As a point of interest, this is where my bath and body creation journey began. I found a recipe for bath bombs on the 'net. I made them and they worked. Yay! This is a picture of the first batch. The second time - they worked. Huzzah! The third time - nope. Nothing. Just wet, goopy stuff in my hands. I went on a search to find out why, found the Dish forum, and the rest is history. Thank you, failed bath bombs for leading me to this wonderful hobby/obsession!
This recipe is rated E for everyone, but is especially fantastic for beginners, those who don't wish to use preservatives, or those who don't have a scale. The shelf life of this product is dependent upon the shelf life of your oil. I suggest using an oil with a 6 month or greater life span.
RECIPE FOR BATH BOMBS BY WEIGHT
120 grams baking soda
60 grams citric acid
13 grams oil of choice
4 grams fragrance oil
I've deleted the volume measurements for this recipe. I don't want to encourage you to use volume measurements for bath & body products as it's a highly inaccurate way to make things!
You'll notice I have a 2:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid. Some people like a 3:1 ratio. You might also see bath bomb recipes with cornstarch - I find they make the water too soft. These are both personal preferences.
Mix the powdered parts together very well and make sure there aren't any big hunks of baking soda or citric acid in the mix. Add your oil and fragrance oil and drip the colour into the oils. Mix really well - it might fizz a bit. This is normal. Press into the moulds very hard - pack a layer as hard as you can, then pack the next layer, until you've reached the top - and wait at least 45 minutes before removing. If you live in a high humidity area, wait longer.
I like to use silicone ice cube trays as my moulds as they make the bath bombs easier to remove. This does mean I end up making very small ones and I don't have a huge selection of shapes, but it does mean I experience fewer failed bath bombs even in my high humidity climate. You can also use good plastic chocolate moulds, but never ever use them for food again. Those little hearts in the picture above are from a chocolate mould, whereas the suns, flowers, and pineapples are from ice cube trays. Summer is the best time of year to find these trays, although you can find them at Ikea all year round.
A variation: Sometimes I'll put dried flower petals in the bottom the molds - rose or lavender are nice - and press the bath bomb mixture into them. It looks pretty.
Another variation: Sometimes I put my fragrance oil into 3% Natrabath and mix it well before adding it to the bath bomb mixture. It can help if you're finding you have too much liquid in the mix, and it helps disperse the fragrance through the bath.
Which oil to choose? I like to use a light oil that has a long shelf life like sunflower or soy bean oil (I usually choose soy bean oil as it has a long shelf life and is inexpensive). You can use one of the butters as well - they tend to make your bath bombs harder and they have nice long shelf lives.
What's the problem with high humidity? It can set the fizzing of the bath bomb off before its time, while they are sitting in their moulds! I had this happen when it was 88% humidity in the house. Or they can become all warty and weird! This is why humidity is not our friend, and why we don't include things like olive oil or glycerin - they are humectants, and draw water from the atmosphere to our bath bombs!
So if you're having trouble with your bath bombs, why not try making bath cupcakes? Using the same recipe, just get a small cupcake pan and line them with some lovely and colourful cupcake cups? While you're letting them sit for about 45 minutes, prepare a batch of Royal Icing (use the type with meringue powder and add a titch - up to 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar for extra stiffness). Pipe it on to your cupcake (I like to use a 1M piping tip - I used a smaller one in this picture and I think it's too busy) and you have yourself an adorable bath bomb that not only hides any problems but makes your giftee go all squee on you! You can scent and colour the royal icing, but I like to leave it plain because the sugariness smells delightful!
The Soap Queen (aka Anne-Marie from Brambleberry) has posted another video tutorial on making these adorable cupcakes! Talk about awesome or what?
A few points of interest...
- If you use a vanilla based fragrance oil, it can turn your bath bombs a brownish colour. If you simply must use that fragrance oil either use a vanilla stabilizer or make your bath bombs brown.
- If you have the choice between powdered citric acid and granular citric acid, go for the powdered: It's easier to use.
- If you have the choice between anhydrous and hydrous citric acid, go with the anhydrous.
- And if you have the choice of baking sodas, I find there really is a difference in using Arm & Hammer Baking soda over the house brands. The house brands tend to be a little coarser for some reason.
- Package these in a cute little cellophane bag with a ribbon or a lovely little box. You can mix and match colours and complementary fragrances.
- Store in an airtight container - not a plastic storage or sandwich bag or you will lose your scent - so you don't lose the fragrance or have your oils go rancid on you. A big glass container is a great storage device!