DIY Bath Bombs: Nikki’s (Almost) Idiot-Proof Tutorial

Quite the little holiday sabbatical I took there, eh? It was not, I assure you, intended. When I started India Ink Elephant, it was a term in my secret contract with myself not to become one of those bloggers. You know. The folks who start off strong–interesting content, original voice, regular posts–until one week they miss an entry. Then before you know it, it’s two entries. Then you’re lucky if they post once a month, and pretty soon the whole thing trails off into nothing more than a glorified digital Christmas letter updated once a year to give a condensed, 2-paragraph “update” on the person’s life. Friends, I’ve been that blogger before. But I want you to know I’ve changed my stripes–I got off the wagon a bit, but I managed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and give it the old college try once more. (And yes, I was trying to see exactly how many obnoxious idioms I could fit into sentence…not bad, huh?)

But anyway, let’s get down to brass tacks (Okay! Sorry. Last one, I promise). Bath bombs. Who doesn’t loved scented fizzy moisturizing goodness in their bathwater?

These little guys were popularized in the past couple years almost single-handedly by Lush, hipster cosmetics store and overpriced soap emporium extraordinaire. But even more fun than paying $4.95 for a Lush bath bomb is making your own for around the tune of forty cents. I decided to try my hand at them when I was looking for a fun and cheap DIY project that I could make as Christmas gifts for the ladies in my family. My verdict? Bath bombs rock. The basic recipe is incredibly simple, but there’s also a lot of room to be creative and get fancy. Below, in words and pictures, is my tutorial to show you how to make a bath bomb like the one pictured above. Like I said, it’s crazy-easy. All you need are some basic household chemicals and a workspace that slightly resembles a meth lab and voila! Homemade bath products.

Nikki’s (Almost) Idiot Proof Bath Bomb Tutorial

Necessary Ingredients:

– Baking soda

– Citric Acid

– Water or Witch hazel, preferably in a spray bottle

Optional Ingredients:

– epsom salts: for texture and/or for its properties…epsom salts are soothing to the skin and anti-inflammatory)

– essential oils: for scent and/or for their properties

– herbs, dried flowers, etc.: for scent and/or ’cause they’re pretty

– food coloring: for fun

– mica or other minerals: for shimmer (jazz hands!)


– deep mixing bowl

– measuring cups

– cupcake pan, ice cube tray, or other mold to put the bombs in

– cutting board, baking sheet, or other flat surface to flip molds onto


1. Mix the baking soda and citric acid together in the bowl. I use a ratio of about 1/3 cup of citric acid for every 2 cups of baking soda. I’ve heard other people say that they use as much as 1 cup of citric acid for every 2 cups baking soda, but I found that to be expensive and not really necessary, since the only function of the citric acid is to make the bath bomb fizz and mine fizzed just fine using 1/3 cup. Keep in mind, though, that all of these measurements are approximate and you can play around with them to find what works best for you.

2. Add the fun stuff. Epsom salts (I use about 2 tablespoons), food coloring, herbs, and essential oils all go in at this point. Note about food coloring: I’d be wary of using more than 5 or 6 drops in a batch, because if you make the color too concentrated it could put a ring around someone’s tub. The food coloring also won’t really “take” until you get to step #3, so don’t freak out if you put the drops in and it just balls up and refuses to spread.

3. Spritz the mixture with water or witch hazel. The reason you want to do this with a spray bottle is because if the citric acid gets too wet and saturated, it will start to fizz and premature fizzing is no good for anyone. (That’s what she said?) After spritzing, mix the mixture together with your hands. Work the water through evenly; the mixture should start to get kind of crumbly. Spritz and mix, spritz and mix…eventually the mixture should reach a point where it begins to retain its shape when you squeeze it in your palm.

4. Then, QUICKLY press the mixture into your mold and apply lots of pressure–pack that sucker in. I resort to caps lock for this step because I learned the hard way (R.I.P. second half of my peppermint bomb batch) that if you let the mixture sit in the bowl for over 3 minutes or so, it begins to get gritty and dry and won’t mold properly.

5. Set your flat surface on top of the mold and flip over. If everything’s gone right, you should be able to un-mold the bombs immediately. If you plan to wrap the bombs in saran wrap or package them another way, let them sit out overnight first to make sure they are thoroughly dry. If they retain moisture after being wrapped, that whole premature fizzing thing could come back to haunt you.

6. Pat yourself on the back. You just made bath bombs.

Scent suggestions:

lavender / peppermint

jasmine / tea tree

sandalwood / rose

orange / chammomile

attempting to make bath bombs when you have a cold is difficult. I’m pretty sure our living room will smell like peppermint for weeks, or at least that what the people with sense of smell tell me.


Learn more about homemade bath and beauty products:

Brambleberry – wholesale supplies for soapmaking and natural cosmetics and lotions

Excellent Living – a way more comprehensive bath bomb guide than I could ever hope to write

Nature’s Bouquet – wholesale bath product ingredients – CHEAP CITRIC ACID!


Filed under DIY

4 responses to “DIY Bath Bombs: Nikki’s (Almost) Idiot-Proof Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Lotions and Potions « Pero Nunca

  2. Pingback: Mother’s Day Gifts You Can Make Yourself | The Cheapskate Mom

  3. I made these and they turned out great 🙂 thanks

  4. Love it and will definitely be featuring on my crafty blog!

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