Wondering how to make bath bombs? We’ve got you covered. You may be fantasizing about bath bombs that fizz, release incredible aromas, or provide health benefits with essential oils.
Making bath bombs is most definitely a science—you’ve got to balance those ingredients just right. It’s also an art–one that can save you money and get your creative juices flowing.
So how to make bath bombs? You need to understand the bath bomb ingredients and practice the basic bath bomb recipe. Then it’s time to learn about the different essential oils for bath bombs and carrier oils for bath bombs. Finally, practice techniques for gift wrapping bath bombs and discover how to store bath bombs to make them last. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be ready for advanced DIY bath bomb recipes.
We’re basically sending you to the Bath Bomb Academy. By making these bath bombs, you’ll get the inspiration and know-how you need to successfully whip up your own DIY bath bomb recipe.
To quickly order all the ingredients and tools you’ll need for Bathtubber bath bomb recipes, click here.
Ready to make honor roll?
Basic Bath Bomb Ingredients
We could just tell you the basic bath bomb recipe and send you on your way. But by understanding what each ingredient contributes to the success of your bath bomb, you’ll be better equipped to improvise your own bath bomb recipe later on.
So as you read through this list of ingredients, try to picture what each one does:
Baking Soda – Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking powder has a high pH. On its own, baking soda isn’t good for your skin. But in a bath bomb, the baking soda reacts with the low pH citric acid and the bathwater. This immediately neutralizes the pH. The alkalinity in baking soda makes the water feel silky. Plus, baking soda is reported to help with a number of health problems.
Carrier Oil – This ingredient in a bath bomb carries the more potent, concentrated essential oils to your skin. The vegetable oil in a bath bomb recipe could be coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or any other plant-based oil. These oils are lightly scented and generally moisturizing.
Citric Acid – Citric acid gives a citrus-y, sour flavor to candy and other foods. Because it has a low pH, when it mixes with baking powder and water, it releases carbon dioxide. This acid (citric acid) + base (baking powder) + water = amazing fizziness!
Cornstarch – Cornstarch slows down the rate at which the bath bomb dissolves. A bath bomb without cornstarch might fizz away into your bathwater in a matter of seconds. With the cornstarch, the reaction takes several minutes.
Cream of Tartar – A small amount provides extra fizz and also helps bath bombs harden.
Essential Oil – This type of oil is extracted from a plant and contains the essence of the plant’s aroma. It’s created using a distillation process and is quite potent in terms of its effect and scent. Different essential oils are believed to cause different effects. For example, lavender is said to decrease anxiety, while ginseng is good to ramp up energy.
Epsom Salt – This ingredient breaks down into its component parts in the water—magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium taken orally can relax the muscles, and in the water, many feel it absorbs through the skin and does the same. (Science has yet to prove the effect.)
Mica – This is made from a ground mineral with added colorant. It’s a way to add bright colors to your bath bombs without using a liquid dye. A dry colorant is easier to work with because it won’t cause your mixture to react before the bath bomb gets wet. To make an all-natural basic bath bomb, simply be sure that your colorant is natural and you’re good to go.
Witch Hazel – This helps the ingredients in the bath bomb recipe stick together.
There are several types and shapes of molds available for bath bombs.
- Plastic Ornaments – You can buy these sphere-shaped molds at the craft stores, and fill them with candies or glitter, or hang them on a Christmas tree. However, they also work well for bath bombs. The great advantage of these is they make pretty containers if you are gifting your bath bombs. (More on gift wrapping later.) Personally, I find these the easiest molds to use.
- Stainless Steel – These come in a variety of shapes, from spheres to hearts to seashells, and in a variety of sizes. The less intricate the mold, the easier it is to remove the finished product without any crumbling. For this reason, we suggest you start with a sphere.
How to Make Bath Bombs: The Basic Recipe
You wouldn’t compete in the Olympics for gymnastics before you knew how to somersault, right? Well, the same goes for bath bombs.
If you master this basic recipe for how to make bath bombs, you’ll have the skill required to do all kinds of twists and turns later on. (And later on, could be the same day…just after you’ve tried the original recipe.) Later, you can add flowers, stripes, and extra fizz. For now, though, try your hand at making the beginner bath bomb.
While making the basic bath bomb recipe isn’t rocket science, we found that it is definitely science. Most people need to experiment a bit before getting it right. With that said, here’s our favorite recipe for basic bath bombs.
The hardest part about getting the basic bath bomb recipe down is understanding what the consistency of the mixture should be. You’re going for the feel of wet sand. You want the mixture to clump together like a ball in your fist. But—and this is the super tricky part!—if it gets too wet, the mixture will react and expand. By react, I mean that the citric acid and the liquid start to bubble, bubble, bubble. And then you’re in trouble.
