Free Beginner’s Guide To Soapmaking: Cold Process

We are going back to the basics. Here is a free beginner’s guide to the art and science of soapmaking that includes a step-by-step guide through the basics of Cold Process, and in part two, a beginner’s Melt and Pour layering project. Plus, downloadable PDFs make these guides a handy take-anywhere tool!

What’s the difference between Melt & Pour (M&P) and Cold Process (CP) soap? Melt and Pour (M&P or MP) utilizes a pre-made base that is ready to use as is (literally, you could take the melt and pour block, as-is, get in the shower and lather away!). But this block of unassuming plain soap is waiting for your personal touch to transform into something amazing. Cold Process soap is made by mixing or saponifing lye and oil and the resulting chemical reaction is soap. With M&P base – the saponification and waiting step has been done for you while with CP, you do it yourself.

Free Beginner's Guide to Soapmaking

COLD PROCESS: Cold Process soapmaking is the act of mixing fixed oils (common oils include Olive, Coconut and Palm) with an alkali (Sodium Hydroxide or Lye). The result is a chemical process called saponification, where the composition of the oils change with the help of the lye to create a bar of soap. One of the main benefits of cold process soapmaking is having complete control over ingredients. Depending on the ingredients you use, cold process soapmaking typically yields a long-lasting bar of soap. A downfall is that due to the chemical process, there are serious safety considerations to take into account and not all fragrance oils, essential oils, and colorants survive in cold process, thus limiting design options. Plus, patience is a virtue as this process involves a 4-6 week curing time.


TraceThis is when the soap has emulsified and is a pudding consistency. You can check for trace by pulling the stick blender out of the soap batter, and checking the “trails” left by the soap batter. If they are suspended on the top of the soap, you’ve got trace! You will see trace referred to as light, medium and heavy. These are just different thicknesses and consistencies of the same process.

This is what trace looks like

The zig-zags are the soap trails of trace

Gel Phase: Gel phase is a temperature phase during the soapmaking process. After soap is in the mold, the process of saponification can cause the soap to heat up. Gel phase is beneficial to soap because it can intensify colors in the soap and give soap a shinier, slightly translucent look.  Professor Kevin M. Dunn, author of Caveman Chemistry and Scientific Soapmaking, mentions that heat and gel phases also speeds along the saponification process. However, not going through gel phase does not detract from the soap in any way. In fact, some soapers prefer the matte look of soap that has NOT gelled, or gone through gel phase, and take special steps in order to prevent gel phase. The warmest part is in the center of the soap (the most insulated section), which is where gel phase starts. In the very first picture in this guide, you can see that the center of the soap is darker than the outside of the soap. This is an example of soap that has gone through partial gel phase (the inside of the bar) and is a great example of more intense color in the center vs. less intense color along the outer edge. Insulating soap after molding will promote gel phase. Cooling the soap as quickly as possible will deter gel phase from happening, which is why some soapers put their soap into the fridge or freezer directly after molding. To gel or not to gel is a matter of personal preference.

Curing: The process of curing CP soap allows the excess moisture in the bars to evaporate, leaving a harder and longer-lasting bar. In chapter 21 of Scientific Soapmaking, Prof. Dunn notes that the total alkali of raw soap batter is about 10%, and that the total will fall to below 0.1% within an hour if the soap is held at 160 degrees. A zap test – sticking your tongue on the soap to test for a “zap” or lye reaction – or a pH test will confirm this. However, the earlier a bar is used, the softer and possibly slimier the bar will be in the shower, and the less time it will last. Additionally, the 4 to 6 week curing and drying time helps to produce the most gentle bar of soap possible. You will notice a difference in your skin when showering with a new bar of soap versus a fully cured and dried bar. It’s the final bit of pH lowering that happens in the rest of the 4-6 weeks of curing, and the main benefit of the cure time is the evaporation of excess water, which makes for a harder bar and a more true net weight for labeling purposes if you’re selling your soap. So if you’d like a harder bar, allow your soap to go through the standard 4-6 week cure.

Soda Ash: Soda ash is essentially a salt that precipitates to the surface of the soap. It is a whitish-grey substance that can appear on parts of the soap exposed to air, and usually appears within the first 24 hours. It is not harmful to the soap, and really the only malady is visual. Plastic wrap can be placed directly on (and touching) the soap before it’s put to bed (either under towels for gel phase or left out if not gelling) to prevent Soda Ash, or for soaps with decorative tops, intermittent spritzes of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol can help. If Soda Ash persists despite preventative methods, washing the soap after a few days of curing will help as well. To wash soap, run the it under cold tap water and rub the effected areas with a pair of old nylons or tights. Rinse away any lather, and allow to dry on a rack. Switching up your recipe a bit to decrease the water amount by 10%, working at slightly lower superfat, or including .5% melted beeswax at thin trace can also help to decrease Soda Ash.

Lye Calculator: A calculator that is used to determine the lye and water amounts in a given recipe. Use a lye calculator to cross-check a recipe you find online and aren’t sure about, or to get the oil percentages to change the size of the recipe. As long as you know the amounts of each of the oils called for, either in ounces or percentage, you can figure out your lye and water amounts and even adjust the size of a recipe using the lye calculator. For recipes given only in percentages, you’ll start in the calculator by switching the format from “ounces” to “percentages”, then enter in a desired oil weight. This weight is not the total yield of the soap, just the total weight of the fixed oils to be used in the recipe. Generally, the total weight of the fixed oils in a recipe is about 30% less than your desired yield. It can vary a bit based on the oils you’re using, but it’s a good jumping off point. Once you get your percentages entered into the calculator, adjust your desired superfat. Bramble Berry typically recommends 5% superfat, and most soapers use between 3% and 6%. Once your oil weight, percentages, and superfat amount are entered, hit “calculate” to see if your yield is on. You’ll be able to adjust your oil weight accordingly to meet your yield.

LYE SAFETY AND SAFETY GEAR: Education is the key to lye safety. Lye is an alkali, a highly corrosive product that should be handled with care. Never leave lye water unattended or in an area where children or pets may mistake it for drinking water. In fact, be sure that when soapmaking, kids, pets and other tripping and distraction hazards are not in the general area. When mixing lye water, the solution will omit fumes so always soap in a well ventilated area. Soap Queen TV has quite a few episodes on cold process soapmaking so if you’re a visual learner, be sure to check them out (especially the video on lye safety).

Goggles: Alkali burns are one of the most dangerous an eye can sustain. Soapmaking isn’t worth the risk of a serious medical issue that can possibly result in blindness! Your safety goggles should protect the eye from all sides, so for this reason eye glasses are not sufficient protection. Some soapers (including those that make our 100+ pound batches of rebatch soap at Bramble Berry) prefer a full face mask when soaping.

Rubber or latex gloves: For extra protection, rubber dish gloves that go almost to the elbow work great, but can be bulky. Thinner latex provides protection without the bulk. Whichever type of glove you work with, they should be paired with long sleeves.

