Monday, December 26, 2016

Mermaid Colors and Homemade Gifts

I made a lot of homemade gifts this holiday season. Homemade gifts are not easy - they take time and you need a good idea. DIY projects can be stressful too. This year, however, I just happened upon two projects that were a delight to make. I made paintings for some people and colored bath salts for others. I just love painting with acrylics - if I get the chance to paint first thing in the morning, it's one of my favorite things.

The idea to make colored bath salts came from an earlier project, when I tried making bath bombs. My first batch of orange bath bombs were for testing and my own personal use. They were wonderful, except they turned the bath water the color of Mountain Dew soda. :-/ I decided yellow food coloring was something to avoid.

I thought I was ready to make bath bombs for gifts, using food coloring in pinks, purples, and greens instead. My next batch went horribly wrong, though, and the bath bombs refused to come out of their molds. I had used tea cups as molds the first try and the bath bombs came out easily, but not this time. I tried turning over the molds for 48 hours, putting them in hot water, chipping away at them, but it was no use. I still had some of the bath bomb ingredients and thought I could make colored bath salts instead. The bath salts went much better and you can make your own using the following simple recipe:

Mermaid Bath Salts Recipe:
2 parts lavender-scented epsom salts
1 part baking soda
A few drops of vanilla extract
A few drops of pink, purple, blue, and green food coloring

After you mix the first three ingredients in a glass bowl, you can divide the mixture into small plastic zip baggies and add different food colorings. All you need is a drop or two per baggie for light pastel colors. Squeeze and shake each baggie until the color is evenly mixed. Then, cut a corner off each baggie and pour the contents into a glass mason jar or a bottle. (If you have a funnel, this might be a good time to use it). Just make sure you have a lid or a cork to keep the bath salts fresh in their containers.

These container were some I already had. I pulled some old wine and soda bottles out of recycling and removed the labels in a sink with warm water and soap. (Some of the labels were stubborn and needed to soak a long time). For some reason I had kept all the corks from the wine bottles in a kitchen drawer. Most of them fit in the soda bottles, and I thought it made for a cute, message-in-a-bottle look, which is why I ended up call them 'mermaid bath salts.' I kept some of these bath salts for myself for testing. They're great in bathwater and in smaller amounts for a relaxing foot bath. How much you want to use really depends on your preference. I found that the vanilla scent almost disappeared when the bath salts dried, but reemerged in a pleasant way when poured into bath water.

Anyway, I hope your holidays have been lovely so far.


  1. I find a lot of people can be quite dismissive of handmade gifts and have no idea of the amount of work they take, but they really are the best kind of present. I made boxes of homemade candy once to give for Christmas and it was the most stressful few days!
    I love the things you've made, the painting is beautiful and the salts are something I would never think of! I might just have to make some for myself.

    1. Ooo, I've always thought that candy sounded so difficult to make. The bath salts were surprisingly easy. I think I may continue to make them for fun. I recommend it, especially if you already like epsom salts. :-)