Día de los Muertos Bath Fizzies

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My crafty shenanigans tend to land me in hot water, and after a long day’s scheming and stalking, there is nowhere I’d rather be than that warm, fragrant tub. To best enjoy my repose and to match my macabre decor, I’ve constructed festive skull-shaped bath fizzies. They contain a refreshing skin softener, and best of all, small, devious treats can be hidden inside.
Traditional calaveras are made for the Mexican celebration Día de los Muertos, when deceased loved ones are honored and their spirits invited back to the family home to share a meal and a shot of tequila, and to party. The ornately decorated skulls are made from sugar and royal icing, with the name of the deceased often written on the forehead.
For my luxury soak, I’ve swapped out the sugar for a bath fizzy mix and used a calavera mold, which can be ordered online or found in specialty shops. With a few drops of fragrance oil, you’ll be smelling just as sweet as the afterlife.
To spice up my skulls even further, I’ve hidden small toys such as SuperBalls and fake bugs inside. They magically appear as the fizzies dissolve in the bath.

Step 1

Skulls: Makes 8 medium (3-ounce) skulls
2 cups baking soda
1 cup citric acid (see Sources)
1 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons jojoba oil
4 teaspoons witch hazel (see note)
2 tablespoons water
10 drops fragrance oil
Calavera molds (see Sources)
Small toy (optional)
¾ cup meringue powder
1 cup powdered sodium lauryl sulfate (see Sources)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar more if needed)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup warm water
4 tablespoons jojoba oil
5 drops fragrance oil
A few drops of bath-safe colorant (see Sources)

Step 2

To make the skulls:
a. Sift the baking soda, citric acid, and cornstarch together into a large mixing bowl and stir with your hands, making sure to break up any hard-packed chunks.
b. In a separate bowl, whisk together the jojoba oil, witch hazel, water, and fragrance oil.
c. Add the wet ingredients to the dry a few tablespoons at a time, stirring thoroughly with your hands until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand.

Step 3

The mix should hold a shape when squeezed together firmly. If it doesn’t, add a bit more of the liquid ingredients, a few drops at a time.

Step 4

Pack the mixture firmly into the molds. Flip the molds upside down onto a clean, flat surface. The fizzy forms should tap out easily. If they don’t, your mixture may be too wet. Toss any cracked or broken skulls back into the mixing bowl, add a pinch more cornstarch, and try again.
To hide a treat in each calavera, you’ll need to line the bottom and sides of the mold with about 1/8 inch of the fizzy mixture. Put the small toy inside, then cover completely and pack firmly with fizzy mixture.

Step 5

To decorate:
a. To make the icing, combine the meringue mix, sodium lauryl sulfate, confectioners’ sugar, and cream of tartar in a bowl.
b. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, jojoba oil, and fragrance oil.
c. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Your icing should have the consistency of thick toothpaste. If it is too thin, you can add a bit more confectioners’ sugar. If it is too thick, add a few drops of water.
d. Add the colorant last. I like to use lots of colors when decorating, and I usually divide my icing into three or four bowls at this point, adding a different color to each. While you are working, make sure to cover the icing you aren’t using with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
e. Put the icing into a pastry bag (or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off) and pipe onto the skulls.

Step 6

Sprinkle with decorative colored sugar for extra bling. The sugar will dissolve well in the bath and leave your skin soft and refreshed! For extra scent, I like to use rose petal–scented witch hazel.

Step 7

This project is excerpted with permission from "Criminal Crafts: Outlaw Projects For Scoundrels, Cheats, and Armchair Detectives" by Miss Demeanor a.k.a. Shawn Gascoyne-Bowman (Andrews McMeel Publishing).

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