Long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes: Protect your body from unexpected splashes by simply wearing clothing over it. The less exposed skin around lye and raw soap, the better.

EQUIPMENT:Any equipment that is being used for soapmaking should be exclusive to soapmaking. Do not use equipment for soapmaking that you hope to still use in your kitchen in food preparation. Along the same lines, soapmaking equipment should be hand-washed instead of washed in the dishwasher.  Better safe than sorry!

Pyrex or other heat-resistant, non-reactive containers: Aluminum reacts with lye, creating a toxic fume, and is not appropriate for soapmaking. Heat-safe, tempered glass, stainless steel, or Polypropylene plastics are what we’ve found to work best.

Stick/emulsifying blender: Hand-stirring soap can literally take hours. A stick blender makes quick work of emulsifying the lye and oils! A stainless steel shaft will last the longest.

Rubber spatula: Use for scraping every last bit of soap out of your container into the mold.

Scale: For accuracy’s sake, all of Bramble Berry’s soap recipes are measured by weight instead of volume (and yours should always be as well). A digital scale is nice but you can always start with a cheaper, kitchen scale and work up to a digital scale. This is a good $20 starter scale.

Soap mold: There are many options for soap molds! The most common molds for soapmaking are made of either wood, plastic, or silicone. If you use wood molds, they must be lined (fresh soap eats wood) and you cannot use glass for a soap mold. While it is safe, it is difficult to release the soap from a glass mold.

Wood Molds: Wood molds cannot be used unlined, as the wood is porous and will absorb the oils in soap batters. Lining wood molds can be done with freezer paper, or done quickly with a silicone liner! See if your mold’s manufacturer offers a silicone liner. Wood molds are sturdy and durable, and some can be used for alternate soapmaking processes like Hot Process or Cold Process – Oven Process.

Plastic Molds: Plastic is an excellent medium for soap molds. In addition to plastic molds intended for soapmaking, one can also find household items made of plastic (such as Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers) that can also double as soap molds. Even plastic yogurt containers will work! If you are re-using household finds, be sure that they are clean, free of food debris, and dry before using them to make soap.

Silicone Molds: Silicone is a flexible material that is especially conducive as a soap mold material. Flexibility allows for extreme ease in unmolding, which some soapmakers hold high above any other mold attribute. However, silicone molds also tend to want to “cling” to soap for a bit longer, so soap may have to sit for a few extra days. This doesn’t have any effect on the soap itself, but may be a test of your patience.


A basic recipe:

30% Palm Oil

30% Coconut Oil

30% Olive Oil

10% Sweet Almond Oil

CP Tools

STEP ONE: Suit up in safety gear (goggles, gloves) and make sure all kids and pets are not in the general area. Measure out the lye and water amounts. Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water. Stir until the water turns clear again and set aside. Do not breathe the lye fumes.

STEP TWO: Melt (when necessary), measure and combine your oils (often referred to as ‘Fixed Oils‘).

Measuring Oils

STEP THREE: Once the oils and the lye water have cooled to below 130 degrees (and ideally are within 10 degrees of each other), carefully pour the lye water into the fixed oils. Pour the lye water down the shaft of the blender to avoid air bubbles.

Adding Lye

STEP FOUR: “Burp” the stick blender by tapping on the base of the container to release any additional air bubbles. Pulse the stick blender to mix the oils and the lye water initially, then hold the mechanism at continuous blending until the soap reaches trace. Make sure your stick blender is fully submerged in the soap before turning it on, lest you end up with fresh soap batter all over your kitchen!

Mixing Soap Batter

STEP FIVE: Once the soap has reached trace pour the soap into your mold. Tamp the mold on your work surface to release any air bubbles. Note: Trace is the time that you’ll add any color or fragrance additives. Always hand stir them in and start with the color before the fragrance oil.

Pouring into mold

STEP SIX: Allow the soap to stay in the mold for 24-48 hours. Unmold, cut, and cure for 4-6 weeks.

Click here for a printable PDF of this tutorial.

Check out some of our favorite Cold Process Soap Recipes!

Impressionist Soap || Pretty In Pink Salt Bars || Sunshine Soap || Modern Cherry Blossom

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  1. Joanne says

    Hello! I was just wondering, if we don’t cure the soap for the required time. (I’m letting it sit for a week), is it still safe to use?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Joanne!

      Most of the soap making process happens within the first 48 hours. That means after 3-4 days, your soap is ready to use!

      We recommend letting it cure for 4-6 weeks because it creates a milder bar that lasts longer in the shower. However, you can definitely use your bars earlier. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  2. says

    I love your website. I have watched a lot of your videos and have perfected my own soaps. I especially love the safety videos that many websites are lacking including mine but I did embed your video on my site.

    That is ok right?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Brenda!

      I’m so glad you like the website! Also, that is perfectly fine as long as the video links back to us or you mention us on your site. Thank you so much for sharing the videos. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  3. profyasso says

    Hello again …
    i tried making of this soap and i got not bad result but i want you to guide me how to :
    1- How to control the PH of the soap ?
    note my soap PH is 9.5-10.5 that PH including glycerol into the soap bar
    2-after making the soap bar i fell that the soap bar still oily what ever the PH is over 9.5 so what was that?
    i know that there is a glycerol exist into the bar which has 14 PH so if you would know how to separate it or how to control the PH.
    thank you for your efforts :)

    • Kelsey says


      The ideal pH for your soap is 9-11. Within the first few days of making your soap, it will have a different pH, but should mellow out.

      Do you mind if I ask what’s in your recipe?

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      • profyasso says

        sure of course ….
        but that recipe just for trying ……
        and i am using a cheap oils cause i do not want to lose a lot of materials.
        Recipe 1:
        125g Sunflower oil
        125g Soya oil
        33g Na OH
        81g dis. water
        64g starch powder (as the one we use to cooking)
        4g Na Cl
        2g odor
        2g color
        Recipe 2 :
        75g Sunflower oil
        75g Soya oil
        23g dis. water
        9g Na Oh
        1g Na Cl
        both seems pretty oily i do not know why ……?

  4. bushra says

    hi please it’s urgent.
    i really want a recipe to make soap using only sunflower,corn and olive oil. if 2 out of these 3 oils it’s also okay. ‘
    and i have a question can the soap have a higher percantage of sunflower or corn oil rather than olive oil?
    thank u in advance

  5. Amber says

    I am gathering my supplies for my first time soap making – and I would love to have a similar giant glass mixing/pouring handled container like yours pictured! Do you know where I might be able to find one similar to yours?

