This is how I make liquid soap, using all the natural oils and no surfactants. This results in a very mild, gently cleansing soap. I suggest you read "Making Natural Liquid Soaps" by Catherine Faillor, for more details and for beginner recipes.
With my process, there's no alcohol to add, no rigged up double boilers, and no bungee cords and plastic to tie to your pot. It literally cooks in the oven!
Edited on 7/22/10 to add:
Not having a recipe in this instructable seems to be a big problem for a lot of people, so I have decided to add one. This is the recipe I used in this instructable:
24oz soft oil of choice (I use Soybean oil)
21oz coconut oil
3oz Cocoa Butter
36oz distilled water (to dissolve the lye)
To neutralize: 3oz Borax + 6oz water heated until borax dissolves, then add to your soap
To dilute your soap: depends on how thick or concentrated you want your soap.
Here is link to some free recipes: http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/form_liquidsoaprecipes.html
This instructable is only meant to serve as a 'picture guide' with basic instruction. It is written under the impression that the reader has some experience with soapmaking, and is looking to explore hot process liquid soapmaking. Please observe all the usual soapmaking precautions!
Check out my blog at http://jesplayin.blogspot.com
Here is a very basic list of what you will need.
Stainless Steel Pot
Stainless Steel Utensils (Very important, Lye will eat any other metal, and heat will melt plastic.
A very accurate Scale that will measure up to the size of your batch
An assortment of bowls, and spatulas
Distilled water (very important, tap water will keep your soap from forming. Not sure what spring water will do, I've never tried it.)
Your lye (Potassium Hydroxide, KOH, Caustic Potash)