Simple, Basic Soap Recipe Base


I have been meaning to list a simple handmade soap base recipe, but without using Palm oil. Say No To Palm Oil
Any of my recipes can be edited to suit the needs of the crafter. Just always remember to run it back through a lye calculator whenever you make any changes to the oils or size of the batch.

I loved experimenting with different oils, but my two favorite recipes were just so simple. No special label appeal with shea or cocoa butters.. just a basic, creamy good soap.

A 3 base oil Soap recipe

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

70%  Olive Oil                11.2 ounces
15% Coconut Oil             2.4 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil     2.4 ounces

5% superfat – Lye           2.2 ounces

4 pounds

70% Olive Oil                44.8 ounces
15% Coconut Oil               9.6 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil       9.6 ounces

5% superfat – Lye            8.99 ounces

For even more basic, Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

80% Olive Oil                          12.8 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil             3.2 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                   2.16 ounces

4 pounds

80% Olive Oil                               51.2 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil                12.8 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                       8.65 ounces


Either of these basic recipes will be a good base for a plain bar of soap, or to add additives and fragrances or essential oils.

You can use either of these bases for just about any recipe on MommaMuse – you can change your liquid (distilled water, teas, milks (read up on using goat milk before trying), cucumber, use your imagination), your fragrances or essential oils, colorants, additives (powders, clays, teas).

How much Liquid should I add?

To figure your liquid, you want 2.2 times the lye amount.  Lye X 2.2 = Liquid in ounces


What does ‘superfat’ mean?

When you make soap, the oil molecules bind with the lye molecules.  To make a gentle soap, you want to have a little bit more oil molecules than you do lye.. But at the same time,  not too much more – or you’ll have a soft oily mess of nothing.


Cold Process or Hot Process Soap?

Some people have their favorites, I like both ways of making soap.  I have tutorials on how I do each, but mine aren’t the only way to make soap.. there are other variations.  For Cold Process, read Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe. For Hot Process, my favorite way is in the crock pot. I recommend getting a crock pot you can use specifically for soap making (check thrift stores, garage sales or ask friends – someone is bound to have one they never use). Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap – a ‘how to’ with pictures.
– Be sure to use a soap calculator specifically used to calculator amounts, particularly making sure you have the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.
– If you need to make substitutions within your recipe, be sure to recalculate, as the lye amount may change. Don’t just double your recipe, run it through the calculator again. and again. and again.
– Remember your safety and for those around your soap making area. Label items appropriately, wear appropriate safety gear.

Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe

In doing some updates on MommaMuse, I realized I didn’t have a dedicated post for my Rosemary Mint Soap recipe. It is included on my Crock Pot Soap Making Tutorial, but it’s such a good soap, it deserves a post all to its self… Instead of just sharing the recipe, I ended up with a Tutorial on how to make cold process soap.

Gather your ingredients and additives:

Rosemary Mint Handmade Soap
4 pounds
– 38 ounces olive oil (59.38%)
– 14.4 ounces palm kernel oil (22.5%)
– 11.6 ounces palm oil (18.13%)
– 8.7 ounces sodium hydroxide (5% discount)
– 17.5 ounces distilled water
– 3 ounces rosemary mint blend essential oils
– 2 teabags of Organic Peppermint tea

This soap makes a 4 pound batch. That may be a bit large, or too small, for your needs, so the percentage is included to help you downsize (or up-size, as the case may be).

If you follow the link for the Crock Pot Soap tutorial, you’ll find step-by-step instructions, including pictures, on how to make it with your crock pot. One thing I really like about the crock pot is that it produces a sort of translucent soap.. it’s a very lovely soap. But, you may prefer the cold process of soap making.

This process may be used for any soap recipe. Read through the directions before starting, to familiarize yourself with the process.

1. Measure your solid oils and melt them over low heat.
Melt your measured oils for soap recipe

2. a. While your oils are melting over low heat, measure you liquid (in this recipe, distilled water) in a dedicated lye mixture container – this is something you will not use for anything but your lye mixture.

2. b. Measure you lye, and add your lye TO your water. note: Always add the lye TO the water to avoid sudden splash-up. This will heat up pretty hot.. so set it aside to cool.. or you could put it outside (if it’s cool/cold) or in the fridge (Be sure you container is labeled clearly so no one uses it, and be careful in moving it around so as not to spill it).. so, your lye mixture is mixed and cooling.

