Sunday, 9 May 2010

Soothing bath bag how-to

If, like me, you've reached the age where lots of friends have started to have babies, you too may have become intimately acquainted with the newborn ranges on offer on the high street. However, if also like me, you like your presents to be meaningful, charming and sustainable, you might like this how-to on making an all-natural bath bag. I got the concept from another great book - A Slice of Organic Life - but have taken it a step further in the gift presentation.

There are only two main ingredients: oats and dried herbs. You can use any herbs depending on whether you want your bath bag to be relaxing or invigorating, but I used chamomile here for its soothing properties. The oats contain a range of useful elements, including saponins and polysaccharides to produce both a creamy, soapy lather and a protective layer on the skin to prevent drying.

What you will need
  • A jar
  • Oats (rolled oats or oatmeal work equally well - don't use instant porridge oats though!); I used 250g, but it will depend on the size of your jar.
  • Dried herbs - the best source for dried chamomile is actually herbal tea bags. Again, the amount you need will depend on your jar, but I got through 18 tea bags.
  • A rectangle of muslin
  • A needle, thread and some pins
  • Materials for decorating your gift and for making a label

1. Fill your clean, dry jar with the oats and the dried herbs in alternating layers. Easy!

2. Now for the sewing-part!

3. Fold the two shorter sides of your muslin rectangle over to form a narrow hem (about 1 cm), pin and sew.

4. Fold the material in half, bringing your two, short, hemmed sides together (wrong side out): these will form the top of your bag, and if you want to, you could thread some raffia, ribbon or string through these hems to create a drawstring. Now pin and sew the two open edges.

5. Remove all the pins and turn your finished bag the right way out.

6. Finally, attach your bag to your filled jar, decorate as required and make a label with instructions for use.

Instructions for use: Half fill the bag with a mixture of oats and herbs. Close tightly with ribbon or string, leaving some space at the top to allow the contents to move around. Use in the bath or the shower. When wet, the bag will produce a lovely, creamy lather for washing sensitive skins.

Only use the contents for one wash, then empty the bag (you can compost the remains!) and stick it in the washing machine with a 60 degree load.

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