Beginner's Guide to DIY Soap Making
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Types of Soap Making
  2. Basic Tools Needed
  3. How to Choose the Right Ingredients
  4. How to Make Soap from Scratch
  5. How to Mold and Cure Soap
  6. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  7. How to Add Colors and Fragrances
  8. How to Wrap and Store Soap

Dipping your toes into the DIY soap making world can be an exciting and rewarding journey. Ever thought about how cool it would be to create your own soap? Maybe you want to control the ingredients that touch your skin, or perhaps, you just love the idea of crafting something uniquely yours. Either way, this beginner's guide to DIY soap making has got you covered. Let's start your soap making journey with understanding the types of soap making methods.

Types of Soap Making

There are primarily three methods of DIY soap making that beginners can try. Each type has its own charm, and you can choose one based on your comfort level, available tools, and desired end result.

Melt and Pour: This is the easiest and quickest method of soap making, perfect for beginners. As the name suggests, you melt a pre-made soap base, add your choice of colors, fragrances, and other additives, then pour it into a mold. It's a safe and hassle-free way to start your DIY soap making journey.

Cold Process: This is the most traditional method of making soap from scratch. You mix oils with lye, allowing for a chemical reaction called saponification. This method gives you complete freedom over ingredients, but it does require some patience and precision.

Hot Process: This is similar to the cold process, but with an added step of "cooking" the soap, which speeds up the saponification process. While it's a bit more complex, the hot process allows your soap to be ready sooner than the traditional cold process method.

Regardless of the method you choose, remember that practice makes perfect. So, don't be disheartened if your first few attempts don't turn out as you expected. Just keep trying, and soon you'll be a pro at DIY soap making for beginners.

Basic Tools Needed

Now that you've got a grasp on the types of soap making, let's talk about the basic tools you'll need to get started. While the specific tools might vary slightly depending on the method you choose, here are some essentials that you'll need for any DIY soap making project.

Soap Molds: These are containers that give your soap its shape. They can range from simple silicone loaf molds to intricate shapes and designs. For beginners, a basic rectangular mold is a great start.

Heat-Resistant Containers: You'll need these for melting your soap base or mixing your soap mixture. Glass or stainless steel are good options as they don't react with the ingredients.

Soap Cutter: A soap cutter is used to cut your soap into bars after it's hardened. A simple kitchen knife can also do the trick, but a proper soap cutter ensures even, clean cuts.

Thermometer: Especially important in cold and hot process soap making, a thermometer helps you monitor the temperature of your lye and oil mixtures to ensure they're at the correct temperature for mixing.

Stirring Tools: Spoons, spatulas, or stick blenders can be used to mix your soap mixture. Non-reactive materials like silicone or stainless steel are ideal.

Remember, safety comes first. Always use gloves and eye protection when handling lye or hot soap mixture. Now that you're equipped with the basic tools, you're one step closer to making your very own soap. Can't wait to start your DIY soap making for beginners journey, right?

How to Choose the Right Ingredients

Moving on to the next key step in DIY soap making for beginners: choosing the right ingredients. Your soap's quality, scent, and feel mostly depend on the ingredients you use. So let's break down what you'll need:

Oils and Fats: These are the backbone of your soap. They moisturize and nourish your skin. You can use a variety of oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or even avocado oil! Each oil brings a unique property to your soap. For example, coconut oil makes your soap lather more, while olive oil is known for its moisturizing properties.

Lye: This is a must-have for soap making. Without it, you simply can't make soap. It's the ingredient that reacts with the oils to create soap. Always handle lye with care, because it can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes.

Water: Water is used to dissolve the lye and to help blend the oils and lye together. Always use distilled water to avoid any unwanted minerals or chemicals that could interfere with your soap.

Additives: These are optional ingredients you can add to your soap to make it extra special. Additives can be anything from herbs and spices to oatmeal or honey. They can add color, texture, and extra skin benefits to your soap.

Take some time to experiment with different ingredients and find what you like best. Remember, the best thing about DIY soap making is the freedom to create something uniquely yours. Ready to mix and match your ingredients?

How to Make Soap from Scratch

Now that you've chosen your ingredients, it's time to get started on the actual process of DIY soap making. But don't worry, it's easier than you might think! Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Measure Your Ingredients: The first step in DIY soap making for beginners is measuring your ingredients accurately. Make sure you have the right amount of oils, lye, and water. Using a kitchen scale can help ensure precision.

Step 2: Mix the Lye and Water: Slowly pour your lye into the water (never the other way around!), stirring until it's completely dissolved. Remember to handle lye with care.

Step 3: Melt Your Oils: While your lye solution is cooling, melt your oils together. You can do this in a large pot over low heat.

Step 4: Combine Your Ingredients: Once your lye solution and oils have cooled to around the same temperature, slowly add the lye solution to the oils, stirring continuously.

