Classic Bells > Soapy stuff

Soapy Stuff

Getting started

Anne L. Watson on soap and lotion making. A lot of soap making info on the internet and in print is incorrect, wrong, and sometimes even dangerous. Anne will get your started safely and sensibly, and her books are very reasonably priced. Buy her books on

Soap Making Forum. Very little drama and lots of good info. Beginners and advanced soap makers are welcome

My soap for sale. Yep, a bit of shameless self promotion.


Soapy projects and ideas

CPOP after saponification. Firm up soap that is staying soft and crumbly because it did not gel during saponification

Making Pine Tar soap. Tips for making this classic but tricky soap

Laundry soap mix. My thoughts making an effective laundry soap and an outline of how I make it

Salting-out soap scraps. An alternative to rebatching soap scraps and mistakes

Felting bar soap. How to cover bar soap with wool fiber -- useful for travel and fun for kids


Soap chemistry and techniques

Curing soap. It's not just about water evaporation. And yes, HP soap needs to cure just as much as CP soap.

Zap test. A time-honored, quick way to check for excess lye

Crackling, streaking, and mottling (aka glycerin rivers). It has everything to do with the fatty acids in the soap, water content, temperature, and rate of cooling ... and nothing to do with glycerin.

Auntie Clara's blog. Clara Lindberg has been studying how differences in water content can dramatically affect the appearance of soap. Posts that relate to this topic include:

Glycerin Rivers: Secrets Revealed
Glycerine Rivers: Trying To Understand Them
Intentional Crop Circles: Water Discount As A Design Tool
The Ghost Swirl
Ghost Swirl Soap Follow-Up
What's Hot and What's Not – A Study In Overheating

How to pH Test Handmade Soap. By Kenna of Modern Soapmaking. Although I believe zap testing has its place in soap making, I otherwise agree with what Kenna has written in this article.

pH Testing and Lowering the pH of Liquid Soap. By Faith of Alaiyna B Bath & Body. This article discusses how to accurately test the pH of liquid soap and what to expect when one tries to lower the pH below what is normal for soap.

Tips for pouring liquids. Use pipettes and pour sticks to eliminate drips and dribbles.


Alkalis -- NaOH and KOH

Calculating a dual lye (KOH and NaOH) recipe

What is "lye"? It is not just sodium hydroxide (NaOH).

Containers for lye solution. Choosing the right container for making and storing lye solution.

NaOH or KOH purity check

"Dry bucket" for storing NaOH or KOH. Keep your dry alkali as pure as possible.

NaOH's remarkable ability to absorb water

Making wood ash lye



Iodine Number and INS Value

High oleic, mid oleic, and regular oil. Not all sunflower, safflower, or canola oil is the same

Calculating fat content from nutrition labels. Do you ignore the fat added when you use coconut milk in your soap? Maybe you shouldn't!



Full water and other drippy myths. Want more consistent results when soaping? Explore better ways to calculate the water for your soap recipes.



Glycerin made by saponification. A quick way to calculate this.


Acids and Salts (chemicals to increase hardness or lengthen the shelf life of soap)

Acetic acid (Vinegar) and Sodium acetate

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and Sodium ascorbate

Citric acid and Citrus juice

Sodium citrate and Potassium citrate

Lactic acid

Sodium lactate


Chelators (chemicals than bind up trace metals that can cause rancidity and DOS)

Tetrasodium EDTA

Sodium citrate and Potassium citrate


Antioxidants (chemicals that prevent oxidation and overall rancidity)

Rosemary Oleoresin (ROE)

Tocopherols (Vitamin E)


Safety and First Aid

Zap test. A time-honored, quick way to check for excess lye

Lye first aid. Never use vinegar to treat lye on the body!

Choosing a respirator

Choosing eye protection


Product packaging, labeling, and photography

Using shrink bags to package soap

Creating soap labels

Product photography tips


Contact me

If you have a question, suggestion, or correction, please send an email to DeeAnna at I can also be found at the Soap Making Forum and various soaping groups on FaceBook -- look for my name.