    Thank you so much

  6. profyasso says

    nice work but i have a question here…..
    i want to use potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide because i can not get sodium hydroxide.
    what would be the difference for the result soap?
    and about the recipe ……dose the concentration and the percent of potassium hydroxide is the same as sodium hydroxide?
    thank you

  7. Carrie says

    Just ordered a ton of supplies and I’m ready to really get into soaping. I made five batches a few months back and feel I have the hang of it now. One thing I had to learn was to add a little extra FO’s or Eo’s in my soap recipes. Mine smelled ok when unmolding them, but when using them, there was very little scent to them. I do like my hands to smell nice after washing them 😀 Then I learned that those amounts listed were a “recommended” amount and almost everyone I talked to used more. I was using under so going to try more next batch! Can’t wait to see how that works.
    Thank you for all your helpful videos! I’ve watched them all.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Carrie!

      I’m so glad you’re having fun soaping! It’s definitely an addictive hobby. :)

      You can add more fragrance or essential oil if you like. Keep in mind that some essential oils or fragrance oils may cause irritation if too much is used. The product description on and our Fragrance Calculator is a great way to learn more about suggested usage rates!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      Fragrance Calculator:

  8. Annemieke says

    I tried to make a soap a few weeks ago with coffee on one side and fragance (spellbound woods) on the other. The recipe is from one of your books.

    I noticed that the half with coffee is quite hard and the part with the fragance is soft like butter on room temperature.

    The coffee was damp when added but no extra water was added to the recipe for compensation of adding dry matter. Can I assume the part with fragance is softer due to adding extra (flüid) oil?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Annemieke!

      How long ago did you make the soap? The coffee grounds may have absorbed some of the moisture in its half, while the side without them still has moisture that will evaporate while it cures. It typically takes 4-6 weeks for that bar to cure. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      • Annemieke says

        Hi Kelsey,

        Thanks for your reply. According to my notes, it was made just 3 weeks ago :), it cannot be used yet.
        I try to learn as much of the process as possible. It is nice to compare the two parts of this soap, especially since these are made equal, but have a different finish.

        With kind regards,

        • Kelsey says

          Hi Annemeike!

          I would recommend giving it another couple of weeks. The side with no coffee grounds should set up more and get harder.

          Also, it would be interesting to watch how those two sides cure! :)

          -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  9. claire says

    I wonder if it is safe to use the same silicone mold for MP and CP soap making. If so, how can I clean the mold?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Claire!

      You can absolutely use our silicone molds for both melt and pour and cold process. They’re very versatile!

      To clean it out, we recommend spraying the mold liberally with 91 or 99% alcohol and letting it sit for about 15 minutes. Rub it out with a paper towel, then wash it with warm water and dish soap. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  10. Akila says

    Is cold process soap prepared with neem oil as one of the soap making oil safe to use for small kids/toddlers?

    Another query,
    Are these Essential oil safe to use as fragrance in cold process soap preparation for kid (3 year old)
    ylang ylang
    grape fruit


    • says

      Hi Akila!

      When used in the correct amounts, Neem Oil is safe for a wide variety of purposes and for small children. It should not be directly applied to the skin. The same applies to essential oils. If used in the correct rates, they will be perfectly safe :) They should never be applied directly to the skin. If you have any more questions, let me know!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  11. Jacilynn says

    Hello, am wanting to try my hand at soap making..Have been looking at several different sites, recipes..etc..lots of reading, studying..whewww!… thing I have noticed on recipes is that total ingredient % s are not equaling 100%..I am confused by this..could you please explain. I am wanting to use a simple recipe of coconut oil, olive oil and coco butter, but would like to use coconut milk in place of water. Is this a workable idea? Thank you for any help and suggestions..

  12. Amber says

    I read somewhere that you shouldn’t use glass for soap making because the lye will etch it and compromise the integrity. But I see you use large pyrex measuring cups. Have you had issues with this or is it only an issue if you don’t use a heat safe glass?

    I’m just getting ready to start my soap making journey and I’m still doing all my research and gathering my supplies. Thanks.

  13. Jon Harper says

    I am working with kids and soap making. I need ideas for making molds with the kids. Several resources have suggested clay but not what type. There is limited time so it can not be too complicated. All suggestions for molding materials are appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Jon!

      If you’re interested in making molds, you may find our Flexy Fast Molding Putty a good options! It allows you to use any object to create a silicone mold. It does take about 24 hours for the putty to set up. I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  14. Cristina says

    Hi, i am new to soaping, I’ve only made 2 batches so far and loved it. I have a question, what is the shelf life for cold process soaps? How do i know when they expire and are not safe to use?

    • says

      Hi Cristina!

      Good question. The neat thing about soap is that it never really “goes bad.” The pH level of soap does not allow for mold or bacteria to grow. That being said, after a while the soap will start to dry out, become crumbly, and the fragrance and colors will fade. This usually starts to happen within 6 months or so, depending on how the soap is stored. I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  15. Akila says


    Could you let me know if handmade soaps can be used for small kids (3 year old). Is it safe for kids too?
    Do we need to take care to use any special ingredients/oils when preparing soaps for kids?
    I prepared soap with following ingredient – shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil.
    Can this recipe be used for small kids?


  16. Meka says

    I got our book for Christmas and decided to make a soap today.
    It was all going ok but I decided to double the dose to fit in my mould but I forgot to double the lay and water.
    The soap looks beautiful but I don’t think it will works . What should I do to make it work?


    • says

      Hi Meka!

      Oh no! I hate when that happens. Unfortunately, there is no real way to save the batch. Because there was not enough lye water, you basically have a lot of free floating oils that did not turn into soap. You may find this video helpful, it gives a helpful visual demonstration of the saponification process :)

      Superfatting Soap: An Explanation:

      You’re batch is basically a soap that has been superfatted an extreme amount, and there is no way to add more lye at this point. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  17. Marleny says

    Hi, I was wondering can a soap that’s been placed in the refrigerator overnight to prevent gel phase, go thru gel phase once it’s been taken out of the fridge? I think that happened to my soap also I noticed that it started to develop soda ash even though I spray alcohol on it.

    • says

      Hi Marleny!

      Good question! If your soap is going to go through gel phase, it will do so as it is setting up. After it has set, it will not go through gel phase. So if you left your soap in the fridge and it did not gel, it would not start going through gel phase after it has been removed.

      It’s normal for soda ash to form even if your soap did not go through gel phase. Although spraying alcohol on the soap will help prevent soda ash, it’s possible for some to still develop. Soda ash depends on lots of different factors including the temperature of your oils and the amount of water in your recipe. For more information regarding soda ash, you may find this blog post helpful!

      Explaining and Preventing Soda Ash:

      I hope this helps :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

      • Marleny says

        Thanks, I mistook the color change thinking it was starting to gel, I had never had that happened before so it seemed really strange.

  18. Jun says


    I made my 1st batch yesterday. The recipe is just simple 150 gr of coconut oil (29 C), 350 gr rice bran oil with 6% superfat (165 gr water, 67.5 gr lye). I mixed the lye solution and oil at around 118 F (for both solution).

