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- Best for Beginners: How to Make Your Own Handmade Soap
- Best Melt and Pour Soap Making: How to Make Melt & Pour Soap
- Best Natural Soap: Natural Rose Clay and Sea Salt Cold Process Soap
- Best Swirl Soap: Classic Cold Process Swirl Soap
- Best Whimsical Soaps: Royalty Soaps
- Best Fragrance Testing: How to Test Fragrance Oils in Soap Making
- Best Striped Soaps: Striped Soapmaking and Cutting
Whether you want to learn a new skill, create one-of-a-kind gifts for your family and friends, or are trying to make the goods in your household a bit more sustainable, creating your own soap from scratch is an exciting new project to add to your wheelhouse. When it comes to soap, the sky’s the limit. You can make soap using a variety of methods (melt and pour, cold process, hot process, and rebatching), using natural ingredients and botanicals, or by taking an alternate approach and going for colorful, whimsical designs.
We’ve put together a list of the best online soap making classes that you can take in the comfort of your own home. So, if you’d like to master saponification (the reaction that occurs between fats and sodium hydroxide, aka lye), the melt and pour method, or adding fragrances and cool designs like swirls and stripes, we have a lineup of classes and tutorials to inspire your own DIY soaps.
Best for Beginners: How to Make Your Own Handmade Soap on Skillshare
Soap making is part craft and part science. If you’re just beginning your soap making journey, start with this comprehensive course led by Beau Colin, a Dutch graphic designer and soap maker, on Skillshare.
Here, you’ll get a tutorial on how to make a basic cold process soap recipe. Beau outlines the process step-by-step. Your first lesson is on all of the equipment you’ll need and setting up your soap making station. Next is getting together your ingredients. The foundation of soap making starts with understanding the chemistry of it—as well as the nuances of using sodium hydroxide, aka lye, a key ingredient.
Lye is a caustic chemical, so Beau advises how to handle it properly, as well as the measurements of each ingredient so that you can be in control of the chemical reaction. Then, Beau gives pointers about ingredients to customize soap to your personal taste—including herbs, scents, and other additives, as well as packaging your soap bars. This course features entirely natural materials without artificial scents or additives.
A Skillshare membership costs about $168 annually (roughly $14 per month) and is around $32 per month otherwise. You'll get a seven-day free trial when you join.
Best Melt and Pour Soap Making: How to Make Melt & Pour Soap on Udemy
If you’re a beginner soap maker, melt and pour is an alternate method to making soap via cold process. This course on Udemy is designed for those new to soap making or those with some experience. Wherever you're at, it will prove to be a fun and easy class.
The goals of the program are clear. You’ll walk away with a variety of melt and pour soaps that only take a few hours to complete, using pre-made soap bases, colors, and fragrances. You’ll learn various techniques to create visual effects in the soap, as well as how to use natural and cosmetic colors to customize the soap to your desired look, whether it’s vibrant or more of an organic vibe, and how to embed objects and soap shapes into your soap bars or loaves.
You’ll also learn everything you need to know about oils, butters, and fragrances and how to add moisturizing and exfoliating properties to them. This soap making method doesn’t incorporate lye, so it’s a great activity to do with kids.
The course costs about $125.
Best Natural Soap: Natural Rose Clay and Sea Salt Cold Process Soap From Royalty Soaps
This free demonstration from Royalty Soaps uses all-natural ingredients, omitting anything artificial like mica or fragrances and utilizing rose clay, kaolin clay, and sea salt, in addition to a gentle and calming essential oil blend.
While it is a simple preparation, it’s best to take this tutorial on once you’ve mastered handling lye and the basics of cold process soap making. Katie, the instructor, starts by combining her lye-water solution into the oils. The texture of the soap batter should be runny, and Katie splits it into two equal portions to be colored with natural botanicals rather than mica, ultramarines, or oxides.
Rose clay adds a pink hue and silky finish. One tub gets the rose clay and the other the kaolin clay and titanium dioxide mixture. Katie also gives tips and tricks, such as how it’s best to mix your clay with hot water to better incorporate it into the oils, and that clays have a tendency to make your soap a bit thicker.
Best Swirl Soap: Classic Cold Process Swirl Soap From BrambleBerry
Once you're familiar with the cold process method, you’re free to move into experimenting with designs. Bramble Berry, a self-described "company built by makers, for makers," offers a variety of free crafting tutorials on its YouTube channel for creating handmade soap, bath bombs, lotions, lip balms, and more.
