Have you ever tried a Bath Bomb? A WHAT??? A bath bomb– also called a “Bath Fizzy.” These adorable little spheres are sold in places like Lush and other high-end spas. You can come home after a long day, run yourself a tub of hot water, and drop one of these babies in. Soon your bath is fizzing like a Jacuzzi, and after a few minutes the bubbles die away, and you are left with an incredibly fragrant, softened bath that leaves your skin feeling pampered and velvety smooth. The only problem is that these little beauties cost about $6, apiece, at Lush, and this makes the fizzy pleasure all the more enticing and out of reach.
Unless . . . we could make our own (*Grinch’s face curling into an evil smile*).
Last week, after I left a store with one of those expensive bath bombs, I knew it was a love affair that wouldn’t die. And it was a habit too expensive to keep. So I went back to the drawing board and tested/tweaked online tutorials until I came up with a bath bomb recipe that you can make, yourself, at home, for pennies apiece. The finished Bath Bombs can be packaged in adorable ways and in many amazing scents . . . helloooooooooo holiday themed gifts! Homemade gifts are some of my favorite to receive, because they show that someone cared enough to craft something special just for me. So make yourself a batch of these beauties– and whether you keep them for yourself, or give them away to some lucky friend, they’re sure to be a big hit . . . Bombs away!
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Homemade Bath Bombs
(My own adaptation based on multiple recipes that I tried– feel free to change it up and switch it up, but please link back here so no one steals my work 🙂
–1/2 cups baking soda
–1/4 cup Epsom salts
–1/4 cup cornstarch
–1/4 cup citric acid (I found the cheapest place to get this was on Amazon here. I chose to get the 5 lb. bag because 1 lb. was $10, and for only $5 more I got 5x the citric acid, so I went the bulk route. But there are smaller containers if you want a smaller amount.)
— 1 1/2 tbsp. baby oil (I used scented baby oil so that I could save money on extra scent. You can also use plain baby oil and scent it with 5-10 drops of scented oil, if you prefer– I found that a great mix of quality and affordability for soap scents was P&J Trading here. They have a huge variety of scents at an affordable price, as well as excellent customer service. You can mix and match scents to create your own flavor combos, too, which is super fun!)
A few squirts of water from a spray bottle (if you add too much water it ruins the bath bombs, so applying the water with a spray bottle helps you to add water in tiny amounts)
Gloves (optional) and bath bomb molds (I found cheapie plastic molds at Hobby Lobby for $1.50, but I had much better luck with the metal ones from Amazon here, if you want to make Bath Bombs multiple times. I just found that the metal circles held up better in the long run.).
Combine baking soda, Epsom salts, cornstarch, and citric acid until well combined. Add in baby oil, scent, and gel food coloring, if desired, and use your hands (using gloves keeps your hands from getting a gritty feeling) to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Using a spray bottle, add water several squirts at a time, mixing well after each addition, until your mixture holds together when you squeeze some of the mixture in your hand. You want to add as LITTLE WATER AS POSSIBLE to get the mixture to stay together, or the bath bombs will not hold their shape while drying (too much water makes them flatten out instead of holding the round shape). I generally use about 7-8 “squirts” per recipe.
Once your mixture is sticking together, place just enough granules into each side of the round molds to fill them snugly, without packing, and then squish the rounds together, without twisting. Gently tap the top mold with your hand, remove half of the mold, and then turn the circle bomb-side down in your hand and gently lift off the remaining mold. Place the finished bath bomb onto a soft towel covered with a piece of wax paper, to keep it from denting while it dries. Allow bath bombs to rest, without touching each other, for 24 hours until completely dry. Carefully package in airtight bags so that the bath bombs stay dry until “tub time.” 🙂 Bath bombs will keep in an airtight container for several months.
