Photo: How to make soap, part four

I've made 37 batches of soap! Allow me to share my favourite soap calculator and three lovely recipes. (Credit: Brendon Purdy Photography)

It's finally soap recipe time!

Anxious to get started? I wasn't trying to build suspense. I just wanted you to know what you're getting into. Soap making is the hardest DIY I've taught — caustic lye, specific tools, often expensive and hard-to-find ingredients — and a four-week process!

Let's recap:

Use a soap making calculator

Meet my favourite soap making calculator. "Pin" it to your toolbar. Memorize the URL. Write it in your soon-to-be soap recipe book! I can't do without it.

A soap calculator helps you create your own one-of-a-kind recipes with over 100 choices for fats, oils and waxes. You decide how big the batch — my block holds 1,200 grams of oils, fats and waxes. It tells you how much lye and water you'll need to saponify the ingredients and the qualities of your bar — hardness, cleansing, bubbly, etc.—giving you a safe range for great soap!

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Green clay soap recipe

Batch size: 1,082 grams of fats and oils yields approximately 25 bars
Qualities: medium hardness, low cleansing but highly conditioning (not very bubbly)

350 g olive oil
257 g grapeseed oil
210 g coconut oil,
190 g rice bran oil
75 g mango seed butter
411 g water
145 g lye

Optional: four tablespoons green clay, two tablespoons ground orange peel and 0.6 grams eucalyptus and juniper berry essential oils.

Licorice soap recipe

Batch size: 1,200 grams of fats and oils yields approximately 25 bars
Qualities: highly conditioning and medium cleansing

325 g olive oil
300 g coconut oil
250 g grapeseed oil
125 g sunflower oil
100 g apricot kernel oil
60 g castor oil
40 g shea butter
456 g water
166 g lye

Optional additives: half a cup of organic ground oats, 2 tablespoons warmed honey and 0.6 grams anise essential oil.

Shampoo bar soap recipe

Batch size: 1,238 grams of fats and oils yields approximately 25 bars
Qualities: highly conditioning and quite bubbly

439 g olive oil
350 g coconut oil
350 g castor oil
39 g jojoba oil
15 g sweet almond oil
15 g apricot kernel oil
15 g avocado oil
15 g shea butter
470 g water
170 g lye

Optional additives: 0.6 grams in total of tangerine, rosemary, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

These recipes work well following the method I shared last week.

Still have questions? Comment on this blog and I'll answer them next week, along with some troubleshooting tips!

Enter to win a deluxe soap making kit donated by Voyageur Soap & Candle Company Ltd. ($79.95 value)!

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

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March 27, 2014

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Apr 14, 2014
8:48 PM

Thanks for walking me through the process. Soap making parties should be a regular social engagement — good for the body, the environment, and the soul. :)

Apr 05, 2014
3:19 PM

I’ve been wanting to try making soap for some time now. Thanks for the recipes and steps!

Apr 02, 2014
9:21 AM

Excited to try this! My husband has very sensitive skin and homemade soap is the best!

Mar 31, 2014
9:13 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. I want to make soap because I hate all of the unrecognizable and unpronounceable ingredients in regular soaps, even from natural stores. I wonder if you have any super Duper simple recipes for people who are starting making soap for the very first time, with only a few easy to locate ingredients. These starter recipes given probably give wonderful soap, but I’ve had a hard time finding all the oils, and would love to start with something a little more basic. Thanks again for exposing us to the reality of all the chemicals in most soaps, and for having the confidence in us to make our own!

Mar 31, 2014
7:58 AM

I support and buy chemical-free, natural/organic, handmade soaps, but would love to learn how to make my own. I want to be self-sufficient and this is great way to start! :)

Mar 31, 2014
6:33 AM

I’m loving this blog series! I’ve tried to make soap before (made a cream soap using grated glycerin bars) but it went moldy in a few weeks. I would love to try some of these recipes but am weary around lye. I would definitely give it a try though!

Mar 30, 2014
6:11 PM

So i can do it at home and dont have to buy store bought soap.

Mar 27, 2014
4:04 PM

awesome series! I am SO looking forward to making the licorice soap!

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