Ah, soapmaking is a hobby that can make a great side income if you do it right. With that said, definitely a process that requires the use of lye–sodium hydroxide.
Sodium hydroxide is a highly caustic substance that can do some serious damage to your skin. It can cause chemical burns, blindness, and other serious problems. This can make newbies to soapmaking a bit skittish – nobody wants to risk serious injury after all.
With that in mind, there is a way around this issue with melt and pour soaps. Melt and pour soaps are made by melting a soap base and mixing in scents, and dyes, and pouring the mixture into a mold. Once the mixture is in the mold, you leave it to set/harden and cure.
1. Honey Soap
Honey has great antiseptic properties and is very gentle on the skin, so if you have sensitive skin this is one that everyone can use.
It looks and smells great, it’s also very easy to make; so if you’re looking for an easy-to-make, gentle, and aesthetically pleasing soap, this is the recipe for you.
2. Goats Milk and Himalayan Salt Soap
This particular recipe uses a goats milk base and Himalayan sea salt to provide a nice exfoliating soap.
The use of jojoba or almond oil as a base allows your essential oils to blend nicely and provide a nice scent. As for the salt, well, that’s a natural exfoliate that can really help clearing your skin.
You don’t have to use sea salt, that’s the best part; you can play with it. You can use ground coffee, sugar, or any other natural exfoliates. If you’d like to try this one, you can get the recipe here.
3. Lavender Soap
Lavender is a very pleasant scent and has a range of anti-bacterial properties. It’s a relaxing scent and can soothe your skin; it also goes really well with other scents/oils. The recipe I found mixes lavender and rosemary; you can get it here.
4. Aloe Vera Soap
Aloe vera is well-known for its medicinal/healing purposes. It can soften and soothe irritated skin. You can also blend it with a few different things. The recipe I found, uses a glycerin base and adds dried nettle leaves to get a nice color and improve the soothing qualities. You can get a recipe here.
5. Coffee Scented Soap
Coffee is a natural exfoliate with a pleasant scent with the caffeine providing nice anti-inflammatory properties. You can get a recipe for coffee soap here.
You can use either goats milk or shea butter bases to provide a cream-textured soap. Adding a touch of coffee or vanilla essence will enhance the scent.
6. Oatmeal Cinnamon Soap
I never considered oatmeal as anything other than breakfast but it has an array of soothing and exfoliating properties.
The addition of cinnamon gives the soap a great scent and has strong antioxidants that can help clear your skin. You can get a recipe for oatmeal cinnamon soap here.
7. Peppermint and Shea Butter Soap
Shea butter has a creamy texture, and the peppermint works as an antiseptic and helps to treat irritation caused by bug bites and acne. You can get a recipe for peppermint and shea butter soap here.
8. Honey and Shea Butter Soap
Much like the previous honey soap, you’re adding raw honey to a melted down soap base. You can use either goats milk or shea butter bases and you can add a scent if you like.
You can get a recipe here. A honeycomb-shaped mold can add to the aesthetic value of your soap.
9. Pumpkin Spice Soap
This is a good one for the fall season, the use of a goats milk base gives the soap a creamy texture which helps to moisturize your skin while the pumpkin spice provides a nice smell and gentle exfoliate. A pumpkin spice soap recipe can be found here.
10. Rosemary and Lemongrass Soap
Two great scents in one bar of soap help to reinvigorate your senses. This one uses an aloe glycerin base, providing a soft, soothing bar of soap for sensitive skin.
The rosemary and lemongrass scents are strong enough to give you a pick-me-up without being overpowering. You can find this recipe here.
If lemongrass isn’t your thing, you can mix in lavender like we did earlier on the list or you can add vanilla to it.
11. Rose Quartz Soap
I used to collect semi-precious stones and one of my personal favorites was rose quartz. There’s just something about these chunks of pink rock that I find fascinating.
This soap recipe is great because you can play with the shape of your soaps. You can find out all about making rose quartz soap here.
If rose quartz isn’t your thing, try making amethysts instead!
12. Candy Cane Soap
Candy cane is synonymous with the Christmas season, and it tastes great; with that in mind, please don’t try to eat this soap! The stripes and swirls are formed by mixing a clear base and a white base with some colorant and a bit of peppermint essence. You can find a recipe here.
