My First Soap


Pictured: My first soap effort! My “Vanilla Sugar Dreams” soap.

It’s taking me some time to put my soapmaking post together (I hope to have this ready soon), but in the meantime I want to report that I have made soap!



In other words, it wasn’t really a big deal, after all.

I didn’t make the most awesome soap ever. The greatest soap in the history of soap. The best soap since sliced soap.

But I made soap.

Making soap is like making cheese is like baking bread is like canning tomatoes is like driving a car on snowy roads. The more you do it, the better you do it. The hardest part about making soap is getting over the notion that it’s hard. And that the lye is scary and is going JUMP OUT OF THE BOWL AND SMACK YOU.

The lye didn’t even make a peep at me. It, like, totally just sat there in the bowl.

And I made soap.

I even made some mistakes (which I will detail to you in the how-to post in all their mistaken glory) and I still made soap.

I had no idea what I was doing and I still made soap.

I was taking pictures at the same time and I still made soap.

Making soap is just not that difficult.

And I’m already making more of it and I’m planning to make more and more of it, and get better and better at it, because now I know that–

–I can make soap.

P.S. And so can you!

P.P.S. Cindy, who helped me with formulating and testing the recipe for my “Vanilla Sugar Dreams” soap also has some of this soap for sale at her shop, if you’re interested! (Made by her! Not me!) Visit the Chippewa Creek shop here.


  1. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Congratulations! That is so awesome! So, will you also be making goat soap soon? :snoopy: :snoopy:

  2. Jayne says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    Thats really weird, because I made my first soap this weekend. I bought all the ingredients before christmas and it’s taken this long for me to pluck up the courage to try. Like you I found, now it’s done,it wasn’t that hard and I am already planning what type I will make next. Perhaps I’ll try your Vanilla sugar dreams recipe when you post it.

  3. Lana says:

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post (and the next one).

    Beautiful soap you have there. Tell us about bathing with it.

  4. Julie says:

    You are a brave woman! Lye scares me.
    That is beautiful soap! Bet that smells wonderful!

  5. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Glad to here it’s not hard. I’ve thought about making soap but never got around to it. Maybe I’ll venture into it soon.

  6. Jan says:

    At first I thought these dark bars of soap were pumpernickel bread! (No lye).

    Your friend’s shop looks like it has some yummy soap! The goat milk and chai tea looked even yummier than the “Pumpernickel”!!!!

    Happy Lathering!


  7. Anke says:

    I found a soap making kit at a church rummage sale for $3 this past Friday, so I am definitely going to try it soon. It only has enough oil, lye and “extras” (ground oatmeal, lavender scent) for one batch, but hey it’ll get me started.

  8. CindyP says:

    Suzanne, that looks wonderful! And once you make soap, you look at everything in the store in a different way…….just like yellow cake mix, tomatoes, bread. It has all the wonderful stuff left in that the commercial companies take out. And you can put in it what you want! No more extra ingredients!

  9. Glenie says:

    Great job on the soap, I’m still working on getting the courage to try it.

  10. Tovah says:

    Your soap looks like brownies! And with a name like Vanilla Sugar Dream I bet it smells just delightful too. That is awesome that you finally took the plunge and I’m interested to see what the process is. And hopefully one day you’ll be making goat’s milk soap. I love a nice bar of goat’s milk soap:)

  11. Sarah says:

    WOW!!! You truly inspire me!! I can’t wait to see your recipe and how you do this! You do a great job making what appears to be daunting crafts to be achievable goals. Reading your posts on candles gave me enough courage to try making candles and now my Hubby and I can’t stop!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Can’t wait to try making soap. YEAH!!!

  12. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Yay!!! Congratulations! I bet it smells wonderful!

  13. Deborah R says:

    Congratulations! Your soap looks beautiful! I think perhaps you have given me the courage to try!

  14. Pete says:

    Can testify that Cindy knows what she is doing with soap making! It is utterly delightful. We got some for gift giving and personal use, and all reports are positive. We love it!

    Glad you finally got around to the soap making venture, Suzanne. One of these days, it will also happen here. One of these days…

  15. Cate says:

    Your soap looks really great. It’s funny how intimidating soap making instructions are until you actually make a batch.

  16. Claudia Warren says:

    That soap actually looks good enough to eat…but I won’t be saying any swear words to test out it’s taste!
    Suzanne, it’s a beautiful soap. Congratulations on your newest endeavor!

  17. Miss Becky says:

    not only does it look good, I bet it smells delightful! :yes:

  18. carsek says:

    What is the recipe? Looks great!!

