Saturday, March 31, 2012

Try our Soap Recipes for Making Homemade Soap and easy, no-fail Recipes

Soap recipes and homemade soap recipes with easy step-by-step instructions on how to make soap at home. Make your own handmade soap without lye.

Try these soap making recipes for handmade soap. If you missed the first page to this topic visit the how to make soap page which will give you an introduction to soap making, the equipment you need and the precautions you need to take when using lye.

The hand-milled homemade soap recipes allow you to make soap without coming into contact with lye. So, effectively, you are making no lye soap, although technically, it had lye initially to cause a chemical process resulting in soap as a finished product. So, for those of you who would like to make your own soap without using lye are a raw material, these soap making recipes are the answer. They are soaps that are created using store-bought, unscented, white bars. Baby soaps are perfect for this.


Handmade soap on a stone with a shellPhoto © Malene Thyssen
Here is a soap that you can re-batch, call your own and here you are making soap without using lye or caustic soda. Therefore it is safe, fun and can be used for kids crafts too.

Grate 2 cups of your chosen store-bought white soap, or your homemade Castile soap
Place grated soap in a heat-resistant glass bowl

Add 1/4 cup of water

Take a pot of water simmer over a low heat. Place bowl over the pot of simmering water and heat gently until melted. Do not stir, although you will be tempted. If you do, you will add bubbles to your soap that you don't really want.

Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup rubbed sage. Fold in carefully to mix in ingredients without adding bubbles.

Take a suitable mold, such as an ice cream box, which as been pre-smeared in a thin coating of petroleum jelly to ensure that your soap will be released easily.

Pour your soap into the mold and place in fridge to set.

Once set remove from fridge and release from mold. Place on a cake rack for 3 weeks to dry completely.

Once your soap is dry, cut up your bars accordingly and wrap as desired.

This is a basic homemade soap recipe that you can then use to substitute sage for oatmeal, add a teaspoon of saffron or paprika for coloring etc. Just remember that food colorings are not suitable color additives for making soap.


  • 3/4 cup grated white unscented soap
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil

Make this soap using the same homemade soap recipe as above.


Here you will be using small quantities to start off with, so if you mess it up it's no big deal. Remember, that for your soap to be successful you have to measure your ingredients accurately, make sure that both the temperatures of the lye water and the oils are at 95°F when you mix them together, and that the soap has been sufficiently mixed together so that it has reached the 'trace' stage. When the spoon is dragged through the soap mixture and it leaves an indentation for a few seconds, your mixture has began to turn to soap. This can take from 10 minutes to an hour of mixing.
  • 6 oz coconut oil
  • 6 oz olive oil
  • 5 oz vegetable shortening
  • 2.6 oz lye
  • 1 cup water (8 fluid ounces)

Using your safety glasses, and gloves, carefully combine the lye and water in a glass jar. It will heat up fast, so be careful.

Stir until dissolved and then place the lye in a sink full of ice and water to get it to cool to 95°F.

Melt the vegetable shortening in a stainless steel pot over a low heat. Add the coconut oil and the olive oil. 

Mix well and heat to 95°F.

Make sure that both the lye water and the oils are at 95°F. Now add together carefully, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to trace.

Pour into molds and leave for 24 hours. Release from molds, cut into bars and leave on a wire rack for 3 - 4 weeks to harden. This recipe makes about 5 bars.

Variation: Add 2 tablespoons of oatmeal after the soap has reached the 'trace' stage. Mix thoroughly and then pour into molds as usual.


Again this is a soap recipe for a small batch of soap for you to try out when you first begin making soap. If it turns out a disaster, then at least you haven't wasted a lot of money and ingredients.

 This recipe will make 1 bar of soap.

Mix 5 teaspoons of lye with 1/2 cup of water. Add 1 cup of lard, and whatever extras you may wish to add.

Follow the instructions for making soap.


Castile soaps are so called, because the main oil that is used in these soap making recipes is olive oil.
  • 16 oz water
  • 6 oz lye
  • 16 oz olive oil
  • 8 oz coconut oil
  • 17 1/2 oz shortening

Not forgetting your safety glasses and gloves, mix the water and the lye in a large glass bowl or stainless steel pot. The water mixture will get very hot, so take care.

Heat the oils and the shortening over a low heat, stirring often. Heat to about 95°F. This will take about 30 - 40 minutes.

Check the temperature of both the lye water and the oil mixture as both should reach about 95°F at the same time. If one is hotter than the other, place in a sink of cold water to get the temperature down to match the other.

Once the temperatures are even then add the lye to the oils, stirring constantly.
From 10 minutes to an hour of stirring, the mixture should begin to 'trace'. This means that when a spoon is dragged through the mixture, an indentation is left behind for a few seconds. If you do not stir your soap to the point of tracing, then when the soap is poured it will separate into levels of lye and oils, and your soap will not be successful. Once tracing has been reached this is the time to add any herbs, plants or essential oils to your soap, if desired.

Pour your soap into suitable plastic molds, cover with lids and wrap in a heavy blanket for 24 hours.
Once the soaps have hardened they should leave the the molds very easily. If you have trouble, in the future you can use a thin coating of Vaseline on your mold to help with the un-molding process.

You can cut your soap into smaller bars at this stage and leave on a wire rack for 3 - 4 weeks to air dry and harden.

SOAP MAKING RECIPES for ALOE VERA SOAP * Based on the recipe above

  • 1x 4oz bar of Castile soap, grated
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 30 drops evening primrose oil
  • 6 drops tangerine essential oil
  • 4 drops juniper essential oil

Take a flat baking tray and line the base with waxed paper. Set aside.

In a glass bowl mix the Aloe Vera gel, the rosewater and evening primrose oil and leave overnight.

