After a long, hard day, there’s nothing better than plopping a bath bomb into the tub and savoring its soothing fragrance, calming hue and subtle fizzing sound as you slip below the waterline. But if a regular-sized version has the power to totally transform your soak, just imagine what one weighing 2,000 pounds would do when pushed into a swimming pool. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be very relaxing! Well, experimenters at the YouTube channel Vat19 decided to give it a go. And here’s exactly what happened next.
The task at hand obviously required a lot of planning. You’re unlikely to find a bath bomb of this magnitude in the cosmetic aisle at Target, after all. And, yes, that meant the Vat19 crew had to build the giant fizzy ball themselves. So, where did they start?
Well, the team couldn’t just take a recipe off the internet. Sure, it’s easy to find bath bomb recipes online, but there’s no guidebook for building a 2,000-pound one! Even so, the Vat19 folks managed to pull the thing off, landing themselves in the Guinness World Records book at the same time. Yep, what they went on to create wasn’t just any bath bomb, it was the biggest the world has ever seen. Pretty impressive, right?
And after experimenting with regular-sized bath bombs, the team realized exactly what color they wanted to turn their swimming pool. This didn’t mean simply filling their 2,000-pound sphere with a ton of dye, mind you. If the intrepid bomb-builders wanted the signature fizzing sound, they’d have to use traditional ingredients as well.
But even with those ingredients, no one could predict what would happen when the gigantic bath bomb hit the water. Would it even work? What if it just sank to the bottom? Could it even explode? There was only one way to find out, and the experimental bunch were, of course, prepared to see it through.
The events that unfold in Vat19’s YouTube video are enough to make everyone poolside start screaming and shouting. You see, when the bubbling bomb finally smashes into the water, it makes for a truly epic backyard display. And so we don’t miss what’s going on beneath the surface, one guy even jumps into the pool to get a closer look at how the effervescent ball starts to react.
Of course, most bath bombs are not this extreme, as Mo Constantine can tell you. She’s a co-founder of cosmetics firm Lush – the “number one purveyor of bath bombs,” according to a 2018 piece by Fast Company. And, in fact, it was Constantine herself who came up with the bath bomb idea three decades ago. She’d wanted to create a product that would make water feel more luxurious without damaging the most sensitive skin. We bet, though, that she never anticipated the YouTubers’ crazy behavior years down the line!
According to Lush’s website, Constantine has said of her original concept, “I wanted to be able to introduce things to the bath [that] you wouldn’t normally be able to, such as peels, petals, butters and essential oils – lovely ingredients [that] would be beneficial to the skin.” And that initial vision was simple – much less showy than the colorful, fizzing bath bombs of today.
Now, Lush’s bath bombs have become so intricate that staffers actually make them one by one, according to Reader’s Digest. First, they blend sodium bicarbonate with that particular recipe’s fragrance and colors. Then the makers add citric acid into the mix. And after that, all the ingredients are poured into sphere-shaped molds and packed tightly by hand.
Interestingly, the basis of every Lush bath bomb has been mostly the same since Constantine first came up with the idea. She found that combining sodium bicarbonate – also known as baking soda – with citric acid created the perfect, soothingly fizzy reaction. The various extra ingredients are then added to that simple concoction. There are essential oils, for example, or coloring and all-natural glitter. Whatever takes your fancy, really!
Other brands use different ingredients, though. Pearl Bath Bombs incorporate Epsom salts, which can relieve tension and tightness in the muscles. There’s also almond oil – an addition that quenches and smooths the skin. As for fragrance, the company only drops in essential oils such as lavender and lemongrass. These scents, the makers say, give an all-natural, spa-like quality to the bombs of their brand.
But how exactly has this popular bath product evolved from when it was first invented? They don’t appear to have gotten any bigger, for one – well, certainly not as big as Vat19’s anyway! To explain more, Lush’s brand and product trainer, Meghan Campbell, spoke to Reader’s Digest about the store’s signature product. Today, you see, the bath bombs that are sold are apparently much brighter than the ones that first came onto the market.
In 2017 Campbell explained to the magazine, “The reason that we use color at all is to add to the effervescent, multi-sensory experience a bath bomb is intended to provide. Colors are capable of impacting our dispositions in much the same way essential oils have been shown to have an effect on our moods. And, for us, the color and the spectacle is half the fun!”
For others, though, the best part of a bath bomb is the fizzing sensation and wonderful smell. People will naturally have different preferences when it comes to finding the perfect bomb, and that’s why experimenting at home can be a great try-before-you-buy solution. Don’t fret: they’re actually relatively simple to make! The key – and arguably most obscure – ingredient is citric acid, although it’s still pretty straightforward to order online.
