This holiday season when you “deck the halls,” try something different that’s inexpensive, easy, and that can involve the entire family: decorate using Epsom salt! Create a winter wonderland by making “ice”-frosted windows, dazzle your home with glistening candles or make a centerpiece that sparkles with a snowy décor. You can also create bath salts, which make a thoughtful and inexpensive gift.
You can pick up Epsom salt at your local grocery store or pharmacy for just a few dollars. To learn more, please visit www.epsomsaltcouncil.org or www.facebook.com/epsomsalt. Here are four recipes for holiday decorating and gift-giving suggestions:
- Pour one to two cups of Epsom salt into a vase for a snowy effect.
- Add small- to medium-sized ornaments.
- Securely position sticks in between the ornaments and adjust to personal preference.
- Sprinkle additional Epsom salt over finished product to enhance the wintry look.
- Using a foam brush, paint a candle with a light coat of glue, such as Mod Podge, that you can find at craft stores.
- Spread Epsom salt on a cookie sheet or another flat surface, then roll the candle onto the Epsom salt. (You can also paint the top of the candle with Mod Podge and then pour Epsom salt on top, shaking off any excess before the candle dries, or you can coat the candle three-quarters of the way up with first glue and then Epsom salt.)
- Allow the candle to dry, standing straight up, for at least an hour before handling.
“Ice” Frosted Windows
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve four heaping tablespoons of Epsom Salt in one cup of beer. Be sure to use a light colored beer, because a dark one will make the “frost” appear yellow. The mixture will foam up, so be sure to use a bowl deep enough that the reaction won’t overflow.
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, until the salt dissolves and the foam goes away. It’s OK if some salt crystals remain at the bottom.
- Dip a terry cloth rag into the mixture and then wipe the window as if you were washing it. Make sure the solution goes all the way to the edges of the window, so there’s no clear space when the window dries. While the window is still wet, go back and dab it with a damp paper towel. This will make the frost crystals appear more realistic when dry.
- Allow the window to dry overnight. In the morning you will see the frost crystals. If you “frosted” too much, use a damp rag to rub away parts of the crystals or to draw pretty designs or words.
- The crystals will last up to three weeks and are easily removed with a glass-cleaner and paper towel.
Homemade Bath Salts
For this recipe, you will need:
- a large, mixing bowl
- a 12-count muffin pan
- 4 cups of Epsom salt
- food coloring
- your choice of essential oil
- either vitamin E oil (soft gel capsules or the liquid oil will work) OR you can use olive oil
Combine 4 cups of Epsom salt with 3 tablespoons of water. Squeeze 3-4 vitamin E oil soft gel capsules or use 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil into the mixture (you can also use 1 teaspoon of olive oil rather than vitamin E oil).
Add 10-15 drops of essential oil, depending on how strong you like your fragrance. Add food coloring until desired shade is achieved.
NOTE: When you bake the bath salts, some of the fragrance and color will evaporate, so use generous amounts of both when you mix the ingredients.
Coat the inside of each muffin mold with one vitamin E oil capsule or 1-2 drops of olive oil. (Note: If you are using olive oil, instead of the vitamin E oil, add a drop of essential oil to help mask the smell of the olive oil).
Divide mixture evenly among the muffin molds. Firmly pack the mixture and bake at 150 degrees for one hour.
NOTE: Avoid hotter temperature, because they could melt the bath salts. Let coolfor 20-30 minutes. Turn pan upside down and gently ease the bath salts out of the mold.
Gently place the bath salts in a mason jar. Three should fit in small jars, and five in larger ones.
Finish with a decorative bow.
About Epsom salt
Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – is one of the most versatile household products, with uses ranging from creating at-home spa treatments to soothing achy muscles to helping start or improve gardens. It’s been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, and it’s gaining a new generation of fans looking for a safe, economical alternative in a sea of expensive, over-the-counter remedies. Epsom salt is easy to use, easy to find in your local pharmacy or grocery store and it costs about the same per use as a cup of coffee. For more information, please visit either www.epsomsaltcouncil.org, www.facebook.com/epsomsalt, or contact Peter Smolowitz, (704) 916-6163, firstname.lastname@example.org.