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19 Homemade Soap Recipes & Soapmaking Tips

You might want to make your own homemade soap because you want to avoid certain ingredients in store-bought soap, or because it saves money, or just for the fun of mixing your own scents and molding them into decorative shapes.

Making soap from scratch isn’t a simple process, and you will need to be careful with some ingredients. Make sure you understand the dangers and how to avoid them before you start.

Soap making methods

Melt and Pour

This is the simplest method, but it can be used to make the most complex and artsy soaps. You just melt a pre-made soap base, add in any other ingredients you want, pour it into a mold, and let it cool and harden.

The way this method can get complex is when you’re making layers and decorative elements to make an amazing-looking soap. (See the Mermaid Soap in the recipes below.)

Bars of homemade soap in a pile

Cold Process

This process involves making a soap base from scratch. In short, you mix lye with an oil or fat, add in some other ingredients, and watch it become soap.

It’s one of the more popular processes, but also one of the more complicated ones. It gives you total control over all the ingredients in the soap, which might be one of the reasons people like it.

For more info on Cold Process, check out this page.

Hot Process

It’s basically like the cold process, except with heat. The heat speeds up the process, and you can use a microwave, mini crockpot or oven.

Rebatching

You can start with “rebatching” your own soap, using another soap (like Ivory, which already has the lye) as a base. Start with a smallish batch of homemade soap right in your blender, following the instructions here. You can also make liquid soap in a blender.

Whatever method you choose, here’s where it gets fun: the soap recipes. You can get very creative with the ingredients.

Anything you want to use for scent is fine, but you can also put in ingredients like milk and honey or coffee grinds (great for exfoliation). You may also want to be aware of how certain oils help your skin.

Woman making homemade soap

Soap Making Gear

If you’re totally new to making handmade soap, you may want to start off with a soap making kit. They make everything simple and self-contained.

If you’d rather learn from scratch, you’ll need some supplies, all of which you can get from Amazon with the following links:

  • Lye, if you plan on making soaps from scratch. The sodium hydroxide form of lye makes harder soaps that dissolve less easily in water. Potassium hydroxide lye makes soap softer and more easily dissolved.
  • Again, it’s much simpler to use a melt and pour soap base, and they come in so many types, like shea butter, oatmeal and goats’ milk glycerine.
  • Liquid soap dye. Add a few drops of these to your soap bars to change their color.
  • Soap Molds. You can get these in so many different shapes and patterns. It’s a really fun way to make your soap bars even more personal – especially if you’re gifting them.
  • Soap Cutters. If you prefer to make one big block of soap and then cut it into bars, soap cutters are the tool for you. It’s much easier than working with a knife.
Homemade soap being cut by butcher knife

Creating your own

Making soap at home can be a very fun and rewarding hobby. Once you’ve made a few batches from recipes, you get a feel for how it’s done and then you can create your own soap recipes.

If you enjoy making your own soap, you might want to learn how to make glue at home!

Decorative soap bars can be great as gifts, too (and much less expensive, and more thoughtful, than pretty bars from stores).

Homemade Soap Recipes

The following DIY soap recipes vary in difficulty. Not all of them use lye. Some of them are simple re-batching or “melt and pour” recipes which are more suitable if you want to keep it simple. Others are cold process soap recipes, which lets you make fantastic-looking layered or ombre bars.

  1. Natural Classic Lavender Soap Recipe. This beautiful purplish bar of soap features lavender essential oil along with coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, olive oil, shea butter and more oils that are great for your skin.
  2. Chai Latte Love. This rich recipe contains olive oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil. It can be poured into cups and made to look like adorable actual chai lattes being served. This is a cold process soap, so it doesn’t contain lye.
  3. 10-Minute DIY Peaches and Cream Soap. This one is so quick and easy to make. It’s a melt and pour you can whip up in just a few minutes. It makes a beautiful peachy-scented goats milk soap.
  4. Mermaid Soap Tutorial. Because you need a soap that looks like a mermaid diving beneath the sea foam, oh, yes, you do. This is a melt and pour project that requires a little bit of artwork, and the result is stunning.
  5. Yummy Homemade Chocolate Soap Recipe. This is a cold process soap recipe, and the page contains both a short video and a link to a full tutorial showing you how to make cold process soap. If this technique is new to you, you’ll get lots of help learning it here.
  6. LolliPop Soap. Here’s a soap that’s terrific for kids or as a party favor. Yes, it’s soap on a lollipop stick. It’s a simple glycerin melt and pour, so it’s pretty easy to make.
  7. Spoon Swirl Homemade Soap Recipe. A beautiful, multi-colored soap made with the room temperature method, using oxides, mica and cocoa powder to get its striking appearance.
  8. Pumpkin Soap Recipe. Featuring olive, sunflower and coconut oils, blended with actual pumpkin and essential oils.
  9. Sushi Soap. This adorable-looking soap isn’t hard to make, but it does take some time and patience. But the result is well worth it – soap that looks like pieces of sushi.
  10. Charcoal Facial Bar with Mango, Avocado and Babassu. A black bar of soap featuring charcoal, which is used in some high-end cleansers because it’s so good at clearing out pores. This is a very sudsy soap even though it contains several oils.
  11. Coconut Oil Soap. A basic soap recipe with a moisturizing version for skin and a more drying version that’s right for laundry.
  12. Lavender and Oats Goat Milk Soap Recipe. Not only is goat’s milk supposed to be great for skin, but this heavenly lavender recipe also includes shea butter, plus oats for exfoliation. Lavender is believed to have a calming effect.
  13. Lemon and Green Tea Soap Recipe. Green tea and lemon essential oils smell great together. The antioxidants and tannins from the tea are said to have several benefits for the skin. Overall, this is a great soap for anyone who has acne.
  14. Fresh Lemon Soap. This recipe is a simple melt and pour that’s very easy to make. It comes with several slight variations. You can make Fresh Lime Soap or Pink Lemonade Soap, too.
  15. Oatmeal & Honey Soap Recipe. Oatmeal soap can be great for sensitive or itchy skin. This recipe also includes honey and coconut oil, which also soothe irritated skin.
  16. Avocado Oil Soap Recipe. Just what it sounds like, but with a beautiful swirl design. Avocado is awesome for all types of skin.
  17. Cucumber Soap Recipes. Cucumber is actually an astringent. This recipe harnesses its supposed curative properties along with its wonderful scent.
  18. Glycerin Soap Recipes. This recipe is melt and pour, and also contains no lye. Very easy for beginners or even supervised kids.
  19. Apple Tart Soap. Another easy melt and pour recipe. Simple and apple-scented.