Cold process soapmaking is a fairly easy way to make
soap. Granted you have to use lye and that's a bit scary at
first. But, like anything else, if you respect it, you can work
with it well.
My personal preference is for CP soapmaking. I
like the smooth texture, the ability to swirl and the variances you
can make to the soap.
A while back, when I first began making CP soap, I put
together a web page for beginner soapmakers, written by a (then)
beginner soapmaker. Here is a link
if you'd care to explore it a bit more.
In the meantime, here is a basic outline of how to
make cold process soap:
- Gather all your equipment together in one spot. Turn on the
answering machine and get rid of the spouse, kids and pets.
- Choose your molds. Grease them ~ petroleum jelly works well.
Note that if you are using PVC, you don't need to grease. If
you are using a wooden mold, use freezer paper (glossy side toward
the soap) to line the mold.
- Place the oils in a stainless steel, glass or enamel pot over
low to medium heat.
- Measure and pour your water into a pitcher.
- Wearing safety goggles and rubber gloves, measure the lye and
pour into the pitcher. Do not look into the pitcher while
pouring! Stir the mixture until the lye dissolves.
- When the oils have melted, remove them from heat.
- Check the temperature of the oils and of the fats. Depending on
the recipe, wait for the desired temperatures. I use a water bath
method (cold water in my sink, add the pan and pitcher 'till they
cool) because I'm impatient and I haven't had any problems.
- Once temperatures have reached the desired level, stir the lye
into the oils.
- Stir, baby, stir. What you're looking for is a trace. Tracing is
where the mixture thickens to the point where you can trickle some
soap off the back of a spoon or spatula and it will leave a trace
line on the surface of the mixture.
- Add the coloring and essential oils, as required.
- Stir then pour into your molds.
- Cover the soap with a towel or blanket and leave to set for 24
- After 24 hours, remove the soap from the mold.
- Cut the soap (if necessary) and set it out to cure.