To start with, this process isn’t difficult– it just takes some practice. And the best part is that you can still “fizz” your mistakes. haha. Yes– as I learned what I was doing, I made a lot of weird, misshapen bath bombs, but they still fizzed like champs and delighted my kiddos at bathtime (eh– who am I kidding– I loved ’em at bathtime, too!). Most of the ingredients are things you probably already have around the house, for the exception of the citric acid, which I bought on Amazon here. I chose to get the 5 lb. bag, because 1 lb. was $10, and 5 lbs. was $15. Seemed like a no brainer to me, and this way I had a ton of citric acid to play around with as I experimented and made all kinds of fizzy delights for the bathtub.
Because I was trying to keep costs down, I also used lavender scented baby oil. That way, I didn’t have to buy a separate scent for the bath bombs– it was already included. Win/win. However, if you want, you can use essential oils or soap making scents. I have ordered scents from P&J Trading here, with great success. They aren’t super expensive, and the customer service is top notch. So that’s an option if you decide to go all “Becky Home Ecky” and mix and match scents to create your own combos. If you want to use your own scent, be sure to use unscented baby oil so your flavors don’t clash.
Start out by mixing your dry ingredients together (the baking soda, Epsom salts, cornstarch, and citric acid). Make sure that they are well combined. Try not to get any water into the mixture– water will activate the “launch sequence” and start the fizzing prematurely, ruining your bath bomb (yes. I totally did that by accident on my first batch, and we had “growing foam” all over the kitchen. It was like something out of an old horror film. Make it stop!! It’s going to eat us alive! Ahhhhhh!!!!!).
Next, add in your baby oil (and scent, if you’re using it). I am using lavender baby oil for this batch, so I didn’t have to add any extra scent. This time through I also used my bare hands to mix everything in, but then my hands had that “gritty” feeling like after you handle sidewalk chalk. Eeeeek. Use some gloves if you have them. I hate that “nails on the chalkboard” feeling. Use your (gloved) hands to kind of mix the oil and dry ingredients together, until everything is mixed in. I had the best luck mixing the ingredients by rubbing them between my hands, like when you rub your hands together to warm them. If you want to add color to your bath bombs, now is the time to add it. I used about 1/4 tsp. of gel food coloring and mixed it in with my gloved hands. Keep mixing until the entire mixture is the color that you want.
When the oil is mixed in, grab your spray bottle and give the mixture about 4 squirts. Yes, that seems like not very much water, and that’s on purpose. You want to use as LITTLE water as possible. The mixture will start to foam a little bit as soon as you add the water– quickly use your hands to continue mixing the water and powder together. I had the best luck mixing with the same motion you use when you rub your hands together on a cold day– kind of rubbing the layers together.
As you mix, the fizzing will stop. Keep adding water, a few squirts at a time, and immediately mixing the ingredients together. You want to add as LITTLE WATER AS POSSIBLE. Stop adding water as soon as the mixture hold a shape. When I first made bath bombs, I made the mistake of adding too much water. The bombs molded nice and beautiful, but then they flattened out as they dried. If this happens to you, try adding less water next time. It seriously doesn’t take much. If you can’t get the mixture to hold together, try adding 1-2 more squirts and remixing. Keep gripping handfuls of the mixture, and as soon as it holds a shape, don’t add any more water– it’s ready for the molds! 🙂
*I generally use about 7-8 “squirts” of water for this mixture. But start with fewer and see if it will hold together. Stop as soon as it does.
Now comes the fun part– let’s make some Bath Bombs! 🙂 I found that the best molds were the metal ones. I got a set of 3 different sizes on Amazon here. I also found some plastic cheapies at Hobby Lobby for $1.50 apiece. The plastic ones didn’t work quite as well (harder to mold and un-mold), but they did get the job done, and if you’re staying on a budget, you can definitely make those work. But if you can afford the $7, the metal molds are much better and will last a lot longer (the plastic ones crack really easily and are harder to fit together). You can also use soap molds, or even plastic Easter eggs, in a pinch. But those round bath bombs were so cute that I sprung for the metal molds, and I’m super glad that I did.
