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Picture of How To: Make Bath Bombs
Everybody loves bath bombs. It is like taking a bath in champagne, only without the show tunes and chorus boys. They are fairly simple to make, keeping in mind that the strangest things can make a batch go weird; humidity, room temperature, oil viscosity, the moon rising in the seventh house of Aquarius . . . they are a mysterious wonder.
For this recipe, I am using ingredients that are pretty common, or easy to find in most areas. Essential oils can be found in small amounts at places like health food stores and craft stores often carry essentials and fragrances. Just make sure, if you buy fragrance oil, that you are buying "body safe" oils and not stuff for candles or oil warmers.
So, let's start with a basic recipe in two parts.
Dry ingredients: (By Weight, as measured on a scale.)
  • Baking Soda - 8 ounces
  • Citric Acid - 4 ounces
  • Corn Starch - 4 ounces
  • Salts - 4 ounces ( in these pictures, I used Dead Sea Salts, but mineral salts work too, and are easier to find and significantly less expensive.)
Wet Ingredients:
  • Water - .75 tbsp
  • Essential or Fragrance Oil - 2 tsp (for these I used a Ginger Peach.)
  • Oil - 2.5 tbsp (I used cherry kernel, but any light vegetable oil will work.)
  • Food coloring - 1 or 2 drops. (Your color will look very dark in the emulsion, but will be light in the fizzies, so as to not leave rings around the tub. For this batch I used one drop red and two drops yellow. The final result will be very light peach.)
 
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Step 1: Blend the Dry Ingredients

Picture of Blend the Dry Ingredients
Begin by putting all of your dry ingredients into a big bowl. Glass is best because it is non-reactive. Whisk or pestle those pesky clumps out. You want a fairly smooth consistency throughout the entire mix.

Step 2: Mix liquid and blend dry and liquids together

Picture of Mix liquid and blend dry and liquids together
Blend your wet ingredients together. I usually use a small jar and shake it up. Don't worry about separation too much, you are not going to get a full emulsion. Then, while whisking, slowly add small amounts of the liquid to your dry ingredients. Here we see my faithful Igor prepare to pour.

Step 3: Try to avoid creating volcanoes

Picture of Try to avoid creating volcanoes
If the mixture starts to foam, you are adding the liquid too fast. Quickly whisk the reacting ingredients into the nonreactive part and you should be able to stop the reaction. I add about a teaspoon at a time. When all of the wet ingredients have been added, you should have a mixture with the consistency of slightly damp sand. It should clump together when you squish it.

Step 4: Mold quickly

Picture of Mold quickly
Once your mixture is together, you have a pretty limited amount of time in which to get it into molds. To create the giant Soapy Hollow ball of bath doom, I use round christmas tree ornaments that were designed to be filled with goodies. To do a three-dimensional bomb like these, you pack each side, then overfill a tad at the center and press the two sides together.
It takes a little practice to get a feel for how much filling you need, so don't get discouraged if your first couple fall apart. Here we see Igor holding a filled ball and wondering about child labor laws.

Step 5: Unmold and let dry

Picture of Unmold and let dry
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You don't need to leave them in the mold for very long, and in fact can tap them out as soon as you fill them. These are four bombs we made with this batch.
You can use all sorts of things to make your bombs; muffin tins, ice cube trays, candy molds, Aunt Magnolia's denture case . . . whatever makes you happy.
This batch didn't make quite enough for five bombs, and the humidity levels made the batch start to puff up, so I quickly stuffed what was left of the batch into my "bath cookies" mold. Note: When using things like silicon trays that surround the seltzer mix, or any mold with a lot of details, the mix must stay in the mold until dry, or it will crumble when you try to take it out.
Once they are completely dry, store bath bombs in an airtight container or bag. High humidity will make them activate. Because we used oil and water and no preservatives, you want to use them within about 6 months. Assuming you can keep them for that long. Igor demands payment in immediate fizzy baths, but you may have better luck actually getting to *use* yours.
When you're ready to use one, just drop it into a warm bath, and relax.
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Hey guys, these are great! I made them yesterday and have packaged them up for my girlfriend this morning! Isn't she lucky it was raining yesterday and I couldn't work :P
I used 2 pairs of measuring spoons to form the molds, they worked well once I had the right consistency. I just forced them together to form a sphere. A 1 Tbsp one for the big ones, 1.5tsp for the medium, and 1/4tsp for the tiny ones.
Over here in a country town in New Zealand, its hard to find the right fragrance oils that are safe for skin. I know I could of ordered online, but it was a matter of now or never,  So while wondering what I could use to add some scent, I remembered how much my gf liked my CK cologne, so just cracked open my bottle of that, and poured about 2tsp of the stuff in. Didn't like being with the water much, but guess it was similar to oil.
Here's a couple of pics, Hope you like them.

