A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of nothing at all ...
Monday, December 15, 2008
--1 cup cornstarch --1 cup citric acid --2 cups baking soda --1/2 cup Epsom salt --1/2 cup sea salt --2 tsp. water --1/2 tsp. borax --1-2 tsp. essential or fragrance oil --2 tbsp. of a light oil like jojoba, coconut or grapeseed --optional a few drops of a soap safe dye or food coloring (or you can leave plain white)
Sift the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to remove clumps. Set the bowl aside.
Put the water into a squirt-type bottle and add the borax. Be sure to add the borax before you add the other ingredients! It won't completely dissolve. If you're adding color, add it here. Next add the fragrance or essential oil and the vegetable oil. Shake well so that the whole mixture becomes emulsified - it will be a creamy, slurry-like mix.
Now it's time to make the bombs. You must go slowly through this mixing of the wet and dry ingredients - you don't want the bombs to be too wet (making them fizz and swell) or too dry (making them crumble and fall apart).
While whisking with one hand, squirt a few drops of the liquid into the center of the dry ingredients. It will immediately start to fizz. Start mixing right away with the whisk - this stops the fizzing by incorporating the liquid into the rest of the dry ingredients. Keep adding the liquid slowly, stirring continually, until all ingredients are well incorporated. The mixture should be fairly thick.
Testing the bath bombs: The mixture should be like wet sand - just barely wet enough to stick together. Pick up a half handful of the mix and squeeze it together. Does it clump into a ball and remain in a ball shape? This is good and you can begin molding the bath bombs. If they're still too dry, use your spray bottle of water to add just a bit more water. Just a bit! It only takes a few sprays of water to make a big difference.
If the mixture is too wet, it's harder to fix. You can add a bit of salt, cornstarch, or more baking soda and citric acid (at a 2:1 ratio). This is why it is better to start out stingy with the wet ingredients.
Molding the bath bombs: I use small metal tins as molds (.5 - 1 ounce size) to mold the bath bombs. There are molds especially made to enable you to make perfectly round bombs, but I try to use what I have on hand. Pack the mixture tightly into the tin and scrape the top with a knife. Let it sit for a minute or two, then tap the edge of the tin onto the cookie sheet. The tablet should drop out without too much effort.
Gently lay the bath bombs onto a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet. They will still be a little soft, so they must set overnight. Then your rock hard bath bombs are ready for the tub.
To give as gifts, wrap each bath bomb in colorful cellophane or plastic wrap.
I am a married mother of 3 grown daughters and I have 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson. I currently have a gardening column in the Sunday's Advocate Messenger and I freelance for Kentucky Monthly magazine and Examiner.com.