recycling

Reuse Old Glass To Make Useful things | A Piece Of Rainbow

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Reuse Old Glass To Make Useful things | A Piece Of Rainbow.

Here’s a collection of some GREAT tutorials on how to transform old glass into really useful and beautiful things for our homes and gardens!

Some of these would make great gifts as well… perfect for the holidays!

From practical items such as soap dispensers, garden walls, bottle lamp, garden path edging, to amazing decorative creations such as bottle walls, drinking glass lanterns, bottle tree, terrariums, to wonderful gifts such as pin cusions, whimsical candy jars, even old fashion oil lamps, there’s something fabulous in this collection for everyone to make!

Sounds like some great ideas? Check out the link below to see the collection at A Piece Of Rainbow.

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$10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig

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$10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig.

 

Happy weekend to you. Yesterday Joe and I wanted to do a fun and quick project for the house. We thought a firepit would be fun but didn’t like the looks of the ones sold at Home Depot and this geometric firepit at DWR is out of our budget. Eventually, Joe will design his own and fabricate it himself but since that will take a fair amount of time and energy we decided to make something quick in the interim.

 

A few years ago while on a trip to Joshua Tree Joe’s friend Jens introduced him to the washing machine drum firepit. It’s a super-easy project and the design of the washing machine drum is perfect for a fire. Its small holes around the drum not only allow for oxygen flow to the fire but also make for a pretty light show. Joe added some welded feet to ours and painted it black but if you omit the extra features you can make this in an hour or less. It couldn’t be easier. Click the link for instructions.

Another tip by Misty Wilfer

We made one a couple years ago but we used front load only tub because they are stainless steel and will not rust through and we took the pully that’s was behind the tub out turned it upside down and made it into the base, drill holes to drain water, oh and unlike I did, break off plastic tabs before lighting your first fire or you end up with a mess on the patio lol

 

Broken Pots Turned Into Brilliant DIY Fairy Gardens | Bored Panda

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Broken Pots Turned Into Brilliant DIY Fairy Gardens | Bored Panda.

A new trend in gardening has gardeners creating all sorts of creative garden arrangements and fairy gardens out of broken pots, proving that even a broken pot can be useful and beautiful.

Such pots can be created either from the shards left from an accidental break or from a carefully planned cut. To cut such a pot, soak it and use a craft drill or file to create a weakened shape that can then be “broken” out with a hammer (be sure to use safety goggles and an air filter during this step). Then, fill the pot with planter’s soil and arrange the shards in the soil in any way you wish!

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SEE MORE HERE: Broken Pots Turned Into Brilliant DIY Fairy Gardens | Bored Panda.

Amish Farm Leads The Way to Local Food Security in Indiana

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Amish Farm Leads The Way to Local Food Security in Indiana

 

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Greenhouse at Sunrise Hydroponics.

When you hear about a farm that supplies all-natural, sustainable produce, using 90% less water and 90% less land, one that utilizes the most advanced vertical aeroponic technology on earth, you surely would not guess it would be an Amish farm. Yet in Topeka, Indiana, you cannot get produce that is more local, fresh, healthy, and sustainable — even in the middle of an Indiana blizzard — like you can get at Sunrise Hydroponics, an Amish farm.

Sunrise Hydroponics is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Marlin and Loretta Miller on their rural farm in Topeka. I have had the privilege of working with the Amish community for more than half a decade, and have come to learn that, while their lives seem simple to many outsiders, their homes, farms, and businesses are highly innovative. The Amish utilize cutting-edge and creative forms of technology to improve their lives, while still falling within the guidelines of their belief system.

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Marlin and Loretta’s farm operates using a small amount of off-grid electricity to run the aeroponic Tower Garden® towers and a wood-burning furnace to heat the greenhouse in the winter. The greenhouse itself is Amish-made, with simple hand crank roof vents and roll-up sides for natural ventilation. Although some may not consider the protected greenhouse structure to be state-of-the-art, like we see with many of our vertical aeroponic tower farms, it has proven to be both cost effective and highly efficient as people manually control the simplified environmental mechanisms.

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Cucumber, lettuce, and tomato Tower Gardens®.

The importance of vertical aeroponic farms like Sunrise Hydroponics is accentuated when one realizes the water shortage and other issues that Indiana is struggling with. Indiana’s conventional-based agriculture system has led to a looming water crisis, heavy pesticide and petrochemical fertilizer use (which contaminates both surface and ground water), and the use of GMO crops. Additionally, the state imports almost all of its fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

While Purdue and other universities spend millions of dollars trying to find solutions for the state’s agriculture challenges, the Future of Growing is already here. Who would have guessed that the Amish are leading the way?