13. Turmeric & Dandelion Soap for Sensitive Skin
Turmeric and dandelion soap is great for sensitive skin, and it works as an anti-inflammatory. You can use turmeric soap to treat eczema, acne, and other skin problems.
The use of oils and cocoa butter adds to the texture and antioxidant properties. You can get a turmeric soap recipe here.
14. Peaches and Cream Soap
This is an interesting soap to make. The two-tone look is achieved by melting down a clear base and a goats milk base and layering the one over the other in a mold. A bit of peach fragrance for the scent and voila, you’ve got peaches and cream. Try this one yourself with this recipe.
15. Cranberry Vanilla w. Shea Butter Soap
The creamy texture of the shea butter with the added scents of cranberries and vanilla…sounds interesting.
My experience with cranberries is limited to cranberry juice so the idea of dried cranberries in fruit didn’t occur to me until I started putting this list together. It’s a cool idea and you can use this recipe to make it yourself.
16. Apple Pie Soap
What is it with making food products into soap? I like a good, freshly baked apple pie and an apple pie soap is both weird and wonderful to me.
The goats milk base provides a soft, smooth texture, and the apple and vanilla fragrances give off that fresh apple pie smell. Take a shot at this one yourself and see how it goes.
17. Pencil-Shaped Soaps
This is an interesting undertaking, pencil-shaped soaps are made by creating layers of clear and opaque soap base.
You can use any colors and scents you want and have fun creating a unique soap product. You can get a recipe here.
18. Citrus Mint Soap
Citrus mint soap is fantastic because you can play around with the mixtures. Usually, when you think of citrus, you think of lemons, oranges, and limes. This soap uses a clear, glycerin layer over a creamy goat’s milk layer.
As far as the mint goes, you can use any kind of mint plant along with the citrus of your choice. This is an energizing soap with a well-balanced scent that is strong enough to wake you up without being overpowering. The recipe for this soap can be found here.
19. Honeysuckle Soap
The one thing that I probably got into the most trouble for as a kid was eating my grandfather’s honeysuckle flowers…I was a kid, and it was honey!
Anyways, this one’s great; you’ve got the scent of honeysuckle in a bar of soap – what’s not to like? Check out this recipe if you’d like to try it for yourself.
20. Jasmine with Dead Sea Salt Soap
This one uses a clear soap base with dead sea salt and jasmine fragrance to create a soothingly scented, gentle exfoliating soap.
I like the smell of jasmine and having used sea salt exfoliates myself a few times, this one had to be on the list somewhere. Check it out here.
21. Lavender and Bee Pollen Soap
We know lavender is a very versatile plant and bee pollen, as odd as this is going to sound, is a healthy snack.
This soap is a good anti-inflammatory and is full of amino acids and vitamins to protect your skin.
The lavender adds a pleasant scent and, if you’re using dried lavender flowers, a natural exfoliate. Check it out and see what you think.
22. Rosehip Soap
If you like roses, you’ll like this one. The use of rose clay and rosehips give the soap its pinkish color while the poppyseeds provide a natural exfoliate and the hints of lemongrass and lavender essential oils enhance the scent.
The base can be either goat’s milk or shea butter – either way your skin will appreciate it. You can get a recipe for rosehip soap here.
23. Coconut Shea Butter Soap
A luxuriously creamy soap, this one uses a shea butter base with a coconut fragrance and is great for moisturizing dry skin. You can find a recipe to try here.
24. Thai Tea Soap
I’m a big fan of teas in general, I don’t mind the Ceylon (breakfast blend) but I like the variety of flavors (vanilla, lemon, and Earl Grey are personal favorites) that you can find in stores.
This soap has hints of sugar, tea, and coconut and comes in a fiery red color with streaks of white – representative of how Thai tea is served black topped with cream or condensed milk. Try this one yourself here.
25. Beauty and the Beast Soap
1991’s Beauty and the Beast is one of the best Disney films ever. The story of a spoiled prince cursed to remain a beast for eternity unless he finds true love before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls is one that doesn’t get old.
This soap recipe allows you to have your own ‘undying’ rose – as long as the soap’s in one piece. If you’d like to try making this one, here’s the recipe.
