Making Soap

One of the items we offered at our Middle Ages market stand was soap.  I got into soap making several years ago and made my own for a short while but then eventually stopped.  I decided it might be fun to offer soap at our stand, so I got out all my dusty supplies and made a few batches.

This is the book I use when making soap.


I usually always make the Basic Soap recipe.

First I assembled all my supplies:  distilled water, lye, kitchen scale (a must), glass jar w/ long wooden spoon, olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, essential oils for scent.


The next step, after assembling your supplies, is to measure your lye into the glass jar.


Add distilled water to the lye… and you get a very interesting reaction.  The mixture heats up to 200°.  It happens instantaneously.   It then takes about an hour and sometimes more  to cool down to the proper temperature for use.

While the lye is cooling, I then melted/heated the oils.  The oils are heated just until the bulk of it has melted.  I added calendula (I think it was) to the oils to try and get a yellow soap.


Once the oils had cooled to the proper temperature, I strained the blossoms out.


I then added the lye to the oils.


To this mixture was added the grapefruit seed extract and essential oils.  This was stirred until it reached a trace.  (A term used in soap making that stands for just the point when the soap is starting to thicken and you can take a spoon and drizzle some mixture across the top mixture and you are able to see it the trail you make.)

I poured the liquid soap into my molds which were boxes I had on hand.  I lined the boxes with freezer paper using masking tape to hold it in place.


I placed the soap under a few sleeping bags to keep it warm and left it overnight.


I made a second batch and used liquid chlorophyll for the colorant.  This is the soap after setting overnight.


I took the soap out of the mold and using a ruler measured the bars, then cut.


I don’t know why I get white spots on the top surface of the soap but it seems to always happen.  So, I scraped it off.


All the pieces that are scraped off can be gathered together into a ball and used.  It’s not pretty but no soap goes to waste either.


The soap is left to cure for 3-4 weeks.  The odd shaped bars were kept for our own use.


I wrapped the soap in saran wrap and printed labels to go on the wrapped bars of soap.  

Did you know there really was a group of knights called Knights of the Bath?  They received this name when going through the ceremony to become a knight.  Part of the ceremony involved taking a bath as a symbol of purification.  Maybe if you have boys that are allergic to baths you could entice them by explaining that even knights had to take baths. 🙂  Scrub away boys!




Filed under Craft Corner, Unit Studies

2 responses to “Making Soap

  1. I recently stumbled on your blog. Its amazing to me to see the different processes and creativity each one of us use when making soap. I look forward to hearing about whats next.

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