The rest of the components of bath bombs are a piece of cake to find – so easy, in fact, that you might even have them in your pantry already. Yes, according to Byrdie.com, all you’ll need is baking soda, Epsom salt, cornstarch and water. For the scent, color and feeling of luxury, simply add a few drops of essential oil, food coloring and skin-softening body oil, respectively.
And if you really want to, you could scale up the production of your homemade bath bomb to make one large enough for a swimming pool. That’s what the folks behind the YouTube channel Vat19 decided to do, anyway. Getting this creative and experimental wasn’t a new venture for the online entrepreneurs, either.
Most of Vat19’s YouTube channel serves its online store, which sells interesting products, toys, gadgets and more. And the team don’t just curate their stock with care, they also post videos of how each item works. Like we said, though, they also partner this content with videos that document their outlandish experiments.
The Vat19 gang explain on their channel’s “About” page, “We produce amazing challenge videos [and] document our outrageous contraptions. And [we] invite you to a front-row seat for our silly stunts. Sometimes we blow things up, fill up a bathtub or pool with crazy stuff, dare each other to eat super-spicy foods and answer ‘burning questions’ from our viewers.”
The Vat19 team have no problem playing with scale, either. In one experiment shared in March 2018, they decide to prep a bowl of cereal comprised of just marshmallows. It doesn’t sound like an earth-shattering project until, of course, you realize how much cereal they had – and the size of the bowl they needed.
The YouTubers apparently purchased 720 pounds of Just Cereal Marshmallows, and that sheer volume meant they had to engineer their own bowl to hold the whole lot! In Vat19’s video, the team cover a mold with epoxy and fiberglass – the same material used to make boats – so that the receptacle is sturdy enough to hold all of the breakfast and the milk. And, of course, there’s also a spoon: a six-foot-long utensil they commissioned because no other ladle would do.
Then, just over a year later, the Vat19 crew decided to add to their collection of homemade giant treats. This time, though, they hoped to fill a gap in the dessert market by preparing the largest-ever Jell-O cup. Yep, the experimental bunch shelled out a whopping $1,000 for 500 pounds of cherry-flavored gelatin.
But it turned out that getting 500 pounds of gelatin to set was much more difficult than the team first imagined. Who would have thought? The vat even grew a layer of mold on top! No matter. The YouTubers simply scraped it off and completed their project. To top it all off, one of the guys then jumped into the massive cup filled with 40-degree Jell-O. Even that may not have been their craziest experiment to date, though.
Clearly, creating oversized items is one of the Vat19 team’s specialties. But neither the jello nor the cereal is seen as their most impressive feat – according to the Guinness World Records list, at least. There, you’ll find the YouTubers have an entry for the largest ever bath bomb.
The idea for the ridiculously huge bath bomb came from, well, a regular-sized bath bomb. It’s one they sell on their site, and it has the power to turn clear water black without staining the tub. This led the Vat19 team to wonder, as they explain in their June 2018 YouTube video, “How big would the bomb need to be to black out an entire swimming pool?”
For those of you who are curious, the Vat19 video walks viewers through the bath bomb’s incredible and complex construction. To start, the team must make a mold for their giant fizzy ball, and they rely on a method they’ve tried and tested before. Remember how they used fiberglass to construct the massive cereal bowl? Well, they do the same to create both halves of the spherical mold needed for this project.
Then, with a sturdy mold completed, the Vat19 team shift their focus to the bomb itself. And, funnily enough, they rely on the same ingredients that you would find in the small spheres designed for the tub. For this mammoth version, however, they need much more than just a few spoonfuls of citric acid, baking soda and food coloring.
In total, the Vat19 folks purchased 31 different 50-pound bags of materials – or so they’ve claimed. But the recipe that they use to combine all those supplies together is relatively simple. In the video, the group explain that they mixed one part each of cornstarch and citric acid to two parts baking soda. Then, to that powdery blend, they add enough dye to turn the bomb black.
As you can see from the clip, pressing all of that into a spherical mold is, understandably, a process. First, the powder mix goes into the bottom half of the fiberglass outline. Then the Vat19 crew add some dye to darken the whole thing up. After that, the team pat the mixture down, flattening and packing it tightly into place. No one wants a crumbly bath bomb, do they?
Now, in order to completely fill the bottom portion of their bath bomb mold, the gang have to repeat that same process seven to eight times. They then wheel the half-sphere out into the sunlight because, as one person explains in the YouTube video, they need to “dry this sucker out.” And once it’s firmed up, the experimenters put the second half of their sphere mold on top and continue to build up the bomb.
