Beginning Soap Making: Using Soap Bases

Beginning Soap Making: Using Soap Bases

Above counter bathroom sinkMaking your own soap is a great thing to do because then you can decide what the scent will be and hone it to suit you and your individuality. This is something I’ve looked into because I like to be the one to determine what scent is prevalent in my house and on my body. So I bought book after book on soapmaking, and the more I read, the more nervous I got. The problem I ran into is, with all of the supplies you have to get, including very volatile ones,  it is a very daunting task to make it all from scratch. And it’s one I haven’t dared start yet, I’m sorry to say! However, I will try it soon. But for now, I found a nice way to get started.

Melt & Pour Soap Bases

As I searched through my books, I started looking for what is the easiest and I came upon one that talked about Melt & Pour soap bases and I felt like the sun rose! I found a way to get started that was easy, a whole lot less scary, and made me feel like I could dip my toe in before immersing myself completely.

Melt & Pour basesSoap bases are easy to use and find. You can get them at any local craft store or you can find them online. Just to forewarn you, the ones in the craft store are often described as more harsh than the others. Less organic as well.

There are several online soap suppliers who provide good soap bases. Some only market to those who are professional soapers and buy in bulk amounts. But there are several that will sell you 2 pound sizes, which is the best way to get started. One place is Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies. (I really like their Honey soap base!) Some other options are Nature’s Garden, Wholesale Supplies Plus, and Nature’s Bouquet.

There are some bases, like glycerin, that are possible to get fully organic but the others are not because they have certain ingredients needed to help everything blend together and to help certain ingredients of the soap stay suspended in the soap rather than sinking to the bottom of the mold or floating on top.

So here, in this article, I’ll give you the instructions on how to actually make the soap with the soap base and I’ll give you several possibilities for essential oil blends to use for the scent. These recipes involve 1 pound of soap base and make about 6 bars of normal sized soap so it is good for getting you started.

In this article, I don’t talk much about coloring agents. Because there are so many you can use, that will be a separate article. However, I have marked the point where you need to add it so that when you choose, you can do so. But you do not have to put a color into your soap.

Sage oil with Lavender and towelEssential Oils

  • It’s easy enough to just use one single oil or one blend of your choice. If that is what you choose, add 2 teaspoons of the one you choose. Lavender is the most common, of course. Others are Peppermint, Spearmint, Bergamot FCF, Lemon, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Rose Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwoods, Bay Rum, Rosewood, Fir Needle, Spruce, Pine, Cucumber Seed, Carrot Seed, and Palmarosa.
  • With carrier oils, it’s fun to add them as well. You don’t have to but they do add some moisturizers for your skin. You can use any that you like. Olive, Apricot Kernel, Avocado, Vitamin E, Castor, Jojoba, Sweet Almond, to name a few.
  • I like to put all of my oils  into a shot glass or one of those small, cough medicine measuring cups. That way, I can add them to the soap very quickly when it’s time.

Soap base recipe directions

Tools needed:

  • Soap mold: It can be anything. Bread pans, cupcake holders, candy molds, etc. Silicone molds are easiest. They pop out extremely easily.
  • Spray bottle of Rubbing Alcohol
  • Double Boiler
  • 4 cup, glass Measuring Cup
  • Rubber spatula, measuring spoons, metal whisk or spoon for stirring.
  • Soap base of choice

Melt soap base in a double boiler on low heat. Keep soap under 160 degrees. Once soap is melted, add your coloring agent, stirring constantly until mixed in to your desire. Here is where you have to be ready to move quickly. Remove pot from heat, pour into measuring cup, and stir in essential oils. Pour soap into mold of choice. Spray tops of soap with rubbing alcohol to eliminate bubbles. Allow soap to cool and fully harden before using.

Recipe blends of oils

Here are some ideas to help you get started. You can also use a recipe from any other article in the magazine that might be a favorite. Just increase the amounts to be approximately 2-4 teaspoons of essential oils. Colors are listed when the recipe calls for them but it isn’t vital that you use them. Or to use that specific type of coloring agent.

White Lavender

  • 1  teaspoon Lavender oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Geranium oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Clove Bud oil
  • 1 pound Soap Base of choice (2)

Massage oils and soapElderflower

  • 1 teaspoon Bergamot FCF oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thyme oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Peppermint
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lavender oil
  • 1 pound Soap Base of choice (2)


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Orange oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Clove bud oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Lavender oil
  • 1 pound Soap Base of choice (2)

Fir needle soapNorth Woods

  • 1 teaspoon Fir Needle oil
  • 1 teaspoon Elemi oil
  • 1 teaspoon Rosewood oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vetiver oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bergamot FCF oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cedarwood oil
  • 1 pound Soap Base of choice


A Day at the Beach

  • 1/4 teaspoon Cedarwood oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tea Tree oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Eucalyptus Radiata oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Blue-green Mica Powder (coloring agent)
  • 1/2 pound Clear Glycerin Soap base
  • 1/2 pound Shea Butter soap base (12)

Citrus soapTangerine Dream

  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tangerine oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sweet Almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder (coloring agent)
  • 1 pound Goat’s Milk Soap Base (12)

Last of all,

Do you make your own soap? Share with us in the comment section at the bottom of the page what you have learned along the way. What has been easy, hard, fun, crazy, difficult, etc. Everyone would love to learn from you! If you are interested in allowing us to publish an article and/or video from you about your own soaps and how to make them, please feel free to contact us. We would love to have your input! Just go to the Contact section at the top of this page and submit your information and I will get back with you about it.

Have you wanted to make soap and never dared? Please tell us what you think. Go try a recipe and have some fun. Then come and share in the comment section at the bottom of the page. Let’s make this a great learning experience for everyone.

Soap in fun shapes 


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