10 Best Soap Making Books: From Beginner to Advanced
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Making homemade soaps is such a rewarding craft. While there are plenty of online tutorials and videos to show you how to make DIY soap from scratch, sometimes you want a physical copy of a great guide to soap making you can keep on your bookshelf.
What are some good books for soap making? We’ve rounded up 10 best soap making books for beginners to advanced soapers.
Don’t waste your hard-earned money on subpar books. We’ve scoured through many soap making books and these came out on top!
We’ve organized the following books into categories: best for beginners; great for all levels; intermediate; and advanced soap making.
Best soap making books for beginners
When you’re new to the world of soap crafting, all the new soap making terms and instructions can feel overwhelming. There’s so much new information to digest and sort through.
Luckily, these great books for complete beginners lay out basic techniques and in-depth information and arm you with the knowledge (and inspiration) to forge ahead!
1. The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners: Do-It-Yourself Soaps Using All-Natural Herbs, Spices, and Essential Oils by Kelly Cable
Length: 220 pages
Here’s a great beginner soap making guide. Like so many others, if you’re drawn to homemade soap making because you want to cut down the use of chemicals and use natural ingredients, this book is for you. With plenty of full-color photos throughout, author Kelly Cable (from Simple Life Mom) lays out the basic soap making process and shares her vast knowledge of natural ingredients.
You’ll get a solid knowledge base of working with natural colorants, herbs, soap making clays, salts, and essential oils. This comprehensive guide strikes a good balance between explaining the science behind soap making and the creative side. She lays out SAP values in a way that’s easy to comprehend, and offers over 55 cold process soap recipes to choose from for absolute beginners to more seasoned soapers.
👉Buy The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners by Kelly Cable.
2. The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso
Length: 288 pages
This book is one of the first soap making books I read, and one that I still refer to from time to time. It’s a comprehensive book that covers many topics newbie soapers want to know: common soap making terms, lye discount/superfatting, and basic recipes you can adapt to make your own.
There’s also a handy table of essential oils and their properties. You can look up an essential oil, and it lists the appearance, scent, and benefits when used in soap.
This book also has a small section on what the terms natural vs. organic soap really mean.
Just a head’s up—the book is mainly text. So, if you’re looking for a soap book heavy on the photos, this isn’t it. Still, I highly recommend this book as Grosso goes over the ins-and-outs of everything from hot process, cold process, melt and pour, and hand-milled soap making. Plus, she also touches on where to sell soaps.
👉Buy The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso.
3. The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making by David Fisher
Length: 176 pages
This book is a bit underrated, in my opinion. The book’s title says it’s a photo guide, and that’s exactly what this book delivers. The old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, applies here. If you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial to making natural soap, you won’t be disappointed.
Fisher delves into more detail than many other soap books in certain areas, such as how exactly to work with additives and what each additive contributes to the finished soap. He also touches on how to store and package handmade soap.
This is a good reference book you’ll find yourself coming back to.
👉Buy The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making by David Fisher.
4. Soapmaking the Natural Way: 45 Melt-and-pour Recipes Using Herbs, Flowers & Essential Oils by Rebecca Ittner
Length: 128 pages
When you want to make a batch of soap, but don’t want to handle lye, then easy homemade melt and pour soap is a great place to start. Simply melt a soap base, add your favorite additives and pour into soap molds.
This book focuses on using natural materials that are plant-derived and eco-friendly (this means no petroleum based, or synthetic ingredients).
With plenty of full-color photos to inspire you, this book has easy-to-follow tutorials for 45 recipes. Ittner goes over natural additives, colorants, and scents that can spice up your melt and pour soap recipes. She also organizes soap recipes by their finished properties: cleansing, exfoliating, soft or smooth, and luxurious soap.
👉Buy Soapmaking the Natural Way by Rebecca Ittner.
Best soap making books for all stages
Whether you’re a complete novice, or a seasoned pro, these books offer something for everyone who wants to make natural handmade soap.
5. Simple and Natural Soapmaking by Jan Berry
Length: 192 pages
Jan Berry (aka the Nerdy Farmwife), explains everything you need to know about soap safety, oils and fats, and provides plenty of recipes for the true beginner, to the more advanced. This book strikes a good balance between full-color photos and in-depth information.
There are 50 natural soap and shampoo bars recipes. I love this natural soapmaking book and how it’s organized into categories such as “Soaps from the Apiary” or “Soaps from the Herb Garden” and “Soaps from the Farm.”
