Things You'll Need
- 3 lbs. beef fat
- Food processor
- Deep pan or crock pot
- Screen colander
- Glass jars or containers
- 12 oz. lye
- Glass or ceramic pan
- Wooden or plastic spoon
- Safety goggles
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic pan
- Butcher knife
Whether you hope to start a handmade soap business or are simply interested in learning how to avoid mass-produced goods, making your own soap from tallow isn't as intimidating as it may seem. With the proper tools and safety equipment, you can design a wide variety of tallow soaps. Once you have the process of making soap down, you can add scents and coloring to the soap mixture as well.
Render the tallow for your soap. If your tallow isn't ground already, you will need to grind it yourself. Run chunks of fat through a food processor for about 20 seconds to achieve the right consistency. Mark's Daily Apple website suggests freezing cubes of fat before processing for easier use.
Put the tallow in a deep pan and set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or place the ground tallow in a crock pot. Allow the tallow to melt and liquefy. It can take over an hour to render a pound of fat.
Strain the melted fat with a screen-style colander to remove meat scraps and other debris.
Pour the melted tallow into glass containers and then put them in the refrigerator to solidify.
Measure 12 oz. of lye for every 3 lbs. of tallow. Pour 3 cups of water into your glass pan and carefully add lye, stirring with a wooden or plastic spoon. Wear safety goggles and gloves for protection because lye can burn your skin, and the fumes are poisonous.
Take the tallow out of the refrigerator to warm up. Let the lye and water mixture sit for approximately 1 hour. Place the softened tallow in the plastic pan and pour the lye mixture into the pan. Stir the lye and tallow with the wooden or plastic spoon until the mixture is smooth. Leave the mixture alone for approximately 12 hours to harden.
Cut the tallow lye mixture into soap bars with a large butcher knife.
Work outside when using lye if you don't have professional ventilation, and always wear a face mask.
Melissa Hopkins began writing for the Southern Illinois University newspaper in 2000, where she won several awards. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Hopkins moved to San Diego, where she worked as a stringer for various publications with the Pomerado Newspaper Group.