2. c. You could use extra tea bags to make a tea with the distilled water. Steep the teabags, as you would when making tea. Allow the tea to cool. Make sure you use more water than is called for for the recipe, so when the wet tea bags are removed, you’ve got enough water left to make the lye mixture. Cool, or chill, measure and then follow steps above for the lye mixture.

3. Measure out your extra ingredients. Set aside.
– In one bowl measure your fragrance or essential oils.
– In another bowl, open the tea bags, so the teas are loose.
Measuring Soap ingredients

4. Make sure your soap mold is clean, lined and ready to use. My first soap mold was an old cigar box. I then made myself a flat, square wooden mold. I lined each of these with freezer paper, or wax paper. Once I started making soaps for sale, my husband made me wooden molds that produced nice soap logs. One short end was able to screw on and off, for easy log-removal. I used high temperature quilting mylar (found in the quilt section of your local fabric shop – make sure to get high temperature), cut to fit all four sides and the bottom.
Soap Mold

5. Once your solid oils are melted, add your olive oil. This will help bring down the temperature of you melted oils. You want your melted oils to be close to room temperature when you add your lye mixture. I found room temperature (or the slightly cooler) was best when combining your lye mixture to your oils.

When the temps are warmer it seems to speed up ‘trace’ (when the mixtures thickens), causing the combined lye mixture and oils to thicken up faster. This could be a problem if you are adding colorants, or other additives, when you need a few extra minutes to get things mixed well.

6. Add your lye mixture to the oils, and with your handy-dandy stick blender and begin mixing and blending. Mix and blend, mix and blend.
Blending lye and oil mixture for soap making tutorial.

7. When you see a light trace.. this will be like a “trail” that is left when you move the stick blender through the soap mix. It will take a few seconds to melt away on its own.
Reaching Trace - soap making tutorial

Trace has been reached.. now it’s time to add your fragrance or essential oils and your loose tea. Blend it in well and get ready to pour it into the prepared mold.

8. Pour gently, so as not to splash up, the soap into the mold.
Soap poured into soap mold

9. Set aside to finish the saponification (this is what the chemical process of the lye mixture and the oils go through in order to “change” and make soap) process. Some people like to “insulate” their soap while it goes through this process. To do this, you can wrap it in a towel or blanket. I would put a folded towel on the rack (or table or shelf) and then lay a piece of saran wrap across the top of the soap and then put another folded towel on top. This helps contain the heat of the soap. OR, if you mold fits in your oven, you can turn your oven on low heat (about 175 degrees) and let it sit in there over night.

10. Now, you’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes. What I like to do it rinse the bowl with the fragrance oil and set aside. Leave the dirty pot you mixed your soap in until the next day. If you wash it right after making your soap, it will be greasy / oily feeling and won’t wash well. If you leave it until the next day, it will have hardened up, and when you wash it, you won’t have to add any soap to wash it, because it’ll be lined with soap! Add some hot water, and see how well it bubbles. Mmm.. and it smells good too. 😉

11. It’s 24 hours later, give or take, and you’re ready to unmold your soap. Yay! Gently remove the soap from the mold.
Handmade soap log

12. Slice and allow to cure… 3 or 4 months is good, if you can wait that long. Your soap will harden up and shrink some, as the remaining liquid is evaporated from the soap. If you can’t wait long, give it a week or so before you use it. It won’t be as good as it will be in a few months, but it will work.
handmade soap log and cut soaps

This soap is not suitable for your face or ‘tender parts’. It makes a wonderful wake-me-up morning soap, but do be careful where you use it. Or in a soap tray for hand washing. It’s great for after cooking and gardening.

If you are looking for a soap for your face (and all over parts), try Nana’s Lavender Goat Milk Soap Recipe, or it’s Vegan alternative Nana’s Vegan Lavender Soap recipe.

All About Soap Making: Basic Soap Making

by Gary Everson

Many areas of misunderstanding exist with regard to soap making. I am often asked “do I have to use lye?” “just how dangerous is lye?” and “will soap making save me money?” “can I really make soap and sell it for a profit?” these and many more questions arrive in my inbox on a daily basis, making it clear to me the extent of misinformation that exists where soap making is concerned.

