One of the projects I love doing is making my own bath products. Not only can I use these for a luxurious (and budget friendly) treat for myself, but I can also gift them to friends. Making bath bombs can seem complicated but once you master the basics you will be on your way to making lot of fizzing bath creations! Ready to learn a new skill? How about bath bomb making?
DIY BATH BOMB TIPS
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Do you love bath bombs? These fizzing creations turn a regular bath time into a bubbly, fragrant submersion into bliss!
I have been making my own bath bombs for a few years now and today I wanted to share some of my best tips to help you start making your own bath bombs and forging a bit of home spun magic into your day.
Like learning any new skill, making bath bombs requires some knowledge and practice to get the hang of the process. Here we provide you with some knowledge, then we will be sharing some bath bomb project ideas to help you get started with practicing making bath bombs.
What is a bath bomb?
OK, first things first, do you know what a bath bomb is? They are a hard, round ball that turns into a fizzy eruption of fragrance and skin soothing ingredients in a warm bath. They are a special, selfcare treat that is loved by adults for it’s fragrant, luxurious bath experience, and by kids for its bubbly, fizzy fun as it dances around the bath water. Plus, the variations you can make are limitless. Making this a fun, creative pastime.
Why make bath bombs instead of buying them?
Although you can buy bath bombs in the stores, there are a few reasons you might prefer to make your own bath bombs.
- First, it is much cheaper to make your own bath bombs. It costs me about $1 a bath bomb to make them myself. If I buy them at the store they are anywhere from $5 to $15 each. That’s a massive savings!
- It is actually fun and not that hard once you learn all the tricks.
- You can customize your bath bombs to make them PERFECT for your specific needs. There is nothing worse than climbing into a bath and discovering the colours or scents of your bath bomb don’t work for you. Or worse yet, that it has an ingredient that triggers allergies or sensitivities.
- You can infuse your bath bombs with your intentions of peace, happiness, joy, healing.
- Bath bombs make incredible gifts that people love to receive. You will be a favourite amongst all your friends and family once you start gifting these homemade bath bombs.
- By making them yourself, you can store them in reusable containers, limiting the use of plastic from store bought ones. Which makes this one way to care for the Earth.
- Finally, it gives you an immense level of satisfaction watching them fizz away while you relax in the tub and thinking, “I made that bath bomb!”
Why do Bath Bombs fizz?
Bath Bombs are a simple acid-base reaction between baking soda – the base – and citric acid (or replacement acid) – the acid. In their dried, powdered form you can combine the acid and base and they will not react. We need to add the magical ingredient to trigger the chemical reaction, warm water!
One of the results of the reaction between the acid, base and water is Carbon Dioxide gas (CO2) which is those wonderful fizzy bubbles.
What does each ingredient do?
There are many different bath bomb recipes out there, but most share the same common core ingredients. Let’s explore a few of these ingredients.
Citric Acid – The most common acid used in bath bomb making is Citric Acid, however powered buttermilk can also be used and Cream of Tartar is also a common dry acid to add to the mix. This ingredient is critical for our chemical reaction to create the fizz.
Sodium Bicarbonate – Also known as baking soda, this is the base in the acid-base chemical reaction which creates the fizz.
Epsom Salts – Epsom Salts are known for helping with sore muscles, aches and pains and restless leg syndrome. Although not required, they are a nice addition to bath bombs.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is the binding agent that holds all of those dry ingredients together. Since it is an oil, it does not trigger the chemical reaction. I always use a good quality solid coconut oil, melt it to make the bath bombs, then when it solidifies again it makes for nice hard bath bombs.
Essential Oils – I like to use a variety of essential oils in my bath bombs based on our needs. Which essential oil you use is based on your preference and what scents appeal to you. Normally I focus on relaxing scents since my goal is self care, which for this momma means relaxation.
Colours – The easiest way to colour bath bombs is with mica powder. Although you can use a soap colourant, most of them are water based and will cause premature reactions in your mix. Mica is dry and will mix to create vibrant colours. Just remember a little goes a long way.
Polysorbate 80 – Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier that helps the oils and colours in your bath bombs disperse more evenly in the bath water rather than pooling on top. It also prevents the the oils and mica from clinging to the tub and the bather. This is important as oil on the bottom of the tub can make it slippery. We all know oil and water don’t mix, which is why it is so important to use Polysorbate 80 when making bath bombs.
