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The Complete Soapmaker

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The Complete Soapmaker

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The Complete Soapmaker
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Book Name: The Complete Soapmaker

Author: Norma Coney

Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co

ISBN: 0-8069-4868-X


# of Pages: 128

Illustrations: color photos

Experience Required: beginner

Book Review

If you have never made soap then this is a great resource book for you. Following the Introduction to Soap Making (which outlines what you will be learning in The Complete Soapmaker) there is a section called An Overview that talks about the properties of commercial soaps and handmade soaps, the various techniques of making soap and how it as evolved over the years as well as definitions for the terms you will encounter that apply to the soaps in this book.

What I really liked about this book was the user friendly style the author has created. Also in the Overview section is an index of sorts with photos and an outline of what you will be learning in each chapter of the book. I like that there is visual representation of the soapmaking process because some people are more visual and this helps you to better understand what you have to do. The author seems to understand that learning to do something works best using a step-by-step process and breaks it down for you so the steps are clear and easy. There are hints and tips above each section on soaps, about their uses, their benefits and in the case of the Fruit Soaps, how to preserve them because of their perishable contents. The reason this book is good for beginners is because the author recommends you start with mastering basic soapmaking so you can continue the learning process and make more complex soaps. Before you get started actually making soap there are detailed sections in The Complete Soapmaker you need to read on Equipment and Supplies, Ingredients, Working Carefully, Rendering Tallow and (Master Instructions for) Basic Soaps before getting into the Basic Soap Recipes.

The basic soaps include (Plain White Soap, Vegetarian’s Choice Soap, Palm Oil Soap, Cocoa Creme Soap, Nineteenth-Century Soap, Homesteader’s Soap, Olive Oil Castile Soap). Once you feel comfortable and confident in your soapmaking skills you can continue on with Hand-Milled Soaps. Before attempting any of these recipes you need to read the sections on Selecting Recipes, Tips and Making Larger Batches of Hand-Milled Soaps as well as the Master Instructions for Hand-Milled Soaps and Using The Recipes. Once you have acquainted yourself with this information you are ready to choose a recipe, which are further broken down into sections on abrasive soaps (Almond Meal, Gardener’s Friend, Oatmeal, Golden Maize Abrasive, Bran, Wheat Germ and Honey), Herbal Soaps (Sage, Chamomile, Glycerin and Rose Water, Calendula, Rosemary, Fields of Lavender, Aloe Vera Bars, Marshmallow Bars), Skin-Softening Soaps (Vitamin E Bars, Milk and Honey Soap, Borax Soap, Cocoa Butter, Buttermilk Bars or Goat’s Milk Soap, Superfatted Soap), Vegetable Soaps (Cucumber, Carrot, Lettuce), Fruit Soaps (Avocado, Apricot, Lemon Nutmeg Glycerin Bars, Triple Lemon Soap, Strawberry Bars, Kiwi Bars), Spice Soaps (Ginger Bars, Clove Soap, Cinnamon, Orange-Blossom Pomander Bars), Other Additive Soaps (French Clay Bars, Rosin Bars, English Flower-Garden Bars, Scandinavian Birch Leaf Soap, Medicated Soap, Skin Balm Bars, Odor-Eating Soap, Woodsman’s Soap, Witch Hazel Soap, Three Kings Antibacterial Soap, Fisherman’s Soap, Garden-of-the-Sea Soap, Balsamic Soap). The remaining types of soaps fit into a category called Specialty Soaps (Master Instructions for Shampoo for you and your dog, Herb and Vinegar Hair Rinse, Liquid Soaps and Soap Gels, Translucent Soaps, Soap Balls, Soap On A Rope, Floating Soap, Marbled Soap and Confetti Soap).

Finally, don’t miss the Troubleshooting and Adjustments chapter to ensure your soapmaking experience is a success and the chapter on Decorating, Storing, Wrapping, and Displaying to finish off your bars for their final purpose. Personally I find this book is well written and the soaps are beautifully represented in colorful, creative photos. I am specifically looking forward to making the Cocoa Creme Soap because of my love of chocolate, the Aloe Vera Bars for their skin soothing effects and the Strawberry Bars because they look good enough to eat.


  • Gardener’s Friend Soap
  • Oatmeal Soap
  • Aloe Vera Bars
  • Strawberry Bar
  • Orange-Blossom Pomander Bars

Overall Rating:


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