Virgin Mary Soap





Introduction: Virgin Mary Soap

In a simple 1-step process using readily-available starting materials I show how you can make your very own soap. The soap can be cast into the shape of your choice: I have elected to make Virgin Mary Soap.

Step 1: Purchase Raw Materials

You're going to need a large quantity of coconut oil, palm oil, sodium hydroxide, and fragerence (usually an essential oil). These materials can be acquired from the "internet."

Step 2: Prepare the Sodium Hydroxide Solution

Weight out 85 grams of sodium hydroxide (achtung! gloves!) and dissolve it in 240 mL of distilled water. It will get extremely hot. Try not to spill it on your pants.

Step 3: Weigh Out the Fat

Into a big beaker (1 L or larger) weight out 170 grams of coconut oil and 440 grams of palm oil. If for some reason you don't have professional laboratory glassware you could use stainless steel cookware (NOT aluminum).

Step 4: Get the Fats & NaOH to the Right Temperature

The idea here is to get both the fats and the NaOH solution to around 50 ºC at the same time. While you are waiting for the NaOH solution to cool you can start heating the fats, which will melt and become clear.

Step 5: Add the NaOH to the Fats

When both solutions are ~50 ºC, add the NaOH solution to the fats. Stir it up really well for about 10 minutes, then periodically thereafter. The mixture will get cloudy and lighter in color as they react.

Step 6: Wait Until the Soap Traces

You can tell that the soap has formed properly when it "traces." This describes a state where, if you drop a bit onto the surface it will leave an indentation for a moment, and if you drag a spatula across it will leave a trail. This takes around 45 minutes.

Step 7: Prepare the Mold

While you are waiting for the soap to trace, get your mold ready. Here I am using what is actually a candle mold for the Virgin Mary. This too can be purchased off the "internet." Get the mold sealed properly and clamped upside down.

Step 8: Add Fragerence

Once the soap has traced, stir in the fragerence of your choice. I am using 12 mL of a "lavender and apples" scented soap fragerence. You could also use an essential oil here.

Step 9: Pour the Soap Into the Mold, Wait, Then Unmold

Pour the liquid soap into the mold, then put it in a safe place and don't touch it for 48 hours. Then you can unmold your soap and admire your creation. Cut away excess flashing.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Soap! (but Not for 3 Weeks)

Congratulations, you have now made some bomb-ass soap. However don't try to use it right away. The sodium hydroxide takes a while to be fully consumed as it reacts with the fat. Wait a few weeks before using it. You can monitor the progress of your soap by checking the pH which will drop from 14 (first image) to 10 (second image). Good soap is pH 7-9.



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    This feels like the "Pope on a rope" soap. Almost sacrilegious, but strangely fun. I loved it.

    1 reply

    RE: A picture for all interested.


    After washing with her would she just be called "Mary"?

    wouldn't get be rude to use the soap figure of mary? we might get crucified.

    4 replies

    Yes when she goes to "Bad Places" we might go to hell D=

    >_> That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this. "Now what type of bad place could I put Mary in?".

    Already on my way. So why not. Nice instructable.

    These materials can be acquired from the "internet."

    For some reason that cracked me up. :P

    I also love that the Virgin Mary is great for cleaning behind your ears!


    I gotta try this at some point. I wonder how the price of materials compare to buying soap at the store.

    1 reply

    It depends on how big your batches are and what oils you use as a base.

    Biggest thing with store bought soaps though, is that most of them aren't soap anymore. Most of them are "deodorant bars" or "beauty bars" etc... very little (if any) soap is in them. Instead, many of them are synthetic detergents. Most of the ones that are actually soap (like Ivory) have the natural glycerin (which is a by product of the soap process/saponification) stripped out.

    Long before I started making my own soap (rather recent, in fact... my first batch is curing right now) I was investing in hand made, cold processed soap. Even at $4 a bar, it was worth it.

    Making biodiesel fuel can be done at home, and leaves glycerine as a by-product. I've heard that glycerine can be made into soap. Where would it fit into the soap-making process you've described?

    2 replies

    Actually, cold process soap (called that because you don't cook the lye/fat mix to speed up the chemical reaction) keeps the natural glycerin from the fats intact. You wouldn't need to add any more.

    Most of the glycerin soaps on the market have extra glycerin added, as well as sugar and sugar alcohols (for a translucent soap) added. I think that most, if not all, glycerin soaps on the market use either vegetable or animal fat based glycerin. That glycerin is usually produced, ironically enough, by mass market soap production where they skim off the glycerin during the cooking process (hot processed soap, much faster results since the saponification is completed by the time the cooking is done) and sell it for cosmetics. (Yes, there is a reason that Ivory soap is so very harsh...)


    oh yes. fight club flashbacks. with enough soap you can blow up about everything.

    The first rule of Fight Club is....

    To make soap that is more readily useable, you can try the hot method. Basically, stir faster and keep applying heat (with the hot method, your soap will reach trace very quickly). I'll see if I can find good step-by-step instructions for hot-method saponification. However, if you try the hot method, you must let the soap cool a bit before adding some additives (such as... say... honey) otherwise you could with up with some RATHER strange results (say, the soap spontaneously boiling over and onto your floor)...

    Yes, she's a little unwieldy. Of course how you use your soap is up to you, but I like to keep it whole. I find that the various parts of the soap conform to my nooks and crannies. For example the area behind my ears is very clean right now.