If you’re looking for palm-free recipes, she has a few. There’s also an easy, pure castile soap recipe using just olive oil.
You’ll find good tips on making herbal infusions. Towards the end of the book, she goes into more advanced soap making techniques. A standout is the natural colorant guide she compiles using all dyes from nature in various tints (no artificial dyes!).
My only complaint is that I found the font smaller and a bit hard to read (but maybe that’s just me!).
👉Buy Simple and Natural Soapmaking by Jan Berry.
6. The Complete Guide to Natural Soap Making: Create 65 All-Natural Cold-Process, Hot-Process, Liquid, Melt-and-Pour, and Hand-Milled Soaps by Amanda Gail Aaron
Length: 294 pages
From LovinSoap, Aaron has compiled 65 all-natural soap making recipes with easy-to-follow instructions and accompanying photos. Looking for a vegan soap recipe? You’ll find an excellent selection of these too. This book covers all the main soap making processes and also includes liquid soap recipes too.
You’ll find everything from simple recipes for bath soaps to more complicated recipes and techniques for the advanced soap maker.
👉Buy The Complete Guide to Natural Soap Making by Amanda Gail Aaron.
Best intermediate soap making books
These books are best for those who have a few batches of soap under their belt.
7. Making Transparent Soap: The Art Of Crafting, Molding, Scenting & Coloring by Catherine Failor
Length: 144 pages
Making transparent soap using cold process or hot process is a bit more complicated than the average recipe, which is why this book isn’t recommended for beginners. Alcohol is the key to making see-through soaps in your own kitchen. Failor explains the science behind soap making and provides easy-to-follow instructions.
Be warned that the recipes in this book make for large batches. So remember to break out your calculator if you want to make adjustments. Bonus—this book includes a blueprint for making your own wooden soap mold for all you handy types.
👉Buy Making Transparent Soap by Catherine Failor.
8. Natural Milk Soapmaking: Goat Milk, Cow Milk, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk – Hot and Cold Process & Melt and Pour Techniques Soap Coloring, Scents & Skincare by Molly Barrett
Length: 141 pages
If you’ve ever made milk-enriched soap , you know it can be a tricky ingredient to work with. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the nourishing qualities of milk soap for dry or sensitive skin.
More than just a recipe book, Barrett provides an in-depth guide to different types of milk from their history, their benefits, fat content, and how to incorporate them into your soap bar. You’ll also find recipes for other natural products such as milk-based body care products.
It’s an ode to milk soaps!
👉Buy Natural Milk Soapmaking by Molly Barrett.
Best books for advanced soap makers
There’s always more to learn! Even experienced soap makers will discover something new in these books.
9. Advanced Soap Making: Removing the Mystery by Alyssa Middleton and Mary L. Humphrey
Length: 174 pages
If you’re looking to up your cold process soap making game by learning more advanced techniques, or hoping to formulate your own soap recipes, this book has you covered. Learn to make unique cold process soaps by blending natural scents and calculating the correct soap batch size to fit any mold. Read up on exotic butters and natural oils.
There’s a handy glossary at the back plus a resource guide on the best places to stock up on soap making supplies and packaging. While there’s a lot of good information in this book, I feel it could be better with more pictures.
👉Buy Advanced Soap Making: Removing the Mystery by Alyssa Middleton and Mary L. Humphrey.
10. Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of the Cold Process by Kevin Dunn
Length: 432 pages
While I filed this book under the category for “advanced” soapers, it’s really suitable for anyone looking to learn the ins and outs of crafting soap. (I just feel that it’s a bit intimidating for those who are new to this realm.)
Kevin Dunn is a chemistry professor who happens to love soap making and all the science behind it. If you want to take a deep-dive into the whys and hows of saponification and try a few science experiments yourself, this is one of the best soap making books for those with a curious mind.
Not for the faint-of-heart, this 432-page technical tome will provide a very thorough understanding of the entire soap making process. Armed with this much knowledge, your next batche of suds are sure to be great!
👉Buy Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin Dunn.
New to making soap? 🧼❓
👉We have a fantastic overview on the whole soapmaking process here: read our Timeless Guide To Soapmaking.
If you would like to see our soapmaking posts organized by topic type, see our Soapmaking Collection.
Author: Theresa Tesolin
Theresa is co-founder of RusticWise. She helps people unleash their inner DIY spirit by encouraging them to get dirty and make or grow something from scratch.