Monday, July 18, 2016

Simplifying soapmaking - guest post

I know a lot of people would like to try making soap, but are put off by the cost of ingredients and equipment, the perceived danger of using caustic or the complexity of the recipes. Soap making does not have to be expensive, dangerous or complex. I want to share a few tips to get you started with simple soap making, and demystify the process to make it more accessible to everyone who would like to give it a try. You can start with a simple soap and add more ingredients as you get more comfortable with the process.

I wrote a guest post for Say Little Hen, pop over there to find out how simple soapmaking can be.

eight acres: simplifying soapmaking - a guest post

Here's a few links to my previous soapmaking posts.

Why use natural soaps and salves?
I prefer to use natural products, rather than commercial soaps and lotions with unknown and unnecessary ingredients.

Making tallow soap 
This is my first post about soapmaking, and I used tallow right from the start because we have so much leftover from butchering our own beef.  Its very cheap to buy from the butcher, and its a sustainable ingredient (especially if you eat beef anyway).  It makes great soap too!

Its very easy to render tallow from beef fat.  The kidney fat makes the best soap as its hard and white.

Here's a couple of basic recipes for tallow soap - a bath soap and a cleaning soap.

I was very happy to finally master a 100% tallow recipe (the other recipes had 50% tallow, with coconut and olive oil making up the rest of the oils).

I started to have more fun with my soap here, and learnt how to add other natural ingredients for colour and texture.

Shaving soap and A sustainable shave?
I made Pete shaving soap in little tins.  You can use that with a shaving brush instead of shaving cream.

Coffee grounds help to remove dirt and odours, great for hard workers!
Neem oil is a healing oil for the skin, as well as an insect repellent.  It can be used as a pet soap, for kids with knits or adults with damaged skin.
My latest recipe for a lovely black soap with detoxifying properties.

It hasn't all gone to plan - this batch never set due to not using enough lye, but I rebatched using the hot process method.
And salt soap needs to be cut while its still hot, I had to rebatch this one too.  The photo above is a more successful attempt at salt soap.

What do you think? Do you make soap? Is it simpler than it sounds?


  1. I have just had some soap molds arrive and I am getting ingredients together, its on my to do list for this year :-)

  2. It's so addictive isn't it Liz? One day my efforts will look as professional as yours, but for now, rustic has to be OK. Thanks for the intro to Say Little Hen blog (which will be going onto my favorites list) and that tidy little link to my blog too. :)

  3. I have made olive oil soap which I found to be a bit soft and expensive but switched to 100% tallow soap once we started having cows processed as I wanted to make sure we were using all of the animal where possible. I like the tallow soap and find it very cheap to make and nice to use.


Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

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