Weigh and measure every ingredient ahead of time. It is imperative that items are weighted and measured precisely.
Wear gloves and safety goggles, and keep your workspace clean - lye can burn skin.
Heat the oil ingredients slowly in a stainless steel pot until you reach a temperature of 115 degrees.
Pour the room-temperature water into a large pyrex measuring cup. Stir, and SLOWLY add the pre-weighed lye. It's important to note that you will add lye to the water, not the other way around.
Stir until dissolved. Then place the glass container in an ice bath and cool to 115 degrees.
When the oils and lye mixtures are both at 115 degrees, slowly pour the lye into the oil mixture while rapidly stirring in circles.
Stir until the mixture becomes thick, and similar to the texture of pudding.
Add in the botanicals and/or essential oils - see the blog post for ideas.
Pour the mixture into molds (I use 1L milk cartons), and staple the tops shut. Then, wrap the molds in a towel and set on top of the fridge for 48 hours.
Unmold the soap and cut into even sections. Then, place the bars on a wire rack and let them cure for 3 weeks.
Buff with a cotton cloth, and wrap to give as gifts or use yourself!