The earliest recorded evidence of soap use dates back to 2800BC in Ancient Babylon. By 1550BC, the ancient Egyptians were making soap from animal and vegetable oils combined with alkaline salts. And if an ancient race can do it, anyone can.
An easy way to make soap is to use leftover slivers of old bars of soap. Grate the slivers and slowly add water until the mixture reaches a sticky play dough consistency. If you wish, you can add essential oils or fragrances, before rolling into a ball and pressing into the desired shape. Leave to dry on a cooling rack.
To make soap from scratch, you will require lye and lard. If you are really clever, you can learn how to make lye here. Otherwise, you can purchase it at most hardware stores or online. Always use gloves and eye protection when making soap as the ingredients can be caustic. The mixture can get very hot and for that reason, metal utensils are not recommended.
Pour three cups of refrigerated water into a glass or enamel saucepan. Slowly add twelve ounces of lye, being careful not to breathe in the fumes. Combine with a wooden or plastic spatula and leave to cool for an hour. While that is cooling, you can place three pounds lard in a plastic bowl and leave out to ensure it reaches room temperature.
When the saucepan has cooled down sufficiently, add the contents to the plastic bowl containing your lard and stir for about fifteen minutes. The lard should melt completely and the mixture should resemble a thick pudding.
When that has cooled down, you can pour it into your mould and allow to set overnight. It may take a few more days for it to get hard.
You can make liquid soap by dissolving your home made soap bar in hot water and adding citric acid to balance the pH level.
To turn your humble soap into something fancier, see this website.
We stock an entire range of really easy to use natural melt and pour soap bases on our website and the most beautiful silicone moulds and fragrances.
It's really fun and easy and if it's just receipts you are after at the top of the web page there's a a section called topics and you can scroll down to the soap art forums.
Lots of fun and a great activity to do with the kids.
As a gift I made a lovely set for a friend, she has a favourite perfume ( I bought it cheaply for $40 on eBay) tipped around a quarter into 500gms of melted soap base.
It made 5 large bars total cost $47.50 with 3 quarters of the perfume left over so technically $17.50 for 5 bars.
These sell in the large department stores for around $190 per bar
Fantastic gift for a special friend.