Welcome to Soap Club

MoviePosterFightClub.jpgThis page is to outline our club activities for Soap Club. In this club we will be learning how to make soap and how to extract perfumes and essences using chemical methods. Some of the images used on this page borrow from the movie Fight Club, directed by David Fincher. (IMDB link)

While thinking about soap making in the media, an interesting film that looks at the extraction of smells is the movie Perfume, the story of a murderer, directed by Tom Tykwer, from the novel by Patrick Süskind. ((IMDB link)

Useful literature


Olive oil

Other web sites

A useful saponification table from the website soap making resource
Another saponification table


Project Guttenberg has a copy of Soap-Making Manual by E. G. Thomssen which is free to download in a variety of types (pdf, epub, kindle) and can also be read online.

Week 1

  • Introduction
    • What is soap? What is it made from? What is the history behind it?
  • Melt and pour
    • We will melt soap using a microwave oven and repour into moulds to show what is possible at home. Remember if you try this yourself, only use glass pots to melt the soap in when using a microwave oven. A small amount of water added helps.

Week 2

  • prepare for cold process soap making
  1. you will need this saponification table.
  2. you will also need to read this guide to cold process soap making

  1. Weigh your oil(s) in grammes. If you are using more than one oil you will need to weigh each separately.
  2. Calculate the amount of lye you need for your oil. Use the saponification table above.
  3. You will need to calculate mass of oil x 95% for overfatting X saponification factor / 1000
  4. Dissolve this amount of lye into 3 times the mass of distilled water. Add the lye to the water, slowly, while stirring. This will heat up. A lot!
  5. Mix the oil and the lye together at around 40C

Week 3

  • Carry out the cold process soap making. You will need 200ml of oil for this. The school will provide the lye (sodium hydroxide) for this.

Week 4

Hot process soap making

A link to a photo set of hot process soap making
This is the same at the cold process but it is done at a higher temperature. This can lead to a harder soap but it is much faster to make.
For this, you need to carry out the same reaction as the cold process, but carry out the reaction in a beaker in the water bath set to 70C.

  • First weight the oil you are going to use.
  • Then look up the saponification value for the oil
  • Multiply the weight of the oil by the saponification value and then multiply your answer by 0.93 to 0.95. This allows for superfatting.
  • You have now calculated the amount of lye you will need.
  • Weigh out this amount of Sodium Hydroxide
  • Carefully dissolve this in water. Use the weight of the oil divided by 2.6 for the weight of water. Add lye to water not the other way round and stir. Don't let it overheat and boil.

  • Add the oils and lye together and heat and stir.. and stir...and stir.

Week 5

  • Making esters as fragrances
CLEAPPS 67-07 gives a good description of this.
as does this

Week 6

  • extracting limonene from oranges

orange oil extraction


Week 7

  • fragrance extraction from flowers. You will need to get some flowers for this.

Fragrance extraction


Week 8

  • making bath bombs (bath fizzies)

Web site 1
Web site 2

Colours and dyes

Making Prussian Blue