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NGSS: Core Idea: PS1.B, ETS1.C

CCSS: Speaking and Listening: 4

TEKS: Science: 3.5D, 4.5A, 5.5C, 6.5C; ELA: 3.1C, 4.1C, 5.1C, 6.1C

Bath Bomb Maker

Jelani Jones uses science to make colorful bath products

Courtesy of TERRI BASKIN

Jelani Jones makes and sells bath products like bath bombs. 

As you read, think about a business you’d like to start.

Jelani Jones loves watching anime cartoons and going to amusement parks with friends. When she’s not doing those things, she manages a business! The 13-year-old from Fredericksburg, Virginia, 

makes and sells bath bombs. These hardened mixtures dissolve in bathwater, adding color and scent to the bath.  

When Jelani was 9 years old, she attended a class at a local store on how to make bath products. “There, I learned the science behind bath bombs,” she says. Working with her family, Jelani used what she learned to start her business, Lani Boo Bath.

Bath bombs have two main ingredients: baking soda and citric acid, the sour substance found in lemons and oranges. When the ingredients get wet, a chemical reaction takes place between them, producing bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. As the bubbles pop, they release scent into the air. The dissolving mixture also adds colors to the water. 

Since 2017, Jelani has sold about 2,500 bath bombs online and at events. She’s now using her business knowledge in new ways. Today, she spends much of her time talking to groups of kids about how they can start their own businesses. Jelani recently spoke with SuperScience about her work.

Jelani Jones loves watching anime cartoons. She likes going to amusement parks with friends. She also runs her own business! The 13-year-old is from Fredericksburg, Virginia. She makes and sells bath bombs. These hardened mixtures add color and scent to a bath.

Jelani took part in a class at a local store. She was 9 years old. “There, I learned the science behind bath bombs,” she says. She used what she learned to start her business, Lani Boo Bath.

Bath bombs have two main ingredients. They are baking soda and citric acid. Citric acid is the sour substance found in lemons and oranges. A chemical reaction takes place between the ingredients when they get wet. That makes bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. The bubbles release scent into the air as they pop. The mixture also adds colors to the water. 

Jelani sells bath bombs online and at events. She’s sold about 2,500 since 2017. She’s now using her business knowledge in new ways. Today, she spends much of her time talking to groups of kids. She shares how they can start their own businesses. Jelani recently spoke with SuperScience about her work.

Shutterstock.com

Bath bombs contain baking soda, citric acid, and other ingredients. In water, the baking soda and citric acid react together, releasing bubbles.

How do you make bath bombs?

First, I mix all the dry ingredients. Those are the baking soda, the citric acid, the coloring, and a type of clay, which helps hold the mixture together. Next, I add essential oils for the scents. These are liquids containing chemicals from plants, like rose and peppermint.

I add a little water to shape the mixture but not so much that it triggers the chemical reaction. Finally, I squeeze the mixture into molds. I take the bath bombs out and leave them to dry for eight hours.

First, I mix all the dry ingredients. Those are the baking soda and the citric acid. There’s also coloring and a type of clay. The clay helps hold the mixture together. Next, I add oils for the scents. They come from plants, like rose and peppermint.

I add a little water to shape the mixture. But I don’t add so much that it triggers the chemical reaction. Finally, I squeeze the mixture into molds. I take the bath bombs out. I leave them to dry for eight hours.

Courtesy of Mike Morones

Jelani began making bath bombs in her kitchen when she was 9 years old.

What was the biggest challenge in starting your business?

At the beginning, I had a hard time with the bath bomb recipe. I had to tweak it because things like temperature affect bath bombs. If it’s too cold or hot, the mixture can dry out before it gets to the molds. It was a lot of trial and error.

I built my business by getting the word out with friends and family. My mom started a Facebook page for me. I was in my local paper. But the main thing was networking as I met salespeople.

I had a hard time with the bath bomb recipe at first. That’s because things like temperature affect bath bombs. The mixture dries out if it’s too cold or hot. Then I couldn’t get it into the molds. It was a lot of trial and error.

I built my business by getting the word out with friends and family. My mom started a Facebook page for me. I was in my local paper. But the main thing was making contacts with salespeople I met.

How do you use math in your work?

Measurements are very important. When I make bath bombs, I have to use a specific amount of each ingredient. I have to measure time too. The mixture can dry out if I take too long. There’s also a lot of math when I go to the bank and manage money!

Measurements are important. I have to use a specific amount of each ingredient when I make bath bombs. I have to measure time too. The mixture can dry out if I take too long. There’s also a lot of math when it comes to managing money!

How do you balance school and work?

Schoolwork always comes first. I have bath bombs in stock, so if I get an order, I can ship them out. But if I need to make more products, I do that after I finish my schoolwork.

Schoolwork always comes first. I have bath bombs in stock. So, I can ship them out if I get an order. But sometimes I need to make more products. I have to finish my schoolwork before I can do that.

What’s your advice for kids who’d like to start a business?

Talk to people. You don’t know what opportunity is behind a door until you open it. Make sure you take breaks. And remember, your business doesn’t have to last forever. You have time to figure things out.

Talk to people. You don’t know what opportunity is behind a door until you open it. Make sure you take breaks if needed. And remember, your business doesn’t have to last forever. You have time to figure things out.

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