Tag Archives: soap

Soap, Soap, & More Soap!

All the deodorant soaps were left after i made that big batch of facial soaps.  So it’s been super cold, windy, and rainy – time to finish up that project.  I found plenty more soaps around at my father-in-law’s house – hopefully, these are the last of the old, old hotel soaps.

I found some more suitably sized pots and managed to guess the right amount that would fit in each of the blocks. This amount was MUCH easier for me to stir.  You can adjust the amounts, but these are the percentages.

  • 4 cups ground soap
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups of oils (i used olive oil, coconut oil, bits of glycerin and castor oils, & shea butter)
the deodorant soaps melted nicely
Bottles of old glycerin – might as well – not any good sitting in a bottle
First batch was that bit of glycerin, 1/2 cup shea butter, and about 1 1/4 cup coconut oil


Facial Soap Upcycling
Oddly, the facial soaps were really hard to break down to melting – lots of stirring. I started with my big spatula, then finally able to whisk it slowly.
Facial Soap finally smooth
Patience finally paid off on that lumpy facial soap batch.  To this facial soap batch, i added 1 cup coconut oil and 1 cup shea butter.  Just using up extra supplies.
Wrapped up to slowly cool for 24 hours.
Soap block
Soap molds from Essential Depot.
Three batches cut and laid out to cure.  Basically just to dry out.  No lye is involved in upcycling since the soap is already saponified.

Soap from Hotel Soap

It’s still cold, so thought i’d take some time to turn old hotel soap bars into something luscious.  Allen’s Aunt June has taken people on tours all over the world and apparently collected soap along the way.  When i’m talking old soaps – theses babies are from the 70s and 80s! and there are hundreds and hundreds of them.  Needless to say, hotel soaps are seldom of the highest quality to begin with, but by now, their scents and oils were history.

However, the saponification was done, so, not wanting them to go to waste, i proceeded to get to work.

The Steps:

Unwrap each bar and break in half or fourths best you can.  Some will be too hard.

Place them in a food processor, maybe 1/3 full.  These will really be a challenge for your processor, so don’t overload it!  You can also grate them by hand.

Process them until flaky  – just takes a few seconds generally.

Then start the soap making process.

The beauty of using soap for the base, is that you do not have to have rubber gloves, goggles, and be careful to protect your skin from the intensely caustic effects of lye and lye water.  Also, none of the bringing the lye water to the right temperature and precisely the right time that you’ve brought the oils to the right temperature, then taking both items outside to carefully and slowly pour in the lye water whilst stirring.  Outside because of the extremely dangerous fumes put out by the lye water.  Lye water can easily melt holes in your clothes, and burn your skin and eyes.

I found this blog 

Make Your Own Monday: Upcycling Hotel and Leftover Soap

that is absolutely well written for you to follow.  I highly recommend that you start with the 2 cups of soap flakes she recommends.  Stupid me, forgetting that it’s been 3 years (which makes me 3 years older) thought i could jump right in and did 10 cups.  That made for horrendous amount of mass to stir down.  My shoulder is sore the next evening from the stirring.

Nevertheless, i did get it done, then added 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups coconut oil, 2 cups shea butter, and several drops of sweet orange essential oil.  Just a complete guess as to whether or not the logs would cure enough to cut.  But 24 hours later, i popped them out of the logs and they sliced nicely, though indeed, they are soft.  Now laid out to cure at about 4 weeks.


Ground Soap
Just takes a few seconds to whir the bars into powder
Soap making coconut oil shea butter
This project was spur of the moment, so first i had to thaw out my shea butter and warm the coconut oil to 76 degrees so it would be a liquid
This was my double boiler method.  Inside the top pot is the 10 cups of soap flakes.
Soap making log
One of three silicon soap molds from Essential Depot. These are SO handy, but you can use whatever you have on hand to dedicate to soapmaking.


soap making bars
All the bars are carefully cut and laid out to cure and harden.  Right now they are very soft.

Make Your Own Monday: Upcycling Hotel and Leftover Soap

Great instructions for upcycling hotel soap bars!


Make Your Own Monday: Upcycling Hotel and Leftover Soap

Greetings and salutations, followers! I hope you had a great weekend. I did the LoziLu 5k Mud Run in Milwaukee on Saturday and had a dirty, muddy, good time!

And what better way to get clean from all that muddy fun than by making some soap? Actually, easier and faster than making soap – upcycling it!