This "in-the-mold," swirl soap making technique is best for those at an advanced level in cold process soap making. After suiting up in soap making goggles and gloves, Anne-Marie and Christy get started with the ingredients: the oils (olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, castor oil), water, and lye, as well as lavender and lemon essential oils and three different types of colorants for the swirl design.
They mix the powdered colorants ahead of time—combining each of the pigments in olive oil with a frother typically used for frothing milk for coffee for the ultimate smooth mixture. Then comes the pouring in the mold and the swirl. Anne-Marie and Christy demonstrate the optimal ways to swirl, from pouring levels, sequencing colors, and more.
Best Whimsical Soaps: Royalty Soaps
Though Katie from Royalty Soap’s tutorial was focused on creating a natural, clay-based soap, her YouTube channel is the place to go for fun and ultra-creative designs.
Where you start is up to you: Taco Bell-themed soaps, Disney character soaps, dessert soaps, or even soaps inspired by Taylor Swift’s song "Cardigan." There’s sure to be a soap for an occasion for a family or friend or even just an amusingly satisfying project.
Take, for example, her monthly series of birthstone soaps, such as opal (for October), sapphire (for September), emerald (for May), and more. For opal, she uses lemon sugar and lavender lemon essential oils and teal, purple, and pink coloring, layered with white and treated with a hanger swirl to mimic the iridescent effect of the stone before topping it with "soap frosting" and a pastel drizzle.
You can also find soaps inspired by objects as diverse as California poppies, watermelon candy, succulents, carnival treats, smores, and more.
Best Fragrance Testing: How to Test Fragrance Oils in Soap Making From Zakia Ringgold
Incorporating fragrance is a skill to master when making soaps from scratch, and Zakia Ringgold’s "How to Test Fragrance Oils in Soap Making" video is a crash course of her own method to test fragrance oils in cold process soap.
According to Ringgold, "I have had my fair share of handmade soap batches that seize, freeze, rice, and accelerate." Her approach here is to test new scents in a small-batch, contained recipe before executing in a full batch of soap. In this video, Zakia tests 10 fragrances. Her method is to use sample vials of fragrance oils to test with rather than committing to a large amount of fragrance that may not work in the soap.
One ounce per pound of oil is the typical ratio for fragrance, and Ringgold makes five and a half pounds of her signature soap oil recipe and divides it among 11 containers—10 for the fragrances, and one for the fragrance-less base recipe as a control. Zakia also breaks down the best way to set up your fragrance experiment notes and labeling, so at the end of your test, you know exactly what fragrances worked—and which didn’t.
Best Striped Soaps: Striped Soapmaking and Cutting From Soapish
Add a new design to your repertoire with this free, striped soap video from Soapish. Tania, the creator of the video, is the person behind the Soapish bath and body boutique located in Newhall, California, which offers not just soaps, but also moisturizers and oils and product collections for your face, hair, and home.
Here, Tania demonstrates two, cold process soap techniques to achieve striped soaps with even, straight, and uniform stripes. First, she starts with a black and white striped soap with four evenly measured layers. After adding fragrance oil to the base, she weighs the oils and splits them exactly in half and colors them, then preps four separate batches of lye water.
Half of the black oil is added to one of the lye-water batches and layered into the mold. After the layer is set, Tania repeats the process for the remainder of her stripes, so everything remains perfectly measured and even. In her next batch, she demonstrates a six-layer soap featuring black, white, and variations of pink stripes.
How We Chose the Best Online Soap Making Classes
Selecting the best online soap making classes came with a variety of considerations. While soap making is an exciting new project for beginners, there is also a level of education and expertise that one has to master at the beginning of developing the craft, purely for safety concerns.
Choosing classes that would give a good foundation for beginner soap-makers (and spoke to the details of lye safety) was an important factor. Approachability was also key. All of the courses on this list were created by experienced soap-makers or crafters who are able to clearly communicate technique and style to those following along at home. And, while there is a cost associated with some of the classes (such as on Udemy or Skillshare), the others on this list are available to stream for free on YouTube (Soapish, Live Soap School, Royalty Soaps).
What Is an Online Soap Making Class?
An online soap making class allows you to learn how to make your own soap from scratch at home.
When Should You Take an Online Soap Making Class?
Online soap making classes are ideal to take year-round, no matter the season. Make it a group activity with your family and friends.
How Much Do Online Soap Making Classes Cost?
The classes featured here have a variety of pricing. The most expensive is How to Make Melt & Pour Soap on Udemy, which costs about $120. The How To Make Your Own Soap on Skillshare class is accessible with the price of a Skillshare subscription (around $19), or for free with the site’s seven-day free trial. All other courses are available to stream on YouTube at no cost. However, there is the added price of supplies for the soaps you’ll create.