26. Clay and Rosewater Soap
This one can be used to treat acne, absorb excess oil, and encourage cell renewal. The rosewater and jojoba oil adds a pleasant scent while the pink clay gives the soap an aesthetically pleasing look. Try it yourself here.
27. Shimmery Berry and Vanilla Soap
Another berry and vanilla mixture, this soap uses a goat’s milk base which gives it a creamy texture with the sugar/berry scent adding to the pleasantness. Try it here.
28. Pumice and Poppyseed Soap
A natural exfoliating soap, this mixture of pumice and poppyseed has a nice texture. You can play around with the shapes and colors of your soap.
Use any essential oils you like and create something unique and interesting. The recipe can be found here.
29. Snowy Forest Soap
Christmas is still a fair way off but that doesn’t mean you can’t set something up ahead of time. The combination of clear and white bases provides an interesting look, and the use of fragrance oil can help promote the holiday feels.
The best part is that this recipe is amazingly flexible; different colors and scents will give off different vibes. You can get this recipe here and have fun.
30. Mermaid Shells Soap
This is a cool one to make! Using a clam shell mold, you can create a layered shell-shaped bar of soap. Scents and colors may vary but the result is still a nice-looking shell. Try this one yourself here.
31. Sparkling Fig Soap
If you’re looking for something with a bit of depth, then this might be the one you want to try. For this one, you’ll use both a goat’s milk base and a honey base which you’ll be melting and swirling to create an interesting pattern.
The colorants and fragrance will give you a cool look and nice fig scent. The recipe can be found here.
32. Blueberry Tart Soap
Blueberry tart…I know I’ve asked this already but why are we so fascinated by turning food products into soaps? This one is made to resemble a blueberry tart complete with wax blueberries.
The blueberry jam fragrance adds to the façade and presents you with an appetizing piece of soap. Make some yourself with this recipe – just don’t eat it!
33. Poppy Seed Soap
A shea butter soap base with poppy seeds and whatever scent you like; that sounds pretty good to me. Once again, you’re going to cut your base into small pieces and melt them in the microwave.
Add your seeds and scents and place the mixture into molds. It should take about 15 minutes to set when refrigerated.
Somewhat cheaper than store-bought soaps, you can add fruit zest if you want to add to the scent.
34. Silk Soap
This particular soap is so-named because of its silky textured finish – the result of adding silk peptide to the mixture. The base is comprised of 4 types of oils (shea butter, coconut, olive, castor oil), water, lye, and of course, silk peptide.
Your coloring will use cosmetic white clay, a bit of olive oil, and a bit of whatever colors you want to use.
You can use scents as well, if you like; but keep in mind that you’ll be busy for a while so use a slower-moving scent. Patterns can be done however you like and alternating colors can add a bit of flair to the project.
35. Herbal Soaps
Considering the dangers posed by lye, it’s not really surprizing that some people prefer to avoid it like a plague.
We’ve discussed melt and pour soaps a few times and this is another one; the difference here is that you’re using all natural ingredients. This is perfect for pretty much everyone and you can do pretty much anything with it.
Some scents that I’d recommend are: Bergamot, Cedar/Sandalwood, Vanilla (everything’s better with vanilla), Palma Rosa and Lemongrass.
Children are naturally curious creatures and the saying: ‘monkey see, monkey do’ is a very real thing. With that in mind, it’s very likely that your kids’ interest will be piqued by the soap making process.
This one is interesting because, you can do anything with it and I mean that more literally than you’d imagine.
Your standard melt and pour method, but this time when you’ve put the liquid soap into the mould; you’re going to add popsicle sticks – hence the name. How cool is that?
37. Marbled Beer Soap
This is a weird one that I found while putting this list together and it was just too good to leave it off. If my understanding is correct, you’re adding evaporated beer to lye, water, and a couple of different oils – including Cedarwood essential oil.
I don’t know how I feel about this. It’s interesting but, I mean, it’s beer how do you even get that right? Does the alcohol affect anything?
Anyways, I digress: the resulting bar of soap has a cool look to it and it might be a fun experiment to try.
38. Tea-Scented Soap
Tea is a common enough drink and there are so many variants available that it presents some amazing options for scents and colors among your soaps.
That’s what makes things so interesting; there are so many recipes that it’s hard to choose one to start with.
