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DIY Bath bombs

Once I learned how easy it was to make your own bath bombs, they have become my go-to homemade gift. You can customize the size, shape, scent, and packaging to work for almost any occasion.  I know I’d love it if my friends gave me rose-scented bath bombs for Valentine’s Day!

By: Julia Madill

Making bath bombs is simple science 101. Ever make a baking soda and vinegar volcanic explosion as a kid?  We’re working on the same scientific principle here: an acid plus a base = kaboom! This time the acid is citric acid, a solid, which will only react with the baking soda when exposed to a liquid; ie: your bath water.  Don’t let the name scare you! Citric acid is a common, naturally derived food additive.



• 2 cups Baking Soda

• 1 cup citric acid (available at bulk stores such as Bulk Barn, or specialty stores such as New Directions Aromatics )

• 1 tbsp oil of your choice – This is for skin softening and can really be any oil.  I’ve used grapeseed, jojoba and apricot available at health food stores . Stay away from scented oils such as baby oil or other bath oils unless you intend on using this oil as your scent as well.

• Several drops essential oil – This is my favourite part of making bath bombs.  You have complete control over the scent as well as its strength.  I purchased my essential oils at health food stores. You can have a lot of fun mixing the scents to create your own custom aromas. Of course, if you’d prefer to have unscented bath bombs, an essential oil is completely optional.

• Food colouring – Basic, liquid food colouring will do, though the results are subtle.  The liquid will prematurely set off the chemical reaction and will not completely blend into your mixture.  I like the pastel, dappled effect you get with liquid food colouring, but if you want bright, uniform colour, you’ll want to look for powdered tints such as La Bomb Colorant.

– Witch-hazel – Another scary sounding ingredient which is completely harmless. Witch hazel is derived from the plant of the same name and has been used in skin care for centuries. Warning: it smells odd. Don’t worry.  The scent will disappear when your bath bombs dry. Again, this ingredient can be found at health food stores.

– Large stainless steel or glass bowl – You’ll want to use something that won’t absorb the scent… unless you don’t mind your next salad tasting like lavender.

– Spray bottle

– Metal whisk

– Mould.  This can be anything from a cookie cutter, plastic egg carton, muffin tin or specialty soap making mold.  I failed at making heart-shaped bombs with an empty candy tin, but I used a tennis ball cut in half for this tutorial with surprisingly good results!

– Tray covered in wax paper or tin foil for drying

– Optional: Decorative additives such as flower petals or glitter.  Keep in mind anything you add for decoration will join you in the tub!

If you really want to go hog-wild, check out wholesale retailers such as New Directions Aromatics or Bramble Berry Soapmaking supplies which carry everything above and more!


1) Whisk together the baking soda and citric acid.

2) Add your oils,  slowly in drops, whisking to prevent the mixture fizzing.  I used approximately 20 drops of Lavender essential oil for my scent.  This amount of essential oil will smell strong, but keep in mind the scent will be greatly diluted in a bath.


3) Add your colour slowly as above. Whisk well, keeping in mind liquid food colouring will never mix completely.


4) Spray the mixture liberally with witch hazel while mixing with your hand.  Witch hazel will not cause the mixture to react. You want to aim for your bath bomb mixture to be about the texture of damp sand. If you grab a handful and squeeze it, it should just hold together.

SprayWitchHazel WetSand

5) The fun part!  Grab your mould of choice and pack it – tight!  Packing it tightly will ensure your bath bomb won’t crumble when it dries. To make a spherical bomb, I sliced a tennis ball in half.  First I placed some dried lavender in each half for decoration and then packed both sides tightly with the bath bomb mixture.


Then I added a little more of the mixture to each side and pressed the two halves together.  Then I squeezed the living daylights out of it before opening it up. Remember  – keep it tight!


I brushed the excess mix around the seam off, and voila!  La bomb! With the recipe above I was able to make 7 bath bombs.


6) Place your creations on a tray in a safe place to dry for 24 hrs.


7) Take a bath! Or, if you’re feeling generous, package the bombs nicely in a waterproof container for gifting (remember – water causes the chemical reaction!).

Tips and tricks:

– Some moulds work better than others so don’t get discouraged if your cookie cutter/kinder egg/muffin tin doesn’t work out. I attempted heart-shaped bombs with an empty chocolate tin but the lip on the edge prevented the mixture from coming out. That bomb bombed. As a general rule, I’ve learned that the more simple the shape, the better.

– If your mixture gets too dry, keep spritzing with witch hazel.

– Though you don’t have to work at the speed of light, the mixture will begin to harden eventually so make sure you have set aside enough time to mold all your bath bombs without a break


Valentine’s day/Bridal – Pink, heart-shaped, and rose-scented, rose petal decoration

Christmas – White, spherical, peppermint-scented, epsom salt decoration (snow balls!)

Easter – Robins egg blue, egg shaped, chocolate scented

Manly – Green, Tree shaped, pine scented

Fresh – Yellow, oval, lemongrass scented

Relaxing – Purple, spherical, lavender scented, dried lavender decoration

Get well – Green, spherical, eucalyptus scented

The possibilities are endless! Have fun and never bathe without a bomb!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Omg I have to try this! I’ve always wanted to make my own bath bombs! And good idea to use them for gifts!

    February 10, 2015
  2. Denise #

    I want to make these as gifts for my daughter and granddaughter. I think I will put little toys in the middle for my granddaughter to find as a surprise.

    September 17, 2018
    • J #

      Great idea Denise!

      February 13, 2019

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