So, the key is to add your liquid last.
Also, wear rubber gloves and mix by hand. When I say “mix,” I mean scoop up a pile of the mixture and rub it between your open palms. But once you’ve added the liquids, you don’t want to over-mix.
You will spritz the mixture with witch hazel, just 1-2 spritzes at a time, checking constantly if the mixture is at the right consistency. Once it is, pack your molds. Put the molds on a tray and leave them alone to dry.
Trust me, I know that it’s hard to resist the temptation to check on your baby bath bombs while they are drying. DON’T! Leave them all alone for at least 6 hours, and overnight is really much better. While they might look dry on the outside, on the inside they can be wet. This will cause them to crumble when you remove the mold.
This recipe makes 4 medium bath bombs or 2 large bath bombs. (It will vary depending on the size of your molds.)
- Bath bomb molds
- Spray bottle for witch hazel
- Protective gloves
- Mixing bowl
- Spoon or whisk for mixing liquids together
A quick word about the molds: If this is your first bath bomb adventure, use the spherical stainless steel molds or the clear, plastic ornament molds. If you use molds with intricate designs, the bath bomb is more likely to break when you take it out, so let’s save the fancy molds for later.
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1/4 cup Epsom salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp powdered mica for color (any color you like)
- 1 cup citric acid
- 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
- 15 drops essential oil (any scent you like)
- 3 tbsp carrier oil (sweet almond, melted coconut, or jojoba)
- witch hazel
- Mix together in a mixing bowl the baking soda, Epsom salt, cornstarch and powdered mica and corn starch.
- Add the citric acid and mix well with your hands.
- In a separate bowl, combine the essential oil and the carrier oil. Mix well with a spoon.
- Now pour the liquid into the dry mixture. Work quickly and mix well with your hands. Rub the mixture between your open palms.
- Make a ball with the mixture in your fist. If it does not hold together like a snowball, then spritz 1-2 times with witch hazel. Mix again. Test consistency. Spritz again. Repeat until the mixture holds.
- Pack mixture tightly into each half of the bath bomb mold. Very slightly overfill. This will help the two halves of the mold stick together.
- Put the mold together and leave in a safe place to dry. The bath bombs will be dry in 4-6 hours but they will harden more, and become less likely to break, if you can leave them alone overnight.
- To remove the bath bombs from the mold, lightly tap on the outside of the mold with a spoon.
- Store in a moisture-free tupperware with a lid or a glass jar with a lid. Or, drop in the tub and enjoy!
Tricks, Tips & Troubleshooting
When I first started making bath bombs, I got really frustrated! All the posts I read made it seem so simple, but for me, it wasn’t.
My mixture would expand in the mold until the two halves no longer fit together.
Or I couldn’t get the color to be as bright as I’d imagined.
Or I’d finally get everything perfect, and then when I went to take my bombs out of the molds, they’d crumble.
Because I’ve walked the road of hard knocks when it comes to learning how to make bath bombs, I can tell you some shortcuts for how to make bath bombs the easy way.
Getting Your Bath Bomb Mixture Just Right
Remember Goldilocks? She comes across three bowls of porridge. One is too hot. One is too cold. And the third is just right.
I always think about Goldilocks when I’m whisking my bath bomb ingredients. The mixture can’t be too dry or the bath bomb will crumble later on.
But the mixture can’t be too wet or the citric acid and the baking soda will start reacting. This causes the mixture to expand beyond the shape of the mold. When you’re first discovering how to make bath bombs, this can be super frustrating!
To get the mixture just right, you’ve got to be sure it’s not too wet and not too dry. And you’ve got to make sure the chemical reaction doesn’t happen too soon.
To get it just right be sure to:
- Use powdered mica instead of liquid dye for the colorant. This makes a huge difference.
- Use the witch hazel sparingly, one spritz at a time. Mix well after each spritz to see if the mixture is perfect.
- Add the liquids at the very end of the recipe. This gives the wet ingredients less time to react with the dry ingredients before you pack the mixture into the molds.
- The longer you dry your bath bombs, the better the chance they’ll hold together when you remove them. Place bath bombs in a low-humidity location to dry.
- Do the snowball test with your bath bomb mixture. Make a ball of it just as you would make a snowball. Then drop the ball and be sure the mixture held its shape. If not, it’s still too dry, so you’ll want to add a spritz of witch hazel and test again.
- If you find that your mixture is expanding in the mold, wrap a rubber band around the mold before you leave it to dry.
