Picture of Scented Bath Salts
Bath salts make great teacher gifts (or gifts for anybody else who might need to relax at the end of a long, hard day). They are easy enough for children to make themselves, but unlike framed toddler artwork (or a mug with your kid's mug shot), a teacher can either re-gift this or use it up. No clutter! When you make several batches with different scents and colors they present beautifully. 
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Step 1: Ingredients & containers

Picture of Ingredients & containers

1 1/2 cup epsom salt
A few drops of food coloring (preferably the gel type)
1 tsp jojoba oil
1/4 tsp essential oil

Epsom salt can be found in any pharmacy. It could be replaced with some fancy schmancy dead sea salt, but really, you might as well flush your money down the toilet... the pricy alternatives make no discernible difference whatsoever, except as a marketing gimmick.

Jojoba oil has a very long shelf life and is well tolerated by practically everybody -- but it can be replaced with a number of oils including grapeseed, avocado, sweet almond, or even mineral oil.

Essential oils can usually be found in health food stores (even though they are NOT to be eaten!) and sometimes in pharmacies. Different oils will give the salts different properties: peppermint and orange are invigorating, lavender is relaxing, eucalyptus is great for head colds, etc. I used to think the various healing qualities of essential oils was about as serious as horoscopes, but I have lost some of my skepticism since I've begun experimenting with them. They won't heal you, and should not be considered a cure or medication, but different scents will definitely influence how you feel.

The container can be any recycled clear glass or plastic jar with a proper air tight cover. The containers I used in the intro picture were made from a clear plastic tube (designed to cover fluorescent lights) I bought from a hardware store, then chopped into pieces.

thehbird11 months ago

Where do you buy effervescent powder

belsey (author)  thehbird11 days ago

Sorry, I only saw your comment now... You have to make the effervescent powder, it's one part citric acid, one part baking soda.

elizila12 days ago

Does the salts work just like a bath bomb? and does the food coloring dye your skin?

belsey (author)  elizila11 days ago

It doesn't fizz like a bath bomb unless you add citric acid and baking soda (this is described in step 2). And no, the food coloring does not die your skin, or even give the bath water much of a color, it's far too diluted by the time the bath is full.

EdwardN6 months ago

Awesome - very interesting and amazingly simple. Thanks!

LeighDino1 year ago
What essential oils did you use in the top picture?
belsey (author)  LeighDino1 year ago
Different ones for each color, and they're marked: orange, a combination of geranium and yiang yiang, eucalyptus, lavender and the last one is not an OE but a perfume: chocolate
Okay, wasn't sure so i thought i'd ask. Thanks :)
Quinnamon4 years ago
Im using food extract, like McCormick's. The flavors are raspberry, mint, and vanilla extract. It works just as well without jojoba oil and expensive oils.
belsey (author)  Quinnamon4 years ago
Yes, I suppose you could omit the carrier oils, but they do help make your skin feel nicer after the bath, and they also make it easier to mix in the color. Extract can be used for scent too, but you need to use a lot more for an equal effect -- and they can be expensive too, so I'm not sure if you actually end up saving any money.
kyzla4 years ago
Idea for Container!
At Ikea they have small spice jars called Rajtan, in the kitchen section.
They are perfect for this. Sold in sets of four. I'm giving a set of 4 salts (each a different flavor) using the Ikea packaging to protect the jars. They are glass, and meant for spices, so they keep it air tight. Perfect!
I found them to preserve my beach collection :)

Merry Christmas!
belsey (author)  kyzla4 years ago
Thanks for sharing your idea/tip!
WhyHello4 years ago
I like it, the package looks alot neater than the others i've seen on this site
paulanorma4 years ago
Mmmm, amazing!
tbcross4 years ago
Great ible, I love giving bath stuff for presents I feel like it sorta forces people to pamper themselves a bit. I was wondering if you might show how you stoppered the ends of your tubes? I'm having trouble figuring what I could use there. I'm assuming that the tubes are sorta like PVC and hard?
belsey (author)  tbcross4 years ago
No they're not quite as hard as PVC because the plastic is much thinner. For the ends I bought little plastic caps which were designed to work with the tube, but unfortunately the caps had holes in them (for electrical connections). I used cardboard circles to block the holes but it wasn't an ideal solution. I think you might have better luck finding tubes with caps in a good stationary store, or just use other types of jars. With a big jar you can stack layers of different color salt like you do in a sand bottle, and that is super pretty too.
tbcross belsey4 years ago
I'll keep my eyes open for some containers. Thanks again. Super idea.
tinadalton4 years ago
Use any oil but mineral oil. It's an odd oil that actually dries out the skin. When I was taking my classes for massage therapy that was almost the number one question on every test. The school couldn't stress it more, do not use mineral oil on the skin.
Otherwise this is a great instructable.
belsey (author)  tinadalton4 years ago
It is possible that there are different grades of mineral oil. Baby oil, for example, is 100% mineral oil (plus fragrance) and it is considered good for babies because, unlike many vegetable oils (think nuts) it is much less likely to cause an allergic reaction. It is a VERY common ingredient in all sorts of commercial moisturizers, even high end ones like Clinique face creams. That said, I prefer to use other oils too. They feel nicer.

This is a really good site to explain why it's important not to use mineral unless you have no other alternatives. My other degree is isn Early Childhood Education and when I was teaching we received a letter from the state asking us to voluntarily stop using mineral oil. There were a number of cases in which children were having breathing issues. It wasn't mandatory but we did discontinue using it. It's a personal choice but everyone should be aware of some of the side effects.
I really love using Olive oil in my massage, it absorbs well into the body and has many great benefits. It's cost is also as low as mineral oils. Tea Tree is also good but can be a bit pricey unless you can buy it in bulk.
belsey (author)  tinadalton4 years ago
I read the article, but to me it sounds more like someone's personal rant rather than actual data -- all the "references" were links to irrelevant sites or studies: court case about false claims on labels of products containing mineral oil, study about cutting oil (which is not the same stuff as the mineral oil used in cosmetics), some FDA spreadsheet which says no more than 10 parts mineral oil per million should be in food... then the comment about how FDA information relating to mineral oil use on infants could not be located really confirmed my opinion that whoever wrote the article is a quack, intent on proving something which has no basis in fact. Perhaps in years to come we will find out that mineral oil is, in fact, responsible for all the evils in the world, but at this point there is no evidence in that direction. Mineral oil does not "moisturize" skin, that much is true, but it does provide an excellent barrier which prevents moisture loss through evaporation. You might not like how it feels (I'm not a big fan either), but it doesn't dry out the skin.
vikjob4 years ago
this is fantastic!
ChrysN4 years ago
What a great gift!
tim132114 years ago
Where can you get essential oil? Can it be made?
belsey (author)  tim132114 years ago
Kiteman posted an instructable on distilling your own perfume oil ... I've never tried it myself though. Too lazy, and no garden... If you can't find essential oils in local health food stores or pharmacies, there are tons of online vendors.