How to Make Basic Fizzy Bath Bombs

Homemade bath bomb
ivicirina / Twenty20
  • 01 of 09

    Easy to Make Bath Fizzies/Bath Bombs

    Plain Fizzy Bath Bombs
    Plain Fizzy Bath Bombs. David Fisher

    What's a little bit bath salt, a little bit bath oil, a little bit relaxing, and a lot of fizzy fun? You guessed it...the fizzy bath bomb. You can make them in spheres, tablets, or use molds to make an unlimited variety of shapes.

    The foundation of the bath bomb is a simple chemical reaction between an acid and a base. In this case, citric acid and baking soda. You could make bath bombs with just those two ingredients and a bit of water. They wouldn't be very exciting...but they'd...MORE sure fizz really well in the bath!

    This recipe has a few more ingredients and adds a bit of luxury to the bath. (And why else do we take the time to relax in the bath if not for a bit of luxury!?)

    So clean off the counter, and let's get going.

    For a video version of these instructions, check out my How to Make Bath Bombs video.

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  • 02 of 09

    Setup and Ingredients for Making Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Setup for Fizzy Bath Bombs
    Setup for Fizzy Bath Bombs. David Fisher

    Ingredients

    You should be able to get most (if not all) of the ingredients for your bath bombs at the grocery store. You'll need:

    • 1 cup cornstarch
    • 1 cup citric acid (Buy Direct)
    • 2 cups baking soda
    • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
    • 1/2 cup sea salt
    • 2 tsp. water (I use distilled)
    • 1/2 tsp borax
    • 1-2 tsp essential or fragrance oil
    • 2 tbsp of a light oil like jojoba, grapeseed, fractionated coconut, or rice bran 
    • optional a few drops of a soap safe dye colorant (Yes, you can use food coloring, but if you can get real soap...MORE colorant, you'll use less and it will not fade as quickly.) I like them just plain white. I cover coloring your bath bombs in Coloring Your Fizzy Bath Bombs.

    Other than the 2:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid, you can vary your ingredients quite a bit. You can substitute dead sea salts for a portion (or all) of the Epsom or sea salt. You can leave out the cornstarch. (It gives the water a nice silky feel and is good for your skin.) You can vary the oil you use and the fragrance too.

    Equipment

    Like the ingredients, the equipment is pretty simple too.

    • a big mixing bowl
    • a whisk or mixer with ​a whisk attachment
    • measuring cups and spoons
    • something to mix the "wet phase" in - I prefer a small squirt bottle like you use to make small chocolate treats. You could use a small lotion bottle, a hair dye bottle, or any other small bottle that will allow you to squirt small amounts of liquid into the dry ingredients. If you don't have a squirt bottle, a small ramekin, creamer or small gravy boat will do.
    • a sieve or sifter
    • a spoon or two
    • a spray bottle with distilled water in it
    • a mold for the bombs (we'll talk a little more about this later)
    • a cookie sheet with paper towels for the bombs to dry on
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  • 03 of 09

    Prepare the Ingredients for Your Bath Bombs

    Measuring the Citric Acid
    Measuring the Citric Acid. David Fisher

    We're going to separate the ingredients for the bath bombs into a "dry phase" and a "wet phase".

    Dry Phase

    It doesn't really matter whether you mix the dry or the wet phase first...though by habit, I always do the dry first and set it aside.

    • Sift the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl and stir them well to make sure they are blended well and no clumps remain. Set the bowl aside.
    • If you're adding your color to the dry phase, do so now.

    Wet Phase

    • Put the water into your...MORE squirt bottle and add the borax. Be sure to add the borax before you add the other ingredients! It won't completely dissolve...more give you a sort of wet slush.
    • Add your colorant (if you're adding color to the liquid phase) to the water/borax mixture.
    • Add the fragrance or essential oil and the vegetable oil.
    • Shake well so that the whole mixture becomes emulsified - a creamy, slurry-like mixture.
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  • 04 of 09

    Mix the Bath Bombs Wet and Dry Phases

    Adding Liquid to Dry Ingredients
    Adding Liquid to Dry Ingredients. David Fisher

    Once your wet and dry phases are prepared, it's time to make some fizzy bath bombs!

    If you're just beginning, go slow. The key to making bath bombs is to get exactly the right mix of dry ingredients and wet. Too dry and your bombs will crumble and fall apart. Too wet and they will fizz and warp and swell and morph.

    • With whisk in 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...MORE stops the fizzing by incorporating the liquid into the rest of the dry ingredients.
    • Keep adding the liquid slowly, stirring continually, until it's all been added to the bowl. You'll notice the mix has thickened a bit, gotten heavier.
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  • 05 of 09

    Time to Test the Bath Bombs Mixture

    Dry enough to Mold
    Testing the Mix - Dry Enough to Mold. David Fisher

    It's time to test the bath bombs mixture. The desired consistency is kind of 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? More important - does it remain clumped into a ball? If so, great, 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...MORE mix 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). But, especially until you get the hang of them, it's better to err on the conservative side and add too little water than too much.

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  • 06 of 09

    Mold the Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Ball Shaped Bath Bomb Mold
    Ball Shaped Bath Bomb Mold. David Fisher

    There are many different options for molding your bath bombs. The key is to get the mixture packed really really tightly.

    The most popular mold seems to be ball-shaped. I'm using a clear, plastic, two-piece Christmas ornament here. Overfill each half with the mixture and press them together firmly. You want the edges of the mold to just barely come together (or be slightly apart) while getting a really good pack on the mixture inside.

    Let the molded ball sit for a minute or so. Then tap the...MORE side of the ball firmly with a tablespoon. The side of the mold should gently lift off. Repeat on the other side.

    Even with your mixture perfectly balanced, you'll occasionally get a ball or tablet that will crumble or be flawed/broken. No problem. Just crush it up, put it back into the bowl and remold it. If your bombs are coming out consistently too crumbly, add a tiny tiny bit more water. That will help the mix to stay together better.

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  • 07 of 09

    Using a Cosmetic Jar to Mold the Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Molding with a Cosmetic Jar
    Molding with a Cosmetic Jar. David Fisher

    You can also use a small (1/2 to 1 ounce) plastic cosmetic jar to mold the bath bombs, though they look more like tablets than bombs.

    Pack the mixture tightly into the jar and scrape the top with a credit card or ruler. Again, let it sit for a minute or too. Tap the edge of the jar onto the cookie sheet. The tablet should drop out without too much effort.

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  • 08 of 09

    Using a Seltzer Press to Mold the Bath Bombs

    Seltzer Press
    Seltzer Press. David Fisher

    My favorite method of molding the bath bombs is with a "seltzer press". With these, you can make larger tablets and customize how thick or thin they come out. It's easy to pack the mixture really well, and just as easy to pop it out of the bottom of the tube.

    Spoon 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the press, compress the mixture 2 to 3 times with the plunger, and gently pop it out of the bottom.

    Alas, my supplier of these doesn't make them anymore! But you could...MORE improvise with a piece of PVC pipe and a wooden plunger.

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  • 09 of 09

    Let the Bath Bombs Dry

    Basic Bath Bombs
    Basic Bath Bombs Drying. David Fisher

    Gently lay the bath bombs (whether you made tablets or balls) out onto a paper towel lined cookie sheet or plate. At this point, they will still be a little bit soft and moldable. After drying overnight, your bath bombs will be rock hard and ready for a bath tub!