Wrapping Your Beautiful Bath Bombs
Now that you’ve learned how to make bath bombs, we know you want to share them with the world! After you soak in several yourself, you’ll probably be excited to give them as gifts.
But what’s the best way to present your homemade bath bombs?
The safest way to gift a bath bomb is to leave it in the mold. But the stainless steel molds aren’t anything pretty. So, if you’ve made your bombs in a stainless steel molds, you can remove the bombs after they harden and then place them into plastic ornament molds.
Wrap your ornament molds with clear plastic cellophane from any craft store and tie with a ribbon. You can even decorate the plastic ornament using a Sharpie to give it extra pizazz.
Other options for wrapping your DIY bath bombs are to shrink wrap each one. This is a fun option because it’s like you’d get it from a store.
Simply take a square of plastic saran wrap. Wrap it around your bath bomb and then aim a hairdryer at it. The saran wrap will tighten around your bath bomb.
From here you can place your bath bombs in a gift bag, or for better protection, place them in a mason jar. Put a square of colored fabric over the lid of the mason jar and then attach it with a rubber band. So cute and pretty!
How to Store Homemade Bath Bombs
Your homemade bath bombs should last up to 6 months, but only if stored properly. This means you need to keep them in a glass jar with a lid or a moisture-free, airtight plastic container.
You Know How to Make Bath Bombs. Ready to Up Your Game?
Congratulations! If you’ve mastered the basic bath bomb recipe, you’ve graduated elementary school. You’re ready for middle school.
Now, we all know that middle school can be a bit of a challenge. You’re probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. You may even make a fool of yourself and get quite embarrassed.
While the curriculum will be more challenging, we can assure you it’s more rewarding as well. In bath bomb middle school, you’ll learn how to add your own personality and creativity to the process. Sounds fun, right? It is!
DIY Bath Bombs: Additional Bath Bomb Ingredients
We know you memorized the ingredients for the basic homemade bath bomb. But that was baby stuff. When it comes to learning how to make bath bombs, it’s clear that you’re ready for more. So now we want you to learn about these additional ingredients that will help you break the mold with your DIY bath bombs. Soon you’ll be designing a product that only you could dream up.
Here are the ingredients for our more advanced bath bomb curriculum:
Biodegradable Glitter – Shimmer adds excitement to any bath bomb. And while we don’t want to add microplastics to the ocean, now there are plant-based, biodegradable glitter products available. Hooray!
Dried Flowers – Put some dried petals or whole buds in your bath bombs to add scent and beauty.
Expandable Capsule Toys – These are foam toys that come inside a capsule that’s an inch long. When added to water, the gel capsule dissolves and the toy inside grows. These are great to put in the middle of your bath bomb to surprise and delight a child.
Glycerin Soap – Melt down a square to create a mini-soap to insert into your DIY bath bomb.
Liquid Soap Dye – Add a few drops to your melted glycerin soap and then pour in a mini-silicone mold to make a sweet shape for your bath bomb.
Mini-Silicone Soap Molds – You may want to insert a small flourish made of soap on the top of your bath bomb. To do this, you can melt Glycerin soap, add color with liquid soap dye, and then pour it into a mini-mold.
Nonfat Milk Powder – Add to any bath bomb recipe for extra foam.
Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a natural skin soother and aids with rashy, itchy skin. Blend oatmeal into a fine powder and add to a bath bomb as needed.
Pop Rocks Candy – Place Pop Rocks Candy in your bath bomb for an extra explosive experience.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) – This will give any bath bomb frothy bubbles. Derived from coconut and palm oils, this ingredient creates a foamy lather.
Spices – Consider adding any kitchen spices to your bath bombs for both scent and texture. Try fennel, ginger or clove.
Vodka – Add a teaspoon of Vanilla Absolut, Grapefruit Absolut or Oak Absolut for a unique and wonderful scent.
The Secret to Making Bubble Bath Bombs
DIY Bath Bomb Recipes to Build Your Skills
Did you get familiar with the list of bath bomb ingredients above? We hope so. Now it’s time to practice using those ingredients in different combinations, so you get comfortable with how to use them.
We want you to try a few of our favorite bath bomb recipes. We’ve selected these, because each requires you to master slightly different skills. You’ll get comfortable using a variety of bath bomb ingredients and essential oils for bath bombs.
In doing so, you’ll start to acquire an intuitive sense of how to use and combine them. Once you’ve finished making these four beautiful homemade bath bombs, you’ll be ready for bath bomb high school. And trust us, bath bomb high school is a blast.
The Advanced Curriculum for How to Make Bath Bombs
These recipes in the advanced bath bomb curriculum are inspired by the four seasons. Each of them is beautiful to look at, smell, and feel. And they all make wonderful gifts, too!
