I love bath salts. The only thing I dislike about our current apartment is the fact that we have a small bath tub–but that doesn’t stop me from using it. I usually mow through bath salts, so I started making my own after realizing how much cheaper (and more rewarding) it was to make my own. I also like to use a mixture of half Epsom and half sea salt, and most store-bought salts I’ve found are either 100% Epsom or 100% sea salt. I usually make colorless bath salts for my own personal use, but I like to add color to them when I’m giving them as a gift because it makes them look more presentable. These rainbow homemade bath salts make a fun craft for a great gift, and you can make them in about an hour following the steps below.
What you’ll need:
- Just a hair under 1 cup Epsom salt
- Just a hair under 1 cup coarse sea salt
- 1/8 cup baking soda (your goal is to top off your Epsom and sea salts to get 2 cups total)
- Measuring cups
- 7 Ziploc baggies
- 16-ounce mason jar (I bought and used one from this set of 12)
- Food coloring
- Essential oil (optional–I used NOW Foods Peppermint Oil for mine)
I had the baking soda, measuring cups, baggies, mason jar, and food coloring, but I was due for some more Epsom salt and sea salt. I picked up both at my local grocery store. A 4-pound bag of Epsom salt was 4.79 (save a trip here); I used 8 ounces for this project, which is about 60 cents. A 22-ounce can of coarse sea salt was 1.79 (save a trip here); I used 8 ounces for this project, which is about 60 cents as well. If you need a mason jar, I’d suggest your local dollar store. If you don’t have a local dollar store, you can find them at craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann, where they sell them in both bulk and singles.
(Don’t use any ingredients you’re allergic to, and always spot test new ingredients to make sure you don’t have a reaction to them 🙂 Use your best judgment.)
Step #1: Measure your ingredients. I measured just a bit under 1 cup Epsom salt and 1 cup sea salt. Then, I measured about 1/8 cup baking soda. The goal is to have 2 cups total when you mix your Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda. Then, I dumped the mixture into one of my plastic baggies, shut the bag securely, and mixed everything in the bag up thoroughly.
Blanche offered her unsolicited supervision:
Note: If you’re adding an essential oil, do it now. I added 10 drops of peppermint essential oil because I love that scent. Simply drop your desired about onto the salts; then, shut the bag securely and mix everything up again.
Step #2: Split your mixture up into your different Ziploc baggies. Dividing 2 cups (your total mixture) by 7 (your number of Ziploc baggies) gives you a nasty number. So I decided to eyeball the amount I thought should be in each bag and then compare. It isn’t an exact science, but you want each bag to have roughly the same amount. Then, add your color to each baggy.
The number of drops you’ll add to each baggy will depend on what type of food coloring you use. I started with red and simply added drops, shut the bag securely, mixed, checked the color, and repeated if necessary. You can always add more drops of each color, but you can’t take drops away once you’ve added them.
Also, if you’re an idiot like me and need to search the order in which each color appears in the rainbow, just ask any 4th grader, and they’ll tell you ROY G. BIV. This old-Jewish-man-sounding name stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue (light), Indigo (dark blue), Violet.
Step #3: Pour your salts into your mason jar. You can use a funnel, but I just poured slowly out of the tip of each bag. Then, I used a spoon to even out each layer a bit; you don’t want to shake the jar to get each layer into place because that will blend the layers together. Think of this like sand art.
Once you’ve finished pouring your salts, you can screw the top back on and admire your handy work. I had already put a sticky label on my lid when I took this photo. I got a 6-pack of labels at my local Jo-Ann.
A note on color bleeding: After about 24 hours, my colors started to bleed into one another. Each color stripe now starts fading into the next color. Depending on the type and amount of food coloring you use, you might want to keep this in mind if you’re giving the salts as a gift and would like it to be presented a certain way. Also, if you pack your salts into the jar by pushing them down with a spoon or something, you’ll get more bleeding.
A note on using colored salts in white tubs: I was originally worried about whether or not the coloring would dye a bath tub, so I did a test. The small amount of salt is diluted by the amount of water in the bath tub, so you should be fine as long as you don’t use half the jar and then let the water sit for hours. If you’re worried, I suggest testing yours out or making your colors lighter. Here are crappy cell phone pictures of the test I did. I used almost all of the purple salt and let the tub sit for about 20 minutes. You can see how diluted the color is in the bottom left photo.
Enjoy! Post bath selfies after you make these! JK, don’t do that.
To prevent color bleeding for even longer, check out how to bake your bath salts in this post.