Creating Recipes

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Creating Recipes
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Essential oils should be researched extensively before adding them to your products.
Soaper’s Shelf
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Creating your own formulations the easy way!

Recipes featured on this site consist of Mortar and Pestle’s most successful and best loved soaps as chosen by our faithful testers – friends and family.  They are offered as examples of the many variations of ingredients you can use to craft the most luxury soaps for yourself and your family. 

Rather than use a specific formulation to craft the soaps featured here, they are created as as we go along. Things to consider are 1) oils you already have on hand, 2) what specific oils will offer to a bar of soap, 3) size of batch to calculate how much oil will be required, 4) type of soap bar – bath, shampoo, pet friendly, soothing, etc. – and last, but not least, you need your favorite on-line or manual lye calculator.

Even if you find the “perfect” soap recipe, you may not have all the ingredients it calls for on hand. It will be much easier to take ingredient suggestions offered in a formulation and apply them toward creating a similar recipe using ingredients you do have and what you’re looking for in a finished product. 

There are many oils that have the same or like properties, so you can often substitute one oil for another and still produce a very fine bar of soap. For instance, when we ran low on coconut oil, we used palm kernel oil as a substitute for its hardening and lathering properties. This produced an awesome soap with thick creamy lather. Several of our most successful formulations have contained the least variety of oils, including one of our favorites – with only olive, palm, and beeswax. 


1. When the soapmaking bug hits, check your soaper’s shelf for soapmaking oils on hand and make a selection based on availability (obviously) and what benefits or properties they will offer to a bar of soap.  See Oils and their Properties – Ingredients for descriptions

2. Now you’re ready for a recipe. You already have an idea of what oils you “want” to add and it helps to know the total weight in oils you will “need” based on what your  soap mold(s) will hold. (For instance, we have two “20-bar” wood soap molds. Filling each mold requires more than 60 ounces of a combination of oils,  23-26 ounces of distilled water/other liquid,  and 9.0 – 9.9 ounces of lye)

3. List the oils and amounts you want to use on paper and run them through the lye calculator at Cranberry Lane or use another lye calculator if you have a preference.

4. Once you’ve entered your selection of oils, the weight(s) of the lye and water (liquid) will automatically be calculated for you. 

5. Print or copy your recipe and start making soap. If you need further instructions, click here. You will want to add notes for future reference. If you are going to include an additive, such as an EO, herb or colorant, make note of this on your recipe page.  For cold process soapmaking instructions (including milk based soaps), visit our soapmaking page.

Note: Coconut, Palm, Soy (Shortening or Vegetable Oil) and Olive oils are some of the most commonly used oils in soapmaking. The majority of our soaps include Coconut Oil for hardness and lather, Palm Oil for hardness and smooth, creamy bubbles, and Olive for its obvious benefits to skin and for a lasting, mild, non-drying, bar of soap. 

Remember, soapmaking is a personal thing. You have complete control over what goes into your products and it includes molding preferences, desired additives, the oils you select, your method of packaging and more. I guess this is where it becomes an art because everyone has an opportunity to craft a bar that perhaps no one else has ever produced to be exactly the same.