I had seen instructions for making bath bombs before. But I was always put off by the danger of premature fizzing – the part in the instructions where you have to spray on just enough water to make it all stick together but not enough to set off the reaction that should only happen in the privacy of your own bathroom. So I was delighted to come across this variation.
– 180g Bicarbonate of Soda
– 60g Citric Acid
– 3-5ml Essential oils (check that they are suitable for use on the skin.)
– (optional) flower petals
– (optional) a few drops of food colouring
– Ice Cube Tray – the bendy sort
– Mixing bowl (one you won’t want to use for food afterwards)
– Spoon (ditto)
– (optional) Plastic Dropper/Pipette
This makes enough to fill a normal sized square ice tray, with a little left over. I mostly use one from IKEA which has 16 holes that are a flowery shape. I’ve also done star shaped ones, although they were a bit trickier – it’s best to choose a shape without thin parts which could break off.
The ratio of bicarbonate to citric acid is a straightforward 3:1 so you can increase or decrease quantities to fit different size moulds so long as you retain that ratio.
And all you do is mix the two powders together before adding the essential oil and the food colouring, if desired, a little at a time (which is where the pipette comes in handy), stirring it in well. You can also add dried flower petals such as lavender or rose, if that is appropriate for the oil you have chosen.
Then just press the mixture into the moulds, very firmly. You will be surprised at how much you can fit into those tiny holes when you press it down really hard.
Leave it for a good few hours – I normally wait overnight – then carefully turn them out. They will have taken on enough moisture from the air to make them stick together without starting to fizz.
I made loads of these for Christmas and can’t believe I don’t have a photo of any. Because it’s Christmas they were in the shape of stars, with some cosmetic-grade glitter sprinkled into the moulds first so they came out sparkly. I packaged them into a (clean) coffee jar, decorated it with gold glass painted stars, and added a ribbon and a label. I used a ready made christmassy oil blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, orange and pine, which saved me having to work out the right mixture myself.
I’m not sure if this no-added-water method would work for big bath balls, but it’s certainly simple and effective for these smaller ones. My four-year-old can even make his own, with just a little supervision and plenty of blue food colouring!
(This post was originally written in August 2011)