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Skully’s secret bath bombs

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Yields: 12 mini bath bombs

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These bath bombs have a hidden secret. They might look plain and unscented, but place them in water and they’ll reveal a colourful surprise and release a delicious fragrance of sweet orange, pumpkin pie and spice. Check out the video at the end of this post!

I made these bath bombs as an alternative to sweets for trick-or-treaters at Halloween. I’ve noticed the last couple of years, that there are more and more parents concerned about the amount of sugar their children consume, so I wanted to offer them a sweet-free option. These are mini sized bath bombs, made with the smaller bath bomb mold from Pure Nature, and they’re just the perfect size for kids.

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ONE: Combine 2/3 baking soda and 1/2 citric acid in a bowl.

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TWO: Add a teaspoon of orange saffron mica, and wearing gloves, mix everything together with your hands, making sure you break up any clumps in the mixture.

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THREE: Add 1 teaspoon of polysorbate 80. This is an optional step,  although the mica won’t stain the bath tub, it can leave a ring of colour along the sides of the tub. Mica doesn’t easily mix with water and the polysorbate 80 helps disperse the mica in the water.

FOUR: For these bath bombs, I combined pumpkin pie fragrance from Candlescience and sweet orange essential oil to create a blend that reminded me of Halloween and trick-or-treating: warm and fruity with spice overtones. Add 1 teaspoon of each to the bath bomb mixture. And again, wearing gloves, mix everything with your hands.

FIVE: Spray with a little water, if necessary, until you reach the right consistency. I made this a little wetter than usual, because I will need to be able to form them into balls with my hands. I tried using a little meat ball former, but I found that I couldn’t remove the balls properly and they kept breaking up. So instead, I decided it would be quicker and easier to mold them by hand. Be careful, though, that you don’t over-wet the mixture!

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SIX: Form 12 little balls using up all of your bath bomb mixture. The easiest way is to grab a handful of mixture and squeeze it in your hand. Then carefully release and start firming it up in the ball of your hand. Leave them to dry for several hours or overnight.

I’m sorry I couldn’t take any pictures, because I was using both my hands and they were covered in orange bath bomb mixture.

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SEVEN: When the little orange balls are dry and hard,  you can prepare the unfragranced white bath bomb mixture. Combine 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of citric acid in a bowl.

EIGHT: Spritz with water until you have the right consistency. Wear gloves (unlike me), especially if you have painted nails, because the bath bomb mixture will eat your polish. I’m wearing Jamberry wraps, which can withstand the chemicals of the bath bomb mixture. (Yes, I love my colourful Jamberry wraps!)

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NINE: To assemble the bath bomb, check out the image above. Add a little bit of white bath bomb mixture in one half mold, add the orange ball, and fill the sides up with more white mixture. Loosely fill a second half mold and squeeze the two filled molds together. Remove one mold (sometimes you need to tap the mold lightly to let it release the bath bomb), and carefully place it bath bomb side down and lift the other mold off.

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TEN: Form all 12 bath bombs and then place them somewhere to dry out and harden. Leave them for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

ELEVEN: Once your bath bombs have dried and hardened, it’s time to paint them. Mix 1 teaspoon of dark violet purple mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. Using a paint brush, paint a skull face on your bath bombs. Leave them to dry for a couple of hours and then wrap them up in cling foil or cello bags to prevent them getting moist.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Skully's secret bath bombs

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • polysorbate 80
  • orange saffron mica
  • dark violet purple mica
  • pumpkin pie fragrance from Candlescience
  • sweet orange essential oil
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • set of small bath bomb molds

Directions

  1. combine 2/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup citric acid in a bowl
  2. add 1 teaspoon of orange saffron mica and (wearing gloves) mix thoroughly
  3. add 1 teaspoon of polysorbate 80
  4. add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie fragrance
  5. add 1 teaspoon of orange essential oil
  6. mix everything using your hands (wear gloves)
  7. spray with a little water if the bath bomb mixture is not the right consistency
  8. using your hands, form 12 small balls, carefully firming and squeezing them so they hold shape (this is the trickiest part)
  9. leave to dry overnight or for several hours
  10. in a bowl add 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup citric acid
  11. mix and spray with a little water until the bath bomb mixture is the right consistency
  12. add a little of the bath bomb mixture to one bath bomb half mold
  13. place one of the orange balls, which should now be dry, in the centre of the mold
  14. fill the mold around the ball with more mixture
  15. add bath bomb mixture to the other half mold and then squeeze the two halves together
  16. carefully remove the bath bomb from the mold and form the remaining 11 bath bombs
  17. leave the bath bombs to dry overnight or for at least 3 hours
  18. mix 1 teaspoon of dark purple mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol
  19. with a thin paint brush, paint skull faces on the bath bombs and leave to dry
  20. wrap bath bombs in cling foil or cello bags to keep them from getting moist

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Witchy cauldrons jelly soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 cauldrons

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I love Halloween because it’s the one time in the year where I can get creative with fun spooky stuff. These witchy cauldrons are filled with a green jelly soap to which I’ve added some plastic spiders and skulls. You can buy the little cauldrons and spiders from Spotlight, and I found the little skulls at Look Sharp.

