Bubbles can be a cheap way of spreading happiness and making some great family moments. There are many people devoted to the art of bubble making, the mathematics behind it, the forms and tricks you can do. Many more folk just like the colours, the fragility of the moment, the joy of flight. Some people like to stomp them! Everyone likes bubbles!
There are many great commercial Bubble Mixtures out there, but if you want a go at making your own, or want to make some up in bulk for a party, try these.
(You can find lots more recipes by doing a web search on "bubble solutions", "bubble recipes", "making bubbles", or just "soap bubbles".)
Ye Olde Recipe
1/2 cup dish washing liquid.
1 tablespoon of glycerin.
1/3 cup dish washing liquid.
1 1/2 cups of warm distilled water.
2 tablespoons full of refined sugar.
1 teaspoon full of food coloring.
1 teaspoon full of white Karo Syrup.
Trick Making Bubbles
2 cups detergent.
6 cups warm distilled water.
3/4 cup glycerin.
Environmentaly Friendly Bubbles.
1 cup biodegradable detergent.
1 cup gelatine powder, any flavour/colour.
8 to 10 cups warm distilled water.
Use this within a day or two.
Floaty, Non-Drip Bubbles.
900mls of distilled water
50mls Glycerine (also called Glycerol)
I haven't mentioned detergent brands because there is no universally available product. So you have to try a local one that bubbles up well when you wash dishes with it. Quantities of liquid used for bubble mixtures will vary also depending on your brands strength. Time to experiment!
Glycerin works best if you buy the undiluted stuff. You find it in the cooking and pharmacy sections of the supermarket. And it can be expensive.
Grease cutter detergents are best. Only use biodegradable detergents if you are going to use the solution strait away - they weaken over time.
Mix all solutions carefully, as suds and froth are bubble busters. Scoop foam etc off the top of any solution trays as it forms, you will get more joy from your mixture that way.
For longer-lasting bubbles, store the bubble mix overnight in the fridge before using. Then put it away in a cupboard, out of direct sunlight. A mixture left for longer than three days works better than one made up an hour before!
The glycerin, Karo Corn Syrup and sugar make the bubbles stronger, (by slowing down the evaporation of water) so you get bigger bubbles that last longer. If you don't have any of these ingredients to add, use more detergent. You don't have to add any of this stuff however - they also all make the bubbles heavier and more 'drippy'.
Distilled water is best to make the mixture with, because tap water is usually hard water - water which is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium - so it is not good for bubbles. You can get distilled water cheep at supermarkets and petrol stations in giant bottles.
Environment plays havoc with bubble recipes. What works wonders in England may produce short lifespan bubbles here in Australia. So if someone says their solution is the best and you make it up and it is a flop, they won't have been telling a fib, they probably just have more humidity wherever they are - and the better the humidity, the longer a bubble lasts.
For pretty bubbles add a drop of food colouring. Not more than a few drops, or else you will have multi coloured splat spots everywhere the bubbles pop!
Store bubble mix in a sealed container and be sure to 'label' the bottle clearly. You can make little bubble bottles for your backpack using empty plastic film canisters, but carry them in a ziplock bag, just in case!
When ready, a separate shallow dish is best for putting solution to be dipped from in, top it up as you go. Don't put all your solution out at once, as the dish will inevitably be knocked over.
Dipping dishes can be upturned lids, shallow Tupperware bowls, baking trays and plastic BBQ plates.
Bubble wands can be made out of ordinary home made items like the hanging ends on cooking utensils, or they can be brought in the most simple to extravagant range from toy stores.
Commercially you can buy pipes, trumpets, multi holed or headed paddles, bubble guns, wands, big bubble kits (often hoop and wick affairs), kazoos, windmills, movie theme squeeze blowers and more!
Try making bubble wands from - drinking straws, bamboo reeds, cotton reel spools, a twists from a wire coat hanger, slotted spoons or spatulas, large link chains, cookie cutters, paper cups with the bottoms cut out, strainers, big beads, funnels, cardboard milk cartons with the ends cut off, chains of paperclips and the circle made by your index finger and thumb to form an Okay sign!
The orange tipped one in the picture above actually blows the best stream of bubbles. The yellow heart, like many fancy shapes I have tried, doesn't work. The two tiny blowers under the red multi blower (which works a treat!) are very good, both came in little bubble solution bottles that fit in a handbag.