Step 5: Stir Until Trace: Continue to stir your soap mixture until it reaches "trace". This is the point when your soap has thickened enough that a drizzle of soap on the surface leaves a trace or imprint before sinking back in.

Step 6: Add Your Extras: Now's the time to add any extras you want in your soap, like essential oils, colorants, or additives. Stir them in gently until they're well distributed.

And voila! You've made your first batch of soap. But hold on, we're not done yet. The next step is molding and curing your soap, which we'll cover in the next section. Ready to see your soap take shape?

How to Mold and Cure Soap

Getting your soap into shape is the next step in our DIY soap making for beginners guide. So, let's get right to it.

Step 1: Pour into the Mold: After your soap mixture reaches the right consistency, it's time to pour it into a mold. You can use a silicone mold or even a clean, empty milk carton. Just make sure you line your mold with parchment paper to prevent your soap from sticking.

Step 2: Let it Rest: Once your soap is in the mold, let it rest for 24 hours. Try not to move it during this time. You might notice it heating up and changing colors — don't worry, that's normal!

Step 3: Remove from the Mold: After 24 hours, your soap should be firm enough to remove from the mold. If it feels too soft, give it another day or two.

Step 4: Cut into Bars: Now you can cut your soap into bars. A simple kitchen knife will work, but a soap cutter can give you more uniform bars if you prefer.

Step 5: Cure Your Soap: Finally, leave your soap bars out to cure for 4-6 weeks. This allows the water to evaporate and makes your soap harder and longer-lasting. Be sure to turn them over occasionally to ensure they cure evenly.

And there you have it — your very own homemade soap! But before you start using it, let's go over some common mistakes to avoid in the soap making process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Alright, now that you have a good handle on the basics of DIY soap making, let's chat about some common mistakes that beginners sometimes make, and how to avoid them.

1. Not Wearing Protective Gear: Soap making involves working with lye, which can cause burns if it comes into contact with your skin. Always wear gloves and eye protection, and make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

2. Using the Wrong Measurements: Soap making is a bit of a science, and using the wrong amount of lye or oils can throw off your whole recipe. Be sure to measure your ingredients accurately.

3. Rushing the Process: Patience is key in soap making. If you rush through the steps, you might end up with soap that's too soft, doesn't lather well, or irritates your skin. Take your time and enjoy the process!

4. Not Letting Soap Cure Long Enough: It can be tempting to use your soap right away, but letting it cure for the full 4-6 weeks really does make a difference. Your soap will be harder, last longer, and will be gentler on your skin.

By keeping these common mistakes in mind, you'll be well on your way to making soap like a pro. Remember, practice makes perfect, and every batch of soap you make will bring you one step closer to mastering the art of DIY soap making.

How to Add Colors and Fragrances

Time for some fun! Adding colors and fragrances is where your DIY soap making project really gets to shine. It's like painting a canvas, but instead of paint, you're using scents and colors.

1. Choosing Your Colors: You can color your soap with natural ingredients like turmeric for yellow, beetroot for pink, or spirulina for green. If you're going for more vibrant colors, mica powders are a great choice. Just remember, a little goes a long way, so start small!

2. Adding Your Fragrances: Essential oils are a popular choice for soap making. Lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil are all great beginners options. But feel free to mix and match to create your own custom scent. Use about 30-60 drops of essential oil per pound of soap base.

3. Mixing it in: When it's time to add your colors and fragrances, make sure your soap base is melted but not too hot. If it's too hot, it can cause the colors to morph and the fragrances to fade. Mix in your colors and fragrances until they're fully incorporated.

There you have it! With a dash of color and a splash of fragrance, you can turn your homemade soap into a work of art. Remember, DIY soap making is all about creativity, so don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations. Who knows, you might just create the next big thing in soap!

How to Wrap and Store Soap

Now that your soap is beautifully crafted and smelling wonderful, it's time to make sure it stays that way. You might ask, "How do I wrap and store my handmade soap?" Well, here's your answer.

1. Wrapping: Wrapping your soap not only makes it look more professional, but it also protects it from dust and moisture. You can wrap your soap in wax paper, parchment paper, or even fabric. Just make sure whatever you use is breathable, so your soap can continue to cure and harden.

2. Storing: Store your soap in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. This will help it last longer and maintain its scent. A linen closet or a dedicated soap shelf are perfect spots. And remember, stacking soap can cause it to sweat, so give each bar its own space.

3. Using: When you're ready to use your soap, keep it in a well-drained soap dish. This will prevent it from turning mushy and will help it last longer. If you've made a large batch, store the extras until you're ready to use them. They'll continue to harden and improve over time.

And there you have it! Proper storage and care can extend the life of your handmade soap. That way, you can enjoy the fruits of your DIY soap making for beginners project for many showers to come.

If you enjoyed this beginner's guide to DIY soap making and want to explore more creative projects, we recommend checking out Daisie's classes. You'll find a wide range of workshops and tutorials to inspire your creativity and help you discover new skills and techniques.