How do you use a bath bomb?
Ready to use your bath bomb? Run yourself a nice warm bath. Remove any wrappers or packaging from your bath bomb. Now add your bath bomb to the warm water and relax as it fizzes and bounces around your tub leaving a fragrant bubbly experience in its wake.
If you have some colours from the bath bomb left on the sides or bottom of your bath tub, simply rinse with fresh water or use a little bit of regular bath tub cleaner to remove the residue.
Storing and Gifting Bath Bombs
Once you have successfully made your gorgeous bath fizzies you are going to want to store them safely. It is best to keep them in an airtight container to protect them from moisture. Remember, any water, even humidity in the air will cause your bath bombs to start reacting, which means less fizz at bath time.
I prefer to use a glass container with a lid to store my bath bombs.
When gifting bath bombs I put them in reusable plastic bath bomb molds, or shrink wrap them in plastic. If you don’t have a way to shrink wrap, you can use a plastic gift bag and just make sure to tightly secure the top. You can also go with a more environmentally friendly approach and gift them in a glass jar that they can return to you once it is empty so you can fill it with a new batch of bath bombs.
Troubleshooting DIY Bath Bombs
OK, so you dove in and made some bath bombs, but it totally failed. It’s all good!
Remember, developing skill sets takes time, patience and practice. It also requires knowledge. So let’s chat about some of the things that can go wrong.
There are a few common errors faced when making bath bombs. Here are the solutions to some of your fizzy woes!
Bath bomb won’t fizz
This can happen with any bath bomb. You place it in the water and nothing happens. No fizz. Nothing. Nada.
First, make sure you are using warm water. If your water is too cool the reaction will not happen.
Next, how old is your bath bomb? Bath bombs lose their effectiveness and should be used within 3 months for maximum fizz.
How have you been storing the bath bomb? If it hasn’t been kept sealed, humidity from the air may have caused premature reactions leaving your bath bomb inert.
If you made the bath bomb yourself, confirm that you didn’t forget any of the ingredients or make a mistake with your measurements.
Cracking and crumbling bath bombs
If your bath bombs are crumbling you need more binding agent. The trick here is that the amount of binding agent you need varies based on the recipe and the weather. If it is really dry where you live, you will need more binding agent. You can increase the amount of coconut oil, or use a few sprays of Witch Hazel or Rubbing Alcohol to help wet and bind your mixture.
A great test when you are making your bath bombs is to grab your mix and press it into your hand, then drop the “clump” and see if falls apart. It should stay fairly well stuck in a clump.
Clumps, gaps and uneven finished product
If your bath bomb has inconsistencies like weird clumps, uneven colouring, gaps, etc. it means you didn’t mix your bath bomb ingredients together enough. Use your hands and make sure all the lumps are broken down and everything is really well mixed together.
Colours are staining the tub and me!
Try using less mica. A little really does go a long way. Also make sure you didn’t forget the polysorbate 80 which helps those colours mix properly with your water. Alternatively, you can try using a Water Soluble Liquid Colorant to color your bath bombs. Just use a little as it will cause your mix to start reacting.
Mix is sticking to the molds
It can be so incredibly frustrating when your mix sticks to the mold when you are making bath bombs. If you are using silicone molds, make sure the bath bombs are dry before removing them from the mold. If you are using clam style molds, loosely fill each side, then press them together. Tap the ends and sides until you feel the bath bomb move inside, then gently pop it out. If it is still sticking, your mix is too wet. Try adding a bit more baking soda or corn starch to dry it up a bit.
Bath bomb won’t come out of the molds
Learning the proper technique for using bath bomb molds is so important. It is important to loosely heap the mix into both sides of the mold, then press together, twist, tap and pop out that bath bomb! Once you master the technique it gets much easier. It just takes a bit of practice.
Bath bombs are expanding
If your bath bombs are expanding and growing when they should be setting up and hardening, this means the mixture is being exposed to water and the fizzy chemical reaction is happening prematurely. If you use a colorant or fragrance that contains water, this can cause the bath bomb mixture to fizz. Moisture on your hands can also cause premature reactions. Don’t forget that moisture in the air will also trigger a reaction. If you live in a humid climate or it is a rainy day, you might need to use a dehumidifier.
Next up, watch for some bath bomb recipes so you can start trying your hand at making them yourself.