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DIY Soap Making Notes From Beginner To Advanced

These are lovely gifts and the great thing about them is that various fragrances and ingredients can be mixed and matched to get exactly what you want. This big list of tutorials and recipes has everything from using grated bars of ready-made soap to whipping them up from scratch using lye and other items. Lots here for everyone!


With Sea Salt [1]: Sea salt, assorted oils (coconut, avocado, castor) and Sodium Hydroxide (for advanced crafters).

Almond Rose [2]: Here’s a simple method using just a few basic supplies, includes dried rose petals and more.



Cold Processed [3]: Made with vegetable oils and when it is cured, it contains no harsh chemicals or dyes.

Cold-Processed Castile [4]: Olive oil, sodium hydroxide and water.



Time For Tea [5]: Easy project and packaged like tea bags (great gift idea for tea lovers).

Delectable [6]: Glycerin, honey, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, oatmeal and chamomile tea.



Crockpot Castile [7]: This can be in the molds in about an hour and half, with only 15 minutes of hands-on time.

Easy & Colorful [8]: Clear glycerin soap, food coloring, coffee stirrers, a clean milk or juice carton (to use as a mold), and petroleum jelly.



Hand Milled [9]: This allows you to experiment while bypassing many of the more complex steps.

Gardener’s [10]: Luxurious and soothing, a great way to pamper that rough skin!



Reusing Leftovers [11]: Here’s a tip that involves grating hotel soaps, adding a handful of instant oatmeal, moisten with a bit of water, then heating up the batch and molding the mixture with muffin tins.

Crock Pot Hot Process [12]: No recipe since this is intended for those already familiar with the cold process.



Graphic Embeds [13]: Clear glycerin with pictures embedded inside, uses milk cartons as molds.

Citrus Coffee [14]: This doesn’t include step-by-step directions but it does include links to resources that can help.



Goats’ Milk [15]: Milk, olive and coconut oils, lye and other items.

Milled [16]: Grate pure castille and add powdered milk, green tea and honey.



Snow-Globe [17]: Cute novelty made with a brick of clear glycerin, blue dye, scent (something festive like peppermint), glitter and tiny plastic toys.

Fish-In-A-Bag [18]: These adorable novelties will get the kids to actually want to take a bath!



Snowflake Rounds [19]: These are easier to make than one might think with no special molds required (just a silicone muffin pan).

Bathtub Crayons [20]: Cute project made by grinding bars of Ivory and adding food coloring.



Candy Cane [21]: Layers of melted glycerin chunks are tinted, scented and poured into molds then topped off with sprinkling of crushed candy canes.

With Pureed Fruit, Herbs & Citrus Zest [22]: Easy peasy project with gift-worthy results. Fruit puree (strawberries, etc.) or herbs or citrus zest.



With Wheatgrass [23]: Melt-and-pour glycerin soap and wheatgrass.

Black Raspberry [24]: Scented oil, raspberry seeds, madder root powder, olive oil melt and pour base.



Citrus Slices [25]: PVC piping is used for the molds (in two sizes).

Helpful Resources:

It’s hard to imagine a time when we used bars of soap for washing hands, today liquid varieties are more convenient and are preferred by many because of the perception that they’re more sanitary. The price comparison between the two is outrageous, especially if stocking up on generic brands when they’re on sale.

Here’s a way to take advantage of those cost savings yet still enjoy the convenience of the liquid form, make your own version! Just a few simple ingredients are needed that don’t break the budget, and it’s so easy to do too!

The benefits of homemade vs. store bought is the obvious cost savings, but the fragrance can also be customized (with essential oils or a herbal infusion). Here’s how…

1 bar soap (6 oz)
1 TBS honey
1 tsp glycerin


Optional: A herbal infusion can be used, just strain first.

Source: Adapted from Pearls of Country Wisdom by Debora S. Tukua (First published here on Tipnut September 12, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization)

Another version:

Save leftover bits (or grate one) then toss in a glass mason jar and top with boiling water (about double the amount of soap bits). Stir then seal with lid. Shake jar a few times while it’s cooling to get rid of any clumps. Once cooled, stir well and add a few drops of essential oil if a scented version is desired.

Pour into bottle then top with water as needed to get the right consistency (shake well). If for some reason it’s too thin, simply melt a bit of grated soap in a little hot water then combine with first mixture to thicken.

*First published August 25, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization

Here’s a couple tutorials showing how to felt a bar, this is new to me and I think these would make great gifts!

SuZanna Anna On HGTV

Video Summary:

Another video with a different method:

Instead of using a washboard, just rub the bar with fingers, working for several minutes to felt. Toward the end of the video you’ll see a suggestion to first cover it with a plastic bag and then work on it (contains the mess). In the comments area there’s this tip:

The wool will continue to felt more firmly with use and the soap will dwindle and disappear leaving you with a little felted wool bundle that has a hallow core. You can carefully slice it open to make a coin purse, or cut off the top and add a strap to make a necklace pouch or holder of some kind.

Here’s a website with more details: Mielke’s Fiber Arts [29]. The pictures are really clear so you’ll get a good idea of how things look throughout the process. This site advises that this only works with wool or other protein fibers (such as llama or angora) and that some felt better than others.