Soothe Your Skin with Handmade Soap

In just a few hours, you can save money and create unique scents and fun homemade gifts by splashing into the world of soap-making.

| Dec. 18, 2008

  • Handmade soap
    Create your own soap scents by experimenting with different kinds of essential oils.

  • Handmade soap

Making handmade soap is something easy and fun that anyone can do in just a couple of hours. By making soap at home, you can ensure that your skin will be chemical-free while remaining soft and soothed. Allow your nose to flirt with different scents, whether it’s a classic such as lavender, or a combination that you create. With thousands of scents to choose from, your inventions can be endless. So try making your own soap: Your skin and nose deserve it!

Let the Bubbles Begin! Basic Supplies

Before you start, you’re going to need the following supplies:

  • Shoebox size plastic container with a lid, that can be used as a mold (You also can use a store-bought mold or even muffin tins.)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses (when handling lye)
  • Scale
  • 2 wide-mouth glass containers (one must be able to hold 2 quarts)
  • 2 slotted wooden spoons (devoted to soap-making)
  • 1 gallon or larger stainless-steel or enamel kettle (don’t use aluminum)
  • 2 cup measuring cup
  • Small stainless-steel wire whisk
  • Thermometer that measures between 80 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Towels or rags
  • Blankets (to keep mixture warm while it turns into soap)

Special Ingredients

To make a specific scent, you will need scented oils that you can find at your local health foods or botanical store, or you can make infusions yourself with fresh herbs. All you need to do is to infuse the herbs in oil — like olive oil or another light oil base — by heating them together. To learn how to do this, read Body and Soul from The Herb Companion.

Once you have your scented oils, you can make your soap. An easy way to do it is to use an already-made soap base that you can most likely find at a local natural products store. You also can order online from places like the Soap Salon or the Sun Feather Natural Soap Co. There are many other places to buy soap bases, but remember to make sure the products are all natural for a completely organic experience. For this easier method of making soap, read Soothing Soaps. Or you can make the soap base yourself by using lye and different types of fats. Read General Notes on Soap-making or Scented Essentials: How to Make Soap for more on this method.

More Recipes and Tips

Read How to Make Soap for more general soap-making advice before you begin.

To try out lots of soap recipes, check out Scented Essentials. The article lists nine different recipes that use ingredients such as lavender, chamomile, garden mint and more. There are even a couple of soap recipes for men. While some may stereotype scented soap as “feminine,” there are many scents that men can enjoy besides just Mountain Fresh. For more masculine soap recipes, read The Scent of a ... Man.

2/19/2012 9:01:51 PM

I fully agree with 'a wild soap bar's comment. It is essential to do your homework before you even start thinking about sharing or selling your soap and a few batches is definitely not enough experience. I would also like to say that wooden spoons are not appropriate for use with lye. Lye will deteriorate the wood and splinters will end up in your soap....use stainless steel utensils. and glass jars are not the best thing to use with the lye, either. It gets very hot and can break the glass...sending lye/water all over your work area. Not all recipes , nor all instructions are safe. Learn from an experienced person or join an online group at the very least, for help in learning to make soap safely.

1/20/2010 2:36:56 PM

I add cocoa butter to my soap--it's moisturizing and smells great! Also, essential oils work better, despite the higher price, than scented oils because then you get all the healing properties of EOs in your soap!

a wild soap bar
3/28/2009 7:17:53 AM

Before rushing out to sell your sure that you've done your homework (this should take months or even years) and you have lots and lots of successful batches under your belt. Then please price your soap to sufficiently compensate yourself for all the hard work and time you've put into it. The last thing we need are more uninformed hobbyists selling inferior soaps at dirt cheap prices... ruining it for those of us who are responsible and are trying to make a living with this craft.

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