Sunrise Hydroponics, currently in its third year of operation, is producing “beyond organic” produce for Marlin and Loretta’s family, a farmers market, their produce stand, and local restaurants. This groundbreaking, sustainable technology features live plants which are harvested daily. The USDA claims that up to 40% of nutrition is lost from fresh-cut produce by the time it is purchased at a local grocery store. Living produce at Sunrise Hydroponics, harvested with the roots intact, not only maintains amazing freshness, but also holds on to the extraordinary nutrition the plant had at the point of harvest!

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Living lettuce in water pouch, with roots intact. In photo at right, roots are bagged with a small amount of water.

Sunrise Hydroponics produces a wide range of crops, including lettuces, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries, year-round. When the farm started three years ago, Marlin and his customers immediately noticed the incredible flavor, vibrant colors, and aroma that came from the highly nutritious plants grown from Future Growing’s® proprietary aeroponic plant food.

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Leftover produce is used to supplement feed for chickens.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Surprisingly, so did Marlin’s chickens! Marlin began feeding his chickens waste plant material from the greenhouse and immediately noticed that the chickens’ egg yolks changed from yellow to orange, the egg shells became thicker, and the eggs had improved flavor. That is a real testament to the nutritional quality of aeroponic Tower Garden® produce!

This local farm will forever change the way folks in Indiana think about their food and what is possible for their state with Future Growing® technology.

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Strawberry Tower Garden®.

In the coming decade, we look forward to helping Indiana heal the environment and regain its food security and independence!

Sunrise Hydroponics is currently located at the South Bend Farmers Market every Saturday morning. Buy local produce, and speak with Marlin or Loretta to sign up for hydroponic class and a greenhouse tour. The farmers market is at 1105 Northside Blvd., South Bend, IN 46615.

Tim Blank
Founder and

Little Brick Ranch: The Ultimate GREEN House…

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Little Brick Ranch: The Ultimate GREEN House….

The Ultimate GREEN House…


In honor of Earth Day right around the corner I would like to share a little freebie project that you ALL can get in on. Although recycling is awesome (and you all should be commended for your efforts to do so)…how ’bout re-purposing something that some of us come across everyday…

 

Felted Soap

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Felted Soap

About.com  & mielkes farm have a great tutorials.
Fuzzy Galore  gives superb background information.

I wish I could remember where I found this online. I Unfortunately forgot to save the link, and am in No way trying to take credit for something I did not write, but only briefly edited. All Credit goes to the original author.

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A felted soap is like like soap with a jacket on!

It is lightly exfoliating, and a great way to make your bar soaps last longer.

When washing up, it is a magnificent washcloth-and-soap-in-one!

Simply; a bar of soap, wrapped in wool roving that is then felted around the soap.

“what is felting and wool roving, and where does it come from?”

Felting is one of the earliest recorded forms of textile processing.  It was a process heavily relied upon by Asian nomadic tribes.

It is the abrasion of wool which results in the wooly fibers attaching to one another to form a mat.

Wool is an ultra-renewable resource we graciously get from fiber animals, whose fast growing coats provide the ultimate survival material.

Not only are fiber animals portable, but they are great for herding and sustain nomadic life quite well.

The wool from such animals can easily be felted down for clothing, tents, horse tack, and many other daily items.

The end result is a cloth that is lightweight, breathable, fireproof, and even windproof, when thick enough.

Wool has sustained nomadic tribes since time immemorial, and is quite a miraculous fiber.

Wool roving is wool that has been washed and brushed and cleaned from impurities.

It is then carded to pull the fibers so they are oriented in the same direction.

It can then be dyed, or left natural, and is used in various different ways.

It can be left flat for batting, or spun into yarn, or reserved for a multitude of crafts.  Like felting around a bar of soap…

Felting is a very old craft method as well as a craft commonly made in Waldorf schools.

A Google search returns many places to buy bars of felted soap, the most incredible being a trendy store by the name of Anthropologie –

they sell these babies for $16 a piece!  That’s the price for a HUGE bag of wool, enough to felt probably 30 bars of soap!

The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How:

First, gather your ingredients.  You will need:

  • good-lathering soap (round, oval or rectangle will work fine)
  • wool roving

A wool roving is a piece of wool which has been combed, drawn into a clump,

and then twisted slightly to hold the fibers together and to prepare them for spinning.