Bubbles form perfect circles because spheres have the least surface area per volume. (Think of a piece of string going round a ball, touching the surface as it goes. Now picture a piece of string going round a hedgehog of the same size, up and down each spine - you'd use a lot more string! The circle is more economical.)
So bubbles are mostly round, unless being hit by strong winds!
The colours in a bubble are caused by the light being refracted (broken into its component colours) by its soapy walls, just like in a crystal prism.
If we look closely at a bubble, we see that light reflects off both the outside and inside surfaces. These two light reflections can interfere with each other, causing the refraction (breaking up) of light. Unbroken light is white, but the light shinning on a bubble shows us a whole range of lovely iridescent colours.
It depends on the bubble's size, the thickness of its soapy wall and mixture composition as to which colours shimmer on its surface and whereabouts on the sphere they turn up. Thinner bubbles have the most intense colours.
Bubbles have been part of my life from earliest childhood days. I remember sitting on the back verandah, blowing bubbles over a paddock full of mildly curious cows. And we have a picture of my brother trying out his first full beard when he was eight - thanks to an armload of suds from mums washing machine!
I still take little bubble bottles to parties, weddings, even official balls, and happily bubble away at odd moments in the evening. It is fun, and the bubbles look good bouncing around on the dance floor.
I love it when little bottles are done up fancy and used as center pieces at weddings and children's parties. It is a great idea, the bottles are inexpensive and lend themselves to being decorated (they even come in tiny made up bottles - like little Champagne bottles and love heart philtres, so they don't need decorating!) You have fun decorations, plus free entertainment for your guests!
And for the ultimate party gadget - industrial bubble machines are fabulous fun!
Children love bubbles and at social club events I try to make up a big 2 litre bottle of solution to take with me and some inexpensive bubble wands to hand out. I keep these in big zip-lock bags for the trip home, when they are all soapy and ready for washing in hot water!
At BBQ's and park activities you can have a ball with bubbles. Little kids like to chase the bubbles, so don't let them play near roads or on balconies. Bigger kids like to blow the bubbles. Even young boys like to blow bubbles, so don't think it is a girlie thing.
Check that there are enough bubble wands and solution dishes for all. And make sure beginners understand they are to blow on their pipes, not suck them. It happens!
Always having a handy adult stationed to pour out the solution is a good idea. Kids can be a bit clumsy at this step and can easily spill the whole 2 litres away.
And remember there are kids with special needs. I watched a young girl with a wasting disease in a wheel chair with her minder one-day, the lady held her bubble wand and even aided in the blowing. The girl looked frustrated, so next time I was out I looked and found a trigger operated bubble blower.
It was inexpensive and well worth the hunt to find it, because I soon came across the young girl and her minder again. I grabbed the battery-operated bubble wand, dipped it in the solution and gave it to her.
Her smile of satisfaction as she watched the bubbles she had made float over the flowerbeds and picnic field was beautiful. I also gave the lady who was assisting her another wand, and as I half expected, she wanted to blow bubbles too.
Don't not do things just because you think they are only for little kids. There is a little kid inside all of us, who stays with us for always. Every now and then, buy 'em an ice cream.
Any bubble mix is a concentrated detergent! It will sting if you get it in your eyes - wash them directly in running water for at least five minutes to get the soap out. And don't drink it or let others drink it.
Also it is very slippery, so can cause problems on lino and cement floors. Try not to use large amounts indoors, as bubble mix is difficult to rinse out of carpets and curtains.
And as this stuff isn't biodegradable, don't allow too much of it to enter fish ponds etc. Everything in moderation, even bubbles!
You can wave your bubble wand to make bubbles, or blow through them, as if blowing kisses. If you wet your hands before blowing bubbles then bubbles won't pop if they brush against them. You may even be able to catch and hold one in the palm of your hand.
When you get a bubble dangling from a wand or bubble trumpet, try using a wet straw to blow more bubbles onto it. You can end up with a row of them, linked like a chain.
If you blow four bubbles of the same size around a fifth one, the center bubble will be a square!
Trick bubbles like this take a bit of practice, but they are worth it!
Blow bubbles on your own, or with a friend. In town or on the farm. Waiting for a bus or at a party.
Go out with your family one late still night and blow bubbles till midnight. It is quite magical, watching bubbles float off into the starlit sky.
Back to Crafty Frog Index
The Bubble Sphere:
Floating soap bubbles:
The Art and Science of Bubbles:
Bubble Blowers(a museum of bubble wands):
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