Fizzy Bath Bombs

A little craft project that works great, and saves a ton of money.

ingredients

1 cup baking soda (ordinary, store-bought variety)
1/2 cup citric acid (powdered)*
1/2 cup Epsom salts (health and beauty section)
1/4 cup cornstarch **

2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, walnut, almond — whatever you want)
1/2 to 1 tsp essential or fragrance oil
10 drops food coloring

witch hazel in a misting spray bottle

* Citric acid can be found in some stores — if your local grocery has a pickling/canning section, you might find it as “sour salt”. You can also find it in winemaking shops. I got mine online from a soap goods retailer.
** Cornstarch is optional. It makes the balls float better, but some people apparently have … “lady problems” with cornstarch in a bath.

dry goods

Whisk dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, salts, cornstarch) together until well blended. You may need to sift your powdered ingredients to get rid of clumps.

wet goods

Mix wet ingredients (oil, fragrance oil, food coloring). Add slowly in little bits (maybe one teaspoon at a time) to the dry stuff. Smoosh it around well with your hand, or whisk it, until the color and liquids are evenly distributed. If you add too much liquid at once, you may start the fizzing reaction prematurely. You can listen to the mix to see if it’s fully blended.

wet sand

Hopefully, you’ll have the consistency of wet sand, and it will stick together when you press a clump in your hand. If not, then spritz lightly with witch hazel, three spritzes or so and then mix again, until it’ll hold together.

fill molds

Use a two-part plastic Xmas ornament (I got mine at Michael’s Crafts for 89 cents). Pack the mix into each side, then pile extra on top. Press firmly together. Wipe the excess off the seam, then gently remove the mold.
Your ornament halves should come off easily and cleanly. If not, your mixture might not be quite damp enough. Spritz a couple more times, mix, and try to mold up again.

squeeze molds tight

Your ornament halves should come off easily and cleanly. If not, your mixture might not be quite damp enough. Spritz a couple more times, mix, and try to mold up again.

Put the balls on a cookie sheet (I covered mine with foil, for easy cleanup) to dry. Don’t put them on a paper towel — they’ll stick. Lesson learned the hard way. You can dry them a bit faster if you put them in a warm oven — just turn the oven on to “warm” for a couple of minutes, then turn the oven off. Put in your tray of bombs — with the door closed, the oven will stay warm for quite a while.

24 hours later, you have fizzy bombs ready for a bath!

finished bombs

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3 Comments

  1. I used this recipe to make bath bombs for in-laws and friends as gifts this past Christmas (2009). The instructions above are great! Being a non-crafty boy, I ran into a few snags. So here are some tips for others that may not be as crafty as The Missy and are doing this for the first time:

    1. Pack the mixture extra tight in the ornaments. If you pack it too loose, they’ll collapse like a bad cake over the next 6 hours.

    2. When spritzing with witch hazel, keep the sprayer farther away from the mixture than you normally would to moisten without activating the fizz in the baking soda.

    3. I wasn’t able to get the two halves to stick together when I packed the ornaments described in the instructions. Each half, when packed tight enough, would hold together after dumping from the ornament, but the two halves simply wouldn’t stick without extra spritzing from the witch hazel (and activating the fizz). My solution was to pack a big ball using one half of the ornament only, and then use the second half only to “round out” the ball. That way, they were constructed as a single bomb rather than two halves.

    4. Finally, though The Missy doesn’t explicitly say it, she shows a picture of her hands with gloves on while tending to the mixture. USE THEM. I didn’t use gloves on my first batch, and my hands looked like a Smurf when I was done.

    Great post Missy!

    [Reply]

    missy Reply:

    Excellent points all! I get gloves by the big box, since they’re good for cleaning, hair coloring, food prep and more. Can’t believe I didn’t mention them.

    For your hint #3, I didn’t have a problem getting the two packed halves to stick together. You may not have had enough extra mixture bulging out of each half; I filled them pretty overfull. And I squeezed the heck out of them to get them to stick.

    I still have most of the supplies; I should totally do these again. Thanks for the compliments; this post was the first time I’d ever made the bombs!

    [Reply]

  2. I started a batch of bombs last night. First batch is perfetc, although I made mine with thick cookie cutters and bath soap molds. They are all very pretty. Second batch I just finished and they seem to be too oily, and are not molding/drying properly. I’m gonna try the oven trick for a couple minutes and see if that helps the process along!

    [Reply]

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