Tuesday, November 19, 2013


For a long time,
I've been wanting to learn how to make soap,
but the process of using caustic lye had me afraid to try it!
It all sounded so complicated and
I didn't even know where to buy lye and needed to get
a better kitchen scale before even considering to
attempt this process.

This Fall while visiting our friends in Kentucky,
I was gifted with a beautiful piece of  handmade/handcut
soap and this got me going - finally!

I well remember my mom making a huge cast iron kettle
full of homemade soap. She used rendered lard and
fat drippings that she saved throughout the year.
Nothing cleaned the laundry like this soap!
I had the house to myself for the evening so
I gathered up the ingredients
and tools:

The Oils and Fats
9.6 oz. of Vegetable Shortening
9.6 oz. Olive Oil
6.4 oz. Lard
6.4 oz. Coconut Oil

An old Crock Pot,
a digital scale,
and a Stick Blender

The "flavourings":
1/2 Cup Oatmeal - ground fine
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 oz. of Lavender Essential Oil
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

The "scarey stuff"
4.463 oz. Lye crystals - eek!
12.16 oz. distilled water
(I used RO water from our tap)
Oh - and don't forget the 
rubber gloves!!

The "fancy" molds
Real molds are expensive!

O.K. - now I'm ready to start....

Melt the fat on low

Mix the scary stuff into the water
(caution - never add water to lye - always
lye to water)
I opted to mix this outside on the deck remembering
to lean back from it to not breath in the fumes.
This get's hot so be careful.
You should wear goggles as well as rubber gloves.
I don't have goggles but those who know me know 
that I have some cool kitchen glasses which sufficed.

Turn crock pot off and
blend with stick blender till
mixture traces (is thick like pudding and leaves a trace when stirred)
This takes about 10 minutes.

Cook on low - stirring on occasion
till the mixture looks like thick, waxy,
mashed potatoes (takes about 1 hour).
The temperature of the mixture will
be close to 200F when soapified!
You can use a PH strip test which
should read around 7 but I didn't have
one so I did the Zap on the Tongue test
to see if it was finished.
The smell of this soap as it cooked
reminded me of mom's soap!

Turn the crock pot off
and stir in the flavours.
Oh - now it smells really good!
This is where you can get really 
creative with different scents,
colorants and additives.
The combinations could be 
endless and fun to try!

Now it's ready to "glob" into
the fancy molds.
Tap them sharply
on the table or floor to make sure 
all the soap settles into the mold.

Cool and wait patiently (3 hrs. or overnight)
till the soap cools completely and hardens,
before removing from the mold.


A piece scraped from the crock pot - it really is soap!

While I waited I went outside and rescued our
patio furniture from the crazy high winds we've
had here in the last couple of days - nothing compared
to our friends to the South - such devastation!!

I can only hope that all my blog friends from
Indiana and Illinois are O.K.!!!
Praying for all who have experienced this devastation.

Till next time ...... have you ever made scarey homemade soap?  I think I could get into this.....

First attempt at making Oatmeal, Honey, Cinnamon and Lavender Soap


  1. You've talked about doing this..and here it is. Way to go! I love how you packaged them up and scalloped the edges. Wishing I lived near by for a hands on tutorial. I may have to try this some times.

  2. I have always wanted to try this, but was too scared also. You did a great job explaining the process. They look beautiful!

  3. Wow! That came out really beautifully! Well done! (At the cost of handmade soaps, this would be great. My favorite handmade soap includes coffee grounds. I use the soap at my kitchen sink as it really gets my hands clean after gardening or something messy.)

  4. what a perfect new hobby...I love the feeling of trying something new and with some practice it turns out just perfect. I'm sure it will make some wonderful gifts for Christmas this year. It's a feeling of satisfaction.
    I love your new blog banner and template. It's beautiful.

  5. Your soap is gorgeous!!! What lovely packaging...I have a feeling this will be the first of many batches :)

    PS...thank goodness we just had heavy rain and winds in central Indiana, but there was tons of damage north of us.

  6. Your soap looks beautiful . . . especially packaged up like that! I find it interesting that there is lard in there!
    I wonder if my mom ever made soap?

  7. Oh wow! These look beautiful! What a great gift it would make over the holiday season too! Thank you for sharing!

  8. My mother used to make soup and shared it with me. It was the best for getting out stains on shirt collars. I wish I had paid more attention to her process. Your packaging is creative and lovely.

    1. Ruth - I wish I had payed closer attention as well. I think she did this while we were gone to school because she didn't want us to be around when using lye and caustic soda and such. Do you have the two ring Menn. Relief Sale cookbook? Soap making is mentioned in there without the precise measurements like I did - more like how our mothers would have done it!

    2. Yes, I have that cookbook but don't remember coming across the recipe for soap making-I'll go check it out now. We use the recipe for pickled beets in that book but 6 qt baskets are rare in this part of the country. : ) When you wrote of your abundance of beets I wondered if you pickled any.

  9. Looks so beautiful. Gift soaps for special occasions, AND every day!

  10. I am impressed!
    The tornadoes were horrific, and it seems like such tornados are happening more often or perhaps because townships are sprawling they are more easily hit.
    We here in Salt Lake had 70-80 mph winds all yesterday. Creepy really...worse feeling than the same wind levels during hurricanes we went through in Texas.

  11. HI Rosella,
    I went to a soap making workshop hosted by Little City Farm (in Kitchener) last fall. Since then I have gathered up supplies but haven't taken a half day without little people to make soap! I also picked up a few books last Christmas - if you wanted to borrow them to find different recipe ideas, just ask!
    Rebecca Gibbins

  12. Wow that is gorgeous soap, Rosella. I have thought about soap making but 'thinking' is as far as I got:)