Calling all Bubble-ologist wanna-be’s! Do you like playing with bubbles and seeing what they can do? Bubbles are loved by generations of kids. It doesn’t matter what language you speak or where you live, if you start blowing bubbles, kids everywhere will get excited! So let’s capture that excitement and super-size it with this STEM project. In this activity, learn how to make a DIY bubble wand and special solution to generate colossal bubbles. If you thought bubbles were exciting before, wait until you try this!
How to Make a Bubble Wand & Solution for
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In the past we have done scientific investigations into the colours of bubbles, and as part of that made simple bubble blowers out of a straw and bubble mixture. It was a fun activity that had my kids fascinated.
Then, since we live in Canada where it is freezing cold most of the time, we decided to perfect the Frozen Bubble. This one was a greater challenge that involved making a special bubble juice and bubble blower (rather than a bubble wand), but once we had success it was so exciting and beautiful!
But one bubble activity we haven’t attempted yet here at STEAM Powered Family is making super-sized bubbles. So today we are tackling how to make enormous homemade bubbles.
This is a great STEM activity that involves some engineering and science. It is a great idea for summer camp or end of the school year celebrations.
Check out the video of our Giant Bubbles! These homemade bubbles made with our special giant bubble recipe and created with our specially built giant bubble wands are amazing! The best part is that you can do it yourself with just a few simple supplies.
NOTE: If you can’t see the video, please turn off your adblocker as it also blocks our video feed. Alternatively, you can visit the STEAM Powered Family YouTube Channel to check out this and other videos.
Super Bubble Solution
First, we need to gently mix up some of the best ever bubble solution recipe and let it sit overnight.
Giant Bubble Recipe
1-Gallon container or bucket with lid
Measuring cups and spoons
Dish soap (i.e., Dawn) – 1 cup
Glycerin – 3 Tablespoons
Guar Gum Powder – 2 teaspoons
Baking Powder – 2 teaspoons
Water – 1 gallon
Directions for Homemade Solution
Mix 1 gallon of warm water, 1 cup of dishwashing liquid, 3 tablespoons glycerin, 2 teaspoons each of guar gum powder and baking powder into a large bucket.
For best results, stir the ingredients gently to avoid creating any bubbles or foam on top of the mixture. Using warm water will help the ingredients mix easily.
Depending on your water quality, you may get better results using distilled water, but many places will be fine with tap water.
Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
Design and Build A Bubble Wand
Now, let’s build an ultra bubble wand for giant bubbles! This will require adult assistance. Ensure all safety measures are taken at all times.
Supplies for Bubble Wand
2 Wood dowels (1/2 inch)
Drill + 3/8″ drill bit
(2) 3/8″ eye bolts/hooks
3 yards of 1/2″ cotton rope
Directions – Bubble Wand
Drill a hole into one end of each dowel.
Screw in the eye bolts/hooks.
Cut a 3-foot length of cotton rope, attaching it to the ends of the dowel.
Cut a 5-foot piece of rope, tying off one end to the dowel.
Thread a few washers on the 5-foot cord before tying off the other end. The washers will act as weights.
The Secret to Super-Sized Bubbles
Now it is time to make giant bubbles!
A giant bubble wand is a triangle of cotton rope dangled between two stick handles. When you dip the wand into the bubble solution, thoroughly saturate the rope and gently pull the wand up and apart to allow the bubble to form. The more slowly you move, the better the results you will get.
Walk backward or hold the strings and gently move your arms to the side to catch a slight breeze.
Wait until you see these colossal bubbles! So much fun!
Tips & Tricks
It’s important to use cotton rope – polyester simply doesn’t work as well.
When foam forms on top of your bubble solution, stop and skim it off.
Bubbles pop when conditions are dry (low humidity). Bubbles also don’t do well with extremely hot or cold temperatures. Direct sunlight can also cause your bubbles to burst. Can you think of the science behind why weather conditions will affect your bubbles? Read on to learn some bubble science!
Fun Bubble Science Facts
A bubble is a thin skin of liquid surrounding a gas. Think about the gas molecules in your bubbles. What do they do when it is hot or cold? How do they behave? It is the change in behavior of these gas molecules due to temperature that causes the bubbles to pop.
The secret to making bubbles is surface tension. Adding a detergent soap, such as dish soap, to water changes the surface tension of that water, and this creates a great solution to make bubbles. Surface tension is the force holding the molecules of a liquid together. When soap is added to water, it lowers the surface tension so that bubbles can form. You can make your bubble solution even better by adding things such as corn syrup or glycerin, to improve your bubbles.
The liquid skin of a bubble is made up of a three-layer sandwich. The outer layers are comprised of soap molecules while the inner layer is made of water molecules.
Bubbles pop when the layer of water inside the soap film sandwich evaporates. Bubbles also pop when something breaks the layer of water molecules holding the bubble together. Like when the gases change their behavior.
Bubbles are generally round because a spherical shape uses the least amount of surface area for a given volume.
Because water evaporates faster as temperatures rise which is why bubbles pop more quickly on hot days compared to cooler days.
Bubbles get their beautiful colors from iridescent. Waves of light get distorted as they pass through the bubble and reflect different colors of the layers of soap film. Learn more about bubble colors here.