Bubble Mixes and Tools
Making Bubble Mix
While many people make bubbles out of any old detergent and water, you can get the biggest, longest lasting bubbles if you use liquid detergent and syrup. Use a mixture of Dawn (or Joy) and Karo Light Syrup. With this mixture for every 1/2 cup of liquid detergent, add about 1 tablespoon of Karo Syrup. However, the mixture can be varied a lot without affecting the bubble much.
When mixing up a batch of bubble mix you should realize that there are several sure fire bubble busters – dirt and other bubbles. You should try to make sure that the containers you are using are very clean and that you don’t stir too much or too quickly, keeping the bubbles down.
Bubbles also tend to like cold air, but sometimes there is not much you can do about the temperature!
6 cups water (Distilled is best)
3/4 cup corn syrup (Karo Light)
2 cups Joy (or Dawn) dish washing liquid
Mix together. Let set 4 hours (to let bubble settle), then enjoy.
Any solution you make at home is 10 times as potent as the store-bought stuff. Vendors water it down so you always have to buy more. Here are two recipes:
12 Cups of water
1 cup Dish Soap (Buy a brand name hand dish washing soap, not dishwasher soap.)
3 tablespoons of glycerin (in lotion aisle of drug stores)
If you want to make a MUCH larger batch:
4 gallons of water in a 5 gallon bucket
6 cups of dish soap (Buy a brand name hand dish washing soap, not dishwasher soap.)
1 cup of glycerin
You can store this liquid forever and it will still work. Make a lot if you can and store it in sealable containers!
Creating Big Bubbles
To make really big bubbles, and the rest of the activities on this page, you will need about a cup of bubble mix, an assortment of plastic lids of different sizes, several straws, a cup of water and a large plastic plate or other container to catch any overflow bubble mix.
To make big bubbles that last, you need to have something to keep them on. You need to make and use a bubble stand. To make a bubble stand, use a large plastic plate to catch any bubble mix you will spill, and then put the top of a large butter lid (any other plastic lid with a lip on it will work) in the center of the plate. Always check to make sure that the lid is smooth and does not have any sharp defects.
The next step is to put bubble mix into the butter lid until the mix comes just up to the edge.
Once the bubble mix covers the edge of the lid, dip the straw in the cup of bubble mix to get the end of the straw wet. Next place one end of the straw into the bubble mix in the butter lid. Keeping the straw in the mixture, slowly blow into the straw.
Once a bubble starts to form, you have to position the end of the straw so that you can keep blowing air into the bubble, and you can keep the wet part of the straw in contact with the surface of the bubble. With practice this will become relatively easy, and you will be able to blow some pretty big bubbles which will sit on the edge of the butter lid.
Bubble Within a Bubble
For this trick find a plastic lid that is considerably smaller than the butter lid you are using.
Put this second plastic lid in the center of the butter lid and fill it with bubble mix so that the edges are covered with the mix.
Next blow a big bubble on the butter lid as described in the tough bubble.
Once you have done this, make sure your straw is wet. Next, push the straw through the bubble and into the bubble mix in the smaller lid.
Carefully blow a small bubble in this lid. Then remove the straw.
If you are really careful and have the right assortment of lids you could blow a bubble in a bubble in a bubble.
The Physics of Bubbles
Have you ever noticed that when you run water from the tap into a sink that some bubbles are formed?
These water bubbles don’t last very long because the forces between water molecules tears these bubbles apart. But there is a way to reduce these forces and form bubbles – of course that means using soap.
Liquid detergents are especially good at reducing the forces between water molecules and letting bubbles form. In fact detergent molecules will cover the surface of a bubble and let it expand a great deal without breaking. A soap bubble actually is a sandwich of air on the inside, a layer of detergent molecules, a layer of water and finally another layer of detergent molecules. The inner and outer layers of detergent can stretch a great deal and the water helps hold the bubble together.
Have you ever looked very carefully at a bubble as it floats along and then pops?
Sometimes you can see reflections in a bubble, and if you look carefully you will see lots of colors swirling around on the surface of the bubble. Just before the bubble bursts some part of the bubble will look like it has lots of black swirls on it. There is a lot going on within a bubble and if you watch them carefully you will begin to understand how they are formed and how they break.
These colors and the reflection is because light is bouncing off both the inside and outside surface of the bubble. When this happens light waves from the inner and outer surfaces interfere with each other and produce brightly colored patterns. By doing the light and optics activities you can learn more about light waves and the interference of waves. Since sunlight contains a wide range of colors. Each color has a unique wavelength. You see a particular color when the surface of the bubble is just the right thickness (one quarter wavelength thick) to cause constructive interference for a a particular color. But when the surface of the bubble gets very thin the light destructively interferes and you see mostly black.
Skins of air which float around underwater, and vanish when touched.
The Art and Science of Bubbles
Recipes and tricks with bubbles.
Using baking soda and vinegar in a zippered sandwich bag, you can make a surprisingly loud pop. Why?
You will find building instructions for a very special bubble blowing tube, learn how to mix industrial strength bubble solutions, play bubble games, download a free poster and have fun.
Exploratorium Soap Bubbles
In soap bubbles, three wire forms are dipped into a soapy bath at the push of a button. Shortly after they are raised, bands of color start to appear in the soap films. Why is this?
What happens if you blow bubbles when it is very cold?
A photographer and her son braved the very cold weather they were having in Seattle to go outside, blow bubbles, and photographed what happened. Why don’t you try this?