Soap is something that we use on a daily basis. It’s freely available at most supermarkets and pharmacies and generally speaking it’s safe for most people to use.
So, what do we do when we’re allergic to certain ingredients present in soap? We make our own soap!
With that in mind, I did a bit of internet sleuthing and compiled a list of DIY soap recipes you have to try.
I think it’s safe to assume that we all like honey. It’s great in tea or on a slice of buttered toast or even in a dessert – waffles, pancakes, you name it and it can probably be done. Honey can also be used to make soap.
This project is super easy and it has a very pleasant scent. You can get all the ingredients and molds that you need in kits or you can buy the ingredients separately and make your own molds.
It takes around 24 hours to set and the end result is aesthetically pleasing and gentle on the skin.
Once the soap has been set, you can remove it from the molds and wrap it up however you like.
It makes a nice gift for friends and family. You can also mix honey with other things to make something extra nice.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Pumpkin? Really?”
Yes, really, and adding other scents makes the scent more prominent. Something that’s important to know about this recipe is that it involves the use of lye (sodium hydroxide). This substance can be dangerous to work with so use caution.
Once you’ve mixed the soap mixture, portion half of the mixture out into a mold and add your scented oils and add the rest of the soap mixture.
You then leave it to set; this will take a few days before you can take the soap out of the mold(s). Leave them for a few more days and they’ll be ready to use.
Lavender is a very pleasant scent; sharp enough to be noticeable but soft enough that it’s not overpowering. This is a melt-and-pour soap so you’ll need a soap base (a bar of soap), some lavender oil, and flowers.
Now, the soap base will have to be cut into small pieces and melted over a medium heat.
When the soap pieces are completely melted, add your lavender extract and flowers. The flowers will float nicely on the surface of the mixture.
Pour the soap into a mold and leave it to set for an hour or so. Once it’s set you can remove it from the mold and put it to use!
If you want to add to the aesthetics of the soap, then add a little bit of dye to give your soap a nice color.
4. Coconut Oil
This one will require some careful preparation. For this soap, you’ll need water, coconut oil, lye, and a crockpot.
So, you’re going to have to mix the lye and water and then either melt the coconut oil (it starts out semi-solid) in a saucepan or add it directly to your pot.
Once that’s done, add your lye and stir the mixture until it thickens – be careful it doesn’t go too thick.
Cover it up and leave it for around 45 minutes or so to cook. Use a pH strip to test if it’s ready, the reading should be between 7 and 10.
Spoon your mixture into a mold and leave it to cool. Now, you don’t want it to cool for too long as it can be difficult to cut when it hardens completely; cut it as soon as it’s cool and firm enough to do so.
Once the bars are cut, space them out on a rack and leave them for a few days.
Voila! You’ve made coconut oil soap. Aesthetically pleasing and nice and soft on the skin; you can add essential oils before adding the mixture to the mould to put a bit of extra oomph into the soap – just let the mixture cool a bit first.
5. Rose Clay and Charcoal
Roses are my mom’s favorite flowers. In addition to being absolutely gorgeous, they have a very pleasant scent and are soft to the touch.
Combine those attributes with the absorption qualities of rose clay (yes, this exists) and charcoal and you have a fantastic soap!
Okay, so you’re not exactly combining them per-se. You’re combining the rose clay and charcoal, with a bit of essential oil and rose petals (if you’d like). Still, this is fantastic for oily skin.
Do you like chocolate? Do you like coffee?
If the answer is yes to both questions, then this one’s for you. The blend of coffee and chocolate provides a rich but subtle scent that lasts for a while.
Mixing cocoa powder and coffee into a soap mix…I don’t know who came up with the idea but I hope they got some sort of prize for it!
7. Hot Chocolate
Okay…where to start with this one? We all like hot chocolate, right? Well, what if I told you that you could make a hot chocolate soap? Would you believe me? No? Don’t worry, I’m about to prove it.
The base of this one is milk and coffee which gives the soap a nice, creamy texture. Scent-wise, the scent is a blend of vanilla (essence and flakes) and cocoa.
This one will take 24 hours to set and from there you can leave it for a few weeks to enhance the scent.
Now, I probably don’t need to say this but please don’t eat the soap!
8. Candy Cane
I know Christmas is only a few months off but this is perfect as a gift for friends and family. It looks great and is relatively quick to prepare. It also has a bit of flair and personality – as one would expect with a homemade item.
This is a very flexible option; your scents can obviously be changed depending on what oils you use. You can use different colors and shaped moulds can add a bit of extra fun to the project.
9. Goats Milk
A goat’s milk soap formula with the essential oils of your choice and flowers – if you’d like to sharpen the scent a bit – and you’re ready to go. This type of soap looks, smells, and feels great; the creamy texture is gentle on your skin.
