How to Make Your Own Bath Bombs
Homemade Bath Bomb Tutorial
Do you like to take baths? Whether you like to use bath salts or bubble bath, every bath lover will enjoy bath bombs. These fizzy creations release scents and Epsom salts into your bath, creating a relaxing environment. The problem with bath bombs is that they can be expensive to find in the market, especially in your desired scent.
The ingredients you need to create these bath bombs are simple, and the proportions don't need to be exact. A little trial and error is all you need to create the most amazing, relaxing bath.
Bath bombs make great gifts, party favors (think bachelorette party or bridal shower), and even party activities. In the following tutorial, I will show you how to create your own bath bombs. Become a winner amongst your friends and give it a try!
Step 1: Assemble your Ingredients
What do you need to create your perfect bath bombs? The ingredients are simple, and many can be found at your local grocery store.
- Baking Soda- This is one of the components that will make your bath fizz (think volcano science fair projects.) Each bath bomb batch requires 8 oz baking soda.
- Citric Acid- In science fairs, you would have used vinegar (acetic acid) to make the volcano fizz, but who wants a vinegar smelling bath? Citric acid has a much nicer scent, and will help the reaction go forward. Each bath bomb batch requires 4 oz citric acid.
- Epsom Salt- This ingredient has nothing to do with the fizzing, but everything to do with creating a relaxing bath. These salts are also an inert ingredient that will help stop the reaction from happening prematurely as you create your bath bombs. Each bath bomb batch requires 4 oz epsom salts (This value is much more flexible).
- Corn Starch- This is another inert ingredient for your bath bombs, and is there to help soak up the liquid and help make your bath bomb ball solid. Each bath bomb batch requires 4 oz corn starch.
- Essential Oils- This is the most fun, and can be the most expensive ingredient to your bath bomb. You can certainly add scents from some of the other ingredients (i.e. if you start with scented bath salts), but for me part of the fun is creating custom scents. Each bath bomb batch requires 2 tsp (~10 mL) of essential oils. This is something that you will want to play with, because you don't want the scent to be too overpowering.
- Olive Oil- The second oil you put into your bath bombs can be any vegetable oil. I use olive oil because that is what I have a lot of in my house. Each bath bomb batch batch requires 2.5 tablespoons of oil.
- And finally, the last ingredient you need is water! Each bath bomb batch requires 1 Tablespoon water
Specific Ingredients Used in this Tutorial
Below you will find some of the specific ingredients I purchased from amazon to create my bath bombs. I got the corn starch, olive oil and baking soda at my local supermarket. If you're going to make a lot of bath bombs you may want to consider purchasing the baking soda in bulk.
There are many different essential oil scents you can use and combine for these bath bombs. Personally I'm partial to citrus scents so I stick to orange and grapefruit essential oils. Lavender is a popular bath scent. One of the bonuses of making your own bath bombs is you can get exactly the scent you want! If you want to try smelling some of the oils before purchasing, check your local natural foods store.
Step 2: Measure out your dry ingredients
I use a kitchen scale to weigh out the dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, corn starch and Epsom salts), but you can try to approximate it by volume. The important thing is the final consistency you get at the end, so through trial and error you can find what works best for you.
After you have the dry ingredients measured, you should mix them together thoroughly until there are no clumps. (The citric acid was the worst clumping culprit in my experience.)
(Tip: if you are going to measure by volume, start with a box that has the exact volume you need for the project, eg. 8 oz of baking soda. Measure this and then use half of that volume for the other 3 dry ingredients.)
Extra Tip: Use a Food Scale!
This is something I learned from my pasta making class, humidity in the air can affect the volume of ingredients. Now you could argue that it could also affect the weight, but I find using my kitchen scale to be a foolproof way to create the perfect fizzy bath bombs every time. The following is the kitchen scale that I use. It also helps because the first recipe I started with used ingredients by weight versus volume, so I stuck with this as I created more bath bombs.
