Soap Making for Dummies?

basilmomFebruary 20, 2003

I have read WAY too many books about soapmaking and now my brain is too full (too many contradictory opinions). I haven't made a single batch yet...So far, I really liked The Soapmakers Companion best and there is a base, beginners recipe that I want to try. BUT, I went to Amazon and read some reviews about the book and an experienced soap maker said it was a horrible recipe and took 2 hours to trace (by hand even).

Does anyone have a good basic recipe that could be recommended?

Also, what is a "stick blender"? I came across that on the Amazon reviews too.

Thanks for any advice.

Tracy, who reads too much.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Truthfully, I have never read a book on soap making (or candle making, for that matter and I make and sell both). I make Melt and Pour soap, and it's great fun. Don't know a thing about Cold Process- too complicated for me, which would take the fun out of it. Anyway, I stir my soap bases with a plastic spoon, like a wooden spoon but it's plastic. I didn't know if a wooden one would absorb moisture from the base (like when your melting chocolate) or not.
P.S. Welcome aboard!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2003 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When i did CP soap, I just picked A recipe, & went for it. Everyone has their OWN favorites & it's just something you will have to play with. My PERFECT recipe may not work well for you because we are BOTH going to be measuring differently, stirring differently, have different room temps at our homes etc, & ALL of that WILL affect a recipe. There are lots of BASIC recipes out there. Pick out a couple different ones & try them to see what you like. Make notes (you'll have plenty of time while stirring.....) so you can remember specifics about each one.

And I believe a "stick" blender is one of the straight, hand held blenders you can get to do drinks in a glass, milk shakes etc.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

aren't those stick blenders like the ones they use on those cooking shows? They kinda look like boat motors?


    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There probably is one of those yellow/black covered books on "soapmaking for dummies". I know they have one for aromatherapy.....


    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone. I have chosen a couple of recipes, and I'll just start with the one that looks the easiest :). NOW, buying supplies...any favorite places or site that you all can recommend? BTW I am interested in CP.

Oh, and don't I feel dumb that I couldn't figure out what a stick blender was...I've had one in my cabinet for years but never remember to use it!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 2:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just got my lye at the local hardware store or grocery store, but found that red devil was the best. some of the "store brands" had bits of metal in them....which is fine if your cleaning out a drain, but does NOTHING to improve the quality of soap......
(I should say-DH was sent out to get RED DEVIL brand, BUT he decided to SAVE me some money [only a few cents difference] by geting the store brand. Needless to say, he had to go back out.......).

The recipe I used called for vegetable shortening & olive oil, so I just went to Sams club & got it there.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hazel, thank you for mentioning that your first recipe had nothing fancy. I searched (and searched) and finally found a recipe with 3# shortening, distilled water, lye, honey and ground oats. The honey and oats are added at trace, There were no directions with it so I'm going to do the steps as with all the other recipes. My biggest quandry is that it didn't say how much the rcipe makes...I guess I'll set several containers out and figure it out then!

Keep your fingers crossed for me...I'm doing it tonight! (I am so scared!)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2003 at 6:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you check your books it should give the size on a "standard" wooden box soap mold (makes 28 bars, about 3.5 oz, if I remember correctly), maybe something like 12" x 10" x 4". Remember you need something you can comfortably be able to cover for about 24 hrs to insulate it & keep the heat in, & still be able to cut decent sized bars.
I think my reciped called for something like 2-3 lbs of vegetable shortening, plus the oil, water, & lye. Then I just added rose fragrance oil at trace, poured & covered, wrapped & let set.(I wanted to peek so badly, but I waited....)
Best of luck!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2003 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read lots of books, got discouraged by the exotic oils I couldn't find/afford and then I found the MMS lye calculator. You enter the amounts of the oils you have, it tells you how much lye and water to add (a little heavy on the water but it still works). You can choose how superfatted you want the soap to be and poof! you have a recipie. It doesn't give you warnings about things like too much coconut oil making a drying soap and things like that, but it's very helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: MMS lye calculator

    Bookmark   April 5, 2003 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know what? I've made 14 batches since I last posted! I am a soapaholic and I have easily spent $300.00 in supplies...dh has made me 4 different molds...I am a wreck! All I do is think about soap! And now I'm curious about lotions and balm and bath salts and....

Thanks for your tips here. It is what really got me going!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2003 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Another place to check if buying supplies online (if you don't already know about it) is Sherrie's Soapmaking Oils Comparison. It compares the prices on pretty much every place to buy from out there and has links so you can check out their site right away. My personal favorites are From Nature With Love, Essential Oil University, and The Pigment Lady.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soapmaking Oils Price Comparisons

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 5:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a great tip! Thank you so very much. There are times when I'm trying to compare and my head starts to hurt from switching screens so much....this is a valuable resource!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just noticed that that site was last updated Nov. 2000...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Susan - I read that you make melt & pour soap. I am, relatively new to soap making. I have made sev. batches of melt & pour glycerin soap. Do you have a glycerin soap recipe, for milk & honey soap. Also a glycerin recipe that calls for palm oil. I only make glycerin soap & can't find these 2-recipes. I would really appreciate, your help. Thank you, so much. Tina_2

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello there!

I was faced with the same problem when I searched for basic soap recipes a while ago. But, since then I found quite a few which I posted on my blog. The easiest soap recipe EVER can be found on my blog in the Glycerin category, 3 ingredients and takes about 5 minutes to make.

Happy soap making!

Here is a link that might be useful: Make Soap At Home

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 8:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello everyone,

I'm also a frustrated soap maker. I really want to learn how to make bath soap that can give a flawless and smooth skin to the one who will use it. It's a great give away.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know anything about CP soap. But if you want to try Melt & Pour, I can tell you something. I get the best bath soap from a Shea Butter Base. I like the base from Peak Candle the best.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:18AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
soy candle wicking issues
I started making soy candles a few months ago. I am...
Candle newbie - problems topping off
Hi, everyone. I'm new to the candle making hobby, but...
Where to get pretty soap labels?
Hi, I was wondering where I could get some pretty soap...
New pouring/melting pot discoloration
Hi all, I'm new to this forum and candle making. I...
Can I make soap using lotion?
Does anyone know if I can use hand lotion to make soap?...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™