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All the soap ingredients, including the jelly soap, you can buy from Pure Nature. Jelly soap is really fun because it’s, as the name implies, a jelly like soap – pretty much like the jelly that you eat! And it’s easy to work with: you just melt it and then pour it.

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ONE: Cut up enough jelly soap to fill the six little cauldrons. You’ll have to eyeball this. Add the jelly soap to a heat proof Pyrex jug and heat it in the microwave in 1 minute intervals until it’s completely melted. Be careful that the soap does not start to boil. Give the soap only a quick stir between the intervals, but don’t over-stir. For this project, it doesn’t matter if you do get bubbles in your soap – it just adds to the effect!

TWO: Combine 1/2 teaspoon of mica into 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. And add it to the soap, stirring well.The alcohol will help disperse the mica through the soap without firming clumps. The alcohol will evaporate in the heat from the soap.

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THREE: Add 30 ml of coconut lime fragrance and give the soap a good stir to mix the fragrance well into the soap. This is my favourite fragrance from Candlescience skin-safe fragrances. It’s fresh and a little fruity, and I think it’s a perfect fit for the green coloured soap and the cauldrons.

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FOUR: Pour the soap into the little cauldrons. Don’t worry if you spill a little on the cauldrons. I think it makes it look even better with a bit of soap hanging over the edge of the cauldrons.

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FIVE: Lastly, sprinkle some of the spring green bio-glitter over the surface. I like using bio-glitter because it’s made from environmentally sourced, renewable raw materials and is bio-degradable. It is also safe to use on your skin and feels a lot softer than plastic glitter.

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Leave the cauldrons to cool down and if you like, embellish with some spooky little toys. I added mini-skulls and spiders to my cauldrons, which I found at Look Sharp. Just be aware if you plan to give these to young children and toddlers, that they can pose a choking hazard.

Have a witchy good time!

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  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • jelly soap
  • coconut lime fragrance
  • apple green mica
  • spring green bio-glitter
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • 6 cauldrons
  • optional: spooky decorations

Directions

  1. cut up and add the jelly soap to a heat-proof Pyrex jug
  2. heat the soap in 1 minute intervals in the microwave until completely melted – be careful you don’t bring it to a boil
  3. combine 1/2 teaspoon of mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol, and add it to the soap
  4. add 30 ml of coconut lime fragrance and stir well into the soap
  5. pour the soap into the cauldrons
  6. sprinkle bio-glitter over the surface of the soap and leave to cool down
  7. add little spooky toys (optional)

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Glow in the dark Halloween soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 2x 30 minutes
Yields: 6 soaps

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I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I first encountered the glow in the dark soap pigments, and even though they were bright in powder form, I wasn’t sure if the effect would last in soap. As you can see, they do work and they’re pretty spooky, if I say so myself!

Pure Nature stocks glow in the dark pigments in green and blue, and they are safe for cosmetic use.

I had a little play with the glow in the dark powder before doing these soaps, and I found out that they work great in melt and pour soap, but only if you don’t add colours that suspend. Dyes seem to work fine. But micas will block the pigment and you’ll lose the glow in the dark effect. In bath bombs you have to remember that only the outer layer of your bath bomb is exposed to sunlight, so any pigment not on the surface won’t glow in the bath. And lastly, they also work great in jelly soap! You can add food colouring to jelly soap and it will still glow. Great if you want green, glowing, slimy jelly soap!

For my halloween soaps this year, I’m using a skull and crossbones ice cube tray that I bought years ago, and will add the pigment to these to make them stand out and glow in the dark. Add these to a black square soap will make them pop out and look good even in normal light.

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The glow in the dark soap pigment is really that bright!

Apart from a skulls mold, you will also need a soap mold with cavities, I used one with square cavities, to embed the skulls into the black soap. To colour the soap black, I used activated charcoal powder, which is a fantastic black soap colourant and works just as well in melt and pour soap as cold process soap.