You’re going to melt your soap base down and then throw – metaphorically speaking – into a mould.
They should set fairly quickly and, for added style points, you can use a stamp to put a pretty pattern/marking on your soap.
10. Poppy Seed
This is an easy and versatile recipe that you can mould to your preferences…did I just make a soap-making joke?
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 moulds. 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.
11. Chai Latte
Chai is a tea drink from India which consists of black tea, almond milk, syrup and spices. It’s no surprise this made it into a soap recipe.
This recipe requires the use of hydrogenated soybean, palm kernel and sunflower oils, lye, water, almond milk and a chai blend.
The result is a silky smooth soap that’s gentle on the skin and smells fantastic. It takes about 24 hours to set leaving it for several days after – to cure – will give you a harder bar of 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.
Here’s a nice, refreshing recipe to reinvigorate the senses and soothe irritated skin. This one is nice and versatile. You can use any mint that you have available – either fresh or dried – in your soap.
You will need to add whatever mint you’re using to warm water and allow to steep (you’re basically making a mint tea).
This, along with the rest of the ingredients provides a nice minty-fresh scent which gives us a bit of a recharge.
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?
16. Lavender + Oatmeal
Much like honey, lavender can be mixed with a few different things to make interesting blends.
In this case, we’re looking at a blend between lavender and oatmeal. You’re going to mix lavender flowers and essential oil with oats.
The “oatmeal” mix is then added to liquid soap and the whole mix is put into moulds and left to set.
This is perfect for wedding gifts or just random gifts to friends and family.
17. Marbled Beer
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.
18. Strawberry Preserve
Okay, seriously; we need to have a chat. What’s with all the food-based soap recipes? I’m not trying to be a killjoy here; I’m genuinely confused.
Who looks at a bowl of strawberries and says: “Hmmm…this would make a good soap” honestly, who?
I digress, this one follows the typical cold process method, the one change here is that you’re adding red iron oxide to the oils before adding the lye water (note; the oils have to cool first).
You’re also adding oatmeal, poppy seed, and strawberry fragrance – I didn’t even know that was a thing.
The end result should be like a strawberry-like appearance on a bar of soap.
19. Tea Tree
Tea tree soap can be made a few ways but the method I found follows the hot process soap making(meaning you’ll be working with Lye).
You follow the standard procedures according to the process and add your tea tree blend before pouring the mixture into moulds and leaving them to set.
It should take between 24 and 48 hours to set and then you leave it to cure for about 4 – 6 weeks.
Tea tree oil is fantastic as a base; you can add practically anything to it. Some of my personal favorite blends are rosewood, peppermint, eucalyptus, and sandalwood.
It’s a versatile scent that goes well with just about anything – provided you don’t go overboard with the scents.
20. Jasmine, Rosewood, and Ylang Ylang
Jasmine is, admittedly, not a scent I’m overly familiar with; it has a pleasant enough scent but it can be overwhelming – especially if mixed incorrectly.
That said, it’s not really the jasmine or the rosewood that you need to worry about with this one; it’s the Ylang Ylang. I’ve gotten ahead of myself a bit, let’s look at the soap, and then I’ll explain what I mean.
The soap has a nice tropical look to it and the oil blend adds a pleasant, exotic scent.
This is relatively easy to make if you know what the standard soap-making procedures are and it sets quickly; taking only 24 hours after being poured into the moulds.
It takes 24 hours to set but it takes three weeks to cure – so a little bit of patience is required.
Now, I mentioned before that Ylang Ylang is the oil with which to be careful. This is because it’s a very, very sweet scent – I’d say it’s sweeter than geranium oil.
If you’ve handled geranium oil, you’ll know exactly how sweet that scent is. That said, a strong Ylang Ylang scent isn’t bad. The key here is balancing your scents.
Both jasmine and rosewood are strong scents as well and you don’t want one scent to override the others. So use the same quantities for each. 1 drop of one means 1 drop for the others, 2 drops for one…you get the idea.
If I had to guess, I’d say that jasmine is the base scent in this recipe. With that in mind, I found another recipe that used lavender and sandalwood for another interesting blend.
21. Aloe Vera
We’ve discussed making herbal soap, now let’s look at something similar – just more specific. Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that has some interesting medicinal qualities.
It can be used to treat burns, acne, and skin irritation. It can also be used on cuts – something I didn’t know and would rather not test.
It’s also relatively easy to find, on the various hiking trails and in nurseries in South Africa.
Something that’s important to remember is that certain people may be allergic to the plant; it’s recommended that you test the soap on a small section of skin first.
22. Olive Oil
This olive oil soap is gentle on the skin and soothes irritation without producing a hint of foam. It’s also reasonably easy to make – as long as you know what you’re doing.
