Here’s a step by step tutorial for how to make homemade soap, along with a lye soap recipe, pictures, a video tutorial and helpful tips for making homemade lye soap! This homemade soap is a luxurious treat and it’s fun and creative to make your own homemade soap! I also sell my homemade lye soap if you like my examples!
How To Make Homemade Soap
If you want to learn how to make homemade soap, be sure to check out my How To Make Homemade Soap Youtube Channel! If you’d like more detailed step by step instructions for making homemade soap, you can also get my How to Make Homemade Soap for Beginners E-course! Everything you want to know about how to make lye soap is in there!
You can also purchase my homemade lye soaps by following this link.
I have included several links for places to get lye soap supplies. The places that I use the most right now are:
I use Amazon for lye soap supplies like my mixing buckets, stick blender and thermometer.
My Love Affair With Homemade Soap
I’ve always been fascinated with old fashioned homemade soap. I don’t know if it’s the lover of all things pioneer in me or what, but I’ve just always thought homemade soap was cool. When I graduated from high school, I went to Silver Dollar City in Branson and saw their soapmaker work and I was in love!
It was just so cool how they had this huge pot of homemade soap boiling and it turned into lye soap after 3 hours. Then, a few hours later, after it had set up in the molds we could buy it and take it home! ( I later learned this is hot process soap but I’m going to give you directions in this post for cold process soap.)
After high school, I got a job as a dried floral florist in Estes Park, Colorado and, at the same place, we made homemade soap. So I did a LOT of stirring at that job and loved it. We didn’t have stick hand blenders back then so you had to just stir the soap by hand for 30 minutes to an hour, but it was worth it. I just loved all the different smells and colors and additives like lavender that always made the homemade soap smell so good.
Flash forward a few years: A marriage and a few kids later we went back to Silver Dollar City and I saw the soapmaker again. I told her I wanted to get back into soapmaking only to have her tell me that you couldn’t make lye soap at home anymore. Apparently, some governments outlawed selling lye at the hardware store because people were using it to make meth. I was just heartbroken.
Well, 22 yrs. after I first made lye soap at that shop, I’m back at it again. I just happened to go to my local hardware store last fall to see if I could get lye drain cleaner and, to my delight I discovered it was available again! And…. I’ve been making homemade soap and making more soap and making even more soap! I mean I now have a LOT of soap. I don’t know why I like this soap so much. I guess just all the smells and colors and the HUGE variety of homemade soaps you can make!
So today I’m going to give you my very basic homemade soap recipes. I’m making some pretty fancy soaps now but there is just nothing like a good bar of old fashioned lye soap. I will share some pictures of the homemade soaps I’ve been working on below!
How To Make Lye Soap
Before making lye soap, be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and goggles to prevent burns from the lye if you should accidentally spill or splash it on yourself. If you get lye on yourself, don’t panic. It’s not going to melt off your skin or anything. Just flush with water and wash off with soap. Be extra careful to never get the lye in your eyes. If you do get it in your eyes, then you should seek medical attention immediately. If you get lye on your skin, just be sure to flush your skin with a lot of water. If you happen to get a small burn, treat it as you would any other burn and put aloe or other burn cream on it.
You can use any kind of mold that you like to make your homemade soap. Now that I do a lot of soapmaking, I use silicone molds, but you can use a box, cardboard box, drawer organizer or anything like that. If you want to calculate the volume of your mold you can find out how to do that here.
This recipe is for a 1 1/2 lb. batch of homemade soap. The 1 1/2 lbs. is the amount of oil you use in your soap. If you have a bigger or smaller mold, be sure to run your soap through a lye calculator like this one. Each oil uses lye differently so you need to do this every time you change your lye soap recipe and add or take away oils. Everything is measured by weight.
This lye soap recipe is one of my most basic homemade soap recipes. You can find lots more homemade soap recipes in my e-course here!
Lye Soap Recipe
all measurements by weight
Lye – 3.22 oz. (Found at small hardware stores sold as drain cleaner. Look for “100% lye” on the bottle.)
