You can make your own lye soap at home; it’s not hard to do! All you have to do is combine fat with some sort of caustic agent, using water as your catalyst, and you have soap. ‘Saponification’ is the technical name for the chemical process between lye and fat.
And you won’t need anything exotic to make your own soap; most of the ingredients you need may be as close as your grocery store. What will you need? For a basic soap, you only need water, lye, and some kind of fat and oil. For a more luxurious soap, you might want to add coloring dyes and scented fragrance oils.
You probably have water as close as your kitchen tap; some people prefer to use rainwater or distilled water in their soap. And what’s lye, anyhow? It’s chemical name is sodium hydroxide; it’s a very strong base, so when you handle it. Make sure that you read the directions on the package of lye carefully, and following them scrupulously.
The first step is to dissolve the lye. Never pour the water into the lye; instead, pour the lye into the water. If half the water is ice, that’s even better. Stir; as you stir, watch for the reaction. The lye can even boil the water; if this happens, stop stirring until the bubbling stops, and let the lye water cool down to room temperature.
So what about the oil? Just about any fat or oil can make soap, from plant oils to animal fats. Coconut oils will give a rich lather. Olive oil will yield fine, silky bubbles. If you use animal fat, make sure it’ is clean, not rancid, has no salt, and is free of solid particles. You’ll find tallow or lard will give you a denser soap.
When you batch starts to thicken, that’s the time to add coloring and perfume oils. Pour the ‘traced’ soap into shape molds, and let it harden. It will have to ‘cure’ for one to three days, and then dry a bit longer before you can enjoy it.
Homemade, natural and specialty soaps are perfect truths for bath and body treatments. So if you are looking for a way to relieve your tension, forget about your bad day and just feel good, well treat yourself with some homemade soap products. They’ll make your skin soft improve any skin conditions you have and help you connect with yourself.
For more on homemade natural soap making as well as candle making and other do-it-yourself crafts visit the soap making resources center at Pure and Natural Soaps where you'll find articles, recipes, instructions, ideas and tips.
To discuss these and other craft projects visit the Soap Making Forum - a community message board for soap and candle making as well as other crafts and do-it-yourself projects. Discuss techniques, share ideas, learn new methods, post your favorite recipes and meet new friends.