There are really only two soap making techniques, cold process and hot process. Other techniques referred to as melt and pour and rebatching, are not actually soap making at all, instead they involve melting previously made soaps back to liquid form, then adding fragrance and color, maybe some herbs and grains and then allowing to set again.

True Soap Making involves the chemical reaction which takes place when fats and/or oils are mixed with an alkali such as Sodium Hydroxide, also known as Lye, or Caustic Soda. It’s as simple as that really, but more complex than you can imagine.

Aside from the basic fact that a strong alkali in solution will cause a chemical reaction known as saponification when mixed with fats, the exact nature of the resulting soap is dependent upon the type of fat used, the amount of lye, the curing time and a host of other factors all of which combine to make soap making a truly interesting and rewarding craft. I call it a craft because it requires skill and practice, I would prefer not to recall the number of soap batches I made when I was starting out that had to be thrown into the trash. Its important to remember that sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right, but once you’ve got the process down, homemade soap making is easy and fun. It is a never-ending source of joy because there is always more to learn.

Soap making is an age-old skill that is currently undergoing a popular revival. Home or cottage level soap making is done by the “cold process”, however this method is not recommended for children because of the potential danger that lye poses. Soap making is a fascinating, enjoyable and creative hobby, but did you ever realize that it could actually become an excellent source of income. the beauty of soap making is its adaptability to village-sized enterprises, it represents a business that requires little space, with little cost and offers numerous possibilities.

Soap making is a great hobby and makes a wonderful gift because, let’s face it, everyone needs it. Homemade soap making is not at all a difficult process. The melt and pour process makes it even easier, although melt and pour is not soap making in its true sense, it is an easy and creative way to make your own soap. It is the easiest of all the methods and is by far the least time consuming.

The most popular soap making process today is the cold process method, where fats such as olive oil react with lye, it is the process that more advanced hobbyists and small business owners use. It is certainly a more complicated way of making your own soap than melt and pour, but can yield much more pleasing results. Cold process is a method of soap making which doesn’t utilize any external heat source. Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is used in cold process soap making. The cold process yields no waste products of any kind.

Melt and pour soap making is an easy and creative way to make your own soap. Some soap makers prefer melt and pour because the process is easy and allows the soap maker to concentrate more on the aesthetic aspects of soap making. In its simplest form, slice off what you need, melt it, and pour it into your favorite soap molds. Learning how to make melt and pour soap is the easiest soap making method that you can learn. The joy of Melt and Pour Soap Making promotes the making of soap in the home as a fun hobby and economical craft. Learn melt and pour and cold-process soap making basics then try your hand at lotion, lip balm, salt scrubs and more. Melt and pour soap base is pre-made and purchased by the block, a natural soap base is melted and poured in individual shapes. It has become very popular in recent years. Melt and pour is not actual soap making, often called glycerin soap, it can be opaque, colored or clear. Even children, when supervised, can make soap using this method. Typical un-molding time for Melt and Pour soaps is 4 hours, after which it is ready to use. Un-molding time for cold process soaps is 24 hours or more, followed by a curing period that can take as long as four weeks.

If you are careful to shop around for the best deals and buy your ingredients in bulk wherever possible, you can create batches of soap which cost between 20 and 50 cents per bar, less than commercially available soap bars with many times better quality and a lot less than the price of other handmade soaps on the market. This provides the opportunity for a reasonable profit margin should you decide to sell your products, either simply to recoup the cost of your hobby, or to fuel the beginnings of an exciting and profitable business.

Soap making is not hard to do if you are armed with just a little bit of information. It is an age-old skill that is currently undergoing a popular revival. A fun and useful hobby, soap making is a great pastime and makes a wonderful gift because, let’s face it, everyone needs it. Cold process soap making is not recommended for children because of the potential danger that lye poses. Melt and Pour soap making is the easiest of all the methods and is by far the least time consuming. Soap making is not just for your grandmother anymore; it has become a popular hobby for many creative and artistic people.

Copyright © 2007 Gary Everson

About the author:
Want to learn All About Soap Making, but haven’t a clue where to start? Gary Everson’s FREE course will show you how, from the basic techniques with a detailed explanation of theraputic soaps, to cold process and melt and pour recipes, followed by comprehensive safety and legal information and finishing by turning it all into a business, with an extra bonus at the end.