    Because I’m using the spinning whisk (whisk that will spin on itself manually when I push the handle down) not stick blender I though it would take sometimes to reach trace, but to my surprise it actually quite quick, maybe within 1-2 minutes. And I’m not spinning the whisk continually too, just in short burst mixed with manual stirring.

    The trace was quite thick, like yogurt, so I put it in my container straight away (no FO or color or any addition) and insulate it with tea towel and put it aside. I check it from time to time and quite exited when I see it enter the gel stage in the middle. After 8-9 hours, I remove the insulation because the temperature had gone down to room temp.

    Today I unmold bar. It looked ok from outside but when I cut it, I saw white streaks in u-shape towards the bottom, like it was following the flow of the soap when I pour inside the mold. It kinda like halo-effect actually. The cut bars are smooth and have the same consistency though, I’m quite sure that it’s not lye or oil pocket because it didn’t leak anything. Here’s the picture:

    Also, I deliberately left a bit of raw soap yesterday to mixed with around 20-30% sea salt and just a little splash of lavender FO (I did the addition by feel) just to see what’s the difference and checking if my Lavender FO is compatible for soap making or not. I put it inside an individual mold and just cover the top with tissue. No insulation.

    After around 3 hours, I unmold the salt bar and cut it into 2 to see the inside. It was a bit soft and I saw some salt clump but otherwise it looked normal. The color is uniform which is good, no streaking. Tissue get wet when it touches the soap but I guess after curing it won’t be a problem.

    Is the u-shape white streaks dangerous? This is for personal use so if it’s just a cosmetic problem, I am actually quite ok with it.

    Do you know why this happened? I’m planning to make another batch of soap, so if I did something wrong, I would like to avoid it later.

    Help and thank you in advance.

    • says

      Hi Jun!

      Thanks for all this great information, the picture was really helpful! The white streaks in the soap are fine, your soap should be perfectly safe to use :). My best guess is that effect is heat related. Next time I would try not insulating your soap and see if that helps! I’m guessing that the streaks are due to the gel phase.

      I hope this helps :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

      • Jun says

        Thank you so much for the reply. It’s great that my 1st attempt does not end up bad :). I’m planning on making castile soap next, just trying to figure out where to get the olive oil first.

        I heard that big brand like Bertolli was involve in the fake olive oil scandal a few year ago, that’s makes me sad and mad at the same time. Been buying that brand for a while for cooking, it was so expensive too.

        Have they fixed the problem? It’s hard to find local olive oil here (Indonesia) and I can only find those big brand olive oil in supermarket. There’s people selling them online saying they imported the stuff and have certification, but I’ve been burned before buying things in the internet. So I guess I’m just being very cautious.

        • says

          Hi Jun!

          I totally understand your caution. I did not hear about the scandal regarding Bertolli, so I’m not sure if it has been resolved. We have found that certain brands from the tore tend to go bad quicker, even when they claim to be pure. When buying online I would just do as much research as possible. We do ship internationally, so there is that option as well :)

          Olive Oil, Pure:

          I hope this helps, Happy Soaping!

          -Amanda with Bramble Berry

          • Jun says

            I might just do that. I have cousin in America, I’ll order when they’re coming here to visit to cut the shipping cost :). I guess the castile soap project has to be postponed.

            I was thinking about doing salt bar for my 2nd soap now. I saw you salt bar recipe here: I want to modify it a bit by using 100% coconut oil, honey for the extra moisturizing effect and earl grey tea in it. Can I ask is it okay to use honey in salt bar? I tried looking for salt bar recipe using sugar in it but I couldn’t find it so I was wondering if it’s not possible for a reason.

  19. Nirvana says

    I added melted beeswax at light trace and it solidified! I got lumps in my soap. I used a natural beeswax which I shaved off. What can be done to avoid this in future?

  20. mahalia albertini says

    I’m new to soap making and its fun. 1 question. If i want to make a 3.5 1bs soap without using the size of a mold, just oils. How do i calculate the oils and water?

    Any information would be helpful.



    • says

      Hi Mahalia!

      A resource that may be really helpful to you is our Lye Calculator:

      This is a tool that allows you to select what type of soap you’re making, add the amount of oils by percentage or weight, and will calculate the amount of water and lye you need, as well as giving you your yield.

      If you’re wanting to make 3.5 pounds of soap, that is 56 ounces yield. According to the calculator, you will need approximately 38-39 ounces of oils. Depending on the oils you choose, the amount of water and lye will change, so make sure to run your recipe with the specific oils you are using through the calculator! :)

      I hope that helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  21. Ayleen says

    Hi. I’ve wanted to try making my own soap but I wonder if I can make it with only coconut oil or even virgin coconut oil. My only source for olive oil is the supermarket and it’s a bit pricey. Thanks.

  22. Vita says

    I have a dilemma with gel or not gel. I like my soaps creamy look. I would prefer do not gel. I have been soaping in low temp. but then I was getting my soap with soda ash. But then I get soda ash on the top of my soaps. I have read if I cover my soap and insulate and spray with alcohol I can avoid soda ash I just start to make bigger batch of soaps and I have found partial gel in my soaps. Can I let my soap without insulating at all, soaping between 85-88 F. and avoid the soda ash? How? Please Help!

    • says

      Hi Vita!
      Wether or not you choose to gel your soaps is totally up to you. We often gel our soaps because it not only helps prevent soda ash, but results in brighter colors. You’re correct, spraying your soap with alcohol and covering can help prevent soda ash.

      My suggestion would be to slightly soap hotter by about 10 degrees. If you tend to soap at cooler temperatures, achieve a thicker trace before pouring to lessen soda ash formation.

      If soda ash does appear on your soap, you can steam it off or simply clean your soap using cold water and a paper towel.

      Here is a helpful post explaining how to prevent soda ash and what to do when it appears:

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  23. akila says

    when browsing through net, i happend to check that aluminum should not be used for soap making. Am using a blender which has stainless steel blade, but the shaft (the umberlla which covers the blade) is “polished aluminum”. am using this for my preparation. could you kindly guide me if its safe to use?. I made quite a few batches of soap with this, and have used them too..but happend to get bit concerned about this and thereby wanted to check with you.
    Are the batches of soap which i prepared safe to use? can i continue using this blender?


      • akila says

        Thanks for the quick reply. I shall change my blender and buy a new one which is completely stainless steel.

        I do not see any discoloration in the soap batches which i had already prepared, using my old blender.
        Can i use those soaps? Is it safe to use?


        • says

          Hi Akila!

          I would double check your soaps using the zap-test. A zap test is sticking your tongue on the soap to test for a “zap” or lye reaction. It will be a zap like sticking your tongue on a 9 volt battery! This would mean your soap is lye heavy. I’m sure your soap isn’t lye heavy, but I would double check to make sure!

