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Rebatch Soap Recipe: A Step by Step Guide

Updated on July 11, 2014

What is rebatching soap?

If you have come this far in your soap making journey, you may already know what rebatching soap consists of, but I'll approach this from the point of view of someone who doesn't. For those who do, I promise, I'll be brief.

In a nutshell, rebatching means taking a cold processed (100 % homemade) soap or pre-made soap base, shredding or cutting it up, and melting it down to re-create it into something new. There are some who would have you believe that this technique should only be used to save soap mistakes made when making cold process soap, or to add light fragrances or additives that won't stand up to the lye used to make soap from scratch. And while those are both true and valid reasons, I think there is a beauty to rebatching soap, as it creates a very rustic, country looking soap... a style I happen to adore! I find it an art form in itself. So on to the fun part... making it!

Prepare to rebatch!

Things that are absolutely necessary to create rebatched soap are:

  • A pre-made rebatch base (I use Stephenson's Rebatch base, which can be purchased from Bulk Apothecary or from the Chemistry Store. You could also buy a block of cold processed soap from someone that makes it, if you don't make it yourself.
  • A hand shredder or Salad Shooter.
  • A crock pot or double boiler. For this guide, I will be using a crock pot.
  • Something to stir with, such as a spatula or long handled spoon.
  • A soap mold. I prefer the loaf style soap molds, but you could also use a tray mold. Whatever you choose as your mold, keep in mind that you need to be able to get your soap into the mold quickly, and because rebatched soap doesn't get completely liquid, it will be hard to pour into a very detailed design. Other ideas for molds are muffin pans, or square brownie pans. You get the idea.
  • Additives! This could be the fragrance oil (FO) or essential oil (EO) of your choice, along with any additional botanicals, oils, or butters (such as shea, cocoa, or mango butters)

For this recipe, I used:

  • 2 pounds of Stephenson's Rebatch Base
  • 8 ounces of distilled water
  • 1 ounce of French Vanilla and Amber fragrance oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Step One: Cut up the base.

Step Two: Shred the base.

This makes it easier on your arms, but you can also use a hand shredder.
This makes it easier on your arms, but you can also use a hand shredder.

Step Three: Add shredded base to crock pot.

Add the 8 ounces of water and cover with lid. Once the water is added, you can turn the crock pot on high, if you want to get through the process faster. Be aware though, you will need to check on it more often.
Add the 8 ounces of water and cover with lid. Once the water is added, you can turn the crock pot on high, if you want to get through the process faster. Be aware though, you will need to check on it more often.

Step Four: Wait. And then wait some more!

This process can take some time, a lot of which depends on your crock pots wattage. Once the base looks like this, stir for the first time.
This process can take some time, a lot of which depends on your crock pots wattage. Once the base looks like this, stir for the first time.

Step Five: Almost ready!

Once your base looks like this, its time to turn it down to low and wait about 15 minutes for the temperature to drop. If you add fragrance oil now, it would be to hot and the oil would burn off.
Once your base looks like this, its time to turn it down to low and wait about 15 minutes for the temperature to drop. If you add fragrance oil now, it would be to hot and the oil would burn off.

Step Six: Add fragrance and stir!!

The addition of the fragrance oil made the base thin out even more. That's ok though!
The addition of the fragrance oil made the base thin out even more. That's ok though!

Step Seven: Add cocoa powder for color.

Add the tablespoon of cocoa powder to just one area of the base, leaving a good portion of it uncolored. Stir only in the general area where you added the cocoa.
Add the tablespoon of cocoa powder to just one area of the base, leaving a good portion of it uncolored. Stir only in the general area where you added the cocoa.

Step Eight: Scoop out base and pour into mold.

Since my base thinned so much, I ended up using a laddle. Grabbing a little of each color on the laddle, pour it into your mold.
Since my base thinned so much, I ended up using a laddle. Grabbing a little of each color on the laddle, pour it into your mold.
Keep laddling it out and into your mold, using as little (or as much) as you want of each color, until your mold is full. Make sure you pick up the moId and gently tap it several times to help pack the base down and fill in any air bubbles.
Keep laddling it out and into your mold, using as little (or as much) as you want of each color, until your mold is full. Make sure you pick up the moId and gently tap it several times to help pack the base down and fill in any air bubbles.

Step Nine: Wait for it to set up.

If you leave it out at room temperature, this may take up to 24 hours. I like to place mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help cool it faster, then I wait about two to three hours to unmold.
If you leave it out at room temperature, this may take up to 24 hours. I like to place mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help cool it faster, then I wait about two to three hours to unmold.

Tip!

I wasn't satisfied with the flat look of the top of my soap, so once it had cooled enough to be hard on top but still soft inside, I took my plastic sppon and used the hande to poke around in it a bit to create this look.
I wasn't satisfied with the flat look of the top of my soap, so once it had cooled enough to be hard on top but still soft inside, I took my plastic sppon and used the hande to poke around in it a bit to create this look.

Step Ten: Unmold!!

Working around the sides, gently pull the mold loose from the soap, then you can peel off the mold.
Working around the sides, gently pull the mold loose from the soap, then you can peel off the mold.
You could cut it now or wait a bit.
You could cut it now or wait a bit.

Step Eleven: Cut!!

Enjoy... in a week or so. Wait... What?

Technically, you could use your soap now, but you may find it a little soft (almost spongy with a gentle squeeze) That's because there is still extra moisture (water) in the bar. If you use it like this, you bar will not last as long. For a harder, longer lasting bar, place your soaps on a drying rack and allow to dry. The longer you wait the harder they will be. You will know when they are ready, they will feel hard just like a store bought soap!

Now you know the basic steps that can be applied to making any rebatch recipe!

Thank you for reading. I hope you found this informative. if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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      Donna 16 months ago

      I loved your tutorial on rebatch. Very easy to follow and loved your photos too. I have a bunch of Olay soap slivers that I will be rebatching. May throw in some other soaps such as castile. I also plan on using beer instead of water. In another post, the lady said that the beer gave it lathering properties, which I want in my medium hard water. Thanx again!

      Please email a response to: donna_cross@att.net