Quick handmade gifts for the season: luscious bath bombs
Homemade bath bombs are just as fizzy and fun as the store-bought kind, but so much more affordable! This recipe calls for mostly pantry items and you can customize your batches with tea, essential oils, and dried herbs. The citric acid and baking soda cause the fizziness, and the epsom salt and oil soften the bath water and moisturize your skin. You can dye your bath bombs with regular food coloring, or use natural dyes like turmeric, beet powder (slice beets super thin, dehydrate fully, and grind to a dust), and spirulina.
Typically you see bath bombs as spheres, but you can dry them in any shape mold you like! Silicone molds work best because you can pop the dried bath bombs out without causing any damage, but you can also use regular old muffin tins with paper or silicone liners.
To make approximately 12 bath bombs, you’ll need:
½ cup citric acid
1 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons epsom salt
1 tablespoon oil (jojoba, almond, coconut, or olive oil are all good options as long as they’re in liquid forms)
a spray bottle of witch hazel (or water)
optional ingredients for scent: essential oils, strongly brewed tea, dried herbs
A note on the ingredients: you can find citric acid in stores that have a well-stocked canning section. Unfortunately, a lot of stores don’t carry canning stuff year round, so you may have to find it online. If you buy a big bag you’ll have plenty leftover for canning fruit next summer! If you can’t find citric acid you can use ¼ cup of cream of tartar (found with baking stuff at the grocery store). Additionally, some other bath bomb DIYs call for cornstarch as one of the dry ingredients, but it can cause yeast infections! That would not make for a very nice gift.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined, making sure there are no clumps. Add the oil and mix well.
At this point you get to choose your own adventure. You can split the dry mix into a few different batches to test all of these options.
For the essential oils, add about 20 drops total. For invigorating bath bombs, use peppermint; for calming, use lavender, ylang ylang, and rosemary; for skin benefits, use grapefruit! Mix and match to find your favorite scent! You can add dried herbs, like lavender or rosemary or mint, or even dried rose petals, if you have them on hand.
To dye your bath bombs with powder, just add it into the dry mix. If you’re using liquid dye, use it very sparingly.
Tea is also a good way to get scent and color into your bath bombs. Green tea or herbal blends like chamomile would make wonderful bath bombs! Brew it really strongly if you choose to use tea, otherwise it won’t have much of an effect. Put it in a spray bottle instead of the witch hazel or water.
After you add the essential oils or dye, test the mixture with your fingers. If it’s still pretty dry and not sticking together at all, spritz with the liquid (witch hazel, water, or tea) just a couple times until the mixture starts to clump together. You just want it to clump, not get very wet or sticky; it should still be a little crumbly. If it gets too wet the fizzing action will start and the bombs will expand in the molds instead of drying flat.
Spoon and press the mixture into your chosen molds. Let dry overnight, and then pop them out.
Store them in an airtight, waterproof container and enjoy!
Sarah Carlisle is passionate about learning and making, and spends most of her time in Portland, OR running a creperie, growing food in a cooperative garden, participating in community kitchens, and creating and crafting at home.