          -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  24. Paula says

    I have some vegetable glycerin soap that now has a white substance on it. This was a store purchased soap that someone gave me as a gift. I left it in the plastic container and now it has this white substance on it. Any idea what it is? Is the soap ok or do I have to toss it? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Paula,
      Hmm, how strange! My first thought is that it could glycerin dew. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air and sometimes that means the moisture can pool on the surface of the soap. Check out this blog post to see pictures of what I mean:
      Glycerin Dew:

      Does the white substance look anything like that? Let me know and I can help troubleshoot further! :)

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

      • Paula says

        Thanks for the quick reply. I did a search and found that picture about the “sweat”( By the way did your brother-in-law enjoy the soap?)

        My white substance looks more like a white powder. I’m wondering if there was sweating and then it dried and turned white? When I wet it, it doesn’t come off. If I rub it with my dry finger when the soap is dry, some of the white is on my finger.

        I just thought you might know what it was and an easy way to get it off.

        By the way, the soap was in the shape of a snow globe. There is liquid inside and a plastic figure. The liquid inside is pretty low. Maybe that was seeping through the soap?

        • says

          Hi Paula,
          Do you have a little more info about this, or maybe a photo? We would love to hear from you at info(at)brambleberry(dot)com. The more we know, the more we can help! Thanks Paula!

          -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  25. Isara says


    Thanks so much for your tutorial and willingness to share your knowledge! It had been a long time since I’d done CP soap, and didn’t have this problem last time, so here goes…

    I used the following recipe:

    Almond Oil – 3.00oz – 5.88%
    Coconut Oil (76 Degrees) – 16.00oz – 31.37%
    Olive Oil – 16.00oz – 31.37%
    Palm Oil – 16.00oz – 31.37%
    Lye – 7.550oz
    Water – 16.83oz

    I got to a hard trace VERY quickly. When I mixed in the fragrance oils (1 oz), the soap seems to curdle. I kept on mixing, and the soap got harder and harder, and it got very difficult to put in the molds (silicone. I ended up spooning and trying to mush it in there). While sitting in the molds, the soap has started to “melt” into a kind of crumbly goo, and it’s very hot to the touch.

    I’m pretty sure I mixed the lye completely, and the oils were at around 128 degrees and the lye-water mixture was at around 134-135 when I combined them.

    So where did I go wrong? And is there a way to salvage this batch if it doesn’t settle down after cooling?

    • says

      Hi Isara!

      We are so sorry to hear that you are having a frustrating time with your soap batch. Could you tell us more about your fragrance oil? It sounds like it might have been one that accelerated trace. The more we know about it, the more we can help troubleshoot! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  26. Mary says

    I’m new at soap making and so far have made one 2lb batch of simple CP soap. I would like to add some charcoal to it. What is the rule of thumb as far as amounts go for this ingredient or any other dry ingredient like ground oatmeal or dried camomile flowers for instance? Should they be added after trace? Should I separate some of the traced mixture and add the amount I need and then add it to the rest of the batch or should it be added to the oils before mixing with the lye mixture? Thanks for your help and love your videos. I can tell that you are a very patient lady.

    • says

      Good morning, Mary!

      We are so excited that you have started soaping and can’t wait to hear more about your soapy adventures. Typically, dried ingredients like powders and botanicals can be added in at trace. It is totally up to you how much of your botanical you add into your soap, but we suggest starting at a rate of 1 tablespoon per pound of soap (oils/butters + lye + water) to get started.


      With the colorants (like the Activated Charcoal), you would add about 1 teaspoon per pound of soap to start out with and then experiment to find a usage rate that works for the rest for you!

      If you are finding that your colorants are clumping, we suggest adding them to a bit of fixed oil (like Sweet Almond Oil) beforehand and mixing the colorant in and then adding it to your batch at trace.

      For more on colorants and soap, here is a great blog post that Anne-Marie wrote:

      Talk It Out Tuesday: Colorants:

      I hope that this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  27. Celia Melvin says

    I just made my first soap and am very happy but I noticed I added my oils to the lye and not the other way around. Will this soap be safe to use.

    • says

      Hi Celia!

      We are so excited that you have made your first batch and can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you. We always suggest adding your lye water to the oils for safety reasons, but your soap should be just fine. If you want to double-check after it has hardened, we suggest doing the zap test.

      The zap test is where you lick the soap after it has hardened like a 9-volt battery. If it zaps, your soap is lye-heavy and you won’t be able to use it on the skin (it’ll be good for laundry soap!), if it doesn’t zap, you can use it!

      I hope that this helps! If you have any more questions, let us know. We’d also love to see pictures of your soap on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  28. Way up says


    You’ve helped me with some M&P questions and I am now confident enough to tackle CP. I’m ready to start the process but was just told by a(different) supplier that the plastic “Milky Way” molds that I used for M&P would not tolerate the higher temperatures of CP soap. Is this true? I have ordered a slab mold and can wait until it’s delivered, but I’m ready and raring to go now!

    Thanks again,

    • says

      Hi Aimee!

      To find out how much your finished soap will weigh, add your lye + water + oils/butters and you will get the final weight. You will probably lose a bit of weight after it has cured, but there is not exact formula to figure out how much. I would suggest taking a look at the recipe you are working with and weighing it once it has hardened versus once it has cured. You will then know how much that particular recipe will weigh once cured. I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • aimee says

        I have read anywhere from 20-25%, but it does seem that could vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients used, and possibly even where you live. I think the weighing before and after curing method will be my best bet.

        Thanks! Love the blog!

  29. Christine says

    Hello, I have question about colorants. I am trying out oxides to color my soap. I used a red and I guess I used too much because the suds are red. Do I have to trash the batch? What can be negative issues for soap with too much colorants and colored suds. I imagine it would be fun for kids to have colored suds, but will it stain things(skin, tub, sink, clothes ect?) Also, so this does not happen again, how do I know how much to use in he future? I premixed it 1/4 tsp to 1 oz oil like I read somewhere. Any help would be wonderful.

  30. Grace says

    I’m wondering what I can use to replace the coconut oil in the soap. My friend who is helping me with this is severely allergic, so I’m just wondering what would make for a nice alternative?

  31. Lili says


    as You mentioned that soap may tend to “cling” to silicone mold a bit longer, I wonder is it possible that soap also cling to silicone mold if I leave it there few days longer (too long)? Once I left it in silicone mold for 2 days and it was impossible to get it out in one piece. Did I fail patience test? It seems to me that too short and too long curing in silicone mold is bad.

    Thank You in advance!

    • says

      Hi Lili!

      You should be able to pop your soaps right out of the silicone molds without them breaking. Sometimes, we have found that you even have to leave them in there up to a week after you’ve made the soaps for them to be fully dry. Next time you use your silicone mold, try leaving it in there a couple more days to see if that helps out! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Lili says

        Hi Becky,

        thank You very much!

