How To Make Cold Process Soap Tutorial

This is an easy, mild olive oil soap, good for
beginners to learn the basic steps needed to make Cold
Processed Soap.

cold process soap picture

Recipe: (Makes 8 lbs.)

  • 24 oz. olive oil
  • 24 oz. coconut oil
  • 38 oz. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 11.8 oz. lye
  • 30 oz. distilled water
  • 3 to 4 oz. any essential or fragrance oil

Equipment Needed:

  • Scale that weighs in pounds and ounces
  • Large one gal. stainless steel or enamel pot (use
    this exclusively for soapmaking)
  • Two plastic pitchers, 2 to 3 qt. size
  • Hand stick blender (optional, but makes tracing
    much easier)
  • Plastic measuring cup 2 to 3 cup size
  • Two wooden or plastic spoons (one for the lye and
    one for the oils. Use these
    exclusively for soapmaking)
  • Two kitchen thermometers (one for the lye and one
    for the oils must read to
    over 100 degrees)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Clear plastic container with snapon lid 8″ x 11″
    x 3″ deep, or wooden soap mold
    lined with freezer paper
  • Large piece of cardboard the size of the wooden
    mold, used as a lid
  • Old blanket
  • Freezer paper or plastic garbage bags


Be sure to allow for
the weight of the containers. Lye (Sodium Hydroxide NaOH) All ingredients
should be weighed.

Begin by putting on your goggles and rubber gloves and weigh out 2 ozs. of
lye into one of the plastic containers. Weigh out 32 oz of distilled water
into the other container. Slowly and in a steady stream pour the lye into
the water, stirring until dissolved. Do this in a well ventilated area and
try not to splash. Let the lye/water mixture sit until the temperature
reaches between 100-125 degrees (unless otherwise stated by the recipe you
are using). This may take several hours, but if you’re in a hurry you can
place the container in a cold water bath to bring down the temperature

In the meantime, get your oils ready by weighing out 24 oz. of coconut oil
and 38 oz. of vegetable shortening and placing them into your pot. Heat them
up just until they melt and then remove from heat and add the 24 ozs. of
olive oil. Stir to incorporate and put one of the thermometers into the pot
to check the temperature. The oils will also have to be between 100-125
degrees (unless otherwise stated by the recipe you are using). Both the
lye/water mixture and the oils will have to be at the same temperature
before incorporating them.

Prepare your additives. Start with just 3-4 ozs. of essential oil or a
combination of essential oils (blend). *Note- (some essential oil scents are
stronger, so use less, some are lighter and you may add more depending on
your preference). Also, measure 1/4 cup of any dried herbs or flowers
(optional). Its best to start simple for your first batch. You can also add
1-3 tablespoons of pigment (optional) for coloring.

Grease the clear plastic container that you’re using as your mold and place
a piece of freezer paper on the bottom of the container for easy release OR
line the container with a plastic garbage bag. If you are using our wooden
soap mold, line it with freezer paper.

Check the temperature of the lye and oils. When they reach between 90-100 degrees,
its time to “make soap.” Slowly pour the lye/water mixture into the oils,
stirring continuously. You may continue to stir using a spoon or switch to
the stick blender. Stir or blend in all the lye and you will begin to see
the mixture thicken. Just as the mixture thickens to the point where you see
tracks or “trace” in the soap, add essential oils and any dried ingredients
or colorants. Remove about 2 cups of the mixture and add the colorant to the
2 cups. Then add that back into the pot. Continue to stir or blend until you
see designs on the top of the soap (this is known as tracing and can happen
in 10-40 minutes depending on the temperature of your mixture). Quickly add
the mixture to the mold. Cover with the lid. *Note* if the soap mixture does
not fill the mold to the top, place a piece of freezer paper on top of the
soap and then put the lid or a piece of cardboard on the container. This
will prevent soda ash. Wrap in blankets and place in an undisturbed area for
18 hrs. Remove the blankets and lid and leave the soap in the mold for
another 12 hrs.

You should have a nice hard block of fresh soap which you can now remove
from the mold. Let the block of soap sit for a day to firm up or slice into
bars or chunks immediately. Then place bars in an open box or drying rack
for 2 weeks or longer. Don’t allow the bars to touch one another. The soap
should be cured completely after 2 weeks, but the longer it cures, the
milder and harder it will be.


bar soap molds


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