The one I found is a melt and pour recipe and it uses tea leaves or whatever spice you like in addition to essential oils of your choice.
You cut your soap base and melt it down in the microwave, add your colors, spices, and oils and pour the mixture into your moulds.
39. Gummy Soap
This is an interesting project that you can do with your kids – just don’t let them eat the bar of soap.
For this one, you’ll be using liquid soap or bubble bath and *drumroll* gelatin! Okay, so a couple of things to keep in mind: first the soap won’t last long as it dissolves pretty quickly, and second, depending on the ratio between the ingredients and what ingredients you use; you’ll get different results.
You’ll have to experiment a little bit to get this one right so don’t go too crazy with overly huge batches.
It’s made pretty much the same way you’d make jelly; add unflavored gelatin to a pot of boiling water; once it’s dissolved completely you add your scent and colorants and put the mixture in the mould to set.
Try it for yourself and see how easy it is.
40. Glycerin Soap
Glycerin soap is typically used for sensitive skin as it prevents excessive drying of the skin. With that in mind, Glycerin is actually a soap-making by-product resulting from the mixture of lye and water with oils.
This glycerin soap recipe calls it a ‘glycerin soap base’ but I’m not sure how that’s different from soap.
41. Grapefruit Soap
I don’t know about you guys, but I really don’t like grapefruit! I know it’s supposed to be healthy for you and I know that there are people who genuinely love the stuff but it’s just too bitter for my liking.
It does, have a nice look and smell to it, however, which is why it makes sense that someone would use it in soap. This is especially true, when you consider the skin benefits afforded by a fruit full of vitamins and minerals.
The use of grapefruit isn’t surprising (considering the rest of this list), it’s readily available at most grocers and/or farmer’s markets and is easy enough to make.
Try it yourself and see what you think.
42. Soapy Semi-Precious Stones
So, I was looking for interesting soap recipes and this one was something that caught my eye because it brought back some old childhood memories.
When I was a kid, I became fascinated with semi-precious stones. I had a massive collection of these things and actually still have a few of them.
The only issue I have with these soaps is the aesthetics. They are way too pretty to use! This recipe uses the melt-and-pour method to create something unique and decorative. Now, this project will take a bit of work but it’s worth every minute.
Try it for yourself and see what you can do.
43. Fossilized Animal Soaps
I feel like this is a dumb question but here goes: have you seen Jurassic Park? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen or at least heard of Jurassic Park.
The idea of resurrecting dinosaurs through DNA from fossilized mosquitos is interesting and this gives kids something to look at – maybe give them a chance to play at being John Hammond themselves. Plastic bugs in clear, colored soap; simple and fun.
Get the recipe here and have a bit of fun with the kids
44. Soap Crystals
Who doesn’t love crystals? This is something else that has always fascinated me and I’ve got a handful of interesting bits and bobs that I’ve collected over the years.
There’s just something about the many weird and wonderful shapes and colors that’s always been captivating to me.
They’re always an interesting conversation starter and the idea of crystal-shaped soap is very cool.
They’re easy enough to make but I doubt you’ll want to use them. You can get the recipe here if you’d like to take a crack at making these crystal soaps yourself.
45. Epsom Salt Soaps
So, something that I used to do is make candles and bath salts for flea markets; bath salts were the easiest thing. Epsom salts, essential oils, and some dye and that’s it; done.
In all that time that I was making bath salts it never occurred to me to look at doing soaps too.
An Epsom salt is apparently good for relaxing strained and sore muscles – a fact that I can attest to having used some leftover bath salts as a scrub.
If this is something that interests you then you can get the recipe here and try it yourself.
Soapmaking is fun and, as long as you’re using the melt-and-pour method, a family-friendly hobby.
You get all the joys of making custom soaps, without the dangers posed by exposure to lye (which we can all appreciate).
That said, you do need to be careful about certain things – you are working with melted soap bases after all, and nobody wants an accident in the kitchen.
A well-made soap can also be a great side hustle which, given the effects of COVID-19 on the job market, would be very much appreciated. As always, thanks for reading. I hope you all enjoyed the article and I’ll see you for the next one! Take care!
Greg is a South African farmer and homesteader who’s been around animals ever since he can remember. He’s also an avid camper and hiker.