JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Bubble-mix-science

Make enormous bubbles over 1 metre across!

SAFETY!

Bubble mix is concentrated detergent! It can sting eyes. Don’t use large amounts indoors as bulk bubble-mix is difficult to rinse out of carpets or curtains.

Joanne throws a big bubble
A big bubble worm

The light mix (10% detergent):

Bubble Loop
A bubble loop made from coathanger
wires twisted together.

This mix makes surprisingly good bubbles. The bubbles are light, so they float for longer than the thick mix (below). They are also cheaper and not so drippy. Less mess to clean up! For most applications I’d recommend the 10% thinner mix.

  • 100mls detergent (I recommend yellow Dawn)
  • 900mls of water (preferably distilled)
  • 50mls Glycerol (also called Glycerine)***
  • A 2L plastic container*
  • Coathanger wire OR 2 Straws and 70cm of Wool*
  • A measuring jug*

The strong & sticky mix (30% detergent):

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A bubble frame made of wool and straws.

This mix is very strong and reliable, making big bubbles on most days. On the down side, it makes heavy bubbles that sink quickly, it’s messy, drippy and expensive to make. This mix is essential if you want to blow bubbles inside bubbles by puffing air at the base of the bubble. If I want to make the biggest bubbles I use this mix. Just to show you that it’s more an art than a science sometimes, Conan the Bubble-Man however swears by his light mix (which is similar to the 10% recipe above). It probably depends a lot on the weather.

  • 300mls detergent (I recommend Morning Fresh)
  • 700mls of water (preferably distilled)
  • 50mls Glycerol (also called Glycerine)***
  • The same containers and wire as for the light mix* (above).

What to do?

Throw a bubble
Throw bubbles, don’t blow bubbles.

Stir the mix very well and if possible, leave overnight without a lid on to improve the mix. Make your wands from coathanger wire. It’s good to twist two wires together to make one loop for the wand. It holds more bubble mix so you can throw more bubbles. OR Make your wands from straws and wool. Thread the wool through 2 straws and tie it in a knot. Dip the wand into the mix and then spread the two straws apart so the wool is stretched into a rectangle.
NOTES: Keep your mix – it gets better with age! This is a very thick syrupy mix. Thinner mixes often work just as well, but this one is more reliable under a wide range of weather conditions.

Where do I get the ingredients?

Supermarkets sell everything you need. Morning Fresh is considered by those in the bubble industry to be the best. Dawn (the American brand) is considered to be the best in the US. But the ‘flavour’ that is the favourite changes.

***Glycerol is available from supermarkets in the ‘chemist’ part of the store (with dispirin and bandaids). If you don’t have glycerol you can use sugar instead.

Getting the biggest bubbles

Clearing foam
Clear the foam off the bubble mix.
  1. Throw bubbles, don’t ‘blow’ bubbles. Don’t move the wand too quickly.
  2. Stay in a shady area and out of the wind.
  3. Throw bubbles on cold damp days. (Hot and dry days are the hardest!)
  4. Always clear off the foam from the top of the mix – it wrecks big bubbles.
  5. Make sure your hands are ‘wet’ with bubble mix so they don’t pop the bubbles before they’re even made.
  6. Wet the inside of the whole container with bubble mix. If there is a dry spot it could pop your bubbles.
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Rating: 7.7/10 (9 votes cast)
Bubble-mix-science, 7.7 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

4 comments to Bubble-mix-science

  • #
    SSlik MAN beast

    hey man this was a beautiful RTICLE ILOVE BECAUSE ITS SOOO GOOD NOW GO JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE AND KEEP MAKING BUBBBBBBBLES,(Make em big)!!


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  • #
  • #
    Nice One

    Thank god we have you to correct us about climate science! How can we ever take the likes of Hansen seriously? He’s never published material like this!!


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  • #
    Peter C

    So Jo has an interest in amateur science!
    Excellent.

    Actually I have a use for bubbles. I would like to study the formation of atmospheric thermal currents at ground level and as far up as I can see the bubbles. Light bubbles are obviously the best but they have to last, ideally for several minutes. That is hard without the glycerol, which adds weight.

    So far I have been disappointed by the bubble machines that I have been able to buy. I want to make thousands of small bubbles per minute.
    Any suggestions?


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