One thing that I noted with this recipe is that it makes no mention of scented oils.
The recipe I found is for unscented soap but you can add scented oil if that’s something you’d like to do. Just keep in mind that scented oils may affect the color of your bars.
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 molds.
Anise is something that I’d never heard of before researching this list. Apparently, it’s a rose or Sambuca oil and smells like liquorice. This one is great for removing onion scents and stuff like that from your hands.
The recipe I found follows the standard cold process procedure. Now that I think about it, I wonder if ‘anise’ is short for ‘aniseed’ – we have hard sweets in South Africa that taste like liquorice.
Beeswax has a variety of uses in lotions, candles and, of course, soaps. Now, while most of the soaps on this list can probably be done with the melt-and-pour method; you can’t do that with this one.
This soap uses the hot process which makes this a not-so-kid-friendly method to use when you want to work with kids.
The reason you can’t use the melt-and-pour method is that (a) the pre-made bases contain inorganic chemicals and (b) the beeswax makes melt and pour soaps softer instead of harder.
All that said, you can get pretty creative with the scents and it’s a nice soap to try.
So Calendula is the Latin name for marigolds. These are medicinal flowers good for acne, minor cuts and burns as well as skin irritation.
This recipe is a cold-process soap that utilizes the healing properties of the calendula flower.
You’re going to go through the usual procedures; mixing lye and water into oils and then transferring the whole mixture to a prepared mould and leaving it to set.
27. 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.
It seems like the melt-and-pour method is the most commonly used method. This one is a nice, coffee-scented soap to wake you up in the mornings.
The coffee scent comes from the fresh coffee grounds and whatever essence (coffee, vanilla, etc.) you choose to add. It’s super easy to make and you can have fun with the flavour/scent.
Vanilla, is a scent that is almost universally loved; it’s found in pretty much anything from candles and bath salts to sweets and milkshakes.
The sugary-sweet scent is soft and refreshing without being overwhelming (provided you don’t go overboard with the essential oil).
It’s also a rather comforting scent; reminding me of home – odd, I know but true. Vanilla has a very warm scent to it which helps to relax you after a stressful day.
Make a Vanilla soap yourself and enjoy the sweetness.
29. Shea Butter w. Roses and Vanilla
Shea butter is super creamy and, as you’d expect, it’s very soft on the skin. This is a particular favorite among soap making hobbyists as it is a very versatile ingredient; able to be mixed with practically anything.
A fantastic moisturizer, shea butter is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
30. Black Raspberry w. Vanilla
I know I’ve already asked this but really, why all the food-based/inspired soaps? Well, I can’t really complain about it, considering that it’s interesting reading.
This is also the third recipe in a row to feature vanilla! I’d have said “I told you so” but you probably believed me when I said vanilla was versatile and so there’s no point.
This recipe mixes ripe, pureed black raspberries with vanilla-infused cream to provide an interesting blend of scents and colors to your soap.
Trying this one out should be an interesting experience.
31. Lavender and Lemon
Ah lavender! We meet again! The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender are great for your skin and for your scalp (if you’re using it as shampoo).
The freshness of the lemon scent mixes with the lavender to help relax and refresh your body.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Somehow I knew I was going to see this eventually. We’ve gone from food-inspired to actually use a breakfast item in the recipe, what will they think of next?
Although, considering what I read about the medicinal properties of yogurt (yes, you read that correctly); I can’t say I’m surprised.
For one thing, it’s high in natural fats – which moisturize the skin. Yogurt also contains zinc and lactic acid.
The zinc helps with acne and the lactic acid is a gentler exfoliator than what you’ll get from store-bought soaps. It’s safe for practically all skin types and is great for irritated skin.
If you’d like to try your hand at yogurt soap, go for it.
As if all the food-based soaps weren’t weird enough, we have charcoal soap! The recipe I found calls it ‘activated charcoal’ but as far as I understand it; it’s just powdered charcoal.
It’s used in toothpaste, deodorants, and skin care. According to what I found, the use of activated charcoal on your skin draws dirt, chemicals, toxins, etc. to the surface of your skin. This obviously makes it easier to remove these things.
The melt-and-pour method is a good one to use for this – unless you prefer the cold process and know what you’re doing. Adding essential oils puts a pleasant scent on the soap making it nice to use.
Something to keep in mind is that this may not be a very budget-friendly project but that depends on how much you buy or need to buy.
Try a charcoal soap if you have serious acne.
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.
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.
36. Milk and Honey
Remember how I said honey was versatile? Well, here’s your proof and this recipe requires literally two substances: honey and a goat’s milk soap base (this is another melt-and-pour soap).
