The recipe I use is from the blog Oh the Things We’ll Make. I like this Easy, Beginner Soap recipe because the clear instructions are easy to follow and it’s actually from scratch, without using a “soap base.” Using this recipe you can make many variations.
A few notes:
I triple the recipe, which makes 12 bars of soap. I use silicone muffin pans as molds – 2 pans, 6 in each.
If you are adding extra ingredients for fragrance or texture, it will take up more space so you will have some overflow. You can put the extra in any disposable plastic container to set. It’s easy enough to pop out after it dries, and you can cut it into pieces depending on what size you want.
The “trace” stage of making soap is when you can add your fragrance oils, herbs or anything else you may want to include in your soap. In the batch I have pictured here, I added a heaping half cup of fresh ground coffee, 3 tbsp vanilla essential oil and 3 tbsp cinnamon essential oil.
Why Coffee? Coffee is a natural deodorizer and exfoliant, leaving your skin smooth and soft 🙂 It does not, however, add any particular coffee smell. If you desire such a smell, you can purchase a coffee fragrance oil.
Is it dangerous to use lye for making soap? Lye is an ingredient that has been used to make soap for generations! The saponification process renders lye neutral in 72 hours. During this time, contact with the skin should be avoided. (In the interest of full disclosure: I flip my soap by hand after the first 24 hours and have been fine.) Please use your judgement, you can always turn your soap using gloves, or with tongs.
What is saponification? The word literally translates to “soap making.” In simplest terms, it is the chemical reaction of an acid (animal or vegetable fat) with a base (lye) to make a salt (the soap).
Why do I need to wait a month to use my soap? Soap needs three-four weeks to fully harden; if it is too moist when used, it will dissolve away much faster. Each of my bars lasts about a month, give or take!