Having agreed with my wife to each do handmade Christmas presents this year, I decided to make a bath bomb gift-box. (After seeing a similar concept by Rye Soap Kitchen)
I endeavoured to make best use of materials already at at my disposal, hence;
I utilised an old temporary wood & cloth wardrobe (clothes hanger), which was set to be skipped (disposed of).
It was also the intention to make the bombs as natural (nasty free) as possible. (no Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Lauryl Betaine etc..)
Step 1: Ingredients & Materials
After originally intending to make spherical bombs, but not being able to find a mould, I happened across some Christmas silicone baking moulds in B&M, and decided they would be more suitable.
Each mould had six different Christmas figures/objects.
In the ingredients list, where it states 'per batch' it means per silicone mould (approx six bombs).
Note: Don't feel you need to use exactly the same measurements/ratios.
- Bicarbonate of soda - (300g per batch)
- Citric Acid (food-grade) - (150g per batch)
- 3ml Carrier oil (I used sweet almond oil, olive oil can be also used)
- 7ml Essential oils of your choice (I used cinnamon, patchouli and red mandarin)
- Soap making colourant (amount to your taste, I used Cranberry red as it sounded christmassy)
Materials / equipment
- Measuring spoons (syringes would also work)
- Mixing bowls
- Rubber gloves
- Sieve (if required)
- Silicone mould
- Mixing spoon (silicone spatula, avoid wood)
- Baking tray
- Water spray bottle
Materials / equipment
- Wood (or other material that you have available)
- Belt sander
- Wood Glue
- Tape measure
- Waxed paper (baking paper) and access to an inkjet printer.
Materials / equipment
- Card / paper (for labels)
- Sawdust & Hay
Step 2: Making the Bombs
I made several batches of bombs, changing colours, scents and composition. The second batch foamed greatly (was too watery) and was ruined. You basically want to ensure your mixture has a snow like texture, similar to how you would make a snowball.
Note: The traditional method for making a bath bomb, is to remove the bomb from the mould immediately. However I found that when using a deep silicone mould as shown (traditionally used for baking), it worked far better if the bombs were left to dry for a few hours before removing.
The following is a simple method of making a bomb batch, which I found to be most successful. However, I implore you to investigate your own methods, learning from your mistakes. Its more fun that way:
- Sieve out the baking soda, and add the citric acid into a bowl, mixing thoroughly with gloved hands.
- Using your measuring device, add in the carrier oil and the scented oils, mixing as you go. (There's no need to be careful if using oil as it wont make the mixture fizz.)
- Add the desired amount of colour. (I found you probably wont be able to make it completely red before it will be too moist to work.) You can be creative here, try different colours, or no colours. To do a mixture of colours separate out small mixtures into smaller mixing bowls, and use the following steps on all bowls. (Note: the colourant may start the mixture fizzing, so add minimal amounts whilst mixing fast).
- Now the delicate part: Whilst mixing with one hand, add in a few sprays of water with the other using the bottle.
- Repeat step four until you have the desired consistency. (snowball like consistency, or marginally less moist. Experiment here!)
- Fill the Silicone mould with your mixture(s). (Note, if over watered, they will already be expanding fast.)
- Firmly press down your mixture using your silicone spatula, filling out any gaps in the mould.
- Place a baking tray over your filled silicone mould, and add a weight to the other side. The bomb mixture will expand now, so it is very important to add a heavy weight.
- Leave for a few hours until the mixture is firm.
- Pop out the bombs from the mould. (The benefit of silicone is that with pressure applied to the back, it peels off from the bombs easily.)
- Mine came out with lots of excess mixture still attached. Gently break these bits off and save them for yourself. (These bits aren't pretty, but don't throw them away. They can still be used as small bits of bath bomb.)
- Store your bomb batch in a safe dry place. (You don't want your hard work fizzing into nothingness at this point.)(use hay and wrap in paper to keep moisture away.)
Step 3: Designing and Sawing the Wooden Box
As I stated earlier, I had an old soft pine wardrobe at my disposal.
After stripping it down and realising how much wood I had of a certain size, I considered how big a box I would need to house three bombs.
I decided that the size I required for the length of the box, was roughly half of the length of pine. Recognising that one cut was quicker than two, and being able to reduce waste:
- I sawed each piece in half.
- For the base I used two lengths of the chopped wood and bonded them together using wood glue, and clamping them for two or more hours (see your wood glues recommended setting time).
- For the two long sides I again used wood glue and clamped them to the base piece.
Step 4: Final Construction and Sanding of the Box
For the end pieces of the box:
- I sawed the required short lengths of the pine.
- Glued all three edges.
- Carefully clamped the box together, leaving it to set for a few hours.
- Once completely set and dried, I used a belt sander (with coarse paper) to round the corners, and flatten off the ends and top.
- I then used finer paper to smooth off the overall finish of the wood.
Step 5: Staining & Printing Onto the Box
- Use the wood stain/dye to achieve the desired look of the box. I simply used a rag to go once over the outside and inside of the box.
- Leave to dry. (The box must be completely dry prior to the next step)
- Choose what you want the front of the box to say. I simply chose our family name, and the year my wife and I were born. (If its a present this could easily be personalised with someone's name or favourite logo)
- Once you have chosen the desired logo, (using Microsoft word) I converted the words into an image and flipped the image (I you tubed how to do this as it had been a while).
- Take your baking (waxed) paper, pre cut into A4 pieces, and pop them in your Inkjet printer.
- Print you image.
- Working quickly once you have printed your image/logo, carefully place the wet side face down on the desired spot of the box. (Careful not to move the paper once placed as it will smudge)
- Once in place run a credit card (I used my Ikea family card), over the logo evenly forward and back.
- Remove wax paper, and check your print looks great!
Step 6: Final Assembly of the Gift Box
- Add sawdust and hay to the box. (This will absorb any moisture, and ensure your bombs stay dry).
- Create an ingredients list and stick to the base of the box.
- Create labels detailing the specific oil used in each bomb, and it's holistic benefits. (This is where colouring different batches comes in handy, you know what oils have been used in that particular bomb.)
- Wrap the box set in cellophane, and hold it together at the top with a kitchen tie.
- Wrap twine around the cellophane, just below the kitchen tie.
- Remove the tie.
Warning: once you show your wife the complete box, she may demand you make lots more for other people. This may take considerable time!