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Bath bomb bubbles

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I recently had Jenny Q, Stitched Up! by Pauline McLynn from the library and was surprised to find some extra material in it. Namely, several knitting patterns and instructions for making bath bombs. He Who Put The Shelves Up and I made a couple for Chris’s birthday. Chris and I made another batch a few days ago and have improved a little on the original.

Bath bomb ingredients

Citric acid (bottom) and essential oil.

Five ingredients are needed: cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, water and essential oil. The first two can be found in the baking aisle of a supermarket. The citric acid and essential oil is a little bit trickier to get hold of. We found the citric acid in McCabe’s Pharmacy. It is shelved in the health food section, with the vitamin supplements and things like that. Essential oils are another health product, they are used for massage and oil burners. We found them in The Health Store, from a company called Atlantic Aromatics. The small bottles are not very expensive and as you need very little for the bath bombs, one bottle should last well. We bought lavender oil, which makes a relaxing and restful bath. Atlantic Aromatics produce a wide range of oils, so you can choose one you like.

Bath bomb mixture

Dry ingredients, oil and water is added next.

The method is very simple, first you have to pick a measurement to use. We used a level egg cup as our measure and made about eight bath bombs in each batch. The quantities are two parts citric acid, one part cornflour and one part bicarbonate of soda. These three should be mixed well in a bowl. Then, add a few drops of oil. We added about eight drops and the mixture smelt quite strong. However, when I tried the bath bombs out, I found they didn’t give out as much scent as I was expecting. It’s up to you how much oil you add though, depending on how strong you want them to smell.

Bath bombs

The mixture was too liquid and expanded.

Next you add the water, starting with a dribble. We had a bit of trouble with the consistency. The recipe says, ‘a good consistency’, but that isn’t very specific. The first time, the bombs took a long time to set and they kept expanding and shrinking a great deal. This time, we added the water very slowly but the bombs still expanded when they were in the moulds. Some expanded so much, we were forced to take the top off them and put it in a separate mould. We used a bun tin for a mould, as advised in the book. We lined the tin with bun cases, which proved to be a good idea when it came to lifting them out. With the second batch, we were more sparing with the water. Instead of mixing, Chris kneaded the mixture, until it was slightly doughy. This batch set much better and in nicer shapes.

Pink Bath bombs

The pink ones (left) set better than the white ones.

Feeling confident, we decided to get a bit more fancy. We mixed some dried lavender into the first batch before adding the water and sprinkled some more on top before the bombs were dry. We added food colouring to the second batch, turning them pink. The colour was paste colouring and I combined blue and red in an attempt to make purple, to echo the lavender. Pink wasn’t the intended effect, but it still looks pretty.

Food colouring

Blue and red paste colours, I combined them to make pink.

We were very pleased with the final result, which left us with nineteen bath bombs. Sourcing the ingredients took a little while, but they are actually quite easy to get hold of. The method is simple enough, although there are some mistakes to be made in the mixing and moulding stages. The finished item looks and smells lovely, and is a pleasant addition to a bath! Bath bombs make great presents, or just treats for yourself so why not have a go?



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