The first recipe we’d like you to try is Winter Wonderland. It uses a mini-snowflake mold and shea butter (for dry winter skin).
This is such a hopeful bath bomb full of the promise of spring. A two-tone pink and white bath bomb with a rose scent, and real dried flowers.
Who doesn’t love a summer swim in the sea? This bubble bath bomb will make you feel like you’re surfing the waves under a glittery sun! Enjoy the sea creatures, too.
When the weather turns cool, we want to get cozy under the covers. Bathing in lavender, oatmeal and shea butter, the Fall Asleep bath bomb will lull you into the sweetest dreams.
Earn High Honors in High School
Congratulations! You’ve graduated from middle school. You know how to make some pretty amazing bath bombs. Now it’s time for high school.
Yes, you’ll study hard, but you’ll party hard, too! You can even drive yourself to any destination you choose.
In your high school classes, we’re going to focus on oils. That’s because the magic of the perfect bath bomb rests in understanding the immense power of oils.
With the knowledge we’re about to pass on, you’ll know how to make a bath bomb that helps with congestion, or how to make a bath bomb to relieve anxiety. You’ll be able to whip up a bath bomb to lift your mood or a bath bomb to moisturize your dry skin.
Ready for the last lesson? Learn how to choose the perfect essential oils and carrier oils for your homemade bath bombs.
How to Make Bath Bombs: Get Familiar with Essential Oils
Essential oils are extracted from plants and contain the essence of that plant’s healing powers and scent. Because of their potency, you usually only need a few drops to feel the effects.
To really perform bath bomb magic, you need to have a working knowledge of some of the most popular essential oils and their properties. Then you can work them into your creations as you see fit.
10 Essential Essential Oils
There are as many kinds of essential oils as there are types of plants—thousands! But for the sake of mastering the art of making DIY bath bombs, at least get familiar with the following 10 popular essential oils. Learn the healing properties of each, and then go out and test them.
Cedarwood – Cedarwood essential oil comes from the bark, berries and needles of cedar (also called juniper). This essential oil is used to treat acne and dry flaky scalp. Inhaling the scent promotes a sense of grounding and encourages deep sleep.
Cinnamon Leaf – Many people believe that inhaling cinnamon leaf oil can help alleviate cough and cold congestion. However, it can also irritate the skin, so it’s especially important to delete this essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it or putting it in your bath bomb.
Eucalyptus – This amazing oil has been used since ancient times comes from the Blue Gum, which is one of 400 species of eucalyptus. This is a popular ingredient in decongestant vapor rubs and can loosen phlegm. Early research shows that eucalyptus oil can boost the immune system.
Frankincense – Considered a holy oil by the ancient Egyptians, this essential oil gives off a woody scent. It is used in skincare products to soothe dry skin and research is promising that frankincense can reduce pain from arthritis.
Lavender – Numerous studies show that the scent of lavender oil relieves stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, smelling the essential oil of lavender can lead to a better night’s sleep. Lavender oil can be used to treat wounds, fight fungal infections and reduce hair loss.
Lemongrass – When I sniff my bottle of lemongrass oil, I swear I can smell the lemon and the grass, even though it really comes from a tropical plant. Lemongrass oil has a sweet scent that is energizing and clears my head right away. Research shows that it has antibacterial properties and also decreases pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
Spearmint – When you apply spearmint topically, you can feel the benefits immediately! When I was in graduate school, I used to get headaches. I’d walk into a health food store near the school and sniff some spearmint oil. Poof! Headache gone. Spearmint oil also relieves itching and pain.
Tea Tree – For a while there, tea tree oil was the trendiest oil of all time. From shampoos to makeup, you couldn’t escape it. Turns out there’s a good reason. This essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat all kinds of skin conditions from dry skin to acne.
Turmeric – This essential oil is distilled from the turmeric root, which is known as Indian Saffron. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years. Curcumin is the natural chemical compound in the turmeric root, and a 2014 study found that its oil provides a similar effect as Prozac to patients suffering with major depressive symptoms. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Ylang Ylang – This essential oil is extracted from flowers that are native to the Philippines and Indonesia. Research finds that the aroma is a natural stress reducer and can relieve symptoms of anxiety. Ylang Ylang can also reduce blood pressure and heart rate, providing a sedative effect. The oil is often used in cosmetics to treat skin and promote hair growth.
How to Test Essential Oils
Mastering how to make bath bombs involves experimenting with many essential oils. This means you want to sniff each one and use each one on your skin.
