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Bubble-mix-science

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 28, 2008 @ 12:34 am In | 4 Comments

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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