Cold Process Christmas Soap – Part One

I’m getting back to my roots with this project, an unofficial “Gift Series” addition. My first true love will always be Cold Process Soapmaking despite my propensity to do melt and pour and all manner of other fun toiletries. For this unofficial Gift Series project, I created a soap recipe that will fit in our 5 pound wooden mold.

Please be sure to follow all safety guidelines when handling Lye. If you haven’t studied a comprehensive guide on Cold Process soap making I highly recommend the Everything Soap Book.If you are new to cold process soapmaking, please purchase a book and read about the serious safety issues associated with lye. Another good book to start with is Susan Miller Cavitch’s “The SoapMakers Companion.”When working with lye, please always use gloves and goggles and do not breathe in the fumes. I also wear long sleeves during my soapmaking process and keep my goggles on the entire (entire, entire, entire!) time. Even I burn myself; if you missed the post last year where I dumped fresh soap on an open cut, click here to learn from my (idiotic) mistake.

22 ounces Coconut Oil
11 ounces Olive Oil
11 ounces Palm Oil
5.5 ounces Hemp Oil
5.5 ounces Shea Butter21 oz. water
8.13 oz. Lye

Burgundy Oxide
Chrome Green Oxide
Christmas Forest Fragrance

Pyrex for lye water (32 ounce size at minimum)
Bowl or stainless steel mixing pot to hold 7 pounds
2 smaller glass, stainless steel or plastic containers for swirling colors (ideally, 16 to 32 ounceseach in size)
Mold (you can use a trash-bag lined shoe box or a nice log mold or anything else you find that has give, won’t corrode with the fresh soap and isn’t aluminum)
Stainless Steel Spoons (3)
Scale (it doesn’t have to be digital but you do need to weigh all of your ingredients. I startedmaking soap with my Mom’s 1970′s Weight Watcher’s scale).CPSoap1Step 1 Weigh out all of your oils and make your lye solution (remember, always add the lye to the water). Stir the lye into the water taking precautions to not breathe in the fumes. Always use stainless steel or high temperature plastic for your stirring implement. Set the mixture to the side. You can put the lye water mixture outside if you are not in a well ventilated area. Make sure that small children and pets are not underfoot during this process. If you missed Konnor’s story about lye burns, click here to read it. Lye solution is caustic and can easily burn skin and damage eyes (you are wearing your eye proection, right?). Prepare your mold (this is a good time to line it if it requires lining). You want to have all of your tools ready and everything within reach.

\" width=Step 2 Melt your oils and mix them all together. Add your lye solution and blend. Many soapmakers like to have their temperatures within 15 degrees of eachother for the lye water and the oil. If you’re a newbie, stick with a 105 to 115 range for your lye water and oils. I strongly recommend using a stick blender to help speed up the process. You’ll be blending for between two and five minutes before the next step. It will vary a bit based on your temperatures, blender and size of bowl.
Step 3Once your mixture has reached a light trace (what’s trace? Trace looks like thin pudding where faint trailings of soap stay on the surface of your soap mixture when lightly drizzled from a few inches overhead. You can barely see trace trailings on the soap in the bowl on the left in the photo below), pour some of the soap mix into two other containers so you have 3 separate portions of soap. Add a teaspoon of green chrome to one and a teaspoon of the burgundy to another – you can add more if you want a darker color.CPSoap3Step 4 Mix in the color with your stick blender until all the clumps are gone and you’ve achieved the color you want. Next, quickly hand stir in your fragrance to each container. Mix again and get ready to pour!

Tomorrow, I’ll cover swirling, the labels and cure time guidelines.


23 Responses to “Cold Process Christmas Soap – Part One”

  1. lelah says:

    Oh, this is great!! I am so excited! Is there an author you would reccommend for a first timer?

  2. Joanna says:

    Hey LAdy-Lou, where’dja get the hdpe mold? Are you going to sell them soon?

  3. Lisa Kennally says:

    Wow – that is beautiful. I’m going to try to make this. Which mold did you use – can you link it to the Brambleberry site? Also, will food coloring liquids work also?

  4. jennie w. says:

    How much fragrance did you use? I can never get mine to stick around. I guess I’m not adding enough.

  5. Cindy says:

    That label is FANTASTIC and I must remember how you did it for future reference!

  6. Lisa @ Serah's says:

    Very beautiful colors!

  7. The Soap Seduction says:

    Beautiful soap. Reminds me of my holiday CP soap scented in your Holly Berry FO! Can’t wait to read Part II.

  8. Larona says:

    Thanks Anne Marie I have been waiting for you to do a cold process tutorial. Please do more.


  9. Heidi says:

    Thanks for the cp tutorial!!

  10. Soap Kitten says:

    The soap look BEAUTIFUL. I can’t wait to get out of work today and break out the soap pot! Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. Brigette says:

    I just received my Christmas Forest fragrance today. Guess what I will be soaping up now?
    I love the colors on your soap.

  12. wax cat says:

    Do you use multiple stick blenders in this process, or do you just rinse in between colors? I don’t have a sink in my soaping area and always have a problem with this!

  13. Heather@Twin Birch says:

    I can’t stop staring at the soap! It’s really pretty and just ooozes Christmas Jolly! I’m sooo making it tomorrow! :)

  14. Mim says:

    Nice soap! Which of the oils gives it hardness? I make all of my cp soaps with beeswax but want to subsitute oils for wax occasionally. Can cocoa butter be subsituted for hempoil to give it hardness in this receipe? thnx — Mim

  15. BathCake says:

    I don’t normally read the cold process posts too much. I don’t make it and I don’t have a ton of time. We happen to be on vacation this week so I was skimming this post … I make my soap (and fizzies, lotions, and everything else) with a (1990′s digital) weight watchers scale!! :)

  16. Suds to Love says:

    How pretty!

  17. Body Natural Soap says:

    Very Nice. By the way don’t you love the HDPE molds. I couldn’t live with out mine.

  18. Anne-Marie says:


    I love the Susan Miller Cavitch book “The Soapmaker’s Companion” and “The Everything Soap Book” by Alicia Grosso.

    And, I also have a Cold Process How-To DVD out. You can get it at or I think it’s helpful to see the entire process in action =)

  19. Anne-Marie says:

    Joanna, It’s a mold we’re testing. We’re on the hunt for an HDPE mold that doesn’t leak.

    Lisa, The mold is a prototype that isn’t for sale unfortunately. =( Liquid Red and Green will not hold up in CP soap – the green morphs rather impressively into a strange gray pink if I remember right.

  20. Anne-Marie says:

    Jennie, I use .7 ounces of fragrance per pound of soap. That’s a good starter ratio.

    Cindy, Label template is here as a free download:

  21. Anne-Marie says:

    Wax Cat, I just rinse off the stick blender in between colors or even just wipe off the wet soap with a paper towel. That gets off most of it.

    Mim, The Coconut Oil and Palm Oil add to hardness and the Olive Oil also cures very hard. The Coconut and Palm Oil also add to the lathering ability of the soap.

  22. Kelly says:

    Was there a mistake on this recipe? Should the coconut and olive oil be switched? That seems like an awful lot of coconut oil. Wouldn’t it be extremely drying?

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