In the clip, a few cheers can be heard after that step of the process is complete – but the Vat19ers know they still have a few hoops to jump through. For one, they need to figure out how on earth they’ll get their giant bath bomb out of its mold. The idea behind letting it harden for a day is that it doesn’t fall apart. Even so, the round, heavy object will presumably be tough to control and maneuver at any consistency.
From the events that unfold in the video, it’s clear that the crew must have a good amount of faith in their creation – so much, in fact, that they decide to unshell their bath bomb right next to the pool. That way, after the fiberglass casing and its supports are removed, the experimenters can simply tip the container and plop the sphere right into the water. Then they’ll finally get to see if the experiment actually worked.
Luckily, the supports and shell come off with ease, and the Vat19ers pull away the casing to reveal a perfectly spherical, tightly pressed bath bomb in the middle. And the sheer size of the powdery ball shocks even the crew who made it. One of them exclaims, “That’s one big bath bomb, y’all.”
With the massive bath bomb unsheathed, there is only one thing left to do: push it into the pool and see what happens. We already know what transpires when a regular-sized bomb hits bathwater. But how will a ton of the stuff react when it falls into H2O?
With only one push, the bath bomb starts to roll toward the water, falling in with a huge splash. Initially, it sinks to the bottom, but it rises back up to the surface as it starts to fizz. This move elicits screams from the Vat19 team, and that includes the sole swimmer who entered the pool alongside the 2,000-pound creation.
In the clip, it quickly becomes clear that the massive bath bomb won’t do any harm, though. Instead, it gently bubbles as it changes the color of the pool. The aquamarine-tinted waters start turning an opaque gray – and as the sphere fizzes, it spreads its dye to every corner.
There’s yet another bonus, too. Because the Vat19 bath bomb is so large, it doesn’t disappear with the same hastiness of a handheld version. So, those who’ve now also entered the pool can pick up chunks of the baking soda-based ball. In the YouTube video, they’re seen patting and smashing it onto their hands as the main chunk continues to fizz.
And, naturally, those who viewed Vat19’s clip had plenty to say about the impressive experiment. One commenter said that the record-breaking bomb was the perfect response to their mom telling them, “You can only use one bath bomb in the tub.” Another joked that the pool’s filter was probably saying, “Here we go again.”
But the video also left a few folks wondering how the Vat19 crew would ever “get the pool back to normal.” And although the bath bomb builders didn’t address this topic in their YouTube clip, another fan theorized that it would need emptying and refilling to get rid of any powdery remnants.
One commenter even suggested that they’d preferred the look of the pool pre-bomb explosion. They wrote, “Can we all just get a moment to appreciate the fact that the water looks so refreshing and clean before they put in the bath bomb?” That comment got 85 likes, so others clearly felt the same way, too!
Regardless of opinions like those, the Vat19 bath bomb experiment was a viral sensation. At time of writing, the clip has nearly 30 million views on YouTube – which, by anyone’s standards, is pretty good going. But what about the people who actually built the 2,000-pound bomb? Well, as you may expect, they’ve continued with their crazy experiments. Since then, for instance, the team have gone on to build the world’s largest stress ball and a 135-pound gummy burger, to name just two of their incredible creations.
You don’t have to look too far to find others completing insane experiments, though. Yep, YouTube is full of videos of people making random concoctions and trying to do things no one has ever tried to complete before. Take the man who calls himself TheBackyardScientists, for instance. He poured hot metal into a watermelon – and the results were simply stunning.
You’re probably thinking that such an experiment – one that revolves around molten aluminum – would have to take place in a science lab. But a brave and arguably pathologically curious scientist decided to conduct his test in the backyard of his home. If you have a patch of grass behind your abode – and a certain amount of other technical equipment – you could replicate it yourself.
So, try and imagine what it would look like in that very space. You, standing over a giant watermelon, very carefully wielding a piping-hot container of liquid metal. You tip it forward and pour, expecting something dramatic to happen. You might reasonably assume that such a high-temperature element in any kind of experiment has a high chance of causing an explosion.
And something shocking does happen to your watermelon filled with molten aluminum. But what, exactly? Write down your hypothesis now, because someone has actually tried this. And you’re not going to believe what YouTube’s Backyard Scientist discovered when he performed the experiment in, well, his backyard.
His YouTube followers know Kevin Kohler as The Backyard Scientist, but his experiments didn’t always take place in the grass. It all started while he was studying chemistry at the University of South Florida. There, he started filming his scientific tests in his dormitory.
