Beginner Bar Soap

Make your own tallow and lye soap with this beginner-friendly guide.

Readers, this is the fourth of 12 basic homestead skills we’ll be presenting every month throughout 2019 from Kimberlee Bastien’s new book, 52 Homestead Skills. We invite you to join Kimberlee and her family on their homesteading journey. Visit 52 Homestead Skills to learn more about this series. You can buy Kimberlee’s book via our online Store.


Some people collect comic books, coins or antiques. I collect bars of soap. When I go on vacation, I like to seek out specialty soap stores and blissfully bury my nose in one beautiful scented variety after another. And then dream of making my own from the honey and wax I harvest from my hives.

Until recently, I’ve been afraid of using lye, a caustic chemical that can burn your skin and even blind you. But when I saw an advertisement for  a soap workshop with ZOLI Handcrafted Soaps in Memramcook, New Brunswick, I knew I had to try making my own.

It turns out lye is not as scary as I’d thought — so long as you take the proper safety precautions, such as wearing goggles and gloves. You’ll also want to wear long sleeves. Save your flowy, Boho clothes for another day; you’ll want to wear something snug fitting for soap making.


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