12 Best Soap Making BooksThis post contains affiliate links; if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you
Making soap at home is challenging but a lot of fun. It feels so reward to create something with your hands and use it daily!
The Internet has plenty of free guides but if you want something a little more detailed then check out these books. They cover different techniques, recipes, and types of soaps with a wide variety to pick from.
And best of all this process works for anyone so you just need some free time and a desire to learn.
The Everything Soapmaking Book
Currently in its 3rd edition The Everything Soapmaking Book offers a detailed guide to the entire process. You’ll start from the very beginning with how various materials & tools eventually turn into soap.
The goal is to use natural ingredients to keep your soaps organic and free of harmful chemicals.
But you’ll also learn how to match scents and even create your own from scratch. The aromatic portion of this book does feel a bit lacking, but it’s also geared towards beginners who need a simple starting point.
From bath soaps to facial cleansers to squeaky-clean gift baskets, this book has it all offering plenty of advice for getting started.
With a massive list of 32 recipes and step-by-step instructions I’d say that Pure Soapmaking is one of the most complex yet most detailed books here. It’s a fairly thick book with 240 pages and covers a variety of different styles, smells, and colors.
The biggest problem?
It’s super complicated for beginners. You might get this book and feel put-off from soap making just because of how many steps & ingredients are required. I’d say this works better as an intermediate book once you’ve already made some soaps at home.
But I also think beginners could work through these recipes if they have the patience. You’ll need a good number of ingredients and space to work. But if you put in the time you can make some gorgeous soaps for your house with recipes you can repeat for years.
Soap Maker’s Workshop
When first getting into homemade soaps you’ll probably want a light overview of soap making with basic practice ideas. And that’s exactly what this book offers.
The Soap Maker’s Workshop shares an abundance of information that doesn’t feel overbearing. It’s great for beginners since the writing is easy to follow and the recipes are even easier.
In the back of the book you’ll find a small DVD with instructions for each of the major recipes. Not to mention each chapter is littered with photos that’ll help you understand the process even more.
And the print quality is very thick with stick-resistant pages. This is great if you’re working with soap oils and constantly referencing the book.
Ultimate Guide To Soap Making
Amanda McCarthy’s Ultimate Guide To Soap Making really does cover all the ideas a beginner needs to know.
It talks about the potential dangers of individual ingredients and how you should handle them with precaution. Early chapters also explain the difference between cold process and hot process.
This reads like a true encyclopedia answering all your questions about soap making from start to finish. Plus it has a bunch of recipes you can follow with tips for creating your own recipes!
Totaling 300+ pages this truly is the ultimate guide to making your own soaps at home.
It covers everything you could possibly wanna know and it deserves a place in every soapmaker’s bookshelf.
Sometimes it’s easier to just follow recipes than to worry about how soaps are made or what you can do differently. That’s why I like Soap Crafting because it’s just detailed enough to follow along, but not overly complicated with the science of cold-processed soaps.
This one comes packed with just under three dozen recipes using various household ingredients like avocados, cinnamon, and pumpkin spices.
Some of the later recipes go beyond aroma showing how you can add swirls and glistening effects into your soap. These visuals add a nice touch to the final product and you can reuse the techniques in other soap designs too.
I wouldn’t say this is the ultimate collection of soap recipes but it’s got a few tricks worth adding to your repertoire.
The Soapmaker’s Companion
The Soapmaker’s Companion delves into the science-y side of soap making. You’ll learn how aromas come to life and how different fats/oils combine together in the process.
While this book is fairly dated(over two decades old) it’s still one of the best references for at-home soapmakers.
Each recipe aims to teach something new from adding textures, colors, varying oils, and altering the soap’s aroma on your own. The very last chapter talks about soapmaking as a business and how you can sell your soaps with e-shops like Etsy.
But even if you just wanna make soap for fun this book is a real treasure. It covers the chemistry behind soap making so you can learn how soaps are formed from start to finish.