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ONE: To begin, cut up sufficient white melt and pour soap base for your skulls and crossbones and place them in a heat proof pyrex jug. Heat the soap in the microwave for about 1 minute or until melted. Keep an eye on your soap, so it doesn’t boil!

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TWO: Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of glow in the dark pigment. I used the green colour for these soaps. You can stir the pigment in directly, you don’t have to mix it with alcohol first, because it disperses easily in the soap. Stir well. If you have left the pigment out in the light beforehand, then you can test if the pigment has been dispersed throughout the soap in the dark. Just holding the jug in the cupboard was sufficient for me to see the effect!

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THREE: Pour the soap into the mold and set aside to harden and cool. I usually don’t bother with fragrances in embeds. The surrounding fragranced soap will be sufficient.

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FOUR: Once they’ve hardened and cooled completely, after about an hour, carefully remove them from the mold and set them aside for later.

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FIVE: Cut up the clear melt and pour soap and place it in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Cut up enough soap to pour about 1/2 inch of soap into each cavity. You’ll have to eyeball this. Heat the soap in the microwave until completely melted. Again, make sure you don’t let the soap come to a boil.

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SIX: Once the soap is melted, add 10 ml of fragrance. I’m using blueberry cheesecake from Candlescience because it’s such a yummy fragrance that I know kids will like – and I am making these as Halloween treats for the kids!

SEVEN: To prepare the colour, add 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal to 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol, give it a good stir and then pour it into the soap. Stir the soap until all the colour has completely dispersed throughout the soap.

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EIGHT: Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of black soap into each cavity of the mold. You’ll have to work quickly now, because you don’t want the soap to set!

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NINE: Carefully place the white skulls and crossbones into the black soap. For the best effect, you will want the white embeds to stick out from the black background. But the glow in the dark effect will still work if they have been covered by black soap. I drizzled some black soap into the eye sockets and nose. Don’t worry if you are a messy worker like me, you can easily clean up the soap once it has hardened,

TEN: Leave the soaps to harden and cool down completely before unmolding. Tidy up the soaps by using a very sharp knife, and lift off any black soap ‘splashes’ from the white soap. I also trimmed the edges a bit to give it a more jagged look.

Because these are melt and pour soaps, you will need to store these soaps wrapped in cling foil or plastic to keep from moisture droplets forming on the soaps.

Happy Halloween!

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Glow in the Dark Halloween Soap

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • white melt and pour soap base
  • clear melt and pour soap base
  • green glow in the dark soap pigment
  • activated charcoal powder
  • blueberry cheesecake fragrance
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • skulls and crossbones ice cube tray (or similar)
  • soap mold with square cavities

Directions

  1. cut up the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and heat in microwave until melted
  2. add 1/4 teaspoon of glow in the dark pigment and stir well until pigment has fully dispersed throughout the soap
  3. pour into the skulls mould and leave to set
  4. once the skulls and crossbones have set, remove them carefully from the mold and set aside
  5. prepare the black colour by adding 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder to 1 teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol
  6. cut up clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and heat in microwave until melted
  7. add 10 ml of fragrance and stir
  8. add the colour and stir until the soap is an even black colour throughout
  9. pour about 1/2 inch of the black soap into each square cavity of the mold
  10. carefully place the skulls and crossbones into the black soap – for the best glow in the dark effect you will want the surface of the skulls and crossbones to stick out of the black soap
  11. leave to harden and cool before wrapping in cling foil

 

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Pumpkin Spice Soap

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 500 g soap or 4 bars of soap to fit the small square soap mold
To use the larger loaf mold, which gives you 10 bars, multiply the recipe by 2.5

Pumpkin Spice is one of my favourite soaps to make, because the colours associated with pumpkin and spice (orange and brown), means I don’t have to worry about vanillin discolouring, and I can create a beautifully swirled soap with a delicious I-want-to-eat fragrance. The discolouration from the vanillin in the fragrance, only enhances the colour. In addition, I love the idea of adding fresh produce into my soaps, and pumpkin adds both colour and a bit of texture to the soap. The only downside is that by adding fresh puree, you risk getting glycerine rivers in your soap (see the example below), and to avoid this you have to calculate a water discount into your recipe. I usually do a simple 1:1 ratio – 1 tablespoon of puree equals 15 ml less water in my lye.

The recipe has an advanced level due to the various techniques and potential problems involved, and if you are unfamiliar with any of them, or have never made soap before, I suggest to look at the basic tutorial here, and make a few beginner and intermediate level soaps first.

