Let's Make Soap - A Cold Process Soapmaking Tutorial

I get a lot of curious people downtown who want to know how to make old fashioned, cold process soap. So for anyone who is interested in what making soap is all about, here's an overview of the soapmaking process. It is not meant to be used as a tutorial. Because of the many dangers associated with soapmaking due to the use of lye and the plethora of information to be had, I recommend that you carefully research the process before starting out on your own. Details on where to obtain additional information will be included within this article.

Soapmaking involves a chemical process in which sodium hydroxide (lye) reacts with oils to make soap. This process is called saponification. Because this process requires the use of lye, important safety precautions must be taken. Rubber gloves and safety glasses should be worn during the soapmaking process, and vinegar, which neutralizes the lye, should be kept on hand in case of an accidental spill or burn. In addition to the necessary safety equipment needed for the journey into making soap, there is other required equipment you'll need to get started. First and foremost you will need to acquire lye. Because without lye, there is no soap. You should be able to find lye in the plumbing section of your hardware store. I buy Roebic brand at Lowe's. The brand doesn't really matter, but it must say that it is 100% sodium hydroxide. You'll also need a large pot for mixing the soap. This can be any type of pot you like - I use my hubby's old beer making pot - as long as the pot is not aluminum. Lye reacts badly with aluminum so remember to never mix the two. You'll also need an accurate scale, I use a digital postal scale I purchased at Staples. And, you'll need a thermometer or two to measure the temps of your oils and lye solution as well. Additionally, you'll find that a stick blender is your best friend in making soap, and then of course there are the molds, soapmaking oils, and distilled water to be mixed with the lye.

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lemonie8 years ago
Publish these as Instructables rather than forum topics? L
soapdeli (author)  lemonie8 years ago
I don't have step by step photos though.
If, as your username implies, you do this sort of thing on a regular basis, that should be an easy hurdle to overcome when you make your next batch. If you search the site, you'll find that soap-making gets quite a good reception here.
soapdeli (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
I'm not sure how to do this as I can't quite take photos of myself.
I know this is really late, but you shouldn't completely give up on a site because one person "accused" you of something via private message. This entire site has a lot of "instructions" that are based on someone else's directions. There are multiple types of Instructables on the same topics sometimes!

That being said, you *can* sort-of get photos of "yourself." YOU don't have to be IN the images to post an Instructable. For example, for the "wear safety goggles" part, you can take a photo of a table with your equipment on it instead of a photo of you WEARING your gear. You can take a photo of all the ingredients before you mix them. You can photograph the different steps.

There are even Instructables ABOUT how to take photos!
soapdeli (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
Actually I'm not sure I'll go through the trouble after some nasty accusations were flung at me via convo accusing me of not writing my recipes.
There are very few ways to make basic soap - originality there would be almost impossible. Make your mark on the additives - unique textures, scents, medicinal properties. Your writing can also raise your work above the average - good descriptions, clear language, all will help. As for photographing yourself, why not get a friend to help? Or just take photos of the mix?
. I would have said it that way, if I knew how. ;)
. Well, as long as soap has been made, it would be difficult to come up with a truly original recipe. Even if it's your own idea, somebody has probably done it before. Ie, if it is your own idea, don't worry about the accusers.
. On Instructables, we encourage ppl to post "the same thing" as long as it is from a different perspective, improves on the original idea or procedures, &c. See Kiteman's Laws.