Over the past year, I have revisited the art of soap making several times now.
Each time, the results get better. It began with getting over my fear of lye. Followed by my need to understand the technique. And eventually, I was able to play with ingredients. I have now found both a recipe and technique that I enjoy.
I’ve settled on a more affordable grape seed blend rather than a pure olive oil. I’ve also adjusted my technique to transition from hand mixed to mechanically blended. This change not only sped up the initial soap making process, but also the process of solidification.
Before beginning, gather your materials and set up the work stations. Below are my work stations.
Station 1: This is the first station. It consists of the scale, measuring cup, and oils. Everything should be next to the stove top equipped with a large stock pot. Also, have a thermometer near by.
Station 2: This is a mixing station for the lye and water. Use a well ventilated space away from pets and children. I use a secluded bathroom with the door open and fan on. Be sure you have a disposable mixing dish and chemical proof gloves.
Near your mixing station, have a larger soap mixing bucket and spoon or immersion blender ready to use.
- 40 oz. Grape seed Oil Blend
- 10 oz. Coconut Oil
- 16 oz. Water
- 6.9 oz. Lye
- 1 oz. Tea-tree Oil
- Set aside all of the ingredients and prepare the work stations.
- Measure the water and lye. Combine in a disposable plastic container. Set aside.
- Measure the grape seed and coconut oils. Heat in a stockpot over medium-low heat until combined. Be sure not to allow the oil to exceed 110 degrees.
- Pour the heated oils into the prepared mixing bucket. Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils.
- Gently mix until the mixture becomes cloudy.
- Once the mixture becomes cloudy, begin to pulse the mixture in bursts with an immersion blender. Slowly begin to blend consistently.
- When the mixture begins to thicken, add the essential oil.
- Continue to blend until the mixture has thickened.
- Pour the mixture into molds.
- Place the molds where they will not be disturbed. Allow them to sit for 3-4 days or until solid.
- Once solid, remove from the molds and allow to rest undisturbed 3-4 days more.
- Cut the soap into bars and allow to rest 1 week more until hardened.
As a note, be careful to wear your chemical proof gloves when working with the lye until the mixture begins to thicken.
Feel free to try a different essential oil. I enjoy using tea-tree oil, but lavender or mint are popular choices as well.
What is your favorite essential oil?