Makes 3 pounds Soap
11.5oz Coconut Oil 76
11.5oz Pomace Olive Oil
3oz Shea Butter Refined
2oz Castor Oil
2oz Fragrance or Essential Oil
Flat Beer 8.98oz
Lye is a caustic, dangerous chemical.
It can cause serious burns – or worse. But, it can be safely worked with if you take a few careful precautions. Handle the lye with proper protective gloves and eye wear along with a healthy dose of respect. If you’re careful, you’re not likely to get splashes, but just in case, wear long sleeves. Do NOT involve your children or pets in this activity.
Before you begin, make sure that you:
- Understand each of the steps to safely making a lye solution
- Understand basic soap making safety procedures
- Assembled all of your ingredients and tools in an organized manner
- And last but not least, wear your safety goggles and rubber gloves!
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and shoes.
- Always weigh your ingredients including liquids on a digital scale
- An accurate digital scale is essential!
Okay! Now, we’re ready to start! You’ll want to do the following things:
1.) Prepare your molds by lining with parchment paper.
- Make your lye water. Measure out your water into a heat proof tempered glass jar, pyrex measuring cup, stainless steel or heavy duty polypropylene plastic (recycle symbol 5) container. Next, measure out your lye. (Make sure you have on those gloves and goggles!) Slowly and carefully pour lye in to water. It’s very important you pour the lye into water and NOT vice versa (the other cause of lye volcanoes.) This mixture shoots up to over 200 degrees F quickly, so use caution when handling. Turn your face away to avoid directly breathing in the fumes. If you don’t have proper ventilation, consider wearing a mask.) Stir with a heavy duty plastic spoon or rubber spatula until fully dissolved and set in a safe place, keep out of reach of children and pets, until it cools to about 90 to 115 degrees.
Remember to immediately re-cap the lye container and place it far from the reach of children and pets. I take a wet paper towel and thoroughly wipe down the scale after each use
3.) While the lye solution is cooling, weigh out the oils and butters called for in your recipe. Measure out your liquid oils first in your soap pot. . (Do not use aluminum during any stage of the soap making process.) Measure then melt your solid oils and butter slowly in a microwave. Add melted oils/butters in your soap pot. Take temperature. We want the oils to be between 90-115 degrees F
4.) Before mixing your lye water with your oils, make sure your lye and oils are roughly the same temperature in the range of 90 – 115 degrees F. It’s okay if they’re 10 or even 20 degrees different than each other Temperature is a subjective, personal preference that varies between soap-makers. Once the desired temps are reached, slowly add your lye water into your soap pot containing oils and butters.
5.) Using a stick blender, start combining the lye solution and oils, stopping to occasionally stir and check consistency. It only takes a few minutes for most of my recipes to reach “trace” – which means when you drizzle a small bit of the soap mixture over the surface, it will leave a faint pattern or trace before sinking back into the mixture. . Make sure you use your stick blender strictly for soap making and not for food use. Once light trace is reached, you’ll add any extras such as honey, oatmeal, natural colorants, and essential oils and blend for just a bit more until they are all incorporated.
6.) Working quickly, pour the soap into your prepared molds, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Pick up your mold and give it a few sharp raps on the table or counter surface to help get rid of any little air bubbles that may have formed. The soap is still caustic at this point, so keep your gloves on and be aware that the mixture can burn your skin. If that happens you can rinse thoroughly with water or pour vinegar over the spot to offset the alkalinity (or both.)
7.) Spray the top of your soap with 91% alcohol then cover the mold with several layers of towels to make sure the soap is well insulated and retains the heat needed to finish saponifying. Leave undisturbed for about 24 . (It’s okay to peek at it every now and then though. If you spot a crack forming on top, it means the soap is too hot and should be uncovered.)
(8.) Unmold your block of soap the next day. You can cut it into bars right away. I like to do it fairly soon after making, so that the soap is still soft and easy to cut. Let the bars cure in the open air and turning occasionally, for about 4 weeks. I find they are gentle enough to start testing on myself after two weeks