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All the information you need to get started!

by Susan Dahlem

What is Saponification???

**Saponification - a reaction in which an ester is heated with an alkali,
such as sodium hydroxide, producing a free alcohol and an acid salt,
especially alkaline hydrolysis from a fat or an oil to make soap.

When an acid (fats, oils) and a base (sodium hydroxide) react together and
neutralize into salt, the product is called soap. The method you will learn
about in this tutorial is cold process soapmaking. It is a very simple way
to accomplish something magnificent!! There are many other ways to make soap
but non has called to me like this old fashioned method. So read on and
soon you will be ready to make soap too!!

What do I need to make soap?

Gather all equipment and ingredients ahead of time. READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS
BEFORE BEGINNING. If you have any questions feel free to email me at

Enamelware pot or stainless steel pot. - NEVER USE ALUMINUM

A good quality scale that measures in tenths of ounces - I use a digital
postal scale that measures up to 10#

One wide mouth glass measuring cup or pitcher

At least two spoons - stainless or high heat plastic

Small stainless or glass container for measuring sodium hydroxide (lye)

One small stainless steel wire whisk.

Quick read thermometer that registers 80-200degrees

a pair of well fitting rubber gloves

safety goggles

a mold suitable for your size batch of soap - can be plastic, glass or wood
- lined with freezer paper or greased with shortening

Old Towel

Basic Soap Recipe Ingredients - this is a good recipe to start with...simple ingredients, good quick trace

8 ounces palm kernel oil

4 ounces coconut oil

6 ounces olive oil

2.7 ounces of sodium hydroxide dissolved in 6 ounces of distilled or rain

You may scent this size batch with up to 1 ounces essential or fragrance oil
at trace.

Now you have all your supplies you are ready to MAKE SOAP!!!

Allow yourself 1 1/2 hours for making a batch of soap - and use extreme
caution! Sodium Hydroxide is a very dangerous substance AND so is your raw

Prepare your mold ahead of time. Spread out an old towel. You will wrap
your soap in the towel after pouring and covering with plastic wrap.

Use safety goggles and rubber gloves from the time you start until you are
finished cleaning up after your soapmaking. Always keep lye, lye water and
raw soap out of reach of children and pets. Lye is caustic in both dry and
wet form and will burn your skin, can blind you and will ruin just about any
painted surface or linoleum floor. So BE CAREFUL! Now that all of that is
out of the way...let's make some soap!!!

In your glass measuring cup with a spout or glass wide mouth jar, put
measured amount of cold water. NEVER POUR LYE INTO WARM WATER- IT WILL
CREATE A VOLCANO! Stir in lye until all is dissolved - DO NOT INHALE FUMES.
Set aside in a safe place to cool down to about 100 degrees. Check it often

In the meantime, over low heat melt your solid oils in a stainless or
enamelware pot that will accommodate both the oils and water when mixed.
When they are melted, remove from heat and add olive oil. Check your
temperature on the oil and keep a watch - both lye water and oils need to be
about 100 degrees. You may need to give one or the other a hot water or
cold water bath to bring them to the right temps. Water baths are simple..
just put either cold water or hot water in one side of your sink and sit
container of either lye water or oils in it till it reaches desired temp.
This takes a little practice but works well.

When both lye water and oils are around 100 degrees you will now mix the two
Pour the lye water in a steady slow stream into the oils, stirring
constantly and consistently in a circular the circle 8 pattern, alternating
between the two. This will cause saponification**. YEAH!!!

Continue to stir, noting the changes in your mixture. It will eventually
become slightly thicker and more creamy looking. Continue to stir until the
mixture traces...this is when your mixture is think enough to support a drop
or dribble of it on its surface. It should be the consistence of thin
pudding. This can take 30 minutes to an hour or more. This is the point to
add your fragrance and/or additives (lavender buds, French green clay are
just suggestions*) if desired. If making plain soap - pour into prepared

After pouring your soap, cover with plastic wrap and then wrap the towel
over and back again until it covers the mold well. This is to insulate the
soap and allows it to continue saponification at a constant temperature and
will keep it from cooling too quickly which might prevent your soap from
getting hard enough.

After 18-24 hours, unmold the soap and remove any plastic wrap that might be
clinging to the soap. Let the soap sit another 12-24 hours before cutting
into bars. Stack the bars as to allow air to circulate around them and let
them cure for 4-6 weeks or more. You may even leave your soap in a log and
cut off as you need it.

*If you use botanicals or clays, it is best to put a little mixture into a
bowl, mix in the additive and then pour and stir it back in the batch.
Mixing well.

Susan Dahlem is AKA TheSoapMaven has been making soap for many years and is available to answer your questions. Her wonderful homemade soap is available at her website.

You may learn more at her website:

Or you may contact her privately at:

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