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Making Bubble Solution

In order to experiment with bubbles, you’ll need a big batch of bubble solution. Explore the recipes and then choose the one that fits your purpose and read the tips below for best results. All three of these recipes make 1L of bubble solution. 

Tips for great bubble solutions

  • Glycerine helps soap bubbles hold water, so that they last longer. It is very helpful if you are doing bubble tricks, but less important if you are mixing up a bucket of bubble solution to mess about with. You only need a little bit! Too much glycerine makes your solution too heavy and sticky to make good bubbles. You can buy a small bottle of glycerine from most pharmacies.
  • The key ingredient: water, varies widely in its quality. Soft water is good for bubbles. Hard water, (any water containing high levels of iron, including well water) is bad for bubbles. If you live in an area with hard water and are having difficulties making good bubbles, try using distilled water (available at the grocery store).
  • Johnson’s® baby shampoo produces better bubbles than any of the dish soaps we tried, Dawn® dishwashing liquid (blue) was our soap of choice. All of these solutions work better if you “age” them overnight in an open container.

Objectives

  • Make a bubble and understand its structure.

Materials

  • See each recipe for details.

Key Questions

  • Why does soap create a film?
  • What does the glycerine do?

What To Do

Preparation

All Purpose Bubble Solution
This solution is great for most bubble tricks, activities and experiments.

  • 500ml water
  • 500ml Johnson’s® baby shampoo
  • 5–15ml glycerine

Mix the ingredients gently and let the solution stand for a couple of hours.

Bouncy Bubble Solution
You can bounce these bubbles off your clothes!

  • 2 packages unflavoured gelatin (e.g. Knox® brand)
  • 500ml freshly boiled hot water
  • 500ml Johnson’s® baby shampoo
  • 50–70ml glycerine
  • 1 microwave
  1. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water.
  2. Add the shampoo and glycerine and stir gently.
  3. Reheat carefully in the microwave (about two minutes) before using as this solution will gel as it cools.

Thick Bubble Solution
This goopy solution makes bubbles strong enough to withstand a puff of air.

  • 250ml water
  • 700–750ml Johnson’s® baby shampoo
  • 5–15ml glycerine

Mix the ingredients gently and let the solution stand for a couple of hours.

Another Thick Bubble Solution
This bubble solution works well to create larger and long-lasting bubbles.

  • 450ml of Dawn® dishwashing liquid (blue)
  • 480ml of warm water
  • 1g (~ roughly ½ teaspoon) of polyethylene oxide. Polyethylene oxide is a cool polymer that helps bubbles self-repair and therefore helps bubbles stick around a lot longer before they pop.

​Mix the ingredients gently and let the solution stand for a couple of hours.

Extensions

  • Commercial alternatives:
  • All purpose bubbles: Pustefix and Gazillion Bubbles.
  • Bouncy bubbles:www.mastermindtoys.com