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.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: Instructions
In a small bowl or teacup combine the oils and food coloring (don't worry about mixing them together), then mix in a few tablespoons of salt to absorb all the oil and color.
Combine the colored scented salt with the rest of the Epsom salt, stir till the color is uniform, then pour into your container.
If you prefer fizzy salt add up to one cup of effervescent powder (a mix of equal quantities of baking soda and citric acid). You may need to add a few extra drops of color and essential oil, but do not add more jojoba oil or the mix might clump -- in fact, over time, fizzy salt will probably clump anyway, but it will still be perfectly usable.
(See my alka seltzer instructable for notes on citric acid)
Step 3: Use It!
Pour approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup into the tub as it's running and allow it to dissolve before jumping in.
use as decoration for my cure for the common cold.
This recipe, along with many many others, is part of a book I'm working on called Make Anything, a handbook for saving money, living green and having fun with trash.