Kohler’s early videos saw him performing relatively small experiments. In his first-ever upload, he taught viewers the many ways they could use Borax – showing them, in one example, that they could use it to turn fire green. He also demonstrated to YouTubers how they could create their own crystals out of the cleaning product.
But those videos didn’t quite make the same splash – and here the pun is intended – as the first one that incorporated molten aluminum. Kohler dumped the liquid into a swimming pool to see what would happen. Interestingly, the silvery metal cooled into tear-shaped pieces and a blob-like mass at the bottom of the pool.
The aluminum-in-the-pool video racked up more than 10,000 views, at which point Kohler realized that his bigger experiments would turn more heads. So, he acted accordingly, coming up with extreme and extraordinary tests, and he recorded himself at the helm of them all.
On Kohler’s roster of mad-but-true experiments, you’ll find the time he set his pool alight. Still not crazy enough for you? Well, to extinguish the flames, he tossed liquid nitrogen over the blaze. Another time, he heated up salt so that it became molten, then dumped that into an aquarium: that combination produced a big explosion, a shocking end that was caught on camera.
Of course, Kohler’s experiments weren’t just about fire and molten metals and exploding things – he also taught his viewers some lessons along the way. He told magazine SRQ in 2016, “By explaining the science behind it, I make it more than entertainment. I bring something new and teach you something.”
And viewers have made it clear that that combination works for them, too. Eventually, Kohler’s YouTube channel garnered so many followers – and advertisers – that he decided to pause his university studies and convert The Backyard Scientist into his full-time occupation. As of December 2020 his channel has a staggering 4.64 million subscribers.
And, to those millions of people who follow him, Kohler never gives out a warning when he’s about to perform a dangerous experiment on his channel. He told SRQ, “In my videos I don’t say, ‘Don’t try this at home.’ I’d like to see more experimenting and people trying new things in general.”
On his YouTube channel’s landing page, though, Kohler does issue a semi-warning to The Backyard Scientist’s fans, though. He wrote, “Almost everything I do can be considered dangerous! If you insist on trying my videos at home, just remember – if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.”
To be fair, some of Kohler’s most explosive – and headline-grabbing – experiments have shown that to be true. Perhaps none of them exemplify the try-at-your-own-risk mantra quite like the clip titled Rocket-Powered Fidget Spinner. Now, these handheld devices were initially designed as soothing sensory toys for those with autism, anxiety and ADHD.
But as we all know, fidget spinners became a popular mainstream toy, too, with kids young and old trying to learn how to perform tricks with them. Along the way, Kohler caught sight of the spinning device and came up with an activity of his own – one that ended up being a bit dangerous.
As the title suggests, Kohler filmed a Backyard Scientist installment in which he attached rockets to the fidget spinner, sending the device whizzing to a peak speed of 5,294 rotations per minute. That sounds cool, except his first take saw one of the rockets working itself loose from the toy – and nearly smashing into his girlfriend’s ankle.
But it may just be The Backyard Scientist’s molten metal experiments that are the most intriguing. We’ve already touched on the time he poured scorching-hot aluminum into a swimming pool. He has done the same to a lava lamp and a plugged-in toaster and he has seared a steak with the stuff, too. Yet perhaps his most interesting metallic test came when he poured the silvery liquid into a watermelon.
Watermelon makes a great snack – most of us have chomped into a slice of the pink, seed-filled fruit. But it has also become a great resource for experimenters the world over. Of course, most of them are performing far less dangerous tests than dumping molten metal into the center of the fruit.
For example, a hollowed-out watermelon makes the perfect base for a volcanic simulation – yes, the one you did in elementary school science class. Mixing vinegar with bicarbonate of soda in the fruit’s basin will create a bubbling explosion that looks even cooler when erupting from a watermelon rind.
On top of that, watermelon has become a surprising and beautiful medium for artists the world over. The practice is believed to have originated in Thailand, where fruit carving has been a renowned artform for hundreds of years, locals using the etched-out rinds as décor when setting tables for royalty. Now, other artists have followed suit, creating pieces meant to delight the masses instead.
The Backyard Scientist’s watermelon experiment wasn’t meant to create art, though. After all, Kohler planned to pour incandescent aluminum into the middle of the fruit. And bearing in mind that his previous experiments had caused explosions and smoke and melting, it seemed like this would go the same way.
The premise of the experiment, like many of the others devised by Kohler, was simple: he was going to pour hot aluminum into the watermelon and see what happened. So, the video starts with his girlfriend boring a hole into the middle of the fruit from its crown while he separately heats the metal in a propane-fueled foundry.
