap.
Red: 1-3 teaspoons of Madder root added to the water before the lye mixed well gives you a lovely antique rose.
Cochineal (this is a powder derived from the Cochineal bug)
Yellow Iron oxide
Spiralina: fades over time
Hydrated Green Oxide
Cinnamon :do not use too much, some people react to this
Cocoa Powder : Cocoa powder may produce brown lather
Liquid laundry bluing
Peppermint, Oatmeal, Natural blend teas, Chamomile flowers, Orris root, Rosemary, Lemon grass (ground and strained), Pumice, Poppy seeds, Spearmint, Rosin, Green or Red clay, Fullers earth, Vitamin E, Crayons, Candle colors, Fragrance oils, Essential oils.
Actually, the entire list of ingredients is quite endless.
Properties of Oils
This is not a complete list by any means, any oil you can imagine can be made into soap (with a few exceptions like mineral oil).
Olive Oil: Sap Calculation Value .133
Olive oil makes a gentle soap with small slippery bubbles. Some people say that they do not like a soap made with all olive oil because of the texture. Somewhat slimy I think was the description, but 100 % olive oil is considered the finest Castile soap available.
Coconut Oil: Sap Calculation Value .186
This Oil gives incredibly fat bubbles, so many bubbles that a soap made with all coconut oil will not be a long lasting bar. Coconut Oil has a reputation for being drying, but some make a 100 % coconut oil bar that will even lather in salt water and have no problem with drying.
Lard: Sap Calculation Value .137
Lard will give you a very gentle bar of soap without much lather. Use this bar in combination with other oils to make a really smooth gentle bar of soap.
Tallow: Sap Calculation Value .139
In my opinion, this fat makes the best soap available. It makes a hard gentle bar of soap with lots of smooth bubbles. Some people do not like to use animal fats and will go to great lengths to discourage the use of tallow. I respect anyone's right to choose how they live on this planet, and if they are a vegetarian and choose not to eat or use any part of an animal for reasons of personal choice, that is to be admired. On the other hand if you want to make the best bar of soap, tallow should be one of you main ingredients. Tallow is used to make some of the finest soaps in the world today. The finest French triple milled soaps are made with tallow. Bottom line, tallow makes the best bar of soap bar none. (yes, in my opinion)
Palm Oil: Sap Calculation Value .140
Palm oil is considered the tallow of the vegetable oils. It makes a hard gentle bar of soap. If you do not want to have any animal fats in your soap, consider palm oil. In Canada it is hard to find palm, but it is available. This oil is worth the effort to find, if your oils are limited to vegetable oils.
Soybean Oil: Sap Calculation Value .134
This oil gives you a nice white hard bar of soap. It is inexpensive and if you are choosing vegetable soaps, this should be one of your oils.
Castor Oil: Sap Calculation Value .128
This oil gives you copious amounts of lather, but makes a sticky bar of soap so your percentage of this oil should stay under 10 %
Shea Butter: Sap Calculation Value .127
About 15 % of this oil is unsaponafilable*, which means that it will not be made into soap. This gives you an extra gentle and moisturizing bar. A hard to find expensive oil, but if used sparingly will give you a luxury soap, for not that much extra cost.
*for the definition of the word saponify, look on the "final word" page
Cocoa butter: Sap Calculation Value .137
This oil has the reputation of adding the slight smell of chocolate to your soap. I personally have never smelled this. This oil gives your soap a hard smooth texture. A very good oil if you are using a high percentage of soft oils or fats.
Beeswax: Sap Calculation Value .069
Beeswax leaves a nice gloss on soap, it reduces an annoying reaction called ash. Ash is a white powder that appears on the exposed surfaces of you soap. If you would like to see what ash is, it is perfectly safe to leave out the beeswax in your recipe. Beeswax has such a low sap calculation value and we use so little, that no adjustment of the recipe is needed