Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fizzy Bath Bombs {Last-Minute Homemade Gift}

I originally found the recipe for these on About.com - the place to find articles about anything by anyone! This recipe for the Bath Bombs is based on the one posted by David Fisher, so I'd like to thank him for showing me just how easy these are to make. Really, I've been wanting to try them out for a while now, but they always seemed so complicated and as if they needed a ton of ingredients that were expensive and hard to find. Not true on either! 

Now, I scented my bath bombs with lavender essential oil and dried rosemary from my garden, but you can use any number of scent combinations. Check out this tutorial on mixing essential oils to get the right scent on Easy Aromatherapy Recipes. Just remember: If you use herbs instead of the oils, you'll need to use more. Also, remember that once the herbs rehydrate in the tub, their scent will be stronger! I chose Rosemary and Lavender because I just love how the two blend. Also, I had to buy the essential oil for this and I wanted something that I'd use often. And, once again, don't go all out and buy some expensive and fancy rosemary - get the cheap bulk stuff.

There is one ingredient on the list that I was worried about finding: Citric Acid powder. I took a shot in the dark and visited our local health food store, Health Matters in Monroe, MI, and found that Maurine had it AND it wasn't expensive. I only got a 4 oz. bottle, so I had to halve the recipe on About.com and, of course, I changed it up a little. Here's what I ended up with:

Rosemary-Lavender Bath Bombs

Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. Corn starch 
  • 1/2 c. Citric Acid (4 oz.)
  • 1 c. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 c. Epsom Salt
  • 1 tsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Borax
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Lavender Essential Oil 
  • 1 Tb. Dried Rosemary leaves, broken up into 1/4" or less pieces (I just pinched them in my hand to break them)
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • Colorant, if you want to use it (I used gel food coloring. If you have soap colorant you can use that, too)
Now, according to David Fisher, the most important part of the entire recipe is making sure that there is a 2:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid. This is what makes the fizzies. All of the rest can be played with. The corn starch is there to make the bath water feel silky and it also helps hold the bombs together when they dry, but you can leave it out if you prefer. The Epsom salt can be exchanged in full or in part with sea salt. The oil is also up to you. I used olive oil because it's what I has on hand and I like it. Try grape seed, jojoba, anything you like!


Equipment
*Make sure that you either use all glass or metal equipment, or use plastics that you don't need for cooking. The essential oil will permeate the plastic and no amount of washing will help you!... Trust me - I found out the hard way!
  • Large glass or metal mixing bowl
  • Metal whisk
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Small squirt bottle (I picked up some ketchup and mustard bottles from the housewares section at the end of summer for $0.25. You could use anything that is small, squeezable, and has a top that allows you to control how much comes out.)
  • Spoons
  • Baking sheet lined with wax paper, foil, or paper towels
  • A mold for your bombs. I used the rounded half of a plastic Easter egg. Look around the house - lids, scoops, measuring cups, even a sturdy cardboard tube from the tin foil will work! You just want to make sure the mold is sturdy enough to withstand the pressure you're going to be putting on it by packing the mixture into it and that it is shaped to release the bombs easily.
How I Did It

I'm so sorry I didn't take pictures. Though, it would have been hard to do with my hands covered in bath bomb stuff! I made these on my own, without Little Guy's help, because I ended up making them at 2am. There are portions of this that he could have helped with, but it was rather powdery and I think I'm glad to have kept him out of this project - I wouldn't have wanted him, at his close level to the counter, to have breathed in all of that dust!

