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Anne’s Latest and Greatest Soapmaking Book!

Smart Soapmaking Around the Year

An Almanac of Projects, Experiments, and Investigations for Advanced Soap Making

Book cover graphic

By Anne L. Watson

In between writing several of today’s most popular and innovative beginner books on soapmaking—including the modern classics Smart Soapmaking and Milk Soapmaking—Anne L. Watson engaged in a number of projects, experiments, and investigations into areas of advanced soapmaking. A lot of it never got into those books!

Now Anne shares with you her explorations into such topics as herbal soaps, chocolate soaps, silk soaps, sea soaps, “wood” soaps, citrus soaps, cucumber soaps, oatmeal soaps, egg soaps, beer and wine soaps, castile soap, and even laundry soap. Along the way, she shares hard-earned tips about soap equipment and ingredients, choosing soapmaking suppliers, designing and resizing recipes, troubleshooting, trace accelerants, soda ash, essential oils and fragrances, natural colorants, gift soaps, and soapmaking as a business. And as a special bonus, she provides a fun and instructive look at the history of soap ads, using antique trade cards from her personal collection.

Looking for new challenges as a soapmaker? Anne’s soapmaking almanac will keep you busy, engaged, and entertained throughout the year.

Anne L. Watson is the author of Smart Soapmaking, Milk Soapmaking, three more books on making soap and lotion, other popular books on home crafts and lifestyle, and many novels and children’s books. In a previous career, she was a historic preservation architecture consultant. Anne lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Next River Books

Ebook ~ 2023

Paperback ~ 2023

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Book cover: Smart Soapmaking Around the Year


Before We Begin


Sea Products in Soapmaking—Why?

Salt Soap

Seaweed Soaps

100% Coconut Oil Soap

Sand Soap

Classic Soap Ads—Sapolio

What Would I Do?

Soap Equipment—Tips and Tricks

Soap Ingredients FAQ

Soaps from the Past—Aleppo Soap


Chocolate in Soapmaking—Why?

Kinds of Chocolate for Soapmaking

Cocoa Butter as a Soapmaking Fat

Using Chocolate Products in Soapmaking

Do Chocolate Scent and Color Survive?

Dark Chocolate Soap

Cocoa Butter Soap

Chocolate Coconut Soap

Chocolate-ish Soap

Chocolate Scents

Vanilla and Discoloring

What Would I Do?

Resizing a Soap Recipe

Soaps from the Past—Marseille Soap


Homemade Laundry Soap—Why?

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Soap

Basic Laundry Soap #1

Basic Laundry Soap #2

Grating Soap

Soaps from the Past—Laundry the Old Way

Castile Soap—Why?

Castile Soap Experiments

Easy Castile Soap with Variations

Increasing Lather

Dog Soap

What Would I Do?

Soaps from the Past—Historical Castile Soap


Eggs in Soapmaking—Why?

Egg Yolk Soap

Swedish Egg White Soap

Cool Whole Egg Soap

Does Egg Soap Spoil Quickly?

Designing Soaps for Different Uses

Analyzing and Fixing Problems

Soaps from the Past—Additives in Soap


Silk in Soapmaking—Why?

Using Silk in Soapmaking

Using Floral Scents

Flowers-and-Silk Soap

Floral Soap with Coconut Milk

Using Fruit Fragrances

Soaps from the Past—Wild, Weird, and Wonderful Soap Ads


Cucumbers in Soapmaking—Why?

Avoiding Burned Cucumber Odor

Basic Cucumber Soap and Variations

Cucumber and Apricot Soap

Cucumber and Avocado Soap

Color—Natural and Artificial


Does Cucumber Accelerate Trace?

What Would I Do?

Low Temperature Soapmaking


Citrus in Soapmaking—Why?

Fading and Citrus Essential Oils

Basic Citrus Soap and Variations

Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Soap

Lemongrass, Coconut, and Almond Soap

Creamy Orange Soap

What Would I Do?

Soapmaking as a Business


Herbs in Soapmaking—Why?

Botanicals in Soap

Infusing Oils with Herbs

Herb Teas

Herb Essential Oils and Fragrances

Botanicals and Lye

Basic Herbal Soap and Variations

Coconut Almond Soap with Herb Tea

Triple Calendula Soap

Tomato Basil Soap

Lavender, Shea, and Almond Soap

Working with Accelerants

What Would I Do?


Oatmeal in Soapmaking—Why?

Rolled Oats and Oat Flour

Honey and Beeswax

Liquids—Milk, Cream, and Oat Milk

Cinnamon and Other Spices

Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey Fragrance Oils

Basic Oatmeal Soap and Variations

Oatmeal, Wheat Germ, and Buttermilk Soap

What Would I Do?

Selecting Vendors


Beer and Wine in Soapmaking—Why?


Using Alcoholic Beverages in Soapmaking

Basic Beer Soap and Variations

All-Veg Beer Soap

Trying Wine in Soapmaking

Wine Soap Experiments and Recipes

What Would I Do?

Developing Your Own Recipes

An Approach to Experimenting


Natural Colorants in Soapmaking—Why?

Using Natural Colorants in Soapmaking

Colors, Oils, and Soap

Plant-Based Colorants

Other Natural Colorants

Basic Colored Soap #1

Basic Colored Soap #2

Alkanet Root Soap Experiment

Madder Root Soap Experiment

Pumpkin Pie Soap

What Would I Do?

Taming the Soda Ash Monster


Wood Scents in Soapmaking—Why?

Basic Wood Soap and Variations

Evergreen and Other Tree Essential Oils

Sandalwood EO vs. FO—Is the Difference Worth the Cost?

Soaps from the Past—Pine Tar Soap

Easy Pine Tar Soap

What Would I Do?

Fragrances and Essential Oils for Gift Soaps

Holiday Fragrance Oils

Gift Soap in a Hurry

Packaging Soaps for Gifts

Giving a Soapmaking Lesson

Shaving Soap

Home Fragrancing

Sample Text

Almost any kind of soap will get you clean. But beyond that, what do we look for? There are so many things to consider—lather, fragrance, color, and effects on the skin, to name just a few.

Then there’s the whole process of making that soap. Is it easy or tricky? How long does the soap need to age before it’s safe and pleasant to use?

What additives are beneficial? Which affect the chemistry of the process? How can we get around difficulties?

How do you turn soapmaking into a business, if that’s what you want?

This almanac started life as a monthly “magazine” posted on my web site, where I shared projects, experiments, and investigations I took up between writing my first three books on soap and lotion making. There was a lot that never got into the books!

Along with practical questions, I gave some attention to the social and cultural side of soap—to attitudes and prejudices and myths. I’m fascinated by soap advertising and its claims, and by the history of the daily process of cleaning ourselves, our homes, and our clothing. All of that says a lot about where we’ve been, and maybe something about where we’re going.

I’m glad now to offer all this in the more enduring form of an almanac—something to keep in your collection of soapmaking references.

Before we start, though, here are just a few practical notes:

Most important, this is not a beginning soapmaker’s “how-to” book. It contains many recipes, but they’re mostly just ingredients lists, because I assume you already know how to make soap. If you do need basic directions, please see one or more of my other books—especially Smart Soapmaking and Milk Soapmaking—or any other reputable resource.

Anne’s Soap and Lotion Books

Book cover: Smart Soapmaking Book cover: Milk Soapmaking Book cover: Smart Lotionmaking Book cover: Castile Soapmaking Book cover: Cool Soapmaking Book cover: Smart Soapmaking Around the Year

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