TPiB: Herbal Bath Sachets (aka Tub Teas)
This morning as I walked outside, there was this gross layer of ice over everything that was practically invisible. The kids at the crosswalk were slipping and falling all over the place, and then it started to rain ice. Not hail or sleet, this was like little jagged shards of ice that were pelting my face. It’s still winter, and it’s going to be for a while here in the upper Midwest. All I wanted to do was go back inside and take a nice soak in a hot tub with one of these cute, easy to make, nice smelling sachets.
It’s an easy craft that would very nicely fold into a DIY spa program, a mother/daughter craft night, and it’s a great craft around a gift giving holiday for tweens and teens that want to make something nice and useful but have outgrown pinch pots and ornaments. If you’re looking for an easy program with a lovely result, this is a great one to consider.
Size 4 unfilled tea bags
Epsom Salts (unscented, lavender, or eucalyptus scented)
Dried botanicals (lavender, rose buds, chamomile, lemon or orange peel, peppermint, eucalyptus, jasmine)
Scrapbook paper & markers for tags
Yarn or ribbons to tie
How to do it
Set out your herbs in bowls with spoons. Put the epsom salts into a larger container with a scoop.
Encourage teens to smell the different options, and if they’re not sure what they want to combine, to add small pinches to their palm and see how their mixture smells before making a bigger batch.
Once teens have an idea for their combination, have them add a hefty scoop of epsom salts to the bag, then top it with roughly a quarter cup total of herbs. The salts will soften the water in the bath and also add some extra bulk, offsetting the cost of filling the bag entirely with herbs which can get pricey.
Some of the unfilled tea bags have heat seals, but the ones I used did not. To keep them closed, we folded them over twice, then punched a hole through all layers. This makes it easy to string a tag on (just remember to remove the tag before tossing it in the bath). As teens make their tags, encourage them to come up with clever names for their blends, and especially if they are going to be given as gifts, include the ingredients.
Many dried herbs and botanicals can be bought online, but I purchased mine at a local bulk food store. This allowed me to buy smaller quantities and save on shipping. Call around to find out if your local shops have this option.
Some tub tea recipes include the use of essential oils. I avoided this with my program because of the cost and the fact that special care must be taken with some essential oils. If you have experience with them, or have some on hand, this is another option for changing up the scents.
The tea bags aren’t the strongest things. They’re plenty tough for steeping tea, but they can’t take much abuse. Remind teens not to overfill the bags, and to be gentle while handling them.
About Heather Booth
Heather Booth has worked in libraries since 2001 and am the author of Serving Teens Through Reader’s Advisory (ALA Editions, 2007) and the editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Servcies along with Karen Jensen.
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