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How NOT to make bath bombs

In my haste to create holiday gifts, I enthusiastically purchased 12 lbs (5.5 kg) of Epsom salts, 10 pounds (4.5 kg) baking soda, and 5 lbs (2.27 kg) powdered citric acid, then promptly turned them all (minus some of the Epsom) into a 20 pound mass of one, ridiculous bath bomb.

Stuck in plastic storage tub, the solid cube of ingredients was just damp enough to harden, but dry enough to be a crumbly mess. Unmovable, unmixable and unuseable, to make up a few words for describing this infuriating brick that encased my best holiday intentions in its stubborn hold.

My solution: enlisting two toddlers to smash it apart.

Warning: Using this method will result in the bath bombing of your entire kitchen floor.

Thankfully, it is a food grade cleaner that fizzes off when wet... so we smashed, I mean "squished" the lumps away...

This was when my adult helpers stepped away from the project. Also the last effort from the children. It was hard. Little hands did their best job, but many lumps exploded in their final release to tiny prying fingers. Serious hand workouts.

We cracked off enough. As I write this, there are still masses of the monster bomb sitting in my kitchen.

Post smashing of the 20 lb bomb, I'm now (sort of) ready to start making my peppermint snowball bath bombs by myself...

Attempt #2 begins less enthusiastically. This time I'm using my stand mixer and working in smaller batches. I'm using both water and oil to bind the bombs together, which means they are reacting as I shape them.

[I tried just oil bombs last year (I also offloaded much of the soda/acid "pool balancing kit" on Facebook last year) and they turned the bath tub into a greasy death trap. Which I liked. But these are toddler gifts I'm attempting to make, so added minimal oil and need enough moisture to make them stick together.]

The mix hardens fast. I leave the stand mixer running between packing each handful into a ball. Some batches look like I want them to. Others are too wet and melt when they are supposed to be hardening...

I tried an ice cube tray for a mold. I give it a C+ rating when used with with too wet bomb mixture. I learned the wet bomb mix stings my hands after packing a few pounds of it into snowballs. I learned that this fizzy concoction hardens like concrete in about 4.5 seconds in the bottom of a mixing bowl. I learned that small batches are important.

I learned that next year I'll be gifting bath bomb kits.

They're really fun to make.

bath bomb fail

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