Soap Making 101 - Part 3

Welcome to the last post of my Soap Making 101 series.
If you missed my last two posts, here they are:

Part 1 - Supplies / Ingredients
Part 2 - Recipe and instructions for Unscented Soap

Today I would like to give you a small summary of:
  • How to use natural ingredients to color and scent you soap
  • How to use a Lye calculator to make your own recipes
  • Links to sites with many recipes / tips and tricks

Coloring and Scenting the natural way:

I started my soap journey just as a hobby,  so I didn't really want to sink too much money into it. But after my first batch was such a success, I wanted to try the different kinds I had seen.  So instead of buying all sorts of coloring and fragrance oils I found the recipes that used all natural ingredients.  It was later on that I learned how much better these options are for you.

I love this list of natural coloring options.  These types of natural dyes have been used for centuries.  Mostly from dark colored vegetables and leaves, these are all gentle with no harmful effects.
Some of these are added in as juice (like carrot juice in my soap above) in place of the water in your recipe, some are powdered that is added in toward the end (like cocoa powder).

A list of natural ingredients to color you soaps.

So onto scenting your soap. There is something about stepping into the shower with a really good smelling soap!  So my next goal was to find a natural way to scent my soap. 
Most of the oils have rich earthy smell, and that is good on it's own.  And Using cocoa butter will give your soap a chocolate smell.  But if you are wanting stronger and more exotic smells to your soap, you will need to use some kind of fragrance.  I try to only use essential oils as they are all natural. 

Generally you will use scent at 2% of your ounces of oils in your soap. 
For example:  The soap recipe I have given you is 44 oz of oils.  2% of that is .88 ounces (weighed).  Around 2 Tbs.
Here is a great link to calculate how much essential oil to use in your soap recipe.  Just plug in the numbers and it will do the rest. Wonderful to have!
Essential oil/ fragrance oil Calculator

Here is a site with some wonderful articles outlining just what essential oils are and how to safely use them.

But mostly, don't be afraid to be inventive.  So many natural things can made wonderful add ins to your soaps.  Spices, flowers, oatmeal, coffee grounds, just to name a few.

Start making your own recipes:

There is a HUGE amount of info that I could share with you here.  I will just summarize a bit. 

SOAPONIFICATION:  is the name given to the chemical reaction that occurs when a oil or fat is mixed with a strong alkali ( in our case is lye). The products of the reaction are two: soap and glycerin

Each kind of oil or fat has what is called a SAP (saponification)value. This SAP value tells you how much lye to use to completely soaponify the fat.   This calculation leads to a balanced reaction and will produce a mild soap with no lye left over.  Whew!!!

I am not going to share all the SAP values of all the oils/fats or the calculation to use.  If you are a beginner I'm sure you won't want to do it that way yet. 
So, here is a link to a fool proof way to make your own recipes.  Just like the fragrance calculator above, just plug in how much oils/fats you want to use and it will give you the amount of water and lye you will need. 

I also use this when trying out someone else's recipe just to check and make sure the calculations where done correctly.
Lye calculator

List of helpful links:


Supplies / ingredients

So there we have it!  I hope that you all enjoy my 101 series this month. 

I am working on beginner crochet tutorials for next month's series! I will also have more simple home cooking posts as well. 

See you then!


  1. I have really enjoyed your soap making tutorial! Thank you so much for taking the time to teach us the basics! :)
    Even though I crochet, I'm looking forward to next month's lesson as well!

  2. i just linked here from the barn hop...I'll have to go back and look at the previous posts. We have 2 goats about to kid and I would love to learn to make goat's milk soap- or any soap for that matter!

  3. Oh, you are incredible Debbie!

    Do you know how much this means to me? Amazing, amazing! I am so thankful for all the information in those three posts!

    Be well!

  4. That's amazing. I never could have imagined that it was possible to make your own soap!


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