Yesterday, my wonderful wife was having back pain. So being the caring husband that I am... I ran her a hot bath and homemade bath salts. Anyway the bath salts really seemed to help and I noticed that I could form the salts into nifty little bars.
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Step 1: Get It Together
So let's see here... what are we gonna need for this one:
Epson Salt - Pharmacy, Wal-Mart...
Glycerin - Pharmacy (I got mine at Wal-Mart)
Baking Soda - Almost anywhere
Cheese Clothe - Grocery Store or craft section at Wal-Mart
Water - Plain old tap water will work great!
Essential Oil(s) - Craft and Hobby stores, also check Wal-Mart (for Scent)
Large Sauce Pan
Mold or Form of some shape...
Step 2: Make With Tha' Mixin'
So this "recipe" is vague... You can adjust it as you see fit, as long as you get the mixture moist enough to bind together.
Step 1: Measure out 2 Cups of Epson Salt.
Step 2: Add 2 heaping spoonfuls of Baking Soda
Step 3: Mix dry ingredients
Step 1: Measure out 4 to 5 teaspoons of Glycerin
Step 2: Add 4 to 5 teaspoons of water
Step 3: Add Essential Oil... The amount of oil you use is entirely up to you. Just don't make it too strong.
Step 4: Stir all liquid ingredients until well blended.
Step 1: Pour liquid mixture onto dry mix
Step 2: Stir until well blended. The mix will be like wet sand or icy snow.
Step 3: Bringin' the Heat!
Transfer the wet snowy mixture to a large sauce pan. You can also use a glass baking dish. The baking dish is a great way to prevent dirtying so many dishes, however it will take MUCH longer to cool.
Heat the mixture on a medium low setting (electric stove), low (gas stove), or bake @ 250 degrees. The mixture will begin to melt and get glossy. It will also begin to expand... Keep this in mind for later.
[Edit / Revision] The mixture can be heated in the microwave in a microwave safe dish for roughly 1 minute. Micro wave heating melts the mix but it seems to cool quite a bit faster if "nuked."
Be patient while heating. Stir constantly and don't heat the mix too fast.
Once the mix starts to look like cream of wheat or warm tapioca pudding you're ready for the next step.
Step 4: Taking Shape
Line the bottom of your form or mold with wax paper or cheese clothe (if you can reasonably do so.)
Carefully pour the heated mixture into the mold. Be careful the mixture is quite warm... Also the mixture will continue to expand for a while so only fill the form 1/2 to 3/4 full.
You're done just about all you can for now... set things aside and let them cool.
After the top of the mixture is cool to the touch, flip the mold over on to a cookie sheet or other hard surface. Gently tap the form to release the bath salt chunk. Slowly and carefully peel the wax paper or cheese clothe from the chunk.
Allow the chunk to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes.
You're now ready to cut the bath salt into bars.
Using a sharp knife carefully cut the block into the desired size bars, then leave them to cool some more.
Step 5: Wrap It Up!
After the bars have cooled to room temp. they are ready to be packaged. We wrapped ours in Cheese Clothe and ribbon which I think makes a very attractive package. You could also used a decorative wash cloth or small box.
If you use clothe cut a cardboard box to serve as a base as the salt is VERY fragile...
Well that's about it for this project, so enjoy your bath!