How to Make Tallow Soap – Layered, Pencil Line Design with Natural Soap Colorants

This tallow soap came out great! It combines layers and a pencil line technique using charcoal. I chose to use the Nourishing Tallow Recipe from this blog post.

Photo by Busy Bee Creative – Product PhotographyHow to Make Tallow Soap – Layered, Pencil Line Design with Natural Soap Colorants

Nourishing Tallow Recipe

Tallow – 8 oz. (25%)
Coconut Oil – 8 oz. (25%)
Olive Oil – 16 oz. (50%)
Sodium Hydroxide – 4.54 oz.
Water – 9 oz.

Orange Illite Clay – 1 teaspoon
Sea Clay – 1 teaspoon
Red Brazilian Clay – 1 teaspoon
Charcoal – About 1 teaspoon for dusting

Lemongrass Essential Oil – 1 oz.
Litsea Essential Oil – 1 oz.

Bramble Berry 12″ Tall Skinny Loaf Mold

Tea Infuser Spoon

Let’s make this soap!

Safety Warning: This recipe is for soapmakers who have a basic knowledge of the soapmaking process and know the correct safety procedures to use when handling lye. If you are new to soapmaking, visit our beginner instructions. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves while soaping.

Step 1 – Make your lye solution. Weigh out your lye and water into two separate containers.

Step 2 – Pour your lye into the water while stirring slowly. Be sure to mix your lye solution in a well-ventilated area.

Step 3 – Weigh out the tallow and coconut oil and melt. Melt just until melted, no more.

tallow soap

oils for soap

Step 4 – Add the olive oil to the melted oils. This will help cool the temperature down.

Step 5 – Add essential oils and oatmeal to the oil blend. Mix.

oatmeal in soap

Step 6 – Once the oils and lye solution have gotten to below 90 degrees F, pour the lye into the oils and mix until emulsion. Don’t mix to trace.



Step 7 – Divide the mixture out evenly into three containers. Color one with sea clay, one with red clay and one with orange clay. Stir each until well blended. It is okay if things are getting thick since we are layering this soap.


Step 8 – Using your stick-blender, mix each color to a thick trace. (If needed.)

Step 9 – Plop half of the red soap into the mold. Tap to flatten.

Step 10 – Sprinkle with a bit of charcoal. DO NOT create a solid line of charcoal or your soap will separate. Sprinkle sparingly. As you pour the next layer, the liquid in the soap will spread out the charcoal.

pencil-line-soappencil line in soapStep 11 – Plop half of the sea clay soap into the mold over the red soap. Sprinkle another charcoal layer.

Repeat until the mold is full. Don’t worry if your soap starts getting thick. Plop and then tap the mold down onto a hard surface to level.

IMG_0566IMG_0568Allow your soap to sit overnight and unmold the next day. Cut your soap and let is cure for a minimum of 4 weeks.

When cutting a soap with a pencil line, lay the soap on it’s side to cut so you don’t drag the line down the soap. Like this!

Happy Soaping!

-Amanda Gail


About the Author:

I am a soapmaker, author and blogger! I started blogging in 2008, sharing soap recipes, design tutorials and publishing articles on various topics of soapmaking.


  1. Beth May 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Just wanted to say how much I loved this post- I’ve referenced it, printed it off and modified the layering somewhat to create my own versions. Love your site and appreciate your beautiful creations!

  2. Beth March 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    I’m about to make this soap, but see it calls for oatmeal. The picture looks like it has been ground to a powder- is that true? Also, how much should I add? I’m excited to try this!!

  3. Helen March 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Wow, eye popping colours! Just love the look. The bars are quite tall -no short and squat bars. Must give it a go, and I might try cocoa instead of the charcoal. Thanks for the ideas -we are very limited here in NZ

  4. Anne-Marie Faiola February 23, 2016 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    These are just gorgeous! You managed to get the perfect lines and layers; I love the colors you chose! 

  5. Jenny February 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    This soap looks amazing! I cant wait to try it out. I have been shopping for the ingredients and found a lot of help at fingers crossed that i don’t mess this up. thanks for the info.

  6. CHAR February 10, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Any suggestions on where to purchase those types of clays? I have not heard of them before.

  7. Deena February 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    I love the varied heights of pencil lines – so much more interesting than straight across!

  8. Deb Sturdevant February 9, 2016 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Amanda! 😉 I have used cocoa powder to create a pencil line and covered the whole layer without separation- why does the charcoal do this? Thx! Happy soaping!

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