        Just to let You know – I have put soaps together with silicone molds for a few hours in freezer and the poped out perfectly :))

  32. says

    In reference to one of your earlier comments, I am using a large slab mould with my CP recipe and I want to ensure I force gelling all the way through. Previously I got a partial gel. This is a large mould (8lb)and I have used a heated blanket and still only got about a 75% gel. I left the heated blanket switched on all night on a low setting to help -but still a partial gel. Any tips?

    • says

      Hi O!

      The best way that we have found for our batches to go through a full gel is to make sure they are on a heating blanket as well as being fully insulated with a towel. To do this, cover the top of your mold with a piece of cardboard and wrap the entire mold in a towel to insulate it. This should help to force your soap to go through a full gel! I hope this helps. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  33. Denise says

    After a lot of experimenting with CP and CPOP, I’ve decided I like to let the soap go through gel phase. I don’t want to do CPOP any longer, and I don’t like soaping at room temperature. When I soap at 125-130degrees, I’ve never had a problem getting a thorough gel by insulating CP. My question, and it may be a silly one, is what’s the lowest temp that will still go through gel phase? I’ve tried soaping and room temp, and didn’t like it too much.

    • says

      Hi Denise!

      It is always so much fun to experiment with soap and to see what works the best for you, we can’t wait to hear more about your soapy creations. That isn’t a silly question at all, we are here to help you answer it. I am actually going to do some soapy research on your question and get back to you on it! I hope that is okay. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • says

        P.S. I was able to do a bit of research on the question that you asked and I have an answer. You can soap as low as you would like, but 80 degrees Fahrenheit is as low as we would recommend going as Coconut Oil (which is in most recipes), hardens at 76 F.

        If you are soaping at lower temperatures and do want to go through gel phase, you will need something to help ‘jump-start’ the process. We suggest insulating with a towel and applying heat through a heating blanket. But, if you are soaping at low temperatures, even putting a heating blanket on it will not guarantee gel phase.

        We suggest soaping around 120-130, insulating and even adding a heating blanket on low if you want your cold process batches to go through gel phase.

        I hope this helps! =)

  34. R says

    I’m interested in getting a full fask mask to use while making cold-process soap? What ones do they use at Brambleberry?


    • says

      Hi R!

      At this time, we don’t sell any full face masks and actually soap in a very open lab (for full air flow). If you are interested in getting a face mask, I would check your local hardware store to see what they have available. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  35. Dawn says

    Hi I was wondering what steps are taken to prep all of your tools to keep them sanitary to be used. Do you use alcohol or a bleach solution to sanitize everything? How far in advance would you take these steps. I have my cp kit ready to go but want to make sure to have the cleanest and most sanitary tools possible. I have ocd and if everything isn’t in order I might just freak out, lol, not really but I am a stickler for keeping everything in it’s place and being comppletely prepared. Thanks in advance for your assistance :-)

    • says

      Hi Dawn!

      If you want to make sure that all your tools are clean and good to use in your soaping, we would suggest sanitizing them in a 5% bleach water solution. After you are done using them, be sure to clean them well with a oil-cutting dish soap like dawn. I hope this helps! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Dawn says

        Thank you :-) I’ve been so busy getting ready for our 3rd baby girls arrival that I haven’t had a chance yet to get my soap made before we have to move. It’s my first batch and I’m super excited!! I believe I have watched Anne Marie’s videos a million times now :-) So excited about this :-) Will post pictures on the fb page when I get them made :-) Thank you SO much for all of your help, you always are so quick and sweet and I LOVE that :-)

  36. Emily says

    Just made my first cold process soap! What does it mean if your soap thickens after you’ve blended and added fragrance oil? Mine seemed to almost solidify, I was able to pour it as one sort of gelatinous glop. Definitely not the pudding like trace I thought I had reached! Thanks for any advice.

    • says

      Hi Emily!

      Congrats on your very first cold process soap, isn’t it so much fun!! =) Sometimes certain fragrance oils can actually accelerate trace so that your soap get super thick. I’d love to help you troubleshoot what happened, which scent did you use in your batch?

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Emily says

        I used ocean rain, about 1.7 ounces for a 2 pound batch. I used the soap recipe that comes with your beginners cold process kit. I took it out of the mold and cut the soap down yesterday, it seems fine. I wondered about the fragrance oil too, as it seemed at the appropriate trace stage right before I added the fragrance.
        Thanks for your help, looking forward to my next batch!

        • says

          Hi Emily!

          We’ve never had problems with Ocean Rain accelerating trace in our soaps and it does have that lovely sticking power that makes it smell absolutely fabulous. Did you add any extra colorants or additives? If you have any pictures of your first cold process soap, we’d love for you to share pictures of it with us on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page. =)

          -Becky with Bramble Berry

          • Emily says

            The smell is fabulous! I did not add any other colorants or additives, just the fragrance at the end. Is it possible to over mix? Maybe I stick blended for too long prior to adding fragrance? I didn’t take any photos from this batch, but next time i will and add them to Facebook. Despite the rapid thickening from this batch, all seems good. And my basement smells lovely from the ocean rain fragrance :)

        • says

          Hi Emily!

          You can over-mix your soap batter if you go past heavy trace. How long did you stick blend it for before you added your fragrance in? I am so glad to hear that your soap turned out so well! Ocean Rain is actually one of my favorite “clean” type fragrance oils to use and I’m glad you are liking it as much as I do. =)

          Happy Soaping!
          -Becky with Bramble Berry

          • Emily says

            I don’t remember exactly how long, maybe somewhere between 1-2 minutes. It didn’t seem that long! I will try to shorten that some next time and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for your help!

          • Emily says

            Thanks! I made a batch today and it worked out much better! Pulsing helped, and after adding fragrance it seemed to reach an ideal consistency. Looking forward to checking it out tomorrow! Thanks for your help!

  37. Barbara says

    Hello. I plan on making cp soap and I will be using silicone loaf molds because that’s what I have on hand. I have read in books that molds need to be insulated with towels or blankets. Do I need to insulate my silicone molds? Also, later when I’m able to buy or make wooden molds, do I need to insulate them also. Thank you for your response.

    • says

      Hi Barbara!

      We are so excited that you have started soaping and can’t wait to hear more about your first cold process batch. Insulating soap after molding will promote gel phase in your batch. Gel phase is a temperature phase during the soapmaking process and can actually give your soap a shinier, slightly translucent look. It’s totally up to you if you gel, but if you want to make sure that the gel phase extends throughout your entire batch, you will want to insulate your soap! I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Barbara says

        Thanks for responding. I’ll take your advice and I will send you a picture!

  38. Karen Orr says

    With all the information out there about the effects of palm oil, I’m wondering why most soap making recipes still contain this ingredient? There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil as is claimed by suppliers and it’s not traceable and it won’t be until at least 2020. Is it because they are old recipes and no one wants to take the time to recalulate them using a different oil? It seems so unethical to keep promoting this product when there has to be other options.