Make sure that you have all of your equipment at hand. This isn't a project where timing is everything, but it keeps things cleaner. I ended up trailing some of the mixture from one end of the kitchen to the other, collecting the things I needed as I went along.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (*except the Borax) together with the whisk, or use a sifter: Cornstarch, Citric acid, Baking soda, Salt, and dried herbs. This is where I made the dusty powder bomb in my kitchen. Make sure you have food and clean dishes put away!
  2. In the squirt bottle, mix the wet ingredients and Borax: Water, essential oil, olive oil. Just put them all in and shake it up! This is where I added my food coloring, too. Remember to not over-do the coloring! The bombs will darken as they dry.
  3. Put your whisk in one hand and the squirt bottle in the other and get ready - this is where you have to make sure you went potty, the kids are going to be quiet for at least five minutes, and the answering machine is on. Just FIVE MINUTES! Squirt a tiny drop of the oil concoction into the middle of the dry stuff and wait a couple of seconds. See how it fizzes up? You don't want that to happen as you're mixing the wet and dry ingredients together, so make sure you keep stirring with that whisk. I don't know the scientific explanation as to why the stirring prevents the fizzing, it just does. So, as you drizzle the wet ingredients into the bowl, whisk like crazy. You may want to stop drizzling once in a while to make sure that it's all mixed in before adding more. 
  4. You want to check every once in a while to see if you have enough wet mixed in - depending on your ingredients, you may need less wet than you mixed up. Grab a small handful of the mixture and squeeze it hard. Open your hand and gently poke the mass. If it flakes up any, crumble it back into the bowl and keep adding the wet ingredients. If it doesn't - stop and go on to step 6. If you run out of wet stuff, go to step 5. (Check the picture that David Fisher was so kind to include in his instructions here.)
  5. If you need more wet, just put 1 TB of water into your squirt bottle. I added a little more food coloring here, too, because I wanted a darker color. Shake it up really well to get some of the leftover oils mixed in and keep squirting, mixing, and checking to see if you have enough wet in there. DO NOT USE TOO MUCH WET! I have no idea how to fix this!
  6. Now you're ready to mold your bath bombs! Get your mold and fill it up with the mixture. Press it in there as tightly as you possible can. This took everything I had to do - I have arthritis in my wrists and fingers. It's important to get it packed well, or they'll end up falling apart as they dry (if they do, just crumble them up, put it in a jar with a nice bow on top and call it Fizzy Bath Salts!) 
  7. If you're using a tube to mold them, set it directly on top of the lined baking sheet. Put some of the mixture into the tube, then use something to batter it down. I used a spice jar lid that fit perfectly inside the tube. kind of like a piston, and then used a long wooden spoon handle to pound it down. It worked great, but I didn't care for the giant pill-shaped bombs, so I scraped them and used the 1/2 egg mold. Once you have it packed well, just slowly lift the tube straight up. If it sticks, you can tap the sides of the tube and use the lid/spoon to press it out as you lift.
  8. Unmolding can be tough. You must have patience because you can't just plop them out unless your mold will allow it.I just repeatedly tapped and shook the mold against my hand until the bomb came out. There were times when I'd nearly given up - it was getting really late! - but then the bomb would pop into my hand. 
  9. Set the bombs on the baking sheet into your oven or other safe place to dry. Mine were dry in 12 hours, but I let them sit for about a day and a half just to make sure they were dry all the way through. When they were dry, they were rock hard and not at all fragile! 
  10.  I packed three bombs into each bag, added a sprig or two of dried lavender for pretties, and was done!
Now, after I made these, I thought of a few possibilities that I could have tried, had I had the time:
  • Split the dry mixture into two separate bowls, mix the wet ingredients into two separate bottles, and add different colors. When molding, create stripes or swirls of the two colors.
  • Wrap each bomb in plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon.
  • Put the bombs into wide-mouthed Mason jars with a pretty ribbon tied around the top.
  • Pack the bombs into a "spa gift basket" with herbal tea, raw honey, a pretty mug, handmade soap, a scrubby or pretty washcloth...  
I'm planning on making these more often! I tried one out (had to make sure they worked!) and I loved it. Do you have any scent combos that you think would be good? For me, for my husband and oldest, for little guy, for gifts?

11 comments:

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Nicole said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love this!! I have to try these soon!!!!!!

bernie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What a clever gift! I love this idea. Thank you for making the instructions easy. I might even try this.

Jen Crum said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm looking forward to trying these!

Paula said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am crazy about them.

I like to use them personally, but also to give friends as gift.

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