When you’re ready to learn how to make soap, here are 6 of the best soap making books for beginners to get you started.
While there’s a wealth of soap making information online (yay technology!) there’s something to be said about learning the old-fashioned way: from a book.
I learned to make soap in the pre-internet days when books were the only option. This was back when soap-making was reserved for hard-core homesteaders and hippies, and most soap making books contained tallow-based recipes that made gargantuan batches of 20-plus pounds.
Today you have oodles more options than those musty soap making books of yesteryear. The best soap making books for beginners walk you through each step of the soap making process and have awesome recipes to boot.
Below I’m sharing the best soap making books for beginners, and the absolute favorites on my bookshelf. These are the volumes I turn to time and again for information and inspiration. I think they’ll become your favorites too, and take your soap making skills to the next level.
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I had an old 1st edition of this book as my go-to reference for years. I lent it out once and that new soap maker must have loved it as much as I did because it never got returned! No matter, though, because the newer 3rd edition has updated info and marvelous pictures.
If you only buy one soap making book, make it this one. It truly lives up to its name with everything you will ever need to know about making soap, including:
Plus, it has fabulous recipes, brilliant tips, and clever tricks for making amazing soap. The troubleshooting section saved me many a time as a brand-new soap maker.
This is the #1 soap making book I recommend to my students and clients. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a soap making textbook, and a steal at less than $20.
GET IT ON AMAZON: The Everything Soap Making Book
Another great book for novice soap makers is this sweet work by Kelly Cable. While The Everything Soapmaking Book covers the entire range of soap making methods, The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners focuses solely on cold process soap.
If making 100% natural bars is important to you, Cable’s book is a must-have. You’ll learn how to color and scent your soap with all-natural ingredients such as essential oils, clays, herbs, and more.
This book is also BIG on recipes, with over 55 recipes all written for the beginning soap maker.
My favorite thing about this book is the gorgeous photos. You’ll love browsing through the eye-poppingly gorgeous soaps to find inspiration.
GET IT ON AMAZON: The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners
When looking for cold process soap making inspiration, I often turn to this beautiful book. Pure Soapmaking is written by Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry fame.
The step-by-step recipe instructions are clear and well-illustrated with beautiful photos. It’s perfect for beginning soap makers to follow along.
The spiral binding is brilliant. It lays flat so you can easily read the recipes, hands-free, while making your soap batch.
This book has simple recipes for beginners and offers plenty of advanced techniques to help grow your skills.
GET IT ON AMAZON: Pure Soapmaking
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Are you dedicated palm-free? THIS is the book for you, my friend. All recipes in this book (yes! every one!) are made without palm oil.
This sweet little book, by Jan Berry of the Nerdy Farm Wife, is packed with recipes for making cold process soap. While the pictures aren’t as sumptuous as the aforementioned books, it is full of great soaping info for the complete soap making novice.
The key feature, and my personal favorite thing about this book, is the natural soap colorant gallery. If I’m ever stuck trying to create a specific color for my soap, naturally, I can browse the gallery and usually find the perfect natural colorant. Forget trial and error and wasting tons of ingredients trying to get the perfect soap color; the Nerdy Farm Wife has done all the hard work for you. The soap colorant gallery alone is more than worth the price of the book.
GET IT ON AMAZON: Simple Natural Soapmaking
If you’re not ready for making soap with lye, the melt and pour soap method will feel more comfortable to you. This gorgeous book, another gem by Jan Berry, will help you craft lovely melt and pour bars using natural colorants and ingredients.
The recipes are super simple, but look impressive. They’re uniquely organized into collections, such as “Sunlight and Seashore,” “Field and Forest,” “Desert Inspiration,” and more, so that you can find your favorite theme.
GET IT ON AMAZON: Easy Homemade Melt and Pour Soaps
For a deep dive into the art and science of making soap, you’ll want The Soapmaker’s Companion. What it lacks in pretty photos, it makes up for in substance.
Much more than just a “how-to” book, this guide will walk you through the chemistry of soap making plus in-depth looks at soaping ingredients. There’s also a great troubleshooting and common questions section.
If you think, at some point, you may start your own soap business, I’d highly recommend this book in particular. It will get you very comfortable with the science of soap (a must for anyone turning pro) and it has four full chapters on setting up your soap making business, from start-up to selling to regulations all soap sellers must know.
GET IT ON AMAZON: The Soapmaker’s Companion
Are You Ready To Make Handmade Soap?
I’ve got you covered there!
The melt and pour soap method can’t be beaten for the fastest, simplest way to craft beautiful bars.
If you’re itching to make soap entirely from scratch (no premade base required) then you’ll want to use the cold process soap method.
This method does require working with lye, which can be intimidating to brand-new soap makers. For extra instruction and personal support in learning how to make soap, you may be interested in taking my course How To Make Soap From Scratch.
Happy soap making!