  • sink and faucet with hot and cold water, (or buckets filled with each)
  • old pantyhose (optional)
  • felting board, washboard, bubble wrap or bamboo sushi mat (optional)

Used in this article are round bars of a great-lathering soap with lots of coconut oil in them.

(I deduced for a successful soap felting project, a good lather is key. 

Helpful in the felting process, but also when washing with it.

If you can’t get a good lather through the wool, it won’t be any fun to wash with).

Lay your base wool flat and place your soap on top of it.

Don’t pre-cut a specific length, just pull one end of the roving loose from what you’ve got and start wrapping with it.

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Wrap the wool around the soap in first one direction,

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and then the other.

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make sure all sides are covered and no soap is showing.

4 light layers, should felt up fine.  (Cut or tear the roving now to sever it from your pile).

Pull small wispy pieces of wool from a color other than your base if you wish to decorate your soap.

Place these wispy pieces haphazardly about the top of your base wool.

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Note: 

*The decorative wool in the first photo on the left felted up much better than the photo on the right. 

The trick was to use very small amounts of the decorative colors so all of the fibers lay flat against the base color.

**If you are using an old pantyhose, now is when you would place the pantyhose around your whole soap and wool creation. 

Snip off a length of pantyhose so you have a tube with two open ends, and pull it around your soap,

taking care not to move the wool too much and that no soap is showing through the wool.

Tie knots at each end. 

This method is great for felting with young children, as it helps to keep the wool in place around the bar of soap.

Next, gently drizzle the hottest water you can stand on top of your wool, taking care not to be too abrasive at this stage because

your wool will slide from your soap if you do.

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Wet until you achieve the consistency of “wet cat.”

The next photo shows the wool fully soaked and beginning to lather.

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Press into the soap and gently massage in small circles to achieve a thick lather.

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At this stage, spin the soap around in your hands, and roughly agitating all areas to encourage the wool to stick to itself.

Wool fibers have scales, like human hair, and the scales are what catch on one another create the felting process.

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Periodically rinse the suds off to see where the wool was at in the felting process, and alternate between hot and cold water.

Continue to massage and agitate the wool, quite roughly at this point.

Be sure to get all sides of the bar, whether it be a rectangle, a circle or an oval.

If you are using a felting board, bubble wrap, or a bamboo mat, at this point you would be rubbing the wool against that surface.

An abrasive surface makes the wool felt up faster.

By hand, and it takes probably 15 minutes.

When your wool begins to shrink around your soap and has all clung together in an irreversible,

matted mess, you have achieved success!

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Wring the remaining water from the bar and allow to dry.

If you wring the water from the soap and still see suds on your bar, that is perfectly ok.

The bar will continue to felt each time you use it.

If it takes a bit to get a lather on your first wash, be patient, it will come.

Wring the water from the bar after each use and it is best to place your bar onto a soap dish that will allow

the bar to drain and dry after each use.

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Did your bar turn out like this one with little pieces felted to themselves and not to your base wool?

This was where wispy wool embellishments were too thick and did not felt well to the base wool.

Just snip them off at the end and go about your business.  :)

With felted soap, you can save money in having your soap last longer and you have the freedom to toss your

loofah in the trash and ditch your body wash!

If you use washcloths, you will enjoy not having to use and wash them regularly.

The wool lightly exfoliates, and with the right soap, the bar is cleansing, nourishing and moisturizing!

This is a great craft to make with children or friends.

Many people take this craft a step farther and decorate the wool by needle felting.

Once the soap has been used up, cut open your felted wool and utilize the felt as a sachet, or cut it open and

flatten and use as a coaster.  Or, the start of a wool dryer ball…

The possibilities are ALWAYS endless…

Coconut Laundry Soap (1% superfat)

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Coconut Laundry Soap (1% superfat)
This is a Re-Blog from:
http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-pure-coconut-oil-soap-for-cleansing-and-laundry/

and links to Pure Coconut Oil Soap 

 

soap recipe
Amazing Lather? Check!

Simple ingredients? Yep, only three.

When it comes to soap, this is probably the easiest recipe you’ll ever make. If you’re willing to break a few rules it can one of the most versatile, too. Here’s what I mean:

Traditionally, soaps are made from 5-7 oils blended to balance cleansing/moisturizing/and lathering properties. Coconut oil is not used in more than a 30% concentration because it’s so effective at breaking up oil/grease that it can be drying.

Fortunately, there’s a way to simplify things without skimping on the ends product. It’s called “superfatting.” Basically, you add the equivalent of “one quarter moisturizing cream” like big brands do, only you leave out the toxic slew of chemicals that usually go with it. By adding 20% more coconut oil than the lye can convert to soap, you end up with a luxurious body bar. Of course, this doesn’t work with most vegetable oils which go rancid easily – coconut oil’s high shelf stability is what makes it a good choice here.

