This has been a busy month preparing for holiday events in town. I am so thankful to be back here sharing a new skill I recently learned from my very own Ma. Soap is something I’ve wanted to make for years but haven’t made time for it, as the lye factor intimidated me a great deal. This is a hot process countertop recipe and takes all of 20-40 minutes to set up and make. That means you can use it as soon as it sets up! It has been so fulfilling learning to make my own soap, watching the suds emerge under water and knowing that I am providing a product for my family that will stand the test of time.
What you’ll need:
- Household 100% Lye from the hardware store
- Distilled Water
- Coconut oil or pure lard
- Olive oil
- Fragrance if desired
- Safety glasses
- Face mask
- Large stainless steel pot to dedicate to soap making
- Access to a stove top
- Stick blender
- Scale measuring ounces
- Soap molds
- Mixing spoon to dedicate to soap making
- 2 small to medium-size bowls to dedicate to lye use only
- Spoon strictly for lye
Simple Soap Recipe: Yields 12 bars
- 12.16 oz of distilled water
- 4.844 oz of lye
- 16 oz of coconut oil or pure lard
- 16 oz olive oil
- 1 oz essential oil
- Choose a time that you will have no interruptions
- Measure oils and prepare fragrance (1oz) or additives being sure to “tare” off the weight of the bowl every time you measure a new substance.
- Prepare pot on the stove and thermometer next to your station. You can transfer oils to the pot now but refrain from heating oils until set up is complete. Set up stick blender, mixing spoon and frangrance on your covered counter.
- Put on safety glasses, mask and gloves. On a covered surface, measure distilled water in one bowl. In another bowl, carefully measure lye. Get as close as you can to exact measurements.
- Begin heating oils on medium heat. At an oil temperature of 140 degrees it’s about time to mix lye into the distilled water. In a well circulated environment or outdoors, slowly pour lye crystals into your distilled water stirring as you pour with your head turned so as not to breathe in the chemicals. The mixture will remain cloudy for a bit. The bowl will begin to heat rapidly from the chemical reaction. Leave to set up to a clear liquid briefly.
- Once your oils reach 200 degrees, remove from heat and transfer to covered countertop area. It is now time to carefully pour your water/lye mixture into your oils on the countertop station. Mix immediately with stick blender until thick enough to see your stream of liquid. This is often referred to as “trace” when it represents pudding. Cover with plastic wrap for a minute or so or until it begins to “volcano.” This happens quickly.
- Mix through the stages of blending where your mixture looks like mashed potatoes, then applesauce and finally vaseline, covering briefly between eruptions. It will continually volcano until you near the end of the cycles. Remain close to your project. The vaseline stage means you can take your protective gear off because it is now soap!
- Mix in oils or additives with your large spoon. Once you’ve mixed it all consistently, transfer to your soap molds.
- Smack your soap mixture in the mold on the counter a couple of times to compact the soap. Let set up over night or if you’re in a real hurry to see and use your soap… you can freeze it for 3 hours.
- Cut evenly and dry on racks, slightly spread out.
I wanted to make an all natural and simple soap for our family. I added Devil’s Club bark that I had soaked in oil for the alternative use of healing salve. For this soap, the healing factor of the Devil’s Club will mostly likely not come through, as brief hand washes hardly allow for the medicine to set in. What I was really after was using the fullness of the bark for an exfoliating factor. The real plus is that my husband also loves this soap and my son loves the suds! I will be selling this particular bar of soap at The Frame Shop through my handmade business Rope + Line for the holiday market after Thanksgiving.
Thanks Mom for the lesson!