Abigail's Country Craft Soap Making

Tips and guidelines for that special art of soap making. Find general directions along with the do's and don't s for basic soap making. Try the special hand soap recipes as well as the personal care cream and lotion. The soap making recipes you find here, can be created in the kitchen. Soap recipes include "Melt & Pour" glycerine soaps.

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General Directions For Basic Soap Making

  1. All weights, measurements, and temperatures must be accurately made.
  2. Assemble supplies and equipment before starting.
  3. Wear rubber gloves, safety goggles and long-sleeved apparel —lye is caustic and can burn the skin.
  4. Never use an aluminium pot to make soap.


  • floating dairy thermometer enamel or earthenware pan (two or three qt. size for dissolving lye)
  • measuring cup scales to weigh fat earthenware enamel, galvanized, or heavy tin container (3 or 4 gal. size)
  • wooden paddle


  • rendered fat
  • cold water (always use rain or soft water)
  • lye

The basic ingredient of homemade soap is fat. Save drippings from all meat dishes, since any good animal fat may be used. The commonest fat sources are fats from meat cuttings, bacon grease and roast drippings. Some fats are hard and others are soft.

The best soap is made from a combination of hard and soft fats. The following chart describes the classification of various fat sources. Note: Poultry fats cannot be used alone in making soap.

Classification of Fats

mutton hard better
beef hard better
venison hard better
pork soft good
poultry very soft fair

Preperation of Fats for Soap Making

  • Grind fat with a food chopper, using the medium-fine blale.
  • Place in a kettle large enough so the fat will not spatter on the stove as it heats. Bring to a boil. Do not heat to smoking temperature.
  • When fat is completely rendered, strain it through three or more thicknesses of cheese cloth, nylon hose, or other thin material to remove all solid particles.
  • Cracklings from this fat have no food value and should be discarded.

Mixing Fats and Lye

Put required amount of cold water into an earthenware or enamel pan. Add slowly the necessary amount of lye, stirring until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Then put the rendered fat in the container. Place over heat. When melted, set aside until the temperature for mixing is correct for the kind of fat used. The temperature of the lye water solution is very important.

The following chart is for your guidance in using the correct temperatures while mixing fat with the lye. Use the dairy thermometer to check temperatures of the various mixtures.

Temperature Chart

good lard/soft fat 85°F 75°F
soft lard/stale fat 100°F 80°F
50/50 lard/tallow 110°F 85°F
100% tallow 130°F 95°F
  • Place the container in which the fat was melted inside a large container lined with two or three layers of old cloth. This retards the solidification of the fat until it is mixed well with lye.

  • When both the fat and the lye mixtures are the right temperatures, slowly pour dissolved lye into the grease.

  • Stir with a wooden paddle until the lye and grease are thoroughly combined and mixture drops from paddle like honey. Stir slowly but not too long, as the lye has a tendency to separate out. Usually 5-15 minutes is enough.

  • The kind of grease used and the climate make the difference in the time required to effect the proper mixture. Molding the Mixture.

  • Pour soap mixture into a mold or leave in container.

  • Set the mold inside another pan. This will prevent damage to work surfaces should there be a separation of the lye and fat.

  • Cover container of soap with a blanket or rug, and set in a warm place for a day or two.
  • When ready to unmold, place mold on a cement floor or other place that will not be damaged if the lye is spilled.

Sometimes a little lye may settle out in the bottom of the container, so handle carefully to prevent accidents.

If separation occurs, put the soap into a kettle. Add all the lye that has separated — don’t throw it away. Add water back to the mixture. Melt with heat and boil slowly until it becomes thick and syrupy. Pour into mold and cover in the same way as originally.

Important Tips

Soap improves with age; fat deteriorates. Therefore use the fat before it becomes too rancid to reclaim. — Poultry fat used alone makes soft, toilet soaps. Use either lavender, lemon, cloves, rose or citronella. — Oils may be used for perfuming toilet soaps. Use either lavander, lemon, cloves, rose or citronella.

Personal Care - Soaps and Soap Products

Basic Hand Soap

1 T. lye
1/4 c cold water
½ C. lukewarm fat
1 T. lemon juice

In a plastic container, gently stir lye into cold water with wooden spoon. Slowly add lukewarm fat. Continue to stir until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice, stirring to mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into plastic molds. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 24 hours. Remove soap from molds and allow to air-dry for 14 days. Yield: 2 medium bars.

Basic Perfumed Hand Soap

11 C. fat
1 lb. lye
5 C. rain or soft water
½ C. powdered borax
½ C. ammonia
I oz. strawberry dye
2 oz. lanolin
3 oz. glycerine
3 T. finely ground oatmeal
½ C. sugar
4 tsp. aromatic Rose Geranium

Follow basic directions, except add sugar with lye. Strawberry dye is optional.