  39. Emily says

    I am still super confused about the percentages. What is this a percentage of?? A percentage of the total weight of oils? How do I know the total weight of oil? HELP!! And why is it done in percentages, anyway? Why not just weight or volume?

    • says

      Hi Emily,
      I’d be happy to help you out! We give the percentages so this recipe can be adapted for any size mold — think of them as ratios!

      So let’s say you are making soap in our 5 lb. wood log mold. You would go to our lye calculator and under where it asks “Are You Measuring in Grams or Oz (or Just Percentage) of Oils?” choose “percentage.” Now you can enter in all your percentages.

      Then it will ask you how much the oils will weigh in the finished product. Generally our rule of thumb is the oils will weigh 30% less than the total yield.

      So if the total yield of the soap is 80 oz. (remember we’re using a 5 lb mold, and 5 lbs is roughly 80 oz.), then 30% less of that would be about 56 oz. Here is the math I did so you know exactly where these numbers are coming from — (80 x .3 = 24) and (80-24 = 56).

      I chose a 5% superfat. When I click calculate, here is what I get:
      Coconut Oil (76 Degrees)– 16.80oz (30.00%)
      Olive Oil — 16.80oz (30.00%)
      Palm Oil — 16.80oz (30.00%)
      Sweet Almond Oil — 5.60oz (10.00%)
      5% Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) Amount — 7.991oz
      Ounces of liquid recommended — 18.48oz
      Yields — 82.47oz

      I hope that helps! I completely understand how confusing this can be, so don’t hestiate to ask more questions! :)

      Lye Calculator:

      5 lb. Wood Log Mold:

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

  40. Jillian says

    So my question is – how necessary is all of this measurement precison? Would my soap making be greatly improved by purchasing a digital scale? Personally, I would love a recipe as follows: a cup of this, a tablespoon of that, and a pinch of the other thing. Wouldn’t that be great?

    • says

      The precision measurement is important to soaping, because you need a specific amount of lye depending on the weight of your oils. If your oil weight is off, you could end up with too little or too much lye in your soap and it would be lye heavy and not usable. We always like to go by weight, because it is easily repeatable and any of our readers will be able to make the same exact soap by following our recipes. I totally get what you mean about having a more simpler way of measuring the recipe, but in the case of lye, you really want to make sure your measurements are spot on! =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  41. Jillian says

    Hello fellow soap makers! I’ve been making cold process soap for many years and ocassionally enjoy “getting back to basics” by reading tutorials. This is a good one. One of the things that I’ve noticed changing over the years is the insistance on precise measurements. When I learned to make soap no one I knew was using digital scales – measurements and temperatures were not precise. I have experimented with many combinations of oils, temperatures, additives and scents; most of my soaps have been great for gifting or bartering and some have been suitable only for home use. A few have been somewhat disasterous, but at the end of the day I always made … soap. It might not always be beautiful but it cleans you in the shower. Now I see recipes that call for very precise measurements, like 2.31 ounces of lye. Really? I don’t own a digital scale – I still use an old kitchen scale I’ve for 20 years.

    • says

      Hi Jillian!

      Thank you so much for stopping by, we appreciate your comment. We have found that having precise measurements for your soaping really helps accuracy in your recipes, and makes sure that your soaps aren’t lye heavy. We do this because many of our customers are selling these products, and we want to make sure these recipes are nice and mild on the skin and won’t be harsh for anyone with sensitive skin. It is also important to have precise measurements because volume measurements are different than weight measurements because each oil has a different specific gravity. This means that 1 ounce of Coconut Oil by volume is actually not going to weigh the same as 1 ounce of Hazelnut Oil by volume. One is actually more dense than the other and the actual weights will be different. Going by weight also helps with predictably in results. I hope that this helps to explain it a little more and it’s great to hear that your recipes are working for you and aren’t lye heavy. =)


  42. jean says

    Do you think that plastic is a safe utensil to work with lye? I would think that dangerous gases from the plastic would be brought out and eventually end up in our soap.

    • Anne-Marie says

      If the plastic container is heat safe, it should not react with the lye or heat up to release gases. I’ve never found that to be the case. But when in doubt, you can always go with Stainless Steel or heat safe, tempered glass. =)

  43. Lori says

    Thank you for your very informative site. I would like to make soap without palm oil as I think it is an industry I do not want to support, but most recipes seem to contain it. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute? Thank you in advance.

  44. mehmet says

    ben sizden içine konulan kimyasal maddeleri sıra ile yazarsanız sevinirim ben TÜRKİYE den yazıyorum size veya sabun yapmada kullanılan maddeleri sizden temin edebilirmiyim

    • says

      Good morning, Mehmet!

      If you are looking for the ingredients in our Melt and Pour bases, you can find them on each individual product page.

      For example, the ingredients in the Clear Melt & Pour Soap Base are:

      Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifier), Soy bean protein (conditioner)

      Clear Melt And Pour Soap Base:

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      Günaydın, Mehmet!

      Bizim Erimesi ve dökün üsleri maddeler arıyorsanız, size her ürün sayfasında bulabilirsiniz.

      Örneğin, Clear bölgesindeki maddeler eritin ve Sabun Bankası edilir dökün:

      Hindistan Cevizi Yağı, Palm Yağı, Aspir Yağı, Gliserin (kosher, bitkisel kökenli), Saf Su, Sodyum hidroksit (ajan saponifying), Sorbitol (nemlendirici), Sorbitan oleat (emülgatör), Soya fasulyesi proteini (kremi)

      Melt Temizle Ve Pour Sabun Bankası:

      Bu yardımcı olur umarım! Başka bir sorunuz varsa bana bildirin. =)
      Bramble Berry-Becky

  45. karen says

    i used 1 and half ounces of spearmint…i didnt measure the coloring ,i just kinda poured it in there…lol…and thank you for the link for colorant as i was trying to figure out something else to use…i am going to check it out now..thanks K

  46. karen says

    I just finished my very first batch of CP soap…i took out one cup after trace and fragrance in which to add green soap coloring…my problem it came out looking like carmal …what did i do wrong…the coloring i got from ebay and it said it was for oil recipe was this

    castor –4oz

  47. Sandy says

    I have never made soap and want to start making CP process for my family as well as try to sell at a farmers market this summer. I have found the ingredients I want to use but how do I know how much of each. I haven’t found a reciepe that uses all of these, Olive Oil,Soy oil, Palm Oil, Coconut oil, Palm Kernel, Castor oil,Shea butter, and oatmeal. Oh and Lye of coarse.

    Hope you can help.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Here is our free lye calculator that you can put these percentages into:

      Lather, Hard

      25% Palm
      25% Coconut
      10% Palm Kernel
      32% Olive
      5% Shea
      3% Castor

      20% Palm
      15% Coconut
      5% Palm Kernel
      47% Olive
      10% Shea
      3% Castor

      I’d go with a 5% superfat on the Lather, 7% on the Moisture.

      Oatmeal – I’d grind it up and add it in at thin trace but not very much – maybe 1 tsp per pound of soap, total.

