This will be another “resource” post. I’ve mentioned my tanning dressing in several posts now, and more or less explained it once, but I want to give clear instructions for the recipe here – for reference!
- Handmade natural, plain soap. No essential oils or other additives. I make my own from rendered lard or tallow, sometimes from pure olive oil.
- Purified water. If you have hard well water like me, don’t use it.
- Neatsfoot oil. Alternatively you could experiment with using other oils, like vegetable or olive, but I like to keep all my tanning fats animal-based in the spirit of using byproducts of meat production.
You’ll also need a large pot for boiling water, a large wooden or nonstick spoon, and a sturdy bucket.
- Put about a gallon of water on to boil.
- Meanwhile, grate a bar of soap as finely as you can. My bars are 4-5 ounces.
- When the water reaches a boil, add the soap and remove the pot from the heat right away
- Stir gently; try not to create much lather
- After all the soap has dissolved and the solution is cooled but still hot, pour it into the bucket
- Add about a cup of neatsfoot oil and stir
- You’ll need to stir until you have a homogenous solution
- Let cool, and you’re ready to tan with it
Water and oil don’t usually mix, but the soap acts as an emollient, allowing them to form a solution.
This tanning mixture is similar to a brain tanning mix – it has water, fats, proteins, and emollient.