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How To: Cold Process Soapmaking (CP)

A huge big thank you to The fee Fairy taking up your own time to kindly put this together for others to share.  A really clear tutorial that even kestrel said he could make soap from.

How-To;  Cold Process Soapmaking

I hope that this will help a few people get up the courage to make their own soap from scratch. It really is so satisfying! I got my lye from Ebay, from a bloke called x-discs. It is industrial lye and is suitable for soapmaking.

Here we go:

These are the molds that I decided to use (mainly because they are new, and therefore had to be used!).  I greased them with olive oil.  Not sure if this is the best method for release, but it worked for me.

Here I have measured out the oils and put them into a bowl.

Measure out your lye.  Make sure that you use a clean DRY bowl to do it in.  Lye reacts with water and you don't want it reacting until you're ready for it.




Make your lye-water solution.  Out of shot there is a bottle of vinegar.  It is important that you handle lye sensibly – wear gloves and cover your nose and mouth while you're mixing it with water.  Should you get any lye on your bare skin, rinse it immediately with vinegar.  Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.  ALWAYS pour the lye into the water and not the other way round.  If you pour water onto lye, it can volcano and explode over you, increasing the risk of chemical burns.  Dissolve the lye so that you have a clear liquid (this one is not clear because I used strawberry and raspberry tea).

Melt your oils together.  Melt them over a low heat and keep an eye on the temperature at all times.  You want the lye and the oils to be equal (about 65° C) when you mix them.

Mix the lye and oils together, stirring gently.  When they have fully mixed, you can get the stick blender involved!  Blend the soap for about 5 secs at a time, stirring with a wooden or plastic spoon in between (I prefer wood because it doesn't feel as flimsy as plastic, but others prefer plastic because it is thinner and lighter).

Keep blending and stirring until the soap reaches trace.  It's really difficult to get a picture of trace.  The sap has reached trace when you can drop some off the spoon and the mixture is solid enough to hold the drop.

Here I've added the colour and the fragrance.  You can see trace a bit easier here too.  Always add your fragrances and colours at light trace (when you first see trace happening).  It's really difficult to describe trace, and if you're like I was with my first soap, you'll wait for ages looking at it saying to yourself "is that trace... I'm not sure, I'll leave it and see" and suddenly, it'll be obvious... then you have to move quick!).  When adding colours and fragrances, be careful and watch carefully – some fragrances and colours can cause soap to 'seize' or start to set.  If this happens, get it in the mold quickly, it'll have a rough look to it when its set, but it'll be ok.

Pour your soap into your mold and tap the mold lightly on the surface to get out any air bubbles.

When the soap has cooled slightly, cover with cling film and some towels to insulate it and start saponification.

Leave for about 24 hours and then unmould.  If the soap feels slightly soft, then leave it for a further 12 hours and try again.  Mine was still slightly soft after 36 hours, so I put it in the freezer and then pushed the soap out of the mold.  Cover with towels again and leave in a warm place to cure!  Leave for 4 weeks.  When you think it has cured, lick it. If the soap 'bites' your tongue, leave it for another week.  If it doesn't, then it has cured and it is safe to use!  Run a bath, lay in it and enjoy your soap!

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