Basic Homemade Soap

3 qts. fat drippings
1 lb lye
4½ qts. cold rain or soft water
3 tsp. borax
1 ts salt
2 T sugar
1/4 c ammonia

Thoroughly clean fats by boiling in equal amount of water. Place kettle in a cold place to firm fat. Cut fat from kettle sides, Pour off water and waste. Scrape off excess wastes from bottom of lard cake. Clean kettle and replace lard cakes; melt over low heat.

Dissolve lye in 1 qt. cold water and let stand until cool, then add melted fat slowly. Stir constantly. Mix other ingredients together and add to first mixture. Stir until the mixture is thick and honey-colored.

Pour into pan lined with a clean white cloth. Before soap becomes hard, mark pieces into cakes or form into balls. When hard, store to allow further air-drying.

Facial Scrubs
Salves, Ointments
Bath Oils
Lip Gloss

Basic Personal Care Products

Your druggist or pharmacy will normally stock the chemicals called for in these personal care product recipes.

Basic Hand Cream

12 oz. glycerin
1¼ C. stearic acid
1 T. ammonia
½ tsp. borax powder
¼ bar paraffin wax
2 C. warm water

Put glycerin in enamel or stainless steel double boiler with wax and stearic acid. When melted, add ammonia. Beat until milky. Dissolve borax powder in water and add to mixture. Remove from heat until thick, about 10 minutes.

Basic Hand Lotion

2 oz. rose water
3 oz. glycerin
2 C. water
2 oz. bay rum
2 tsp. flax seed

Boil water; add flax seed. Continue boiling until one cup of water has evaporated. Strain flax seed from mixture. Dilute as needed with water. Beat with egg beater to smooth mixture.

Basic Tooth Powder

4 oz. precipatated chalk
1 oz. powdered sugar
7 drops oil of peppermint
3 oz. magnesium carbonate
1 oz. borax glycerine (optional)

Mix together and use dry as, a powder. Add water and glycerine to make a paste of the proper consistency if a paste is desired.

Basic Shampoo

1 bar basic soap
4 qts. rain or very soft water
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 tsp. powdered borax
1 oz. bay rum

Dissolve soap in boiling water. Let cool. Add eggs, borax and bay rum. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Basic Deodorant

½ oz. aluminum chloride
3 oz. rain or soft water

Dissolve aluminum chloride in rain or soft water. Apply as necssary to clean skin.

Basic Powdered Deodorant

¼ C. powdered aluminum chloride
¼ C. talcum powder
¼ C. cornstarch

Mix together. Dust on clean skin.

Glycerine Soaps

Soaps easy enough for anyone to make! All you need to have is some purchased melt and pour base, a double boiler, some additives such as fragrance oils, essential oils, herbs, coloring and molds.

Step 1: Cut and weigh out your base and place into the top half of a double boiler; Keep it covered as it's melting so as not lose moisture. Melt over low heat, you don't want to let it get too hot, try not to let it get over 160 degrees or you will get cloudy bars. A good tip is to let half of the base melt, then remove from the heat and leave it in the water until it melts the rest of the way. Try not to stir it as it's melting, if you have to, just gently nudge the soap around or you will create air bubbles which won't make very appealing bars.

Step 2: Add your colorant. Many people use food coloring, but they can fade and bleed. You can purchase color nuggets, micas or pigments to help achieve a better color. Stir your coloring in gently.

Step 3: Add any additives such as herbs when your base has cooled and started to thicken to help suspend them in the base. You can also add other ingredients at this time such as aloe vera gel, vitamin E, beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc. Melt your solids such as cocoa butter and beeswax before adding to the base. You can use 1 Tablespoon per pound of base.

Step 4: Add fragrance. This is up to your own preferences, you may use fragrance oils or essential oils, just make sure the fragrances are safe for soapmaking and use on the skin. Fragrance is added at anywhere from 1 tsp. up to 1 Tbs. per pound depending on how strong you want it to smell.

Step 5: Pour into molds.

Step 6: Unmold after hardened and enjoy. These soaps can be used right away. Tips: if you have trouble unmolding your soap, stick it in the refrigerator for a few minutes and try again. Keep your soaps wrapped in plastic wrap, such as cling wrap or saran wrap to protect your bars from moisture. When your cooling your base to suspend herbs, gently keep stirring, preferably with a wooden spoon, or even a wooden chopstick, to keep skin from forming.

