Last Updated on December 30, 2020
Looking for a super-simple homemade gift that people will love but that won’t break the bank? These DIY bath salts are RIDICULOUSLY easy! Nothing more than mixing some epsom salts with a little essential oil, but the people you give it to will love it. (You will, too, so keep some for yourself!)
Bonus: DIY bath salts are super-cheap!
Even if you have a day or less, you can throw this project together with a couple ingredients you can likely find in a nearby store, or you might already have in your house.
If, like me, you’re just too busy or too un-crafty to tackle some of those really cool homemade gifts you see on Pinterest all the time, never fear. If you can mix two ingredients, you’re set! A little savvy presentation and you have a DIY gift that’s really special.
All you need to make bath salts are epsom salt and some essential oil, but oh, how much these DIY bath salts add to a soak in the tub! Epsom salts are a great source of magnesium you can take up through your skin, perfect for de-stressing or bringing on restful sleep.
They’re excellent for relieving sore muscles, too. (Find out more about incredible magnesium benefits in this post)
If you don’t already have essential oils around, don’t be intimidated. You can make all your DIY bath salts with just one little bottle of oil if you prefer. Lavender is always a safe bet, perfect for relaxing and bringing on sleep.
Or you can buy pre-blended oils, which will be labeled with words like “relaxing,” “invigorating,” and the like. One year I found an “anti-anxiety” blend that smelled heavenly, and I used that in numerous jars of homemade bath salts I gave out to many folks on my list.
Why make DIY bath salts?
Simple: Homemade bath salts are WAAAAAAAAY cheaper than purchased bath salts. You can buy one little jar for $10, or make 10 (probably more) of your own. Easy choice!
Sugar scrubs are another great option for a non-toxic super-easy homemade gift. Here’s how to make a homemade sugar scrub.
In need of some other easy homemade gift ideas? Here are more than 25 easy homemade gifts for the not-so-crafty!
Ingredients for DIY Bath Salts
- 2 pounds epsom salts. You can often find these for a few dollars at the drugstore or supermarket. If you use Amazon Prime Pantry, this 3 pound bag costs less than a dollar per pound. If you don’t do Prime Pantry, these boxes of epsom salts are a couple dollar per pound. You can check out other options here.
- Essential Oil: If you’re going to be making a lot of bath salts, go ahead and pick up a few bottles of oils to use. Most are under $10 a bottle, and they’re fun to have around for all kinds of purposes. If you’re only making a small amount of DIY bath salts and don’t use oils for other things, you can make a whole bunch with a small bottle of lavender oil, a scent most people really like. (But once you have some oils around, you may find they’re pretty darn useful. Check out this beginner’s guide to essential oils if you want to dabble in their many wonderful uses for home and wellness.)
Essential oils to add to your DIY bath salts:
Lavender — I’m a fan of Plant Therapy, which makes quality oils at reasonable prices. During the holiday season, they have new specials every day, which you can check out here. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, they have a small bottle of lavender for just over ten dollars. But for big bath-salt making projects and for adding to your own tub, you may want to get a larger bottle. For just a few dollars more, you get three times as much. Now Foods also makes some 1 oz bottles that are very affordable.
I highly recommend comparison shopping. One of my favorite places to save money on essential oils and other natural living staples is Vitacost, which regularly has big sales that bring down the cost of these supplies significantly. Use the codes they suggest, and you can easily save more than 30% over other sources. Here’s a link to their deals page.
Bergamot — I would go for the big bottle here. Bergamot’s scent is absolutely wonderful, and you’ll find all sorts of uses for it. I like to diffuse it for an easy pick-me-up, and use its anti-microbial abilities in my DIY deodorant. It’s a great addition to relaxing or muscle-soothing bath salts. (Here’s Plant Therapy’s small bottle.)
Geranium — Geranium has a light floral scent and is reputed to relieve stress and improve mood. I get compliments on its scent when we use our homemade bug spray. NOW has a big bottle for a reasonable price.
Peppermint — Good for pain relief and rejuvenating. Peppermint essential oil has numerous other uses, like deterring bugs and mice in the kitchen or making your home smell amazing in homemade cleaners, so a large 2 oz bottle might be a good bet here, too. (Here’s Plant Therapy’s small bottle.)