For this tutorial I used a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove essential oils and Creme Brûlée fragrance, which are all available from Pure Nature. The scent from this blend is a delicious, yummy vanilla with spicy overtones – and I think the soaps need to have a ‘Beware! Do not Eat!’ label on them!

BEFORE YOU START, MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING PROTECTIVE GOGGLES AND GLOVES AND HAVE READ THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS HERE!

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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and set aside to cool. I’ve added sodium lactate to mine to ensure a harder bar.

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TWO: Weigh out and melt your coconut oil and cocoa butter.

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THREE: Weigh out and add your liquid oils and set aside.

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FOUR: To prepare your pumpkin, peel and cut into cubes and cook in microwave until soft. With a stick blender, blitz until you have a smooth consistency.

 

Measure out your fragrance and essential oils blend. Also prepare your cocoa powder, by adding 1 teaspoon of powder to 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil.

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Lastly, prepare your mica oils. Add 1/4 teaspoon of mica to 1/2 teaspoon of lightweight oil. Do this for both mica colours. I’m using Coffee mica and Lustre Brown mica from Pure Nature.

Set everything aside until you need them.

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FIVE: When the lye and oils have cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils and using a whisk, stir briefly until emulsified. MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING PROTECTIVE GOGGLES AND GLOVES!

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SIX: Add the pumpkin puree and either using your stick blender or the whisk, stir until the pumpkin has been well incorporated into the soap mixture.

SEVEN: Add your fragrance blend. The essential oils will accelerate trace, so you will have to work quickly from this point on.

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EIGHT: Separate approximately 1/3 of the soap mixture into a separate bowl and colour this with the cocoa/oil mixture. Add no more than 1 teaspoon per 500 ml of soap mixture.

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NINE: In the pot swirl. Pour the now brown coloured soap back into the other pot with the uncoloured soap. With your spatula, swirl the soap around a few times, but don’t over-stir! You don’t want the colours blended too much.

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TEN: Pour or scoop the soap into the mold and tap it a few times on the bench to release any air bubbles trapped in the soap mixture.

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ELEVEN: Drizzle the mica oils on the surface of the soap, and, using a chopstick, swirl the surface of the soap (only the top 0.5-1 cm layer of the soap).

TWELVE: Leave the soap to cure overnight before unmolding, and then let it sit for another day or two before cutting it into bars. The bars will need to cure for about 6-8 weeks before they are ready to use. Note, the colours will darken over time due to the vanillin content of the Creme Brûlée fragrance.

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Pumpkin Spice Soap

  • Difficulty: advanced
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Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 150 g olive oil
  • 130 g coconut oil
  • 100 g sunflower oil
  • 30 g cocoa butter
  • 20 g castor oil
  • 60 g caustic soda
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 12 ml Creme Brûlée fragrance
  • 3 ml ginger fragrance
  • 3 ml cinnamon fragrance
  • 1 ml nutmeg fragrance
  • 1 ml clove fragrance
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon lustre brown mica
  • 1/4 teaspoon coffee mica
  • lightweight oil

Directions

  1. Prepare your lye as usual and add the sodium lactate. Set aside to cool.
  2. Weigh out and melt your coconut oil and cocoa butter.
  3. Weigh out and add the liquid oils and set aside to cool.
  4. Preparation:
    1. Pumpkin puree: peel and cut into cubes, and cook in microwave until soft. Using a stick blender, blitz until smooth consistency. Set aside.
    2. Fragrance: measure out the fragrance and essential oils. Set aside.
    3. Cocoa powder: mix 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of oil. Set aside.
    4. Mica oils: mix 1/4 teaspoon of mica with 1/2 teaspoon of lightweight oil. Do this for both mica colours. Set aside.
  5. When both lye and oils have cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils and stir until emulsified using either a whisk or a stick blender.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree and blend until puree has been fully incorporated into the soap mixture.
  7. Add the fragrance blend and stir to mix the fragrance through the soap. Be aware that the fragrance blend may cause acceleration.
  8. Separate 1/3 of the soap into a separate bowl and colour this with the cocoa/oil mixture until you have reached the desired colour.
  9. Pour the brown coloured soap back into the pot with the uncoloured soap and with a spatula, swirl the soap a few times (in the pot swirl).
  10. Pour or scoop the soap into the soap mold and tap the mold a few times on the bench to release any air bubbles trapped within the soap.
  11. Mica painting: drizzle the mica oils over the surface of the soap, and swirl the top 0.5-1 cm of the soap with a chopstick or other utensil.
  12. Leave the soap in the mold overnight before removing, and let it harden for another few days before cutting the soap into bars. Leave the bars to cure for a further 6-8 weeks.