You can go into a natural food store and visit the testers for their essential oils. Or, you can order an aromatherapy kit that contains many essential oils. The kit I use is Natrogix by Nirvana. It cost only $30 and has 18 different tester bottles. (This kit contains all of the essential oils mentioned above.) Whatever kit you get, make sure you buy “pure” essential oils, so that you get the real deal and not imitation oils.
You’ll also want to wear a few drops and notice the effect on your mood. Patch test the oils one at a time by applying 1 or 2 drops to your inner wrist. Wait to see if you display any sensitivity (like a rash) before using more
Pregnant women should consult a doctor before using any essential oils.
And last but not least, please note that most essential oils are not designed for oral consumption.
How to Choose a Good Carrier Oil
You’ve already learned that carrier oils are plant-based oils, and you also discovered that carrier oils contain a mild scent. You also learned that carrier oils dilute potent essential oils and deliver them to your skin without irritation.
Without a doubt, cold-pressed carrier oils are the best. A cold-pressed oil is made with a modern steel press without heat. As the steel press extracts the oil from fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds, the oil retains the nutritional value and aroma of the source.
Benefits of 5 Carrier Oils for Your Essential Oils
Now we’re going to look at carrier oils and we’ll learn what the similarities and differences are between them. Many of these have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences:
“Skin, the largest organ of the body, functions as the necessary interface between the internal and the external environment. Thus, it continuously protects the body from noxious stimuli, e.g., microorganisms, ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, allergens, and irritants.”
When you soak in the tub, you are exposing your whole body to healing carrier oils and essential oils that can do much more for you beyond softening your skin. Let’s take a look at the properties of some popular carrier oils that you can use in your bath bombs:
Almond Oil – I drink almond milk and eat almond butter. I know that almonds are great for you. But what about almond oil? Once I looked into this, I found that almond oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. It might help eliminate scars and improve skin tone. And great news! (At least for me.) Almond oil may even reduce sun damage to your skin. From now on, I will add this carrier oil to my DIY projects.
Avocado Oil – Containing essential fatty acids, avocado oil may help your skin absorb other nutrients. A study with rats finds that avocado oil accelerates the healing of wounds, by increasing collagen and decreasing inflammation. Use avocado oil to soothe redness from acne and treat eczema and psoriasis. Adding avocado oil to your bath bombs can prevent dry skin that otherwise might result from soaking in hot bathwater.
Coconut Oil – The lauric acid in coconut oil has antimicrobial properties. This can reduce skin inflammation and fight off the bacteria that cause inflammatory acne. However, if you’re making a bath bomb for someone with oily skin, you may want to choose another carrier oil because coconut oil can cause breakouts.
Grape Seed Oil – This oil is being studied for its antioxidant properties and the possibility of reducing wrinkles. Grape seed oil contains Vitamin E, which helps your skin cells hold onto moisture.
Jojoba Oil – Extracted from the nut of a desert plant found in North America, jojoba oil is a popular ingredient in bath bombs. It’s no wonder! Jojoba oil provides a wealth of skin benefits. Not only does it improve the skin’s elasticity, but also it stimulates your body to create more collagen. All of this combines to give jojoba oil anti-aging properties. If that’s not enough, jojoba oil is a humectant. This means it seals the moisture into your skin without making it look greasy.
A Word About Butters
You can also melt down shea butter or cocoa butter to use in your bath bombs. While these will still hydrate the bather’s skin, other health properties associated with these butters might be destroyed in the heating process. One other advantage of a butter, though, is that it will help to harden your bath bomb as it dries.
How to Mix Essential Oils with Carrier Oils
For adults, make a 3% dilution, using 20 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil.
For children, make a .5%-1% dilution, using 3-6 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil
Time for One Last Trick: How to Make Your Bath Bomb Spin and Fizz Like Crazy
We leave our parting scholars with one last bath bomb trick: How to make embeds. An embed is a little mini-bath bombs you plant inside a regular bath bomb to turn it into a spinning, fizzing machine! Plant the embed off-center to create more movement in the bath bomb.
The recipe for how to make a bath bomb embed is quick and simple.
You Are a Graduate: Go Forth and Make Bath Bombs
Congratulations! You’ve graduated the Bath Bomb Academy with High Honors.
You are a bath bomb artist of the finest caliber. Relish your freedom to create. Make bath bombs to heal yourself and others.
Mix your colors, dried flowers, glitter, and oils to design new bath bombs that have never been dreamed of before.
Your bath bomb knowledge in combination with your bath bomb imagination promises to bring new gifts to the world.
You’re on your own now—and we all know that’s the most fun. Go forth, graduate, and realize your bath bomb dreams!