Get started with 3-Oils soap

This discussion presents a good starting point to begin your soap making hobby

What is "3-Oils Soap"?

This is the classic formula mix for making handcrafted soap:  

Olive oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil

Why these three oils?

Olive oil makes a gentle soap that's kind to the skin. Coconut oil makes a soap that lathers and cleans like no other. Palm oil makes a soap that is harder, yet cleans well and feels like you want soap to feel as you use it.
A balanced formula of all three together makes the best use of each.

Why not just use one oil?

Olive oil soap, while kind to the skin, does not suds well and may feel too "oily" all by itself.
Coconut oil soap lathers and cleans great, but may be too harsh all by itself.
Palm oil soap cleans well and lathers fairly well, but is definitely improved by adding the other two.

OK, 3-Oils it is... So how do I know
what a "balanced" formula is?

Luckily, a whole lot of other home soapmakers have faced this same question and we can benefit from their experience. We've surveyed fifty 3-oils recipes found online and averaged the results.
After rounding it off a little bit, we settled on a very good average 3-oils recipe formula.

What is a good, average 3-Oils formula?

Here's the result:

  45% Olive Oil
  25% Coconut Oil
  30% Palm Oil

All right, How do I use this information?

The percentages above are percents of the total weight of oils used to make a batch of soap.
This means that for 100 ounces by weight of total oils used, 45 ounces will be olive oil,
25 ounces will be coconut oil, and 30 ounces will be palm oil.

How do I make a smaller batch?
How do I know what size batch I need?

Start with the container you're going to make soap in. A rectangular, box-shaped mold is ideal.
Whatever you use, you'll need to line it to keep your new soap from sticking to its sides.
Use Reynolds brand freezer paper, folded to fit into your mold.
Measure the inside dimensions of your mold: depth, length, and width, and write down these figures.

Use our Summer Bee Meadow Soap Calculator:

Start by entering into our Summer Bee Meadow Soap Calculator the percentages of oils used as the number of ounces of each oil to make a 100 ounce batch total of oils. In other words, select "olive oil" for the first oil, enter 45 ounces as the amount to be used, and so one as per the formula noted above. Then click on the "Click Here When Done" button. Our calculator will figure the amounts of lye and water you will need to make soap with a 100 ounce batch of oils. Then adjust this result to fit your own mold as below.

Use our Summer Bee Meadow Recipe Resizer:

Enter your noted depth, length and width dimensions of your mold into our Summer Bee Meadow Recipe Resizer where indicated. Then just click on the button that says "Click Here To Resize Your Recipe To Fit Your Mold". Our recipe resizer will give you a resized recipe just right to fit the mold you're going to use.
That's all there is to it! No math, no guessing. Click on the "Print" icon and you'll have a hard copy of your adjusted formula recipe to refer to while you make soap and to keep for your records so you can easily make another batch again when you want to.

I've mastered basic 3-Oils soapmaking.
Where do I go from here?

You can add scents - either essential oils or cosmetic grade fragrances. (Be sure that the scents you use are recommended for use in soapmaking)  You can add different oils or butters or alter the proportions of the oils you use to emphasize the different soapmaking properties of different oils and butters. You can use other people's recipe formulas by entering the oils and scents from these formulas into our SBM Soap Calculator, then resize to fit your mold.

How do I decide what other ingredients I might want to use?

That's what makes soapmaking and the internet such a great combination! Do some research online.
Take note what oils will make soaps that have the characteristics you want; what types of scents you'll prefer and how to use them.

Use your imagination!

Look for ideas on how to present and package your new soaps. Share your printed recipes. Give a gift of soap. Share your new hobby with others!

Have fun! Spread the word!

Soapmaking is a fun, fascinating and even addicting hobby! Tell your friends about it and share the fun!

A safety note... Read this!

Lye dissolving in water releases considerable heat - Almost enough to bring room temperature water to a boil. Therefore, be sure to mix your lye with cold water only and be sure to carefully pour your lye into your water, not the other way around. Always wear proper eye protection, wear protective gloves
and work near a source of running water for rinsing
when creating, pouring or handling a lye solution.

Always remember...

Proper procedures and safety measures are a must
whenever making handcrafted soap.
Learn how before you start!