Just before The Backyard Scientist pours the metal into the cylindrical opening she created, he asks his co-conspirator what she thinks will happen. His partner responds simply, saying, “It’s going to explode.” Based on Kohler’s previous experience of related experiments, he must’ve expected the same.
But, as the video footage rolls, Kohler narrates what happens – and it’s far from explosive. Instead, he pours the molten aluminum into the watermelon and, while it causes a few pops, nothing major happens. Instead, the former chemistry student explains, a few “little steam explosions” break out.
The Backyard Scientist says, “You can see that I missed it in the first couple of seconds of me pouring it but, once I get it in the hole, it starts reacting with the water inside the watermelon and basically [flings] it all over the yard.” The grass on the ground surrounding it ignites too, but the fruit itself remains intact.
After that, Kohler seems to leave the watermelon to cool before his next step. Since the fruit didn’t explode as expected, he has to crack it open to see what did happen. He reveals that his YouTube followers had predicted a fiery end for the fruit in advance, so they must have been anxious to see what happened, too.
Kohler then says, “I’m really curious to see what the inside of this watermelon looks like, so we’re going to cut it open and see how far the aluminum got.” When he finally slices through the fruit’s rind to reveal the fleshy insides, though, it initially looks pretty much like a normal watermelon.
Once the fruit opens up, The Backyard Scientist makes an instant observation about how it has changed – one that his viewers can’t experience for themselves. He says of the aluminum-filled watermelon, “It does stink.” In the description of his YouTube video, he elaborated, writing, “Those asking what it smelled like: Sickly sweet with base notes of burning hair.”
And yet, that aroma isn’t enough to stop Kohler from digging further into the fruit. It doesn’t take long for him to look more closely at the watermelon and realize where exactly the aluminum has gone. He exclaims in the video, “Oh, it got in all the seeds!”
The Backyard Scientist gets a closer look and admits, “That is so much cooler than I thought.” He then spends a bit of time slicing away the singed-smelling fruit to get to the aluminum core, which has, indeed, filled in all of the slots where you’d normally find the watermelon’s small, black seeds.
Once he has the entire aluminum form out of the fruit, Kohler comes up with a scientific explanation for his experiment’s results. He says, “I guess what happened is the aluminum found little channels throughout the watermelon that connected the seed chambers to each other, and this caused this awesome casting to happen.”
And The Backyard Scientist reiterates that he never expected this outcome from his molten-metal-based experiment. Instead, he explains, “This is totally unintentional, I thought it was just going to be a stupid watermelon-exploding video.” So, to make sure his results weren’t a fluke, he does what any good scientist would.
Yes, The Backyard Scientist can’t perform his aluminum experiment just once. He repeats the same process, but decides to use even more of the molten metal for the second go-round. The results? “The cast came out just as cool as the first did,” he reveals.
And Kohler clearly wasn’t the only one who felt this way about his watermelon experiment. The video has garnered more than 32 million views on YouTube since its April 2015 upload. And nearly 6,000 people have been moved to leave comments beneath the surprising video clip.
Most who viewed it and contributed their own thoughts shared Kohler’s opinion on the aluminum structure created by the watermelon pour. One commenter said, “That got me excited. The sculpture that came out of it is something that seems worth keeping.” Others said they’d buy such creations from The Backyard Scientist, if he ever made an online shop.
And then, of course, there were a few funny comments, too. Some drew comparisons between the aluminum innards of the fruit and, well, a prehistoric skeleton. One commenter joked, “How awesome is it that just the one watermelon he chose to pour molten aluminum in, had a small dinosaur skeleton in it! What are the odds?”
Since his watermelon experiment, The Backyard Scientist has only continued to perform wild experiments – some of which have garnered just as many views as his famous fruit-based test. His January 2019 post clearly struck a chord with YouTubers, garnering nearly 39 million views. Of course, with a title that read Pouring lava in my pool! it was sure to turn some virtual heads.
First, of course, Kohler had to make lava in his backyard. He did so by heating a heap of volcanic rocks inside a crucible nested within a forge. To turn them into a blazing liquid, he had to get them to an incredibly hot 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. And, once he’d managed this none-too-easy feat, it was time to conduct the experiment.
Of course, Kohler has only a small amount of lava to work with – no active volcano-esque eruption will flow into his backyard pool. But what he does pour into the water puts on a shocking display. In the clip, the molten rock spits and steams as it hits the water, and it quickly becomes a solid.
The cooled lava takes on the consistency of sand – a big let-down to The Backyard Scientist and his teammate, who have it in their heads that the molten rock will turn into a piece of art. Of course, if they do want to create something beautiful to put on display, they need only to source more aluminum and watermelons!