Pre-blended oils — I love Plant Therapy’s “Synergy” blends. You can list all the oils on your label without mentioning that someone else blended them!
“Worry-Free” blend has lavender, sweet marjoram, ylang ylang, sandalwood, Roman chamomile and balsam.
“Rapid Relief” blend soothes sore muscles with peppermint, clove, laurel, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, German chamomile, juniper, and thyme.
Go to your favorite natural foods store and sniff some of the samples. Just pick out what appeals to you and have some fun mixing it up!
Green Packaging for Your DIY Bath Salts
So let’s talk presentation: You probably want to keep this a super-frugal, super-green gift, right? So don’t go wasting money and resources buying jars for your DIY bath salts.
Instead, upcycle jars you have lying around, or ask around for some other people might be happy to pass on. Jam or honey jars work perfectly for this project, and they often don’t have any writing on them you need to conceal. If you don’t have enough of your own, post a request on Freecycle and you will be inundated with offers of old jars.
You can also see what your local thrift shop has and pick up jars of different sorts for maybe a quarter or so. I also like simple tins like the ones in the picture to give as gifts for travelers. If you don’t have any to upcycle, you can get them for less than a dollar each here.
Related: Getting Started with Zero Waste Living
Once you’ve removed any labels and given your jars a good cleaning, let them dry well. Then collect any materials you want to use give them a little panache. Fabric scraps can be glued to lids that need covering, with some pretty ribbon tied around the neck. Make a label that names the type of bath salt, lists the oils used, and gives instructions how to use it.
Use your imagination in naming them. For example:
- ‘Relaxing Bath Soak,’ with lavender oil or a relaxation blend you like the smell of.
- ‘Rejuvenating Bath,’ with bergamot or a de-stress or muscle relief blend.
- ‘Holiday Bath Soak’ with peppermint, balsam, or cypress.
You get the idea.
How to Make DIY Bath Salts
Ready for the how-to on this? It’s SO simple!
- Pour 2 cups epsom salts in a large bowl.
- Add 20-30 drops of your chosen essential oil.
- Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Put in jars.
Really, how can anyone ever pay for the ready-made stuff? While you’re at it, whip up some for yourself and enjoy a long soak in the tub so you can relax from all the hard work of making your own bath salts!
Make a label that lists the oils used, and suggest adding 1/4 cup to a bath. Tie with some raffia or a ribbon, and you’re done!
Optional add-ins for your DIY bath salts:
If you have time and inclination, you can add in a couple tablespoons of softening oils like almond or jojoba, or stir in some food coloring if you really want something besides white. (You can also make your own food-based dyes from things like beets, turmeric, and blueberries. Instructions here.)
Some recipes include baking soda or sea salt, but epsom salt by itself works well, and I like the way the crystals look without other powders mixed in. We’re about simple around here, and the holidays are so busy let’s keep this streamlined, shall we? Feel free to add in some baking soda or sea salt if you want. (If you can get a deal like this on sea salt, it may actually bring the cost of this project down a little more.)
You can also add a little Himalayan salt if you’d like a little sprinkle of color and don’t want to bother with food coloring. I prefer to eat mine, but it is pretty and adds some reputedly beneficial minerals to the bath water. Here’s a big bag if you’re going to add a lot, and a smaller bag if you need less.
Dried herbs or flowers, like lavender buds or rose petals, can also be added, but it means they’ll be floating in the bath water, which not everyone likes. You might just tie on a sprig to your gift or put on the top of the salts for show. Here’s a gorgeous recipe for rose cardamom bath salts from The Pistachio Project.
Or you can dry and powder orange peels for added skin benefits and scent. Here’s what to know about orange peel uses and benefits.
I’m not super crafty, but I have found some really easy DIY gifts I turn to (and get asked for!) year after year, like bath salts. Try out my two favorite homemade food gifts: homemade chocolates and roasted chickpeas with spice.
What are your favorite homemade gifts? Share your ideas in the comments, please! I’m always on the lookout for more easy homemade presents!
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Photo credits: Personal Creations, 82192
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.