Making Transparent Soap

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Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2008
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Newcastle, NSW, Australia
HI Everyone
I was travelling around and found these instructions for making transparent soap. I would like to make it clear that I just copied and pasted these instructions, I am making no claim that I wrote these instructions. There, just had to say that!! :lol:
Anyway, I found this interesting , lots of fiddling around, but probably worth it, no?
Transparent Soap Instructions from Kristy of Lovely Lathers of Ohio

Hi, my name is Kristy... I have been very intrigued by making transparent soap. If you are like me, I get more satisfaction by making my own transparent soap rather than use melt and pour which has the extra chemicals. I do not like chemicals.

It is very rewarding. I decided to post a recipe and instructions because I haven't really found a good source on the internet that worked for me. I started out by reading Catherine Failor's book about making transparent soap. I would recommend that also, but if not, I hope these instructions will help. Keep in mind; I am no expert at this. I’m still in the learning stages. These instructions work great for me.

I wanted to give recognition to a very sweet, very patient person that helped me tremendously in starting to make transparent soap. She coached me through it the whole way. Her name is Winter on Latherings forum. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to do it and would have given up. Please be courteous and respect her privacy. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me (Kristy). I will try to answer in a timely manner.

I only make transparent soap for shaving, embeds or cutting up into small chunks for mixing into a batch of white cold process soap for a stained glass look. I also leave mine unscented. These soaps alone can be a little harsh because of the low superfat/lye discount. Winter said they will eventually sink in the middle after sitting awhile but can make good hand soaps. I also noticed they curve upward on the bottoms. If you make flat sheets of transparent soap to do layering with cold process soap, you may want to wait a couple days and then lay a book on top of the sheet for a weight. I haven't tried this yet, but it should work. Do not cut into the size you need until after the cure because the soap does shrink greatly. I didn't think and cut mine into the size of my log and ended up with narrower and shorter strips.

Please note: Make sure you have experience in soap making first, whether it's cold process or hot process before attempting. In addition, I would not suggest making transparent soap with a gas lit stove because of fire risk with use of alcohol and the resultant fumes.

Please read instructions all the way through a couple of times before attempting.

• You will need the highest proof vodka you can buy. I buy Galen's 151 vodka at the state liquor store.
• You can buy 190 proof Everclear if it is legal in your state. I'm in Ohio, so it is illegal.
• I have never tried a lower proof alcohol.
• You can read a little more about it in the posts from other people.

From what I have read in Catherine’s book, you can mix ethanol and isopropyl together to make soap but it will not be as clear. In Canada, from what I have learned from Winter, Shopper’s Drug Mart carries 95% ethanol, called Life Brand (their store brand). It is also up to you to check with regulations on the use of alcohol in your country and state.

Equipment needed:

• Large Double Boiler (I use a stainless steel stockpot with glass lid inserted into wider pot with metal trivet laying on the bottom. I had no luck finding a large double boiler anywhere.)
• Large Pyrex Measuring Cups
• Molds ready to pour into (preferably silicone molds because they are easier to release). If you don’t have these you can use individual plastic molds (shapes). Don’t use waxed-paper lined wooden molds because the soap is like water when poured and will run between the waxed paper and mold. Line with one continuous piece of plastic.
• Towels in case of splashing water and for covering the stockpot.
• Stick Blender
• Lots of Spoons and/or Spatula

Here is a list I gathered of which oils will make clear soap.

• Almond: Close lasting lather, very mild and makes clear soap
• Apricot Kernel: Medium lather, very mild and makes clear soap
• Avocado: Dense lather, mild and makes clear soap
• Canola: Medium lather, mild and makes clear soap
• Castor: Thick lather, mild and makes very clear soap
• Coconut: Foamy bubbles, harsh and also makes clear soap
• Lard: In my opinion makes a clear soap. Other sources say otherwise.
• Olive Oil: Close lasting lather, mild and makes a clear soap
• Palm: Lasting bubbles, very mild but makes cloudy soap
• Palm Kernel: Large bubbles, harsh but makes clear soap
• Tallow: Lasting bubbles, very mild but makes a very cloudy soap

Stearic acid also makes clear soap and helps to harden soft oils. It has a habit of delaying trace, so melt it separately then add at medium trace. Do not use at more then 3.5% of your total oils because it can cause a “drag." [Kathy M. would suggest melting the stearic acid with the base oils at the very start, to ensure even blending.]

