CP Soap Making 101
pouring soap boxBatch of Lemon Poppy Soaplemon poppy soap bar

Class Handout: Cold Process Soap Making 101


By Lori Nova Endres

If you’re interested in this topic, check out our new option that includes these handouts & so much more for just a $10 upgrade!
Cold Process Soap Making 101 Recorded Video eClass

Ah, the allure of handmade soap. A well-made bar of soap is a revelation, an experience beyond the ordinary bar of “whatever is in the shower”.  And for many people, the joy of using handmade soap leads directly to the desire (yes, desire!) to make it themselves.

This Class Handout describes the basics of the cold process method of soapmaking, probably the easiest and least labor intensive of all the methods. It relies almost exclusively on the heat generated by saponification (the chemical reaction of fatty acids and alkali to produce soap). No external heat is applied once the ingredients have been mixed. Although it may seem complicated when you are first starting out, making your own soap from scratch (the way some of our grandparents did) using all-natural ingredients can be both fun and rewarding ~ not to mention extremely addicting!

This is the digital PDF that’s included in our Cold Process Soap Making 101 Video eClass.

Read full description & see more below…

Why are people drawn to making their own soap from scratch?Many of us start making soap to have inexpensive, homemade, natural gifts for all the holidays and birthdays throughout the year. Also, more and more people today are looking for a second source of income that involves doing something creative that they love (isn’t that the true key to success?). Or, some of us begin soaping because we have friends or family with problematic or sensitive skin that is easily irritated.

Many commercial soap companies use cheap petroleum-based ingredients (like mineral oil), animal fats (like sodium tallowate, lard, or lanolin) and synthetic detergents (like sodium laureth sulfate) that can be harsh on delicate skin. By making soap in your own kitchen, you can tailor it to suit any skin type as well as insure that only the most beneficial ingredients go into your finished soap.

Page by page summary of what’s in this handout:
Cover Page: Pictures of CP soap, Suggested Reading & References (books & websites) relevant to CP soapmaking.
Page 1: Soap History & website references for more history information.
Page 2: Soap Chemistry in a thorough yet simple to understand way (why does soap work?), the importance of Saponification (SAP) Values & why you can’t replace or substitute one fat/oil with another without recalculating the SAP value & lye amount.
Page 3: A sample Saponification Value Table.
Page 4: What “Superfatting” is and why we do it, the percentage of superfat (aka Lye Discount) that we normally use, the #1 natural soap anti-oxidant to use to help extend the shelf life of your handmade natural soap.
Page 5: What “Trace” is, and why is it so important, some factors that affect trace time, and some tips for using a stick blender (and our favorite brand of stick blender).
Page 6: Materials, Equipment & Supplies: A “before you begin, make sure that you have” list, a materials & equipment checklist & an ingredients checklist.
Page 7: Working with Sodium Hydroxide (aka Lye), information & cautions as well as where we recommend purchasing it.
Page 8: A very helpful “CP Soap Worksheet” created for you to photocopy & use for any Cold Process Soap recipe you make (i.e., the oil fields are blank).
Page 9: A Majestic Mountain Sage Lye Calculator Printout with the Studio recipe on it, along with some handwritten notes that explain things more clearly.
Page 10: The same “CP Soap Worksheet” from Page 8, but with the details of the recipe filled in the blanks (also something you may photocopy). When you make soap, you fill out this sheet for each & every batch, and then put it in a “soap recipes” notebook.
Page 11: Step-by-step instructions for making Cold Process Soap (numbers 1-13).
Page 12: Cutting & Curing Your Soap section with what to do after it comes out of the mold. Then, a section on Wrapping, Decorating & Packaging Soap with small pictures for each entry.
Page 13: Soapmaking Oils & Fats (the main oils, like Coconut, Palm, Olive, Castor, Cocoa Butter & Shea Butter) listed & described.
Page 14: Using Natural Additives for Color & Texture Section. What we recommend to color your soap with, and some suggestions if you want to go the natural route with herbs & spices.
Page 15: Scenting Cold Process Soap – What essential oils are, how much to use (a wonderful guide), directions for using the basic guidelines, 8 tested Scent Combinations for 4-pound batches, and a paragraph on Fragrance Oils.
Page 16: Molds & Scales, Lining Molds, Weighing Ingredients & our recommended scale.
Page 17: Troubleshooting problems with Cold Process Soap.
Page 18: Recommended On-Line Suppliers (10) relevant to the products made in this class. Supplier name, state, phone number, website (with direct hyperlink in the .pdf document) and in most cases a special Nova Studio discount code is given.


lori headshot 2013Lori Nova Endres, Founder and Co-owner of The Nova Studio, began making natural bath & body products in her kitchen in 2000 as a way to make family & friends homemade, practical gifts. Shortly thereafter, she began sharing her passion by teaching classes. Lori has taught classes for The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG), The Learning Annex of SF, Juniper Tree, The Native American Cultural Center, Foothill De Anza Community College & The Berkeley Ecology Center. Lori opened The Nova Studio in September of 2003. Learn from Lori at Home. She also offers Private Consultations on how to make soap, candles and over 30 different bath & body products.


A Class Handout is the digital PDF version of the handout for the in-person class taught at The Nova Studio. After ordering this PDF-format digital handout, you will be directed to a page that contains links to your instant downloads. If you create an account before or during checkout, you’ll have easy access to all your active Class Handout links in one easy place (downloads expire after 10 days & 5 downloads).

Although the handouts weren’t necessarily created to stand alone without the classes, they will save you a ton of time & energy by giving you extremely accurate, tested recipes & formulas, very clear instructions, recommended sources for where to buy supplies relevant to each topic, and any background and/or supporting information. It’s the next best thing to being in class!

When you buy the handouts, you also have permission to make the products exactly as is (with or without changing them) and you may market/sell them to your customers using our recipes. The only thing you cannot do is sell, post or distribute the information, directions, or recipes in our handouts since they are protected by copyright laws as part of our exclusive intellectual property.

Purchasing these handouts is completely separate from attending an in-person class and does not include any additional phone consulting or email support. If you purchase handouts and then have the opportunity to attend classes in person, unfortunately there will be no discount on the class fee. If you need additional questions answered or additional consulting, we offer private lessons & phone consultations. If you teach classes and want help creating your own handouts, please contact us to set up a private consult and we would be happy to assist you. Purchasing our handouts does not give you permission or license to use them as teaching materials.

Class Handout Refund Policy: All sales are final. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please contact us!

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