When I was asked to bring my products to a local Fairy Festival, I knew I needed to come up with something unique. In the past I’ve sold fairy soaps, galaxy soaps that shimmer and glitter, bath salts that are full of color, and spray-on shimmer scent with essential oils.
But I needed something new.
I was looking through my molds and it hit me when I saw a cake mold: homemade bath bombs shaped like slices of birthday cake!
Basic Homemade Bath Bomb Recipe
Homemade bath bombs are very easy to make. The basic recipe is one part citric acid to two parts baking soda. Some recipes call for cornstarch or additional kaolin clay to make it harder, but I’ve found that the basic recipe is all you really need. Citric acid is often thought of as too harsh, but the baking soda helps to neutralize it enough so it doesn’t irritate skin.
Some recipes also call for oil or melted shea or cocoa butter. If you add any of these, keep it light so you don’t slip and slide in the tub.
You can also add dried, powdered herbs for color. Natural food coloring also works well. Added colors just make birthday cake bath bombs look so much more fun.
Water makes up a very small portion of the homemade bath bomb ingredients, but it’s important to use the right kind. I always use distilled or filtered water since tap water can contain contaminants or chemicals.
Finding the Right Mold
For this project, you’ll need a silicone cake mold. I found one that has 8 separate sections which works great. You can use a mold that makes the whole cake, but you’ll need to create sections. To do this, you can use pieces of cardboard wrapped in plastic wrap. Whole cake molds are available in 8 or 9 inch.
Silicone cake molds are very flexible, so be sure to place yours on a stable surface like a cutting board or cookie sheet. This makes it easy to move the mold to a new location for drying. You don’t need to grease the mold, but be sure it’s thoroughly dry before using.
Birthday Cake Homemade Bath Bombs
Ingredients & Supplies
- 1 cup citric acid (find it here or in the home canning section in most stores)
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1-2 tablespoons light oil – sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, etc. (find any of these oils here)
- a spray bottle with distilled water
- essential oils (find pure essential oils here)
- natural liquid colors (like these) or natural powdered colors
- silicone mold (this one works well for individual cake slices)
- 3 glass or stainless steel bowls
- 3 spoons
1. Mix the citric acid and baking soda in a glass or stainless steel bowl. If there are any clumps, sift them out or mash them well. Add the light oil and mix well. I wear gloves and mix it well with my hands. This seems to work better than with a spoon.
2. Divide mixture into 3 bowls (one for each color). Add a different color to each bowl. Beet root powder will result in a nice pink color, turmeric will lend a yellow hue, cocoa powder will look like a chocolate layer, and powdered chlorophyll will give a green to blue-green color. You can also use liquid food colors to achieve any color you like. (If liquid colors are added directly to powdered mixture they are harder to blend, but it’s easier to get the exact color you want.)
3. You can add 5-6 drops of essential oil to each mix. Choose a different oil for each mix or use the same one on each layer. Mix well with your hands again.
4. Fill spray bottle with water. Spritz powdered mixture with water once and mix well with your hands. You may only need to spray 2 or 3 times. Slowly spritz the powder mixture while mixing with your hands after each spritz. You do not want too much fizzing to occur during this stage or the finished product will not fizz much in the bath.
5. Use your hands to check the consistency of the mixture. As soon as the mixture holds its form when squeezed in your hand, it is ready to be packed into molds. (See photo below.)
Important: The mixture will still look very powdery when it is ready, but over-watering will cause the homemade bath bombs to puff up and swell in the mold.
6. I start with one color, mix it well, then press it into the bottom of each cavity. Keep in mind that when you are done, the bottom will become the top, because you’ll be turning it over.
7. Mix the other two colors one at a time, then pressing each into the mold. You can fill the mold entirely, or only part way. Allow bath bombs to dry overnight, or longer if they are very large.
The first time I made these, I got a bit too much water. I packed in my three layers and filled molds to the top. Then it started to puff up and swell, so I pressed it back down periodically for nearly an hour before it settled down. The next day, I took the cake slices out of the mold. They looked great, except for a few cracks and a dent in the bottom of one. This is where creativity comes in. I melted some white glycerin (melt and pour) soap base and drizzled it over the top. It worked great! No one could tell that I made any mistakes. I topped the soap with a few pre-made cake decorations, like butterflies and flowers. Needless to say, they were a big hit!
To use the cake slices, just drop one into a tub of warm water. Watch it foam and fizz as it gently colors the water. NOTE: If the colors are very dark they could stain light colored linens.
Be careful getting in and out of the tub in case the oils have made it slippery. Clean the tub well when you’re done.
A Few Notes
- You can use all sorts of things for color, such as other herbs and spices or powdered pigments or micas. In most cases, you’ll want to keep the colors very light. Pigments can stain (although I have never had any staining), certain spices can be harsh on the body, and micas can stick to things.
- There are also naturally based liquid food colors that could be used. I would use a few spray bottles and mix some color into each one. This will keep the color very light. You can also add the liquid food colors directly to your powdered mixture for darker color, but it will take lots of mixing to disperse the color.
- If you use cocoa or shea butter, melt it before adding it to the powder. This will help it combine better.