Split the base and melt it down, add your honey and colorant (the color is optional but it makes the soap look nice) then transfer to the molds. This whole thing should take about ten minutes to prepare.
It looks and smells great and it’s fairly affordable. Try for yourself and find out. You can get the recipe here.
37. Shaving Soap (Cream)
Okay, okay, technically this isn’t really shaving soap. It’s a cream soap that can be used for shaving.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at this one. A shredded bar of soap in a pot of boiling water.
Whip a mixture of coconut oil and vegetable shortening and combine the two together.
You should have a nice cream soap which you can use for shaving or whatever else you need. Get the recipe here and try it yourself.
38. Cinnamon and Oatmeal
So for this one, you’ll be melting down an oatmeal soap base and mixing in cinnamon essence, and pouring the mixture into a mould to set.
This is an interesting pairing for soap but it works quite well. It makes a nice festive gift and considering that Christmas is literally a few months away; it may be worth a try.
You can get the recipe here.
39. Jasmine + Sea Salt
Right from the start of researching this article, the idea of sea salt was bouncing around inside my head but I had a hard time finding a good recipe for a while.
So, the recipe calls for Dead Sea Salt but I think any coarse sea salt would/should work. This melt-and-pour soap, as described in the recipe results in a sort of crystallized appearance to the soap.
Any residue leftovers can be turned into a body wash; so you get a good bar of soap and a bit of body wash as a bonus.
So for this entry on our list, we are looking at what I guess you’d call tie-dye on soap.
As the name of this entry says, we’re looking at soap with swirled patterns. I’ll be sharing a couple of different methods to do swirls.
Spoon swirls are done by preparing multiple batches of colored liquid soap and spooning the liquid into a mould – moving the spoon in a way that causes a swirl – one color at a time until the mould is full.
Once the soap has set, it has a swirled pattern. This takes time but the end result is well worth the effort.
Funnel Swirl patterns are easier to do. You have multiple colored soap batches, secure a funnel over the mould and pour, alternating between colors as you go.
Once you’ve put the last of the soap into the mould simply remove the funnel and leave it to set and cure.
Butterfly swirls are, by far, the most interesting and attractive of swirl patterns. Once again, you’ll make multiple batches of colored soap mix and add each soap batch to individual condiment bottles. This is where it gets interesting.
Start at one corner of the mould and move in a zigzag pattern diagonally to the opposite corner (i.e. bottom right corner to top left).
Once you’ve used half of each color, you repeat the process from the opposite direction (i.e. top left corner to bottom right).
You do the same thing with a chopstick and then coat the remaining soap vertically across the mould.
This is slightly more complex than the previous two methods and it will take a significant amount of work but it’s worth it.
41. 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.
42. Amber Fossilized Animals
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.
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.
44. Sugar Cubes
Sugar in soap? Well, weirder things have happened I guess. All jokes aside this is an interesting idea.
Creating a sugar cube soap that provides a good exfoliate that isn’t too harsh on your skin. Essential oils like lime or lemon provide a nice scent and the colors add to aesthetic value.
All that said, this is sugar soap so I’m not sure how long it’ll last before it falls apart. Try it yourself and have fun with it.
45. Epsom Salt
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.
Some Important Notes to Close this Compilation
There you have it, a list of DIY soap recipes to keep you and, in some cases, your kids busy and entertained for a while. Before I go, however, I feel I should address a few things.
First and foremost, be careful with this stuff. Many of these recipes and other recipes online require the use of lye which is a highly caustic substance – meaning: don’t get it on your skin and keep it away from your kids.
If you’re working with lye, always make sure that you have all the necessary protective wear (goggles, gloves, etc.) before you start.
If you want to make these soaps but don’t want to work with lye, that’s fine. Most, if not all of the recipes on this list that use lye can be adapted to the melt-and-pour method of soap making which negates the need to use the nasty stuff. That said, there are risks with every method so caution is always advised.
Second, do as much research as you can before you start. It’s always a good idea to know what you want to do and how to do it. It’s an even better idea to know how to do it safely.
Third, make sure that you’re aware of any allergies that may make the soap-making process a bit tricky so that you don’t end up with a bad reaction when it comes time to actually use the soaps you’ve made.
Soap making can be a fun and interesting – albeit not too budget-friendly – hobby as long as it’s done safely.
You can make soaps for yourself, for friends and family, or even as a side-income at flea markets and/or online through Etsy, Amazon, eBay, or other online retailers. It’s a fascinating thing to try and what better time to try it than now?
I hope you guys and gals found this list interesting and informative. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all again for the next one. Happy soaping!
Greg spent most of his childhood in camping grounds and on hiking trails. While he lives in the suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a huge knife enthusiast. Find out more about Greg.