I discovered the process of upcycling soap about a year ago, when I realized I was taking after my mother and ALWAYS taking the free soaps from every hotel stay and saving all the little blobs from bars of soap I used at home. I could have used them as they were, but let’s be real – only the best hotels give you really good soap (in Las Vegas, we got Bulgari soap at the Tropicana!). So let’s take this stuff and make it better!

I spent some time scouring Pinterest, and comparing a few methods of melting soap. I’ve tweaked the process to one that works for me, but you’re more than welcome to explore and find what works for you.


  • Bars of soap, scraps, blobs, soap flakes, whatever you have!
  • A large metal or glass bowl and pot, OR a double boiler.
  • Molds
  • Strainer
  • Wooden spoon for stirring (you don’t want to use plastic, the hot soap will easily melt it)
  • Olive oil, glycerin, coconut oil – you need to choose a “binder” hold the melted soap together and replace the water.
  • Non stick spray for the molds.
  • Fragrance and coloring (optional I suppose, but  it really makes your soap look fancy! You can find it at any craft store)
  • Grate

Gather up all of your soap . I would wait to upcycle your soap until you have at least two cups worth of soap to work with. Image

Take your grater and pick one or two bars of soap and grate them down. I know, it’s a pain for your hands, but soap is fairly soft and you will be surprised how quickly it goes. You need to have the flakes to start a melting base so the rest will melt easily. Place them in the bottom of your glass or metal bowl/double boiler. You can chop up the rest of your soap with a knife, or grate it all if you feel like it.


Fill your pot or double boiler 3/4 of the way full with salt water – it will reach boiling point much faster. And place it on the stove,


Bring the water to a boil and continuously scrape the bottom of the bowl. The flakes will soften almost immediately, and you want to make sure they don’t clump up on you.

Now, take a pot holder and remove the bowl. Very carefully, take 1 cup of boiling water for every cup of soap you have in the bowl – I had two cups (or thereabouts, it’s okay if it isn’t exact), so I slowly added one cup of boiling water to the soap. Stir vigorously, and place it back on the boiler. Stir and it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, repeat the process for however many cups of soap you have. The melting water will help break down the soap and eventually evaporate.


It should start looking like a bubbly, kinda slimy mess. At this point, measure out one cup of your ‘binder’ – I used  Olive OIl here – for every two cups of soap. Slowly add it to the soap and stir.

Step back and let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Then, add coloring and fragrance to your soap. I added a mix of red and blue and yellow, which turned into this smoky Lavender color – and added a few drops of Sweet Pea fragrance oil. Stir and let it simmer for about five minutes.

Next, take the soap off the heat, and empty the hot water out of the pot. Dump the hot soap into the pot, and get out your strainer. Place the strainer over the soap melting bowl and slowly pour it through, using your wooden spoon to stir and press it through. This should leave you with a strainer full of lumpy soap remains – and a bowl of smooth, hot, colored soap. This removes all the icky stuff that might be in there. Set the lumpy leftovers aside for now, and get out your molds. Spray them lightly with non-stick spray, or wipe them down with your binder. Fill them and set them in the fridge – I’ve found that cooling them helps the soap set faster and smoother.


Cool them overnight. Now, you may ask – Melissa, what do I do with the leftover lumpy stuff? Easy! That’s your ready-to-go base for next time! Put it in a tupperware container or plastic ziploc bag and start saving all your soap shards for next time! Trust me, you’ll want to do this again!

ImageTa da!!! Smooth, shiny, sweet scented soap! Looks like something you would be from a specialty store!

Come back tomorrow for The Happy Idiot’s very first giveaway!



This is seriously one of my favorite craft projects. It’s easy and it costs you nothing if you already have the soap, a muffin tin, and some olive oil. Most of us have food coloring and scented extracts in the cabinet already.

Here’s another great benefit – put your soapy supplies in the dishwasher, and you will have a sparkling clean and sweet smelling appliance when you are done!

The happy idiot

Greetings and salutations, followers! I hope you had a great weekend. I did the LoziLu 5k Mud Run in Milwaukee on Saturday and had a dirty, muddy, good time!

And what better way to get clean from all that muddy fun than by making some soap? Actually, easier and faster than making soap – upcycling it!

I discovered the process of upcycling soap about a year ago, when I realized I was taking after my mother and ALWAYS taking the free soaps from every hotel stay and saving all the little blobs from bars of soap I used at home. I could have used them as they were, but let’s be real – only the best hotels give you really good soap (in Las Vegas, we got Bulgari soap at the Tropicana!). So let’s take this stuff and make it better!

