Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Soap Making Tutorial

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

I have been making soap with the able assistance of my good lady wife Kim since January this year, and we find the finished product wonderful to use.   We have also been holding soap making workshops for our Sustainable Living Group free of charge.

As I said, back in January we embarked on the giddy world of lye, vegetable and essential oils, with half a hand of botanicals thrown in. We bought a cold press soap kit from a local soap supplier for $45 that had everything in it to make the first 20 odd bars.  I am a bit of a kit bloke, mainly because I like to have everything supplied to start with and then find the cheap alternatives afterwards.  This is similar to my cheese making hobby.  I started off with a simple kit and it grew from there. 

There are two types of soap making methods that we researched, melt and cold press.  We choose cold press because you do not have to keep going back to a specific supplier to get the necessary ingredients.  Most of them you can buy from local suppliers, like the supermarket in the case of oils and the lye, or caustic soda from the hardware store. 

I have had such a fantastic response on my own blog that I was encouraged to make a video tutorial on the process we used.  We utilise various sustainable harvested vegetable oils and lye to make the soap.  The good thing is that we have the raw materials readily available that are grown in Australia and it is cheap to make as well.  Here is our recipe;

Gavin and Kim's Bubbly Cream Soap Recipe
makes about 1.2kg

300gm Olive Oil
300gm Rice Bran Oil
300gm Coconut Oil
100gm Sunflower Oil
140gm Sodium Hydroxide (lye/caustic soda)
380gm water
25gm Fragrance Essential Oil (the choice is yours)
Soap colouring to your personal preference.

So sit back and enjoy our soap making tutorial.  I hope everyone including those who already make soap in this method gets a tip or two from it.

Part One;

Part Two;

If anyone has any questions, please let me know via comment.  Also, if anyone has any other soap making tips using this method, I am more than happy for them to share.


Michelle said...

Great post!

Nancy @ el vigilante said...

Could you provide American measures for your recipe? (i.e., pounds, ounces, etc...?) Great post -- exactly what I was looking for to start making my own soap.

Nancy @ el vigilante said...

Oh, also, how much lye is used in this recipe? Thank you so much!

Violet said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK you for this post! I've been researching how to make soap, and this is a great tutorial!

Kathryn said...

My comment would be about this warning: http://www.teachsoap.com/lyeburn.html

Trent @ the Simple Dollar also did an extensive post (with lots of warnings) about soap making with lye: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2010/09/24/homemade-gift-series-2-homemade-soap/

I make lots of things from home, but i don't think i'll do soap. Let us know if you decide to sell it, tho. :)

Serena's Secret Gardens said...

Hi Gavin
I use Copha instead of coconut oil and found this was just as good.
Also was wondering where you purchased the Colour for your soap as I have no idea where to get this.
Great Post!!!!

Diane said...

This is a really great tutorial. I'd like to try your recipe but I have never seen rice bran oil. Could I add the equivalent weight of other oils?

Kristina Strain said...

This is terrific! I've made soap many times from soap base, but I've never done the *real* thing with lye etc. I recently made a video about soap-making (the easy way) for anyone who's interested. Find it here: http://www.growandmake.com/sustainable-living-blog/home-made-natural-soap/

Cyndi said...

Very Helpful I have made soap 2 times now the first time I used a regular stand mixer and was never able to reach trace. Second try I used my stick blender and it worked perfectly!! I however was under the impression that the lye/water mixture and the oils needed to be the same temp. before mixing them. Happy to see that they do not that lye takes a long time to cool down to 5o-C
Thanks Again Great post

Lorna Jean said...

Fantastic post! Thank you for the videos. I was a bit afraid to try the lye method, but after watching you doing it, I think I'll give it a go in a year or two when my boys are a little older.

Oh, and thank you for yet another reason to buy a kitchen scale :)

Roxy said...

Fantastic Video I also was a bit weary to make lye from scratch, so i have just been using melt & pour you have simplified the process this makes me feel confident and happy now to make my soaps from scratch.

You also have stated for that amount of soap to use 25mls of fragrance most other posts or where I have gotten the melt & pour from state to use less than that while watching your video hubby came in and I received a told you so as he has been stating I need to use more fragrance for some time but was a bit apprehensive.

Thank you again keep up the great work.

Frogdancer said...

Just about to start making my first batch of soap, using a slightly different recipe. Just watched the videos again to make sure I'll know what I'm doing.


Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for the soap tutorial but please tell me how to colour the soap. and where to purchase the colours.