This recipe is my personal favorite. It makes very clear soap in my opinion...

Base Part of Recipe

These recipes are 40 oz. of oils. If you don’t want to make this much you can split recipe in half.
The oils in these recipes will make your clearest soaps.

Recipe 1:

20 oz. Lard or 50% of total oils
8 oz. Coconut Oil or 20% of total oils
12 oz. Castor Oil or 30% of total oils
15.2 oz. Distilled water
5.8 oz. lye

Your lye discount will be 0% for a clearer soap.

Veggie Recipe 1:

16 oz. Palm Oil or 40% of total oils
12 oz. Coconut Oil or 30% of total oils
12 oz. Castor Oil or 30% of total oils
19.8 oz. Distilled water
6 oz. lye

Your lye discount will be 0% for a clearer soap.

Veggie Recipe 2:

12 oz. Palm Oil or 30% of total oils
12 oz. Coconut Oil or 30% of total oils
8 oz. Sweet Almond Oil or 20% of total oils
8 oz. Castor Oil or 20% of total oils
15.2 oz. Distilled water
6 oz. lye

Your lye discount will be 0% for a clearer soap. The reason for no supferfatting is to achieve clarity.

Second part of recipe

Remember alcohol is lighter in weight than water, so make sure you have more than what is called for in your recipe. I usually have two bottles on hand at all times just in case. You do not want to run out of this very important ingredient. One pint of alcohol weighs around 12.5 oz. Compensate for evaporation. It evaporates very quickly when heated. Also, keep the lid on as much as possible!

Alcohol will be 35% of total volume (before evaporation)
Sugar will be 28% of total volume
Glycerin will be 15% of total volume

40 ozs. of oils will call for:

14 oz. Alcohol
11.2 oz. sugar dissolved into 4 oz. boiling water. Dissolve sugar thoroughly in as little water as possible. If sugar crystals are left, it will cause cloudy soap.
6 oz. Glycerin

Now for the instructions:

1. Make sugar solution and have ready to heat on stove.
2. Preheat oven to 160-180 degrees.
3. Place a glass or Pyrex cup into refrigerator.
4. Pour alcohol into a squirt bottle and position next to stove ready for spritzing.
5. Lay a towel on the floor in front of stove, in case of water splash.
6. Measure out your alcohol and glycerin and have ready. Cover alcohol with plastic wrap so it does not evaporate.
7. Combine water and lye and set aside.
8. Melt oils and fats in your main stockpot.
9. Combine oils and lye between 135-145 degrees.
10. Pour lye very slowly while stick blending
11. Stick blend until very thick trace.
12. Cover pot with glass lid and place into oven for 15-20 minutes.
13. It will be very thick at this point so use a heavy spoon.
14. Stir.
15. Cover and cook for 15-20 more minutes.
16. If it hasn’t gelled, cook for 10 more minutes or until it slides cleanly off the back of metal spoon. It should look somewhat like thick amber applesauce. Also you can add a teaspoon of soap to a cup of water and let dissolve, if a lot of oil floats on top, cook a little longer.
17. Remove from oven and slowly add half the alcohol and full amount of glycerin. Stir and scrape sides and bottom of pot very well.
18. Stir quickly and immediately replace lid.
19. If using a home fashioned double boiler, insert your stockpot into another pot ( on top of trivet with a couple inches of water).
20. When soap begins to melt, stick blend the heck out of it until there are no more chunks.
21. It should look thick and gel-like.
22. Add the other half of alcohol and quick buzz with stick blender, then quickly replace lid.
23. If lots of foam forms, squirt with alcohol. Keep lid on.
24. Cover with halved towel.
25. Use caution when heating, lay small towels around the burner for splashing water but not too close.
26. Heat until temperature reaches 160-175 degrees. Don’t allow temperature to get too high, your soap should bubble not boil. Watch out for splashing water between the upper and lower pots.
27. Cook for 15 minutes with intermittent stick blending.
28. If you see a lot of foam forming, add 1⁄2 oz.-1 oz. alcohol at a time.
29. Keep on a spritzin' with alcohol to achieve clearness.
30. It should be clear. If not, cook a little longer.
31. If soap is clear, remove from heat.
32. If soap becomes jelly-like add 1⁄2 - 1 oz. more alcohol at a time.
33. Set pot into sink.
34. Bring sugar solution temperature to 160 degrees. Soap should be around 160 degrees also. Add sugar solution very slowly to soap while stirring slowly.
35. Return to double boiler and allow to reach 180 degrees.
36. Remove pot promptly.
37. Drizzle small amount of soap onto your upside-down cold glass or Pyrex cup.
38. If soap is clear, proceed to next step. If not; cook longer with a little more alcohol.
39. Keep lid on and let cool to 130-140 degrees.
40. To lengthen playtime, leave sit in hot water of double boiler with heat shut off or sit in hot water in sink.
41. The trick is keeping the soap hot to be able to have time to color and scent.
42. If you notice your soap has a skin on top just spray with alcohol really well or let it be caught in the sieve.
43. At this stage, do not scrape sides of stockpot of stuck on soap. It will affect clarity.
44. Pour through sieve into Pyrex cups and add fragrance and color. Stir lightly. (Check about colors from the other post on this site.) Spritz with alcohol if foam forms on top.
45. You can divide into several Pyrex cups and do as many colors as wanted but remember... you have to work fast!
46. Make sure your flashpoints on fragrance oils are high enough for 130-140 degrees.