Making Soap From Scratch
One other book on start-to-finish soap making is Gregory Lee White’s Making Soap From Scratch. This one’s a little shorter with only 150 pages but it’s still packed with great info for beginners.
The ingredients are easy to source and you won’t break the bank testing a new recipe. This is easy enough for any beginner to pick up and start using immediately.
You don’t need any prior knowledge of soap making or any real “home crafts” experience. If you’re willing to work through these lessons you’ll slowly pick up soap making without much effort.
Seriously if you’re just getting started and want a one-size-fits-all solution I have to recommend this book. It can feel small but it’ll keep you busy for months.
Soap Making Reloaded
Novice soapmakers might also enjoy Soap Making Reloaded although it’s a much short book. It’s probably the shortest one in this entire list totaling just over 30 pages.
But the reason I recommend this book is how it frames the soapmaking process.
You’ll learn about safety precautions and working with materials before you ever start a recipe. This forces you to consider the whole process and decide if it’s something you’d really want to attempt.
It’s really not much more than an overview of the primary process, so you’d need a follow-up guide to go alongside this. But if you want a quick & dirty look at soap making without the commitment you can get the digital e-book version for pretty cheap.
Natural Soap Making
Organic is the way to go for anything homemade and it’s covered extensively in Natural Soap Making.
This book is certainly geared towards beginners and it feels pretty light with only 96 pages. Yet the information is surprisingly helpful talking about different soap oils, coloring additives, and the whole cold process technique.
Perhaps the best part of this book is the do-it-yourself mentality.
You aren’t just told X cups of water or Y tablespoons of oil. Instead you get ratios and recipes that can be scaled/adjusted for your needs.
It may feel like a lot when first starting out. But the more you work through this book the easier it’ll be to start tinkering with your own recipes.
There’s so much you can do with beeswax and it’s fairly simple to obtain. You can make awesome soaps along with candles, creams, lip balms, and a whole lot more.
Beeswax Alchemy isn’t just a soap making book. It’s a whole reference guide of tips & recipes you can follow using beeswax as the main ingredient.
Not everyone wants to create candles or balms so this book won’t be useful to every person. But if you raise your own bees there’s plenty of stuff you can do with harvested beeswax.
Take a peek if you’re curious to learn more about this multipurpose ingredient. It’s a beginner-friendly book so you don’t need any prior knowledge before cracking open the first page.
Advanced Soap Making
While the title of this book assumes a higher-level of knowledge, you really don’t need to be an expert to follow these recipes.
Advanced Soap Making only requires some basic experience creating soaps and it actively builds upon that.
With 174 pages and dozens of ingredients you’ll find some really cool recipes to follow.
But it’s not just a book for recipes. It’s also a book for understanding how certain additives can drastically affect your own recipes.
Every great soap maker eventually creates their own stuff. This comes through experimentation and thankfully this book shares a bunch of techniques for mixing & matching soap ideas.
Making Transparent Soap
Making Transparent Soap is another higher-level book on creating bars of soap with a richer and more transparent design.
Looks aren’t everything but they can make a difference when you’re selling bars or giving them as gifts. These recipes each use photographs and detailed guidelines to help you every step of the way.
But this does not hold your hand on the basics of cold process soap making. You’ll need to understand introductory ideas on ingredients and mixing before attempting these recipes.
Also it’s worth noting the recipes typically work for larger batches. So you’ll end up with dozens of soap bars for each recipe—perfect for selling but maybe not great for a simple hobby.
And with that we’ve reached the end of my list!
There is a lot here and I know it’s tough making a choice if you don’t even know what you need to learn.
For absolute beginners I recommend Making Soap From Scratch as your very first book. It’s so easy to follow and packed with information written in a way that just makes sense.
But if you’re ready to delve into the belly of the beast you’ll want a copy of The Ultimate Guide To Soap Making because it truly covers everything you’d need to know(and more!).