  48. says

    I have been making M&P soap for about 2 years now. I have been wanting to make CP soap for some time, but have been kind of overwhelmed at the idea of it. I have done my research (thanks to your resources!!) and am ready to go. Well, I have gathered all the tools of the trade and am almost sitting here looking at them. My head is swimming with information. I think I am just going to have to jump in with both feet. I will let you know how it goes!
    No questions involved (YET)…just felt like I needed some moral support. :)

    • Anne-Marie says

      Welcome to the soaping party! You are going to absolutely love it! Welcome! =) We have a Facebook page too with lots of amazing interaction between soapers: Would love to see you showing off your photos when you make your first batch.

      • says

        That’s a great idea…we shall see in a couple of days how it turns out….I have been on your facebook page several times over the course of the last 2 years! (well, more than several)
        It didn’t look that great when I poured it, but it smells devine! I made a 2.5# batch of grapefruit bergamot colored with bamboo charcoal. Tried to do kind of a swirl…again, we shall see. This batch may be for my eyes only! 😉

  49. Irene says

    so, it is also okay if i use olive pomace oil instead of olive oil isn’t it?

    35% olive pomace oil
    35% palm oil
    30% coconut oil

    Is it okay?

    I cannot use castor oil because it’s quite hard to find this oil in my city.

    Thanks a lot

    • says

      Good morning, Irene!

      If you can’t find the pure Olive Oil, it is totally okay to use Pomace Olive Oil in your recipe. The percentages you have above will work just fine for a cold process bar of soap and if you don’t have the castor oil, you will still get a good bar. I hope this helps. Let us know how your soap turns out. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  50. Irene says

    If i just use olive oil (or olive pomace oil) and coconut oil and palm oil, how many percentage of each oil should i use that will create a good hard bar of soap with a lot of lather but also moisturizing?

  51. says

    The lye is measured by weight and the distilled water by volume, is that correct? I think I’m close to info overload and in all the research I’ve done I think I’ve just about confused myself!

    • says

      Good morning, Autumn!

      All measurements in our recipes are done by weight and not by volume. So, when you are measuring your distilled water, it is by weight, as is the oils and the lye. We don’t like measuring by volume for these specific measurements because we don’t feel it is as precise as using the weight method. I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, be sure to let me know. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

          • says

            Awwe thank you! Its fun, I don’t know why I was so scared of it for so long. I have pets and small children so I thin k that’s why I was nervous to try but my loving husband gave up his “mancave” and let me convert it Into a soap cave after Christmas so now that I have a separate workspace I decided it was time to try! I’m also fascinated by this chemical process that takes place! Thanks for the help and amazing customer service.

  52. Elizabeth says

    I am very interested in soap making and I am going to attempt cold process in a few weeks, but there are a couple of things that I would like to know before I do. What, exactly, is superfatting, and how would i calculate the amount of lye to use if I did not have access to a lye calculator? I do not always have access to the internet, so this information would really help. Thanks =)

  53. says

    What a helpful, tidy checklist/tutorial for beginning soapmakers! I started making CP soap about two years ago and something like this would have been very handy when I was a beginner. I remember feeling overwhelmed with information when I was new to soaping, and your tutorial simplifies things and boils everything down to the basics. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it, Anne-Marie!

    • says

      I’m so glad you still find it helpful! We were hoping to clear up a bit of confusion for some beginning (and even advanced) CP soapmakers and make a quick and easy guide that one could refer to over and over again. Thanks for the great feedback! =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  54. Madea says

    Thank you Anne-Marie, I have been gearing up to start soapmaking in 2013. I made a promise (to myself) to finish a few projects first and then I can get my supplies. Thank you so much for the information sheet. I’m really looking forward to it. I plan on taking a week and just making a few plain batches of soap to get familiar with the process. I can’t wait.

  55. says

    Thank you so much for this, Anne-Marie! I already bought your CP soap-making DVD and have several books on the topic but since I’ve not yet mustered the nerve to do it yet, I appreciate any extra info I can get my hands on.

    Wishing you and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas!

  56. Nickie says

    Some of this is in the post about CPHP & refers to a picture, but the picture isn’t on here (gel phase paragraph). Somebody new to all of this will wonder where there the picture is/what they’re talking about. Just thought I’d let you know :)

    I have 1 question: how do you prevent gel phase or ensure that it gels? I haven’t been able to figure it out… Better yet, if I can’t or don’t want to do OP then how do I make sure that my soap thoroughly gels & not just in the middle of the loaf? Thanks!

    • says

      You’ve got eagle eyes, Nickie! We’ve changed the wording and we are referring to the first picture in this guide. Thanks again for keeping us on our toes.:)

      If you don’t want your soap to gel, the best way to prevent that, would be to soap at lower temperatures and not to insulate your soap or mold. On the other hand, most soapers do like gelling their soap and it is pretty easy to get it to go through your entire loaf.

      When we want to force gel in our soap, we get a heating blanket and set it on low, and set the soap mold on top of that for 3-4 hours. Make sure you are covering it with a piece of cardboard and insulate it with a towel for extra bit of insulation.

      I hope this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  57. Alexandra says

    I’ve seen recipes like this but instead of sweet almond oil it is with castor. What does the sweet almond do?

    • Mindy says

      Sweet Almond oil produces a low lather and adds moisturizing properties. Castor Oil creates a rich creamy later and attracts moisture to the skin. They are a bit of the same but you will get more later with the Castor. I’m still learning at this too but this is what I’ve learned.

  58. says

    Am I missing something here? I see measurements for the oils, which come up to 100% but I see no measurements at all for the lye or water. How much lye and water would be used for this?

    • Alexandra says

      Those are just percentages for whichever mold you use. You have to figure out your mold size and then figure out your oils and then run it through a lye calc.

    • says

      Like Alexandra mentioned, the format of this recipe is meant to be entered into a lye calculator, which allows it to be adapted to whichever mold you are using for your soapy project. Bramble Berry’s lye calculator can be found here:

      Switch the format from “ounces” to “percentages”, then enter in a desired oil weight. This weight is not the total yield of the soap, just the total weight of the fixed oils to be used in the recipe. Generally, it’s about 30% less than your desired yield. It can vary a bit based on the oils you’re using, but it’s a good jumping off point. Once you get your percentages entered into the calculator, you’ll be able to adjust your oil weight accordingly to meet your yield. Try it out, and let us know if you have any questions! You can comment here, or shoot us an email at info(at)brambleberry(dot)com. :)

      Kristen with Bramble Berry


  1. […] you the recipe, a quick disclaimer: if you’re a beginner and fancy giving this a go, please read up on the subject these safety guidelines and get properly informed before you start.   […]

  2. […] you the recipe, a quick disclaimer: if you’re a beginner and fancy giving this a go, please read up on the subject these safety guidelines and get properly informed before you start.   […]