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Hi, i live in nz too and just writing my list of what to buy for my first batch of bath bombs and i really admire what you did. Would you mind sharing your recipe. Pm me on fb might be better,then i will definetly receive it. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks
they look really cool my mum ordered molds online ages ago and we're making the stuff today
SoapyHollow (author)  Aislinn4 years ago
Sweet! I'd love to see pics when you're done! :)
WOW...that is too cute!!! she"s lucky :)
SoapyHollow (author)  himynameisandy5 years ago
Gorgeous! Go you!
the Secrets of eden (www.thesecretsofeden.com) sells essential oils internationally!
Very pretty and nice job.  thank you for sharing that you used cologne.  I've wondered if it could be used but haven't done a project yet that would let me find out.  You have inspired me!
backcountry6 years ago
OK, here they are! I bought 4 of these molds and one batch filled them with a little to spare. I started early for Valentine's Day so I had time to screw up a couple of batches, but I think these are going to be fine as. Peppermint. Maybe I'll make one more different batch. What about glycerin instead of oil, would that work? I used almond oil, but I wasn't really happy with it.
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SoapyHollow (author)  backcountry6 years ago
Those are gorgeous! Word of caution: eucalyptus, peppermint/spearmint/wintergreen type oils in a bath product may give you the ability to levitate and walk on water. (Don't ask how I know...well, you could ask...it's a pretty funny story.) Suffice it to say that girly bits and tingly oils...well....it can be a bit, erm...intense. ;) Also, I don't know if you have an Ikea near you, but they make the grooviest silicon icecube trays in various shapes; one of which is hearts. I've used their trays over and over for bombs, traditional soap and glycerin soap and they just last and last. They're cheap and durable. Yay!
i planned on making these for my sister as a birthday present and was hoping to make them peppermint b/c that's her fave smell... what exactly does the "levitation" thing mean...? sorry if i'm just not getting it... :-/

seriously?

Why would you respond to a 5 year old comment with 'seriously' instead of the answer?

well SoapyHollow the girly bits and tingly oils are good because you can feel like you are having sex in the bath. and thanx for the idea, its sex time!

Here's one for you, I made bath salts and you add epsimons salt, could I put that in the bath bomb mix? Or will I blow up ha ha ! Not sure how to spell that salts hope you can read it
SoapyHollow (author)  susie-q6 years ago
Probably. :) Epsom salts are mineral salts. I'm not sure what else you put in the bath salt mix, but it should probably work.
Oh my, I am so glad you mentioned that about peppermint! I've been "stung" by Dr. Brommers before, I should have known better. Now I know I have to make another batch with a different oil. One thing I like about these molds is that ice cube trays would make half hearts (they're flat on one side). These are snap-together, two piece molds. They make full 3d hearts, which I think is cool. I thought they might break apart unsnapping or trying to pry them out of these molds. But no problem, they plopped right out.
SoapyHollow (author)  backcountry6 years ago
Oh cool!

Why didn't you like the almond oil? I am very curious to know as this is a gift and I am not sure what the benefits are to the different oils in bath bombs as far as skin benefits not just cool looks, smells and fizzies!

where did you get theose heart molds? They are cute!!
FactoryDirectCraft.com I just googled 'fillable plastic hearts' and started clicking. The ones I got are 80 mm (the medium size). In retrospect, they're pretty big, I'd recommend going with the small ones.

I just made these, they are so easy and brilliant. I used coconut oil and musk oil. They look and smell really good. I used a Christmas ice cube tray and it took me two trays to get all the moulds neat, but I got 54 giftable mini fizzies and some, well will just have to use myself, oh dear!

Pikacindy made it!11 months ago

This is my first time making bath bomb and although I made a huge mess in the kitchen, seeing the result really is worth it, thank you for sharing the recipe!!!! :)

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SoapyHollow (author)  Pikacindy8 months ago

These are awesome! Go you!

soonersseth6 years ago
Great Instructable my mom liked her birthday present
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great birthday present idea.... I'd do it too if I could drive to a store to get all the oils and such. "hey mom, can you drive me to the store?" "why?" "to get essential oils." "....why?" ".......because they're essential."
SoapyHollow (author)  codongolev6 years ago
Hee! :)
SoapyHollow (author)  soonersseth6 years ago
Those are so fabulous! Go you!
LindaM2810 days ago

Hi, I made my first batch of bath bombs and the surface of some of my bombs appear granular, is that what people mean when they mention "puffing"?

SoapyHollow (author)  LindaM288 days ago
No, puffing is when the mix is a little too damp and it starts "growing" out of the mold. Granular appearance is due to the salts you used. All salts have different shapes, and some kinds will look glassy or shiny or grainy in your final product. It doesn't change the bath bomb chemistry at all, they're fine to use. :)

Thanks for responding :) I used the recipe from Make it Fizz which called for borax, otherwise that's the only "salt" I used. The basic shape held, and nothing cracked, but the surface of some of the bombs did change during the drying process, some maintained a smooth surface while others developed bumps.

vikutela2 months ago

Hi. I just made bath bombs and it started to puff up. I tried to put them in zip lock bag and in the plastic container but they still puff up. Is there anything I can do to stop it? or this is it...? Thank you!

make sure you're letting them air dry minimum of 4hrs-24hrs

AbbyG12 months ago
Hey there! Love this idea so so much! I am making these at the moment. My only issue is they aren't drying very fast :/ they've been sitting for around ten minutes and I can't get them to solidify. Any tips?
jbrock63 months ago

Can I just thank the maker of this for the sense of humor? For real... very appreciated. Thanks!

UrszulaB3 months ago

Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil? I don't have vegetable oil right now and olive oil is realy good for your skin.

franinmuc7 months ago

Hi there, These soaps look great! What kind of a place would I go to to get citric acid? And the essential oils - chemist I suppose. Thanks.

Hi. If you have an animal feed supply store near you, it is a great place to get big bags of bi carb, Epsom salts and citric acid. Also try www.naturesgarden.com for clays, colorants and all things BathBomb.
Thanks, I'll check it out. I do have two pet stores nearby.

franinmuc, you can buy citric acid pretty much anywhere that sells canning supplies. I got mine at walmart for less than 3 bucks!

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