I spent some time scouring Pinterest, and comparing a…

View original post 767 more words

Juniper Leaf Soap Recipe

I had a request for the recipes of the three soaps I gave to our mailman, who had given me some wonderful all natural home grown local beeswax, so I’ll start with this one! Using regular soap making directions, here are the ingredients for this 5.4 lb (after 4 week curing) batch.  Use a soap making calculator to help with oil selections.  There are a lot of them out there, just type in ‘soap making calculator.’

Juniper Leaf

24 oz beef tallow (i render our own grass finished beef tallow)

17 oz olive oil

17 oz coconut oil

4 oz shea butter

2 oz beeswax (locally produced usually)

9.45 oz sodium hydroxide

21.88 oz rainwater

5 Tablespoons of Juniper Leaf essential oil stirred in at trace.

Remember NEVER pour lye (sodium hydroxide) into hot oil (or cold oil).  Dissolve it into the water first.  I always wear safety goggles and rubber gloves when doing this and always outside.  The fumes coming off are very toxic and even the tiniest drop of the mixture will dissolve fabric and skin.

Never let the hot oil get on you either.  My goal is to heat the oil (slowly) and stir the sodium hydroxide crystals into the water and let cool so that both oil and lye water reach 106ºF to 110ºF at the same time.  (stirring sodium hydroxide into water can cause the water to quickly reach over 200ºF – be very, very careful!).  Once they each reach those temps, trickle the lye water into the oils which are being blended.  Coming to trace can be as quick as 5 minutes or more than an hour!

Many people use an immersion blender these days – very neat idea, but i’m using an old Sunbeam mixer that works just fine and didn’t cost anything.  Any implement used in soap making should be dedicated to that project.  Never use them for food again.

Making soap is a labor of love; unless you are set up with commercial equipment and plan to make a LOT to keep costs down, there is little profit in it unless your soap is so good that you can command a premium price.  And there are some out there that can.

There are so many excellent sites on the web with a plethora of ingredient choices, recipes, and soap making instructions and tips.  Take your time, educate yourself, decide how much effort and expense you want to invest, then go for it!  Or decide to purchase it already made.  That’s good, too.



Tips:  Try not to make a huge financial investment until you are sure you want to do this on a regular basis.  I still use an old coffee carafe to stir the sodium hydroxide into the water.  You can pick them up at second hand stores for less than a dollar and they can easily take the heat.  Estate sales or second hand stores may also yield a workable mixer.  You can choose to stir by hand, but i guarantee that will get old quick.  A lot of fun stuff can be used for soap molds, but remember you’ll be pouring very hot mixture into them – select carefully.  I finally broke down and purchased these very keen loaf molds from Essential Depot.  They really make it much easier.




Beeswax & Homemade Soap

Once a year I make soap.  It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, but it does take a lot of work, to make several years’ worth of homemade healthy, clean soap that doesn’t dry out your skin like commercial body soaps can.  Many of the ingredients I have to order (i order mine from Essential Depot), but our home raised grassfinished beef tallow and my neighbour’s beeswax are key ingredients as well.

We don’t manage bees on our farms, but our neighbour does and he shares beeswax with me.  Lots of ways to farm. Thanks to our neighbour, Kevin, for caring for bees and their hives and producing great honey. He stopped by last week and gave me some wax.

Agricultural production opportunities abound, but none that i’ve found come without dedication, hard work, and passion. It’s unlikely you’ll become financially wealthy either, but there is more to life than that.



Soap Making

I’m no soap queen, but since I want the best soap available for my family and myself, the least expensive is to make it myself – although that is still not cheap.  The time spent and the materials to purchase or make add in to dollars per bar.  However, when it’s so icy cold outside, this is the time to restock our soap supplies for the year or sometimes two year’s worth!

If you figure your cost of soap remember to add in the cost of skin oils or lotions you use.  Commercial soaps typically have the glycerin removed so it can be sold to you in a separate bottle of lotion.  Home-made soaps still contain the naturally occurring glycerin.

Although it has been cold, it certainly is convenient for cooling the lye quickly!  Nothing more romantic than standing in 4 degrees Fahrenheit under a full moon at night stirring lye water!  😉

soap 014
Disaster strikes with the 100% tallow – totally crumbled, so will have to rebatch this one! Aaargh!
soap 015
Seven batches set out to cure – This will take at least four weeks before the soaps are ready to use. The plastic containers hold bits and pieces that will be used for making laundry soap.
soap 018
Shaving Soap made with Bio-Char – really excited about this soap. Will have to see how it feels once cured, but it is one of the prettiest soaps I’ve ever made! Also contain bentonite clay for slip.