The best part? Not only can you superfat and get the best of both worlds for your skin, you can break another rule and get your laundry clean, too!

 

Ingredients

All amounts are per weight. You will need to use a scale for these measurements.

Lathering Skin Bar (20% superfat)

Note: Because this soap is highly superfatted it can create a very dense lather when rubbed directly on skin. For a light, bubbly effect I recommend lathering with a natural sponge.

  • 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree* (where to buy coconut oil)
  • 4.83 ounces lye (NaOH)**
  • 12.54 oz water
  • .5 – 1 ounce essential oils (optional)
How To Adapt This Recipe To Make Laundry Soap

Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent Made Easy

Normally it is not advised to make soap with under 4% superfat due to the fact that it can be excessively drying and even burn skin if some of the lye remains unconverted, but for laundry soap it’s perfect!

I’ve found that using a 1% superfatted recipe yields a very cleansing bar with no extra oil. Since I’m washing my clothes to get oil OUT rather than put it IN, this totally works for me. I’ve actually washed my hands with this version and have never had any irritation from it, but it’s really only recommended for laundry.

Here’s the full scoop on making your own laundry detergent.

I’ve included the recipe for 1% superfatted coconut oil soap below.

Sorting Out Life, One Load At A Time

I’ve done my share of lumpy laundry. Newborn clothes with with the tags and hangers still on? Check. “Gifts” from my helpers, including a trojan poopy diaper in my whites? Oh yeah.

As you can imagine, I’ve been more than happy just to be able to keep clean underoos in the house at all times for the past few years. Buying “eco-friendly” laundry detergent seemed like a pretty good option until I re-read my brands ingredient list recently. Undisclosed proprietary ingredients? No thanks!
If you’re looking for a good, non-toxic brand I did eventually find one here, but not before I learned to make a simple homemade  powder version that WORKS. The basic recipe is nearly identical to this one, but for some reason every time I share this link with someone it seemed to create more questions than answers. I dunno, it made perfect sense to me, but for what it’s worth here is exactly. what. I. do.

But first, let’s talk ingredients!

Powdered Laundry Detergent: What You Really Need

How To Make Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

Bar Soap (ALWAYS) – Coconut oil-based soaps are best, but tallow and lard can also be used.

Baking Soda (SOMETIMES) – No one uses this in commercial formulas . . . not even Arm & Hammer! According to this post, “Baking soda is only half as strong as washing soda at softening water and doesn’t allow the cleaning pH to go nearly as high.   And if you have a stronger product on hand, why dilute it with a weaker one?” Fortunately, if you have some on hand you can use it to make washing soda.

Borax (NOPE)- Opinions are split on whether this product is safe, so I avoid it when possible. Fortunately, according this post washing soda perform the same function, so you’re not missing out on anything. (Plus, from what I hear Borax only works well in hot water)

Lemon Essential Oil (DEFINITELY) – Works well as a stain remover and de-greaser. I just dab a few drops on stains as I find them and then throw them in the wash.

Vinegar (YUP) – Though not a part of the main recipe, I use 1/2 cup vinegar as a rinse for two reasons:

  1. Laundry detergent has a very alkaline pH, which can irritate skin. Using a vinegar rinse resets the pH to a skin-friendly level
  2. It helps dissolve excess detergent and salts off clothes

Oxiclean or Peroxide (SOMETIMES) – For brightening whites.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

homemade natural laundry detergent recipe

Ingredients {Washes 42 – 62 Loads}

42 tablespoons

  • 6 cups washing soda (Holly Homemaker has an AWESOME recipe for this here’s the link)
  • Three bars of 4.5 – 5 ounce soap, finely grated (one made with coconut oil works best, here’s how to make it)
  • lemon essential oil (optional)

Additional Items You’ll Want To Have On Hand:

More on what to do with this stuff in the instructions below

To Make:

  1. Cut soap into small chunks. Add to the food processor along with the washing soda.
  2. Blend until you have a fine powder. You may want to lay a dish towel over the top of your food processor to prevent a fine mist of powder from floating into the air. Also, let it settle a bit before opening the container or the powder will float onto your kitchen counter!
  3. Pour into a clean container (keep the essential oil next to the jar and add 5 drops with each load)

To Use:

These instructions are for a top loader. I don’t have any experience with front loaders, sorry!