M & P Recipes

Citrus & Calendula Glycerine Soap

M & P transparent soap base
1/4 cup calendula petals (dried)
15 drops of yellow food coloring
3/4 tsp. grapefruit essential oil
1/2 tsp. tangerine essential oil
1 tb melted shea butter ..melted separately

Melt the soap base... at the same time melt the shea butter in a custard cup placed in a pan of boiling water or in the microwave. Add calendula petals to the melted base, a few drops of yellow food coloring..... the essential oil and then the melted shea butter..... try to have this the same temp as the melt and pour.

Keep stirring the soap/ shea butter mixture.As it starts to set up spoon into Pour into heart molds. ( By spooning you have more control how many of the calendula leaves go into each mold) Let my molds set at room temp until them are skimmed over fairly firm.... they I chill them in the freezer for about a half hour before removing them from the mold..... and place them on a rack to finish drying completely.

Note: By stirring the soap/ shea butter mixture as it cools..... the butter will not float to the top and make little circles of butter... which might look like mold to those that don't know.

Orange Julius Glycerine Soap

2 cups transparent M&P soap base, melted
2 tsps honey
1 tsp Almond Oil
1 tsp French white clay powder
1/4-1/2 tsp Orange frangrant oil or essential oil 1/4-1/2 Vanilla fragrant oil

While the M&P is melting, mix the French clay, the almond oil and the honey together in a small bowl. When the M&P has fully melted, mix in the clay/honey/oil mixture and scent. You shouldn't need to add any colourant.

Dog Glycerine Soap Bar

4 oz. melt and pour base
1 tablespoon herbal shampoo
400 IU vitamin E
1/4 teaspoon liquid glycerin
essential oils of tea tree, peppermint or lavender
Tea tree oil for it's antiseptic quality and peppermint since fleas don't like the smell of it

Melt the base and then add the rest of the ingredients. This is better than liquid soap for dogs because it is easier to use on them. Just rub the bar around on the wet dog.

Natural Sunflower Seed Glycerine Soap

Sunflower Tea Mixture:
1 c sunflower petals in clean jar add 1cup of cool water, place in sunny place for few hours, strain, discard petals

2 cups of soap base
4 tb Sunflower Tea
2 tb Sunflower Oil
2 tb sunflower seeds (unsalted, raw, hulled & pulverized)
1 tsp. heli-carrot oil

Melt the base and then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into molds.

Oceania Glycerine Soap

1 pound melt & pour soap base
lilac and blue mica
1 tablespoon Oceania fragrance oil
1 teaspoon dried apple mint
1 teaspoon dried lemon or lime balm
2 vitamin E capsules
1 teaspoon castor oil

In a double boiler, heat soap base and colorants until about half of the base is melted. Remove from heat and cover until base is fully melted. Stir in FO, finely ground herbs, Vitamin E, and castor oil. Gently stir until colorants are evenly distributed and base begins to cool and thicken. Pour into molds.Use opaque base with this recipe. The white base and the ground herbs make this look like an old-fashioned herbal soap, and the mica adds just a touch of sparkle. The herbs also add a top note to the Oceania FO. If a tablespoon of FO is used, this will be fairly heavily scented.

Earth Clay Glycerine Soap

1 lb. melt & pour soap base
2 tb Jojoba Oil
1 tb Earth Clay
1/4 cup distilled water colorant and scent

In a double boiler, heat soap base and colorants until about half of the base is melted. Remove from heat and cover until base is fully melted. Stir in other ingredients. Pour into molds.

Glycerin Facial Soap Bar

13 oz opaque melt & pour soap base
3 tsp lavender flower infused oil - olive, jojoba, or almond
1 tsp. Lavender essential oil
1 tsp. Vitamin E
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. pink clay
1/2 tsp. finely ground lavender flowers
tint for colour

Gently melt m&p in double boiler. Add oil, vit e, honey until mixed, then add eo, flowers, clay, and tint. Pour into molds.

Gent's Glycerine Soap Bar

3 1/2 lbs opaque melt & pour soap base
2 tsp. beeswax (melt wax alone and add to melted M&P)
2 tsp. cocoa butter
4 Vitamin E capsules pierced and contents squeezed into melted M&P
1 1/2 droppers of Canadian Balsam Fir essential oil
dried ground basil leaves
tint of choice (try woodsy greens or light browns)

Melt soap base and cocoa butter in double boiler (do not let base get any hotter than 160). When base is completely melted, add melted beeswax, vitamin E and coloring .

Take portion of double boiler containing base off and set to cool. When first small traces of skin start forming, add essential oil. Gently stir to cool base some more, then gently stir in basil Pour base into desired mold...the cooler your base, the more suspended your basil will be.

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