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Simple Gifts: A-salt on a gift project

Submitted by on Sunday, 14 December 2008 2 Comments

Bath salts get a bad rap courtesy of cheap and cheesy prefab gift baskets that proliferate around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. It’s also a tricky gift to give early in a relationship. What? Does he think I stink?

Nice bath salts, though, truly are a gift worth giving or receiving. And they’re so easy to make that a 2-year-old can do it. No, really. Boots helped last year. Of course, I had to keep reminding him to keep the salt in the bowl and to quit eating it, but he got with the program.

It’s also inexpensive: I’m just laughing my butt off at all those folks paying $8 or more a pound for bath salts.

Fizzy bath salts

  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 cups sea salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • 15 drops of coloring
  • 30 drops of essential oil

In a large bowl mix salts first, then add coloring and oils. Add baking soda, then citric acid. Mix well.

Regular bath salts

  • 2 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 15 drops food coloring
  • 30 drops of essential oil
  • 2 tsp liquid glycerin (an optional moisturizer)

Mix salts first, then add oils. Add glycerin last. I used it in some batches, not in others.

We can do four double batches in about two hours, and that was with the guys “helping.” And with taking breaks to go outside and breathe — the scent from the oils gets a bit overpowering. The time includes bagging the salts and starting gift baskets that included a half cup of each variety we made. We added a few trinkets to some – neon nail polish for the girl cousins, herbal tea for the guys’ teachers.

The cost break-down:

  • Epsom salt: $3 for four pounds (eight cups)
  • Sea salt: $7.95 for two pounds, Michaels (four cups)
  • Baking soda: Under $1 a pound (two cups)

Essential oils: $2.79 a bottle, Michaels. Their offerings are a limited — vanilla, lavender, plumeria, jasmine and orange – but it’s a good start. A little goes a long way. We did a different scent for each batch, but we probably could have gotten away with just two bottles for all four batches.

Be warned, though: Do not go super-cheap and try to use potpourri oil. I never thought that warning was necessary until I posted this project on another site last year and a reader did exactly that. She broke out in hives.

Coloring: $3.79 a three-pack, Michaels. They carry two sets – if you get the one with the primary colors, you’ll a lot of creative options.

Citric acid: It’s easy to find online — brambleberry.com, esoapsupplies.com – but their shipping costs are outrageous. I found one site – snowfarmdrift.com – that I’ve never ordered from and can’t vouch for its reliability. I’m tempted, though. Their sea salt is a lot cheaper than I’ve been paying ($8.95 for five pounds), and we use plain bath salts year-round to help with Big Guy’s eczema.

Liquid glycerin: Snowdriftfarm.com has it for $6.95 for 16 ounces, which would make a heck of a lot of bath salt.

Gift baskets: Mini “laundry” baskets, Michaels, on sale recently for $1.49. We packed some in green strawberry baskets, adding a red ribbon.

Packaging: Not sure on the cost. I had some cellophane bags left from years ago, when I was on a lollipop-making kick. Come to think of it, that’s the same reason I happened to have citric acid lying around the house. See, Dad! There’s a reason I never throw away anything. Except I’m wishing I’d kept some of the smaller glass and plastic jars I’ve dutifully recycled through out the year. It would have been quicker and easier than all this individual packaging.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Anne-Marie said:

    Thanks for the shout out. I agree – bath salts are a great, cost effective present that are surprisingly easy to make. =)

  • Debra said:

    It’s a great kid-friendly project and one they want to do year-round. Every time we make it, a higher percentage of salt winds up in the bags and a lower percentage on the floor.