So… I am new to soap making! I read books, e-books and I watched endless hours of videos before actually trying to make a soap, and without wanting to demotivate anyone here, all the knowledge you may have absorbed before trying your first batch will never be enough when you are caught in action and feel 100% comfortable with all the process. As everything, it takes practice, but it’s something fairly easy to do when you have all the equipment, materials and know exactly what soap you are about to make.

What we know today as soap is possibly what we buy from our local stores, from big known brands like Nivea, Palmolive or Dove. No one really makes their own soap right?  But the basic soap is nothing but fat, oils and some sodium hydroxide. It does not need to be a fancy soap or cost a fortune to smell great and do the job, perfectly.

This recipe is for a Pink Lavender soap and I can’t describe how nice it smells!  The fragrance stays around the house for a couple of days too, so enjoy it. I am also posting a step by step collection of photos… So if you have any queries, feel free to ask me. I will post another set of photos with the soap cut also, later on.

I’ve decided to share this process because I’ve struggled to find some visual support to the recipes. When I first started, I had no idea if it was safe to cook indoors, or if I needed a separate space to do it… You know how we prefer to watch and learn instead of reading and imagining it wrong… but it turned out perfect!

The word Lavender is derived from the Latin ‘Lavo’ – ‘I wash


Beef dripping (227g), coconut oil(227g), vegetable fat (454g), sodium hidroxide(134g), distilled water(389g), lavender essential oil (10g), red powder (3g) and lavender flowers

  1. Weigh the fats and oils (coconut oil, dripping and vegetable fat). Even though I am using the Cold Process, you need a stainless steel pot to heat the oils and fats. As you can see in the following photos, they come at a solid state, hence they need to melt first.
  2. Place them in a low heat. I highly recommend you to use a large stainless steel pot to avoid any spills! The one I am using has a 6.3 liters capacity.
  3. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), the tricky one! NEVER add the water to the sodium hydroxide, but the Lye to the water. Wear some kind of eye protection to avoid the toxic fumes in your eyes and don’t inhale them. At optimum conditions, try to do it outside. Stir until dissolved! The water will turn clear after 2 or 3 minutes and will be very hot, hence you should use either a heat resistant container or a glass Pyrex will do just fine.
  4. You can only add the water to the melted fats, in the pot, when both temperatures are equal. So place one thermometer in the caustic solution and other one in the oils. Once they both reach an equal temperature, that should be between 50C – 60C, you will be ready for the next step.
  5. Pour the caustic solution into the oils and stir… a lot! I knew the trace time for this one would be something like 40m, so after 10m stirring I picked my blender and sped up the process. Took me about 20m to reach trace – the point when all of the oils and fats are perfectly blended and the liquids get thicker.
  6. At this point, you can add the essential oils, fragrances or colours and mix well! I did not quite know how to blend the red colour in, but in The Handmade Soap book by Melinda Coss, is mentioned that you should reduce the water content of your soap recipe by 28g and use that water to dissolve 4g of dry powder (in a 900g soap). I used Lavender essential oil and some Lavender Flowers to give it texture and style!
  7. Pour immediately into a mould, cover it with a towel or an old blanket and leave it to rest for 24h.

So this is it! It was great fun… I hope you find this helpful. I will post the photos of the final soap. Watch this space!

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my wife makes soaps,really awesome soothing& refreshing  bathtub additives , I get to make the candles, best thing to use is real bees wax, you don't even have to add any fragrance to them if you wish, the pure bees wax has a scent to it plus it sure goes alot further , especially burn time .You can also make emergency heat with that, using clothesline rope as your wick , making them  in a large coffee can, throws alot of heat and long burning, use for cooking over even.

The Back to Basics Book, volume 2 , green hardcover copy, do not get the paperback copy, it leaves alot out .

 It has recipes for pretty much everything you need to survive .


Twana I bet that soap does smell and work really well , I do like the aroma for any of the listed above , it does hang around for awhile.

thanks for posting this (along w/ the pix)...  


i see u mentioned using a stainless steel pot...   GOOD!  and, i'd like to emphasize to those interested in attempting this, DO NOT USE aluminum!!!!!   the head of my canning group (pensacola) makes his own soap, and he gave a demo one day, and w/o thinking used an aluminum pot...    [mt. vesuvius!   fortunately, we have our canning events outside, so the cleanup was minimal.]


i might try to do this at some point, just becuz it may become vitally important...   but, i cheated b4 i moved down here, and bought up a HUGE amount of loaves of homemade soap (off ebay); and i continually buy 6 & 8 packs of dial at walmart (so, i'm pretty well stocked)...

Good idea, thanks. I have been stocking up on Octogon & Fells Naptha for awhile, the longer they sit the harder they become and don't sluff off as fast as regular soaps. Also store your soap in rodent proof containers as they love to naw on the soap for fat content. The two brands mentioned will be pretty much all purpose soap as it can be grated for laundry/dishes. Another item to look for is DR. Brohnner's Castile Cocoanut soap, liquid and is a true all purpose soap, wash, shave, teeth cleaner, laundry, clothing; comes in many flavors, biodegradable. Check sporting goods/camping catalogs for on-line specials.


Thanks for this excellent post, Twana.  I can't wait to try my first batch!

Go to google books and do a search for housekeeping.  It's best if you go to advanced search and click on books and full view only.  Lots of information.  Written by folks who lived the way we are going to be forced to live.  Also, do a google search on oven canning.  Excellent way to store dry goods such as flour, crackers, cereal, etc.

Even though I am using the Cold Process.....

Having read thru this person's recipe and instructions, I find an error that can be harmful to a person using this soap immediately after unmolding it.

Since she is indeed using the Cold Process, that soap, after taken out of the mold approximately 24 hrs later (log/loaf mold soap will then need to be cut into bars), HAS to sit and finish saponifying (cooking) for 4-6 WEEKS (depending on oils used). ONLY then the soap can be used. Used before that, the soap can and will burn skin.

I have been making and commercially selling my wonderful goat milk soaps for close to 15 yrs. While I do CP method upon occasion, I cook my soap in the oven, take out, add fragrance if a customer wants it, mold overnight. Next day I unmold, cut bars and because it has been forced thru the saponification stages, is NOW ready to use. :-D  I HATE cooking :-P but love experimenting with different oils, superfat %, fragrances, etc when making soaps.


PS...I use my soaps for washing my hair and the shavings (from making them neat looking) wash my clothes. Haven't bought laundry soap or shampoo for close to 12+ yrs. Any soaps that don't turn out, and yes, you will have failures that you don't want people to see ;-) ....can be used as laundry soap or give to grandkids!



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