Everybody loves bath bombs. It’s 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’m 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’re buying “body safe” oils and not stuff for candles.
So, let’s start with a basic recipe in two parts.
- 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.)
- 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.)
Begin by putting all of your dry ingredients into a big bowl. Glass is best because it’s non-reactive. Whisk or pestle those pesky clumps out. You want a fairly smooth consistency throughout the entire mix.
Blend your wet ingredients together. I usually use a small jar and shake it up. Don’t worry about separation too much, you’re 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.
If the mixture starts to foam, you’re going 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.
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 and 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.
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 fizzies; 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 it started reacting, so I quickly stuffed what was left of the batch into my “bath cookies” mold. When using objects that surround the seltzer mix, the mix must stay in the object until dry, or it will crumble when you try to take it out. This is what the bath cookies look like after spending the night in the mold.
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.