  19. Beth says:

    Ooooooh I can almost smell it! And it looks good enough to eat! Yum! :purpleflower: :snuggle:

  20. Cin says:

    OH, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Hurry PLEASE! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. catslady says:

    I was thinking the same thing – looks and sounds good enough to eat lol. Congratulations!

  22. Mel says:

    I’d love to try making soap, have heard so many horror stories about the Lye. Like, you have to wear a mask to prevent getting any fumes whatsoever… and it will burn a whole in almost anything it comes in contact with… But with everyone coming up with these beautiful bars of homemade soap, I may just go out a buy a chemical suit (just kidding) and all the soap supplies I need and get started.

  23. jan~n~tn says:

    One more hurdle jumped, one more mountain climed, one more glass broke…but whatever..that’s what they are there for.

  24. ScarlettSeraph says:

    It looks yummy, well… like it smells yummy lol

    I too would love to hear how it works in the shower… Congrats!

  25. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    Suzanne, it’s beautiful! I can’t wait to try this at home.


  26. lavenderblue says:

    It looks like a big ol’ piece of gingerbread. I’ll bet it smells heavenly, even if it doesn’t smell like gingerbread. How about gingerbread soap? If I were you, I’d post from the bathtub from now on, if I were you.

  27. jojo says:

    Congratulations! If Cindy helped you, I can only imagine how yummy it smells. I bought a bar of her oatmeal soap after you posted her link last time and everyone at the post office thought there was something good to eat waiting for me. I just received my scale and am plannng on making my first batch this weekend. I’m going with a plain Jane with no additional smell for my first try at it.

    P.S. I’m also looking into getting 3 hens! That’s all we can have where we live, but I’m looking for plans for a coop now and hope to have three girls living with me soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. SuzzyQ says:

    I love a big bar of soap. Perhaps you’ll get me brave enough to try it also. Looks fantastic!

  29. ScreamingSardine says:

    Congrats! It looks yummy, and I bet it smells yummy, too!

  30. Chic says:

    Yeay Suzanne…you did it!!!! One day I’m going to make soap but it’s going to have to wait until we’re done all the dirt work and other outside stuff around here. This soap looks good enough to eat by the way. I’m still using and loving my soap from CindyP!
    Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

  31. Diana H says:

    Wow! How does it feel to use it? I got some goats milk soap from a saturday market in my town and I didnt like it because it left my hands feeling waxy. It was hard to wash off. I love the idea of homemade soap though. She also sold a bar of ‘shampoo soap’ (it was for washing your hair. It was great though it stung my eyes more than regular shampoo. The lye issue has me baffled. How can it possibly be ok to put drain cleaner in soap and rub it all over your body? It is only a tiny bit or what? Sure sounds freaky, haha. I do look forward to seeing your post and am hoping to try this out if I can get past the lye, ugh.

  32. Diana H says:

    How much did it end up costing you per bar?

  33. Runningtrails says:

    This is so awesome!! I am so glad you got around to making it and found it easy! It is easy! I love making soap and using it!

    Funny girl! lol @ the lye smacking you part.
    You had a good coach!

    So now you can make soap from all the great things growing on your farm, the flowers, herbs and wild things. Make your own organic soap colourant from flower petals and green things.

  34. Suzette says:

    Congratulations! Your soap looks great! But, be warned…soapmaking is very addictive stuff. My entire house was a soap warehouse once I got started. It took me YEARS to give away all the stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. LisaAJB says:

    Suzanne, your soap looks great. Are you considering selling any of it?

  36. Julianne says:

    Hi Suzanne! I really want to try making soap. However, I’ve never purchased lard before… so sorry if this is a stupid question… do I just look for it in the grocery store? Or is there a special kind I need to get specifically for soap? Thanks!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Julianne, you can buy lard at any regular grocery store! You should be able to find it in the same aisle where the shortening is. You might have to look around a bit–at my Wal-Mart, they “hide” it on the lowest shelf, below the shortening. (And it’s just regular lard, the same type used for food, that you use in soap.)

  37. lisa b says:

    looks great… I bet you had fun. I remember my first several times making soap.i was terrifed the lye was gonna kill me . Now i am wiser and really enjoy soap making time here at home.

  38. Sandra B says:

    Made my batch of hot process using your recipe with oatmeal, brown sugar and sugar Loved came to trace quick, then complete more quickly, Come to find out, I forgot to check my temp, to big of a hurry, but it is in the mold and in the fridge, Can’t wait to try it. Oh and I bought your book too. Can’t wait to begin reading. :duck: :fairy:

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