Distilled Water – 7.92 oz. (Very hard tap water can make your soap slimy, so distilled works best.)
Lard – 24 oz.
essential oil 1-2 oz. (optional)
If you aren’t using a silicone mold, line your mold with a trash bag or a grocery sack with the inside of the bag toward the soap (so the print on the sack doesn’t get on your soap). The bag will keep your soap from sticking to your mold.
Don’t forget to put on your safety goggles and gloves before you mix the lye and water.
Measure the lye and water in separate containers. Pour the lye into the water. (NEVER, EVER POUR THE WATER INTO THE LYE!! It can cause dangerous reactions.)
When you pour the lye into the water, the mixture will get very hot– around 200 degrees. Let it cool to at least 120 degrees, but you can go as low as room temperature. Then, warm your oils so that they are within 10 degrees of your lye water solution, at least 120 degrees but you can go down to room temperature just as long as they are both the lye water and oils are within 10 degrees of each other. (For example, if the lye solution is 115 degrees, oils can be 105-125 degrees.) You can put your lye solution in an ice bath (as I demonstrate in the video) to make it cool down quicker. Otherwise, it will take around 30- 45 minutes to cool down.
When your lye water and oils are at the right temperature, then slowly pour the lye water solution into the oils. Stir just briefly to mix. Then, using your hand blender, blend until it traces, about 2-5 minutes. Trace is when you lift the blender out and you see dots where the soap had dripped from the blender and it stays on top for a second or two before it blends back in. After your lye and oils come to trace, add your essential oil if desired. Stir until mixed and then pour into your mold.
Move your soap into an area that is safe from kids and pets. Then cover it with a towel. If you think your towel will fall into the soap, you can put a box or shoebox on top of it first and then put the towel over it all. Then let it sit for 24 hours. After that, you can remove the soap from your mold and cut it with a big knife.
After you have cut the soap, let it cure for 4-6 weeks and you will have homemade lye soap!
You can watch how I made this soap from beginning to end in our video to give yourself an idea of just how easy it really is to make homemade lye soap.
All the information you need to learn How to Make Homemade Soap for Beginners is in my E-course. We have 3 e-books and videos to walk you step by step through the process of making homemade soap.
You can also check out my How to Make Soap Youtube Channel!
You can find more homemade soap recipes like my olive oil soap recipe here!
Here are some of my most recent homemade soaps:
This homemade soap is my “Rocky Mountain” lye soap. It’s inspired by the mountain beauty here in Colorado. This is a pretty advanced lye soap to make. You have to wait for each layer to set up before putting the next layer on and then you have to carefully pile the soap in the middle to make the mountain. Then you put a different color on the sides to hold up your mountain. The little bears on top are made of melt and pour soap poured into a bear silicone mold.
This my “Just Cherry” homemade soap. I made it with a soap swirl. I poured in the white and red lye soap and then gently stirred it with a spoon. I let the soap set up some before piping on the top and putting an embed on top made of melt and pour soap.
This is another one of my homemade mountain soaps. This was actually a mistake. I turned the mold the wrong way and so it didn’t make the mountain like I thought it would. So we will just call it a The Grassy Foothills! LOL This is another pretty advanced homemade soap to make so I wouldn’t try it on your first try but it’s fun to do after you get how to make lye soap down.
This homemade soap is my quilt soap. I had several pieces of colored lye soap leftover that I cut into pieces. Then I put the pink layers on the bottom and mixed the embeds into the white and poured it on top after the bottom layer of lye soap had set. The put some pink on top and mixed it in for pretty glittery top.
This was one of the first lye soaps that I did piping on and I LOVED how it turned out! I thought that I had messed it up but then when I cut it, it turned out to just be beautiful! This just goes to prove that even if you think your homemade soap has failed, don’t give up! It just might turn out!
There were the first homemade soaps I put on my original Etsy store. I just love using all the different colors and scents to make homemade lye soap. It’s a fun hobby and the best part is you can use it and not have to worry about your great great grandkids wondering what they are gong to do with it.
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