The next morning beat the mixture thoroughly. Add the essential oils drop by drop, mixing well after each addition.

Wet your hands, and taking a small amount of mixture ( about 1/3 of a cup at a time) form it into balls.

Place the balls on your baking tray that has been lined with waxed paper.

Leave until dry and firm.


  • 500 ml distilled water
  • 175 g caustic soda
  • 1.1 kg tallow or fat
  • 50 g honey
  • 225 g coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar "burnt" so that it caramelizes for the coloring.

Follow the same soap making process below for the Hard Laundry Soap Recipe, adding the honey and coconut oil to the tallow as it melts.

Variations on the above soap making recipe

Add a few drops of perfumed oil to the soap just before you pour it out.

Add half a cup of powdered milk to this homemade soap recipe just before you pour it out for a very smooth, rich, moisturizing soap.

Add half a cup of honey just before you pour it out for a rich, clean soap

Add chamomile or parsley tea, or tea made of calendula petals and hot water instead of water in the recipe - these are all soothing herbs which make a mild soap.

Replace part of the oil with avocado or almond oil for a very rich moisturizing soap.


  • 2 oz Sandalwood essential oil
  • 1/2 oz Sandalwood powder
  • 14 oz tepid water
  • 6 oz lye
  • 18 oz coconut oil
  • 6 oz palm oil
  • 12 oz olive oil
  • 4 oz wheat germ oil

Combine the Sandalwood oil and powder together and set aside.

Blend the water and lye together carefully. Set aside and cool to 95°F.

Gently heat the coconut oil and palm oil together over a low heat. Add the olive oil and the wheat germ oil and then heat to 95°F.

Once the temperatures are the same, mix the lye water into the oils.

Stir the mixture until it reaches the 'trace' stage. Now add the Sandalwood mixture. Stir thoroughly and put into suitable molds.

Leave the soap to set and solidify for about 24 hours. Release the soap from the molds, cut into bars and place on a wire rack to air dry for 3 - 4 weeks.
homemade soap


These are great soaps to make, firstly because they can be made for cheap and novel gifts, and secondly, even the kids can get involved.

  • 350 g Lux Soap Flakes
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Place the soap flakes - such as Lux - into a large bowl, adding the water and the oil. Mix these ingredients with a spoon. Know knead the mixture with your hands until it resembles play dough. Divide the soap 'dough' into 16 portions by scooping out a rounded tablespoon of soap mixture for each portion, shaping each portion into a ball.

Place one tablespoon of each of the seeds and spices into 4 separate bowls or saucers. Quickly dip a soap ball in a small bowl of cold water then roll it between your hands to evenly wet the surface. Now drop the soap ball into the sesame bowl, dry your hands then spin the bowl around to coat the soap ball evenly with sesame seeds. Roll and press the seed-coated soap ball between your hands to 'fix' the seeds. Working with one seed or spice at a time, repeat this step to coat the remaining soap balls.
These soaps do not need to cure.


  • 2 quarts strained rendered beef fat (fat around kidneys is best)
  • 1 can lye (14-16 oz)
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 2 tablespoons borax dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Carefully combine the lye and water in a glass jar. It will heat up fast, so be careful.

Stir until dissolved and then place the lye in a sink full of ice and water to get it to cool to 98°F.

Cool the melted beef fat in the same manner to get it down to 98°F too.

When the right temperature has been achieved, add the lye solution into the beef fat and stir well.

Add the ammonia and the borax and continue to stir until it is thick; like honey.

Pour into wooden mold or a glass baking pan that has been coated with a light coating Vaseline to prevent it from sticking.

After 24 hours, cut into bars and allow to harden in a dry place. Grate and use after 3-4 weeks.


This homemade soap recipe uses caustic soda, so please take the necessary safety precautions.
  • 500 gm caustic soda
  • 3 kg clean fat, or olive, coconut, sunflower oil, or a combination.
  • 2 liters of cold water or herbal tea

Weigh the caustic soda with gloves and goggles on. Pour water or herbal tea into a jug and add the lye, slowly. It will bubble and heat at this stage, so take care. Set aside to cool while you are measuring the fat.
Melt the fat if necessary, or heat oil to 30 degrees centigrade. The lye (caustic soda / water mixture) should also be at 30 degrees centigrade. Pour the lye into the fat or oil, stirring continuously until well mixed and sponification takes place. This can take as long as 20 minutes or more. When the mixture becomes thick and opaque you have reached that stage. Stop stirring!

Both the lye and the oil need to be at the same temperature or the soap will separate.
Pour mixture into molds and cover with a blanket to stop it cooling too quickly. If an oil film develops on the top, stir again; you may have to do this several times. Soaps made with oil are more likely to react in this way and separate.

After 4 weeks, cut the soap into bars. It should be firm, but not hard at this stage. Now allow to dry and harden for at least another month before using.


  • 3 kg fat
  • 5 tbsp borax
  • 3 tbsp kerosene
  • 1 tbsp resin

Mix together half a kerosene tin of clean wood ash with 1 kg of lime and 2 3/4 kg of washing soda. Boil this in one kerosene  tin of rain water for 1 hour.

Stand overnight, well covered with hessian bags.

In the morning strain, place in a clean vessel, add fat, borax, kerosene and resin.  Boil for 3 hours stirring often.

Pour into wet mold, and when cold cut into bars. Store to dry for one month before using.

Well, we hope you have enjoyed reading our soap making recipes and feel inspired to try some out yourself. If you have any problems drop us a line through our Craft Forum. We would love to hear from you.
old fashioned soap making
Old-Fashioned Soap Making
Photo courtesy of NY Public Library.

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