The faster your soap cools the more transparent it will be. Winter puts her molds outside in the winter like on a porch and pours into the molds so they will cool faster and freeze. I tried it last night and it does work great.

47. Pour into molds as quickly as possible and spray down foam with alcohol. Spritz until smooth.
48. Let sit undisturbed until soap is completely firm. If you have trouble releasing soap, freeze for an hour and try again.
49. Let cure for 2 weeks before cutting soap because soap will shrink. Ask me how I know!
50. Keep in mind the longer the soap cures, the clearer it becomes.

A couple more tips:

• Your soap will be a natural amber color before coloring; this does not affect your final color.
• If you’re making your soaps for decorative use, when unmolding use rubber gloves so you won’t get fingerprints on the soap.
• I would suggest starting with one color until you get the hang of it, then you will know what to expect.
• The thinner the soap, the more transparent it will appear.
• Transparent soap needs time to harden.
• Frozen soap will look cloudy; let it rest first before checking for clarity.
• Make sure to use 0-1% superfat for clearer soap.

If you find your soap is sticky or not clear after removing from the molds, you can cut it back up into small pieces into a large Pyrex cup, heat at half power in the microwave for a couple minutes at a time until all melted down. If you have a couple chunks left over in the mix, stir with a spoon and they will melt. Add a couple more ounces of alcohol, stir and pour through a sieve into another Pyrex cup. Now pour into your molds. I also do this if I didn’t quite achieve the color I wanted. I add more color and alcohol and pour into molds. Make sure you do this within the first couple of days because you risk evaporating alcohol, which reduces transparency and makes sticky soap.

After freezing, let soaps thaw for about 3 or 4 minutes and they should pop out.

When creating recipes, use the Soap-Calc. It is my favorite tool!

Thanks for reading and Happy Soaping! ~Kristy


Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2008
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Newcastle, NSW, Australia
That's what I thought!!
I wonder if the end result is worth it?
And I thought to make transparent soap you had to use soap that you had already made, then add glycerin and alcohol?
She does it all at the same time.
Also I wonder if it can be remelted like MP?


Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Newcastle area, NSW, Australia
I have no seems much easier to me to buy my 'natural' MP bases from Aussie Soap Supplies - no alcohol, no surfactants, no crap! :lol:

Tanya :)

P.S: Am I allowed to say 'crap'? :?


Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2008
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Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I won't tell anyone you said it!!
I remember deda posting pics of her clear soap over the top of her honeycomb soap, do you remember that? Even she said she made it just so she could say she did it, but in reality she could have cleaned her whole house, painted her nails, done her hair and cooked the dinner, because it took her so long. I don't think I could do it. I'd like to say I gave it a go but it just looks too complicated for me.

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