  1. Add 2-3 tablespoons laundry detergent per load ( If you are washing in cold water, dissolve it in hot water before adding it in. I prefer to start each load with a little hot water to dissolve and then put  my laundry in)
  2. If desired, add about five drops of lemon essential oil as a degreaser
  3. If washing whites, add a scoop of Oxi clean or pour 1/2 cup peroxide in the bleach compartment
  4. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a Downy ball or the fabric softener compartment
  5. For extra fabric softening goodness and a shorter drying time, toss some felted wool dryer balls in the dryer with your clothes.

Is This HE Safe?

This soap is low-sudsing, so theoretically it should be fine for HE washers. A very similar recipe found on the Kirk’s Castile Soap website is said to be safe and offers the following information and tips:

  • “This powered recipe is great for High Efficiency washers because it is very low sudsing.
  • It is important that you grate the bar soap very finely for HE washers.”

Special notes:

  1. As with other detergents, it is recommended that you cut the amount used in half for HE machines.
  2. Be sure to check your owner’s manual – using certain types of products may void your warranty.

Is This Septic System Safe?

Yes, all of the ingredients in this recipe are considered septic system safe.

Are you ready to get started?

Laundry Soap (1% superfat)

All amounts are by weight

  • 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree*
  • 5.9 ounces lye (NaOH)**
  • 12 oz water
  • .5 – 1 ounce essential oils (optional)

* For soapmaking purposes there are several types of coconut oil. The stuff I buy has a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type.

** You can often find 100% lye in the drain cleaner section of a mom n’ pop hardware store. Lye is a naturally occurring substance that can be made by burning hardwoods and boiling the ashes, but it’s much easier to just buy. If you don’t see it, ask a sales clerk for help. They may be keeping it behind the counter because it has multiple uses. Be prepared to explain that you want to make soap, not meth. :)

Equipment:

  • crock pot
  • stick blender
  • digital scale
  • thermometer
  • glass measuring cups
  • small glass bowls
  • plastic spoon with long handle
  • rubber spatula
  • sink or bowl filled with vinegar and soap mixture (for cleaning anything that comes in contact with lye)
  • protective equipment: long-sleeved shirt, plastic/rubber gloves, safety glasses or protective eye gear
  • soap mold – A standard sized bread pan is perfect for this batch, cardboard boxes will also work
  • parchment paper for lining the soap mold
Photo Tutorial:

Step 1: Weigh your ingredients and set your crockpot to low

soap recipe

Step 2: Add water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside along with the lye and long-handled spoon. While wearing your protective gear and taking care not to breathe the vapors, slowly add the lye to the water while mixing gently. Order is important here, so make sure it is the lye you’re pouring into the water.

soap recipe

The mixture will get very hot so be careful! Let it transition from cloudy to clear, then bring it inside. Let cool for 5-10 minutes while you work on step 3.

Step 3: Place coconut oil in a saucepan and heat to 120-130F. Make sure that your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot when taking your reading.

soap recipe

Step 4: Place coconut oil in your crockpot

soap recipe

Step 5: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.

soap recipe

Step 6: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of a light pudding.

soap recipe

Step 7: Cover and let cook on low. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture. Mine usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour but the cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot is. Check on it often.

soap recipe

Step 8: When the soap is ready it should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline with no oil puddles in the middle. There are two ways to test and see if it’s done. First, dip a PH test strip and wait several minutes for it to fully change color. It should be between 7-10. If it is higher than 10 it’s not done. For a slightly less scientific approach, take a little of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should feel a bit waxy. Now touch it to your tongue. If it ‘zaps’ you, it’s not done. Note: It is really important to make sure all the lye is converted – otherwise the finished soap can burn!

soap recipe

Step 9: If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture cools a little and then add them, otherwise they will lose their fragrance. (I skipped this, so no photo!)

Step 10:  Spoon mixture into your mold and let cool. If you want to speed up this process put it in the fridge

soap recipe

Step 11: Unlike other bars which need to harden for 24 hours before being cut, coconut oil makes a very hard bar that will be difficult to cut if you let it dry too long. Cut as soon as it’s cool and firm.

Step 12: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray with about an inch of space between them. Allow them to dry out and harden for another few days. Though you can try your first bar right away, it’s best to let them sit for 2-3 weeks to let the conditioning properties fully develop.

soap recipe

Shelf Life

About 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.

Check out their latest e-book: DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.

In this 180 page guide, you’ll learn how ridiculously easy it is to make your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion, tooth whitener, body balm, soap, baby products and more.

Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soapmakers responsibility to research safety procedures for soapmaking.