Fill one half of your mold with the Bath Bomb Mixture– you want to smoosh it down, but not pack it as tightly as it will go. You want to leave enough “packing room” to squish the final bath bomb together. I push down with about as much force as I use to press a doorbell– not much, but enough that the mixture will be slightly pushed down. Then, use your finger to “clean” the edge of the mold so that the pieces can fit together. Leave the center mixture heaped up, as the 2 centers will need to squish together and hold to keep the circle together, at the end.
Do the same thing to the other side (lightly pack it, clean the rim of the mold, and leave the center mounded slightly). Press the two sides together and then squish it as tightly as it will go. This squishing (without twisting it) helps the bath bomb to stay together and not come apart when you take the mold off.
When you’ve pressed the two sides together, it’s time to have a look at your finished bath bomb! Gently tap the top of the mold with your hand, then remove one side of the mold. Next, carefully place the “opened” end (mold side up, exposed bath bomb side down) in your palm. When the opened end is sitting in your hand, gently pull the top mold off, revealing a finished (and, hopefully, gorgeous) bath bomb. If your bath bomb falls apart (usually because it wasn’t packed tightly enough), you can always dump it out and re-pack. That’s the great thing about these things– you can just keep working, adding another squirt of water if your mixture dries out, and going along your merry way. Once I even molded and dried a batch of bath bombs, and the next morning they crumbled to powder when I picked them up. “Hmm. I guess I needed a little more water,” I thought. So I dumped them all back into the bowl, re-added water, and remolded. And they were perfect when they dried. This recipe takes some trial and error, but it really is very forgiving, and once you figure out what consistency you need (it took me 3-4 tries to get it just right), you will become a bath bomb extraordinaire. 🙂
For this batch, I layered white and teal powder because I wanted my bath bombs to look like a sunny blue sky full of puffy clouds. Mmmm. It smelled and looked awesome. I also put some Epsom salts on the bottom of one side of the mold to give it a “glittering” top. You can place all kinds of “extras” on top of your bath bombs– from lavender buds to rose petals. Just keep in mind that flower petals will not dissolve in water, so if you want the entire bath bomb to dissolve, use something like Epsom salts for your decorations.
When the bath bomb is finished and “de-molded,” very gently place the entire bath bomb on a soft towel that has been covered with a piece of wax paper. The wax paper keeps the Bath Bomb from “absorbing” the marks from the towel, and the towel keeps the Bath Bomb from flattening while it dries.
Let the Bath Bombs dry, without touching each other, for 24 hours, until they are completely dry. All I can think of when I hear “don’t touch each other” is my kids fighting in the back seat: “Stop TOUCHING me!!! Mom, she’s TOUCHING me!!!” Ah, the joys of parenthood. 😉
When the Bath Bombs have dried, completely, go ahead and package them. I made adorable paper boxes using the Gift Box Punch Board (an amazing tool that lets you create gift boxes of any size using just paper) that I got here. Of course, you don’t have to make a separate box for each Bath Bomb, but I thought it looked awesome– almost like a jewelry box with a single, gorgeous beauty inside. I wrapped each Bath Bomb in a small 5×7 clear bag (cheapest I could find were here), then tied each bag with ribbon (48 cents per roll at Walmart) and placed it in a tissue paper “nest” inside the paper boxes I made. Oh man . . . they were so adorable.
You could package these individually, or make a nice basket of goodies for a friend or neighbor. Hey– good neighbors are hard to find. Appreciate them as often as you can!
And even moms need a little spa day, now and then. So after the kiddos are down for bedtime, run yourself a nice, hot bath. Light some candles, put on some soothing music, and use a bath bomb– just for you. You don’t even need an occasion. It’s amazing how rejuvenated and refreshed you will feel, after even a small physical and mental break from the stresses of life.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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