If there’s a perfect time to learn how to make a bath bomb or some homemade soap, it’s the holiday season. After all, who doesn’t love receiving a DIY gift?
Why DIY Bath Bombs And Soaps?
Going the DIY route when it comes to gifting personal care products like homemade soaps and bath bombs does have its benefits.
You can tailor-fit the scent and color to your recipient’s preference or personality, instead of wasting time scouring through shops and online stores for the perfect gift.
You can make sure there are no icky chemicals or unsafe ingredients in your homemade present since you’ll be relying on essential oils and other natural ingredients.
You could potentially save a few bucks and support more sustainable practices by making a homemade gift instead of purchasing something from a store.
DIY Holiday Gifts: Giving Bath Essentials
More than being a fizzy, fun and thoughtful gift, gifting a bath bomb is a good way to encourage self-care during the winter months. The shifting seasons and colder weather can take its toll. Practicing self-care (say, in the form of a pampering bath) might help lift your mood, relax your muscles, and banish the winter blues.1
Not only that, using quality essential oils as ingredients in homemade bath bombs, soaps, and scrubs could help stave off that “blah” feeling that comes with chilly weather. Consider citrus oils, peppermint and eucalyptus, and tea tree varieties when formulating your DIY bath products, as they may be particularly soothing.2-5
How To Make A Bathbomb: Ingredients And Steps
Read on for a basic DIY bath bomb recipe using simple ingredients like baking soda and tools you can easily purchase in bulk and online.
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup Epsom salt
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup citric acid powder*
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, olive oil, or other vegetable oil of choice (you can also use melted cocoa butter)
- 1 Tsp. water**
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl or jar with lid
- Silicon bath bomb molds (about 12-16)
- Biodegradable glitter
- Dried flower petals
- 2 tsp. essential oils of choice (try a relaxing blend of peppermint and lavender essential oil to start, but feel free to experiment)
- 4-6 drops food coloring of choice
*Citric acid powder is key in creating the release of carbon dioxide bubbles that make your bath bombs fizz and crackle in the tub.6
**Using isopropyl alcohol instead of water might help the bombs fizz longer in the tub. This is especially true if you live in a high-humidity area, which can cause your bath bombs to be more moist than usual and fail to come together successfully.7
- Whisk dry ingredients, including baking soda, Epsom salts, and cornstarch together in the large mixing bowl, making sure there are no clumps.
- If using glitter or dried flower petals, add to the mix.
- In a separate smaller bowl or lidded jar, mix together wet ingredients.
- Slowly add small amounts of the wet mix to the dry ingredients in your large bowl. Working a spoonful at a time, whisk the mixture until it resembles damp sand and clumps together when you pinch it a bit.
- Quickly pack the bath bomb mixture into your chosen mold, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies if you’re using a shape or intricate design past your usual sphere-shaped mold.
- Leave the molds out to dry. Once ready, pop them out and wrap them nicely in cellophane or wax paper. You can also store them in airtight containers.8
How To Make Homemade Soaps: Ingredients And Steps
Complete your DIY gift by bundling homemade soap with your bath bomb. You can employ the same blend of essential oils to amplify the effects, or you can use another set of ingredients to complement your bath bomb.
Regardless of which route you wish to go, you’re going to need a basic soap recipe to build on. Here’s a good place to start.
- ¾ cup filtered or distilled water
- ¼ cup lye (crystal form) or 100% sodium hydroxide (available at most craft stores or online)
- ⅔ cup coconut oil
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup mild liquid oil of choice (try safflower, almond, or grapeseed oil)
- Optional add-ons: A few drops of quality essential oils (for specific aromatherapy properties), oat bran or coffee grounds (for exfoliation), and/or dried flower petals or herbs (for color and scent)
- Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons (This is very important, as any other material will react with corrosive lye)
- Quart canning jar
- Pint canning jar
- Protective gear (plastic goggles, gloves, and mask)
- Stainless steel thermometer
- Hand or stick blender
- Mixing bowl
- Silicone spatulas
- Soap mold of choice
- Plastic wrap
- Tea towel
Now, the gear you use for soap making shouldn’t be what you use for eating — lye is a corrosive, dangerous substance that can cause holes in fabric and burns on the skin. Handle with care. Be sure to wear protective gear at all times and set aside gear(spatulas, bowls, etc.) dedicated specifically to this craft.
- Cover your work area with newspaper and put on protective wear.
- Measure out ¾ cup water into the quart canning jar. Next, carefully add exactly a quarter cup of lye to the water. Standing back to avoid fumes, stir immediately but gently. Don’t be alarmed by the heat and fumes — lye is meant to behave this way, and you should be wearing protective gear at all times. Set aside once well-blended.
- In the pint jar, add your oils. Microwave the oils until the mixture reaches about 120 degrees. At this point, check on your water and lye mix; it should have cooled to about the same temp.
- Observe closely until both mixtures are between 95 to 105 degrees, and not too far from each other. Once they’ve hit the sweet spot temperature-wise, transfer the oil mix into a large mixing bowl.
- Slowly stir the lye mixture into the mixing bowl. Do this by hand until as much of the lye has incorporated into the oils, then you can shift to using a hand blender to finish the job.
- Blend until thick, resembling mayonnaise or pudding in texture. At this point, you can add your chosen ingredients.
- Transfer to soap molds, wrap in plastic wrap and bundle up in a tea towel. Let soaps rest for at least a day before checking. Once they’ve fully set and hardened, you can flip them out onto parchment paper or an old baking rack. Cut if necessary, then leave to cure for about four weeks (just leave in a cool dry place). Wrap soap individually or store in airtight containers.9
Make Your Own Bath Bombs For A Luxurious Holiday Treat
Homemade bath bombs and soaps are a labor of love sure to be appreciated by your friends and family. With the right scents and quality ingredients, you’ll be giving them more than just something pretty to display in their bathrooms — you’re giving them a really relaxing experience.