Homemade bath bombs are a quick and easy gift with a big pay off! They make great gifts for the ladies (or gentlemen) in your life who need some relaxation in a hot, aromatic bath. They're also a lot of fun to experiment with as you mix and match different essential oils and dried herbs. You can build a whole armory of delicious scents today and have them packaged to send out tomorrow.
Step 1: You Will Need...
1 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Cream of Tartar --in the spice aisle of your grocery store. Most jars I find seem to be about 1/2 cup's worth.
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Essential Oil of your choosing. I used Lemongrass.
Dried Herbs of your choosing. I used lavender. Other great options include peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, and rosemary.
Liquid Food Coloring (optional)
This recipe yields 14-16 bombs, depending on your mold shape and size. You can easily double the recipe if you wish to make more at one time.
TOOLS: Large mixing bowl, whisk or wooden mixing utensil, spoon, spray bottle, and silicone baking mold or ice cube tray.
Note about choosing your mold: Stick to simple, round shapes without too many extensions. I know there are ice molds that look like dino bones, pistols, and other cool stuff, but those are too slender and are just going to break. Ovals and hearts are very safe bets. I tried a rubber ducky, knowing that I may experience some casualties on the smaller bits like the beak.
Step 2: A Note About Choosing Essential Oils:
My mom is an aromatherapist and has taught me what to look for in a quality essential oil. Here are the two big ones.
Dark Glass Bottles --Usually amber, but sometimes blue. Storing oils in dark glass containers prevents oxidation and deterioration of their properties over time. If you see oils being sold in clear glass or plastic containers, you may want to purchase elsewhere. They may be of diminished quality, or may be artificially scented.
You'll notice that the lemongrass oil I use in this tutorial is in clear dram bottle. The original oil was stored in amber glass, and this is just a sampler I was using up. Probably my bad for using this as the example in photos, but let me tell you, there was NOTHING diminished about it! Super lemony goodness abounds in my house 3 days later!
Look for the Plant's Scientific Name Somewhere on the Label --this is a standard of quality among essential oil users and will, again, let you know this is the real deal, not artificial.
Step 3: Combine Powder Ingredients
Measure out your Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar.
Combine in your mixing bowl.
Step 4: Add Liquid Ingredients
Add your TBSP of Olive Oil.
Next, add 8-10 drops of your essential oil. Your bottle may have an eyedropper in it, or a controlled release plug on the top. If the mouth of your bottle is just open, like mine was, be very careful not to over pour. You could use a separate eyedropper or syringe if you want to be on the safe side.
If you would like to tint your bath bombs, add 6-8 drops of liquid food coloring.
Color is optional. Bath bombs look great plain white with your mixed in herbs creating visual interest.
I was going to mix red and blue to make purple bombs, but apparently I used all my red on a red velvet cake. Instead, I went with 6 drops of yellow. I was very careful to use a minimal amount of color --I didn't want the bath water looking like someone peed in it after the bomb dissolves :P
Step 5: Mix!
Mix it all together, using a whisk or wooden utensil. I had good luck using this fork.
You will find that your liquids form little clumps and do not immediately mix with the powder. Keep at it! use your utensil to break up the clumps into smaller and smaller bits. Keep stirring to distribute the moisture throughout. You may find it helpful to break up the larger clumps with your fingers. Just be wary of the food coloring clumps. If you break those open with your fingers you may experience mild staining.
You're good to go when the whole mix feels like slightly damp sand. See how its just slightly golden? there's our yellow food color giving us an even, warm tone without being too overwhelming.
Step 6: Mist With Water
Fill your spray bottle with Water.It is important that you choose a spray bottle that will MIST, spraying an even, light distribution of water over your ingredients. You do NOT want a bottle that squirts or jets, as this will only activate a small area and possibly get the mixture too wet. I used an old hair spray bottle and did a few test squirts into the sink to ensure all the old product was out of the system.
Mist the Mixture in Your Bowl -- do 2-3 sprays, then fluff with your fingers. 2-3 more sprays, fluff again.
Listen to the Mix! Seriously, put your ear down by the bowl and listen. You want to hear a bit of fizzing. This is the water activating your baking soda. This is what will help harden your bombs in their molds.
Step 7: Add Herbs
Add a pinch or two of your chosen dried herb.
Mix it in evenly.
Do not use too much herb component. You just want it peppered throughout. Having more herb bits may compromise your bombs' ability to stick together.
Mist and fluff one last time.
Step 8: Into the Molds
Spoon the mixture into your molds. It should have the texture of slightly wet sand.
PRESS the mix down into your molds.If you have a special shape, like my rubber duckies here, you may want to fill your mold half way, press, then fill the rest up and press again.
Once my molds were filled, I gave one final spritz of water to set the backs.
Step 9: Now, We Wait...
Give your bombs 24hrs to firm up in the molds. Just set them aside somewhere that they won't be disturbed.
For kicks, I tried some bombs in a regular plastic ice cube tray as well as my silicone mold. I had been advised that it would be difficult to get bombs out of a plastic mold, but I just want to compare.
Step 10: Flip and Pop!
After your 24 hrs, simply flip over your molds and tap the back to release the bombs.
Your silicone mold may require a gentle pressure from the back if they do not come out readily. Always hold the mold very close to the table, so the bomb doesn't have far to fall.
Surprisingly, the plastic ice tray bombs fell right out and were perfect! If you don't care about having a generic shape, honestly I'd use those over silicone molds. My ducks were mostly successful, though I did have a few beaks crumble off.
IF SOME OF YOUR BOMBS BREAK: Don't worry--your efforts have not been wasted. Simply crush up the wrecked bombs into powder again. Re-mist and fluff, and press back into your molds. Try adding a few more sprays of water this time. Crumbly bombs usually didn't get enough water in the first place. With that added moisture, your second attempt will most likely yield perfect bombs.
Step 11: You're Done--RELAX!
Your bath bombs are ready to be labeled and packaged as you please!
These are delightful gifts for your mom, sister, in-laws, and friends. After Lemongrass Lavender, I made a second batch of Lavender Peppermint for folks who might enjoy a more mellow scent.
You may find that a little powder flakes off the back while you wrap them. I find that a little wax or parchment paper in my gauze bags helped contain any residue. If you're shipping these to a friend far away, put them in a small box so that they're less likely to get crushed in transit.
Now, plop one in the tub and enjoy the fruits (er..herbs?) of you labor!