We had a little special-edition Crafternoon for Valentine’s Day this week. We figured everybody was full-up on construction paper, glitter glue and doilies, so we decided to do something a little different and make our own bath crystals. This is a super-simple project with lots of steps that kids like (pouring, stirring, adding more paint than they probably should …) and it was a HUGE hit with our participants. I know a Crafternoon is good when the parents have to drag the kids away from the art table, and that’s exactly what happened with this project.
Here’s how to make your own bath crystals at home:
Gather your materials. You’ll need:
Chunky salt of some kind. Epsom salts are ideal, but we didn’t have those so we used water-softening salt (which happens to be super inexpensive at the hardware store).
Baking soda (optional — we didn’t use it at Crafternoon because I wanted to make the project very simple, but it’s nice to add some)
Food coloring or liquid watercolor. We used our favorite liquid watercolor, Watercolor Magic by Sargent Art. I love this stuff because it’s washable and it actually colors the salt better than food coloring.
Essential oils. We gave the kids a choice of grapefruit, lavender and peppermint.
A cup and a popsicle stick or spoon to mix everything up with
Some sort of packaging. We used inexpensive clear plastic treat bags from Michaels, but a jar would be pretty.
Then, just mix it all up! For each little batch I used about 1/3 cup salt, a teaspoon or so of baking soda, a couple drops of watercolor and one drop of essential oil.
The hardest part about doing this with kids is keeping them from adding a HUGE amount of paint. Pipettes are too big, and all bets are off if you give them a spoon. I finally decided to put the paint into a paint cup with a brush, then showed the kids how to take the brush out and press it against the inside rim of the mixing cup to get a few drops of paint to come out. Of course, a lot of them went wild anyway — but it’s just washable watercolor paint, and it will be diluted like crazy in the bath, so I didn’t sweat it too much. If it gets too painty, you can always add more salt.
When it came time for the essential oils, I let the children choose which oil they wanted and then I droppered it into the salt.
After your bath crystals are mixed up, you can package them pretty and give them to your Valentine!