* User-friendly food scale with convenient pull-out display; 11-pound capacity
* Measures in 1/8-ounce (imperial) and 1-gram (metric) increments for greater accuracy
* Zero function allows for zeroing scale; thin profile for easy storage
* Indicator displays how much capacity is left on scale; optional backlight
* 4 AAA batteries included; 11-1/4 inches by 8-1/2 inches by 2 inches
Step 3: Measure out the wet ingredients
Water and oil don't usually mix well, so don't expect to get a homogeneous solution when you measure out and mix the wet ingredients. The most important thing here is to have them in a container that is easy to pour from, because you will want to be able to do this one handed once it is time to mix all of the ingredients together.
Why no food coloring?
Many tutorials will have you add food coloring to your bath bombs. While this can be helpful to help differentiate between different scents, I find that even 1-2 drops of food coloring/batch end up leaving a ring of color around the bath tub. What is the point of a relaxing bath if you then have to scrub the tub?
Step 4: Mix all of the ingredients together
The mixing of wet and dry ingredients is the only "tricky" part of this tutorial, and it really isn't that tricky at all. You want to add the liquid slowly, mixing the mixture as you're adding the liquid. If you see some fizzing, stir a little faster until the reaction stops. (When baking soda and citric acid both dissolve in water, then the fizzing reaction occurs. By mixing this with the other inert ingredients, you can prevent the reaction from going forward.)
Don't expect a cake batter consistency. What you get after adding the wet ingredients can best be described as wet sand. If you take a handful and squeeze and the bath bomb mixture doesn't hold it's shape, then you will need to add more liquid. Keep mixing until you get a texture that you can easily mold but still feels somewhat dry to touch.
Step 5: Mold the Bath Bombs
Your bath bomb mixture is now the constancy of wet sand, and you are ready to mold it into the desired shape. I used a cupcake tin to make 5 bath bombs from each batch. (In my opinion these are the prefect size for a relaxing fizzy bath.)
To fill the molds, I take small handfuls of the mixture and squeeze them in my hands before I press them into the molds. You want to press hard to condense the material as much as possible. If you pack the bath bomb mixture loosely into the molds, then it won't hold the shape for very long. You want to work quickly, but you don't need to rush. I have broken some bath bombs and then have been able to re-mold them without too much trouble.
To remove the bath bombs from the molds, I used a cutting board to put on top of the cupcake tin so I could flip it over without destroying my wet bath bombs.
Closeup of a bath bomb packed in the mold
Molds for your Bath Bomb
You want your bath bomb to have a nice shape, so what can you use to shape it? I used a cupcake pan in this tutorial, but you can use almost any shape imaginable to make your bath bombs. In fact, some tutorials will have you use empty Christmas Ornaments or Easter eggs to create a 3D round shape. 3D egg molds (designed for shaping hard boiled eggs) can turn the bath bombs into unique shapes such has animals, cars and more. Personally, I found it easier to use what I have around the house which is why I stick with the muffin tins. There is no problem reusing the tins later for food baking, nothing in these bath bombs is harmful.
Step 6: Let the Bath Bombs Dry
Horray! You have now molded some fantastic smelling bath bombs. You should leave the bath bombs out overnight to let them dry out before you store them. Depending on the humidity of your home, the fresh bath bombs can take a couple of days to dry. I will often let them dry overnight and then flip them over and let them dry another day before storing them. Of course, you are welcome to try one out right away but you don't want it to fall apart in your hands before you can get it into the bath!
When the bath bombs are dry, they will feel noticeably harder and less squishy.
Step 7: Storing Your Bath Bombs
The most important thing to make your bath bombs last is to keep them away from moisture. After you have let them dry, I store my homemade bath bombs in two different ways: 1) wrapped in plastic wrap and then stored in a zip lock bag or 2) wrapped in plastic wrap, wrapped again in pretty cellophane and then tied with a ribbon.
If you're going to use the bath bombs yourself, stick with the easy plastic wrap and ziplock bag method. If they're gifts, take the extra steps to make them pretty with cellophane and ribbon. I still wrap the bath bomb in kitchen plastic wrap first to help keep the bath bomb dry and to extend its "shelf life." The fresher (dryer) the bath bomb is the more fizz you can expect in your bath.
Step 8: Personalizing Your Gift - The Final Step!
If you are making the bath bombs as a gift, then I recommend that you wrap them in cellophane. But how can you let people know that you created the gift? You should make custom labels indicating that you made the bath bombs and what the scent is.
What else can you put on the label? The date created, the event... the possibilities are endless!