My kids love bath bombs. They are fun to watch fizz. Some of them color the bath water. And they can have great scents. I tried making a basic bath bomb from a recipe in a kids activity book using only baking soda and citric acid with some food coloring. The Girl Child went CRAZY for it. She loved the fizzing and the color! Now she is a bath bomb addict, that is, when she doesn’t want a bubble bath instead (Lush bubble bars are also a hit with her and DIY bubble bars are on the list of things to try making soon.) The Boy Child really likes the Ickle Baby Bot from Lush. While this is the least expensive of all the bath bombs they sell and a Lush store is only about 20 minutes away, I find that I do not make the trip there. I decided to move beyond the super basic and try adding some scent to the bath bombs so that I could give the kids a more complete experience. I bought some molds and a book to get me started with some recipe ideas.
I tried a couple of bombs from the book. They worked well and they really were easy to make. I tried 2 different types of round molds, 1 type was metal and the other was plastic Christmas ornaments. The plastic ones were etched and difficult to release the bombs from by the second use. The metal ones are far superior in my opinion. The went together more easily, released more easily, and were easier to clean. I actually just ordered some more.
With 2 successes under my belt, I decided to try to make a copy of the Lush Ickle Baby Bot. Instead of a robot, I used a car/truck mold I found at Michael’s craft store. I got my ingredients together…
For this recipe I used
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Citric Acid
3/4 Cup Corn Starch
10-15 drops lavender essential oil
5-8 drops camomile essential oil
5-8 drops sandalwood essential oil
Crafter’s Choice neon blue and neon yellow powder colors
I found the citric acid on Amazon. I found the powder color at Wholesale Supplies Plus. I found the essential oils at Majestic Mountain Sage using their amazing dozen free shipping offer. The baking soda, corn starch, and witch hazel were available locally.
In a large bowl (NOT plastic – plastic will absorb the scents) combine the baking soda, citric acid, and corn starch. Run them through a sieve a few times to make sure there are no lumps and to help thoroughly mix them. I added the color here since I am using a power. If you are using a liquid color, mix it with the oils in the next step.
Mix the oils (and color if you are using liquid) and slowly add to the dry ingredients little bit by little bit. (If you notice, I used a plastic bowl here. It took a long soapy soak to get the scent out!)
Be sure to start mixing immediately after adding the liquid as the powder will start to fizz. You want to stop the fizzing reaction as fast as possible to make sure most of the fizzing action will happen in the tub instead. I like using a fork to stir. Other people like a whisk, their hands, or even a stand mixer.
Now spritz with witch hazel, just a few spritzes at a time followed by mixing well until it is the right consistency. It should pack well without crumbling but not be too wet. It should feel like moon sand if you have ever played with that – dry but packable.
Since I was using molds this time, I packed the mix in. You want them to be packed tightly so that they will hold their shape when removed from the mold. This recipe made enough to fill all six cavities in the mold. Then let the bath bombs dry overnight.
The next day it was time to take them out of the molds. Some parts of the mold, such as the wheels, were rather shallow so I wasn’t sure how they would hold together.
These did prove to be weak parts and many of the wheels fell off of the trucks. But overall I got good truck shapes that will be fine for at home use.
I think a simpler shape mold would work better. There is a butterfly mold I am eyeing up to use for the Girl Child. The cavities are an even depth and all curves rather than corners. I think that will work much better.
The scent came out very nice although it is not an exact copy of Ickle Baby Bot. The sandalwood is a bit stronger, maybe because I used a fragrance oil instead of an essential oil for that, or maybe I just need to use a little less. I think I will add a little bit more lavendar next time too to make the top notes stronger. I read that you should use 2-4X as much lavender as camomile and I went on the low side.
The final test for a bath bomb is the water test. I dropped in some of the broken off bits. It fizzed vigorously, just the way kids like it. It also lightly tinted the water green.
My final thoughts:
Bath bombs are usually round for a reason, that is the easiest shape of mold to work with. These car molds were too angular. I will try shaped molds again, being more careful about the shapes I choose, maybe hearts or round flowers, ones that have rounded edges.
The fizzy action is just right for kids.
The scent combination turned out very nice. I will play around with it the next time I make these to see if I can get it even closer to the Ickle Baby Bot scent.