Smart Soapmaking

Smart Soapmaking : The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably, or How to Make Luxurious Handcrafted Soaps for Family, Friends, and Yourself

4.17 (457 ratings by Goodreads)
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Maybe you've made melt-and-pour soap and want to move on to something more challenging and rewarding. Maybe traditional soapmaking appeals to you, but you figure that working with lye is too difficult or dangerous. Or maybe you're already doing it, but outmoded ideas and methods are complicating the process and slowing you down.

No matter which of these fits you, you'll find "Smart Soapmaking" practical, helpful, and refreshing. Written by a former professional soapmaker, this book explodes the myths about soapmaking and shows you how to make luxurious soap with the least fuss and bother.

With both customary and metric measurements, plus a list of suppliers in five countries, "Smart Soapmaking" is the first truly international book on the craft!


Anne L. Watson is the author of the wildly popular and widely acclaimed beginners book "Smart Soapmaking" and its companions, "Milk Soapmaking" and "Smart Lotionmaking." She has made soap professionally under the company name Soap Tree, and before her retirement was a historic preservation architecture consultant. Anne's other published books include "Baking with Cookie Molds" and several novels. Anne, her husband, Aaron, and their cat, Skeeter, live in Friday Harbor, Washington.


"Should become THE book for soapmaking. . . . It's about time someone wrote a book like this. Most are idealistic and inaccurate. This book has a wonderful common sense approach that is SO long overdue. . . . I can recommend it with 100% confidence." -- Susan Kennedy, Oregon Trail Soaps, Rogue River, Oregon

"Smart it is . . . . A simple, no-nonsense book that cuts through the curmudgery of stifling soap bibles like no other." -- Shellie Humphries, Harstine Island, Washington

"Way overdue. . . . A gift of common sense caution, proven methods, tried-and-true shortcuts, and some excellent recipes as well, for both the professional/experienced soapmaker and the eager beginner." -- Deb Petersen, Shepherd's Soap Co., Shelton, Washington

"A great book for beginners, with clear and easy instructions." -- Anne-Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry Inc., Bellingham, Washington

"I learned more from Smart Soapmaking than from any other soaping book, and I have read quite a few. . . . It's written with the average person in mind, not a chemistry major. Directions are very simple and easy to understand. It really takes the mystery out of making soap." -- Jackie Pack, Stuart, Virginia

"Groundbreaking . . . . Anne L. Watson [is the] universally respected and loved author/crafter/curator of this lost art for thousands of aspiring soapers . . . . Unquestionably the best book with which to begin. To be precise, it's probably the most accessible, most reader-friendly, and most immediately useful container of information a first-time soapmaker could hope to find." -- Wishing Willow (blog)

"'Smart Soapmaking' finally got me over the hump [of fearing lye]. . . . I think Anne Watson is the Elizabeth Zimmermann of the soap world -- a frugal, common sense gal, who says, 'Don't overcomplicate things. Just make soap.'" -- Amanda Blake Soule, author, "The Creative Family" and "Handmade Home," Soule Mama (blog), Feb. 7, 2012
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Product details

  • Paperback | 115 pages
  • 190.5 x 234.95 x 7.62mm | 249.47g
  • San Pedro, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0938497421
  • 9780938497424
  • 49,937

About Anne L. Watson

Table of contents

Rating details

457 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 45% (204)
4 34% (155)
3 18% (81)
2 2% (9)
1 2% (8)

Our customer reviews

I found the author extremely condescending and I know others who felt the same when they read her book. She talks as though everyone else in the world is a total idiot and one gets the distinct impression that she thinks she's the only one who knows anything about making soap. Despite running other experts down, she herself gave one piece of blatantly inaccurate information. As for her 'improved' method of making soap using a digital thermometer, I've found it totally unncessary and was glad I wasn't able to buy one! Her recipes almost all use very specialised and/or very expensive ingredients. She says castile soap is notoriously hard to make but I've made many batches without any problems at all, right from the beginning. Her basic information is okay but there are things that could have and should have been explained, such as the fact that using a slotted spoon to to stir your lye/water mix will mean you're far less likely to splash it. Definitely only for raw beginners because her information is extremely more
by Glenda Dodson
If you are thinking about making soap, or are a new beginner, I HIGHLY recommend this book as your first (or second!) I bought a few other books when I first started and met with confusion and failures. I've thrown them out. Then I bought this book and still use it. This book is a MUST if you are just starting out. The instructions are clear, step by step, there are illustrations, and it all really works. The recipes work. The safety guidelines are clear and easy to follow. Anne gives sensible advice and information. I wished I'd only used this book when I started, but you can! And best of all, she's online, you can contact her with any further questions and advice. I cannot recommend this book highly more
by Ingrid de Bree
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