We have all played with soap bubbles, yet many people struggle to make great homemade bubbles themselves. In this article, we will explain how to make soap bubbles all by yourself.
Let’s talk a little bit about bubble science, specifically the science of the ingredients that make great soap bubbles.
Soap bubbles are possible thanks tosurface tension. A soap bubble’s surface tension comes from its main ingredient, water. Water can be hard or soft. Hard water isn't very good for making suds of any kind. Soft water, on the other hand, is very good at making suds. To make homemade soap bubbles, always use soft water. If your tap water at home isn't very good at making a lather with soap, then you may need to use filtered water, spring water, rainwater or distilled water to make your giant bubbles.
Water has quite a high surface tension. When you add soap it reduces the surface tension of water making the water stretchy. When you blow air inside stretchy water, it forms a bubble. There are many types of soaps with dish soap being the favorite choice of bubble artists and bubble experts around the world. Shampoo, liquid hand soap, and bubble bath are also suitable alternatives for making smaller bubbles with your hands and fingers.
Soapy water may be stretchy but it is also brittle. By adding a hydrogel, bubbles can subdivide into many bubbles without bursting. Gels help you make multiple bubbles with a single dip. There are many kinds of gels, some of them are even edible. Commonly used hydrogels found in cooking, that are also great for making soap bubbles, are guar gum, xanthan gum, and sodium alginate.
Glycerin does not make giant bubbles! While glycerin is found in practically all soap bubble solutions, the reason is widely misunderstood. Glycerin makes bubbles last longer. It doesn't make bubbles any bigger. as a bubble artist, scientist, and world-renowned bubble expert, I only use glycerin when running our Bubble Academy service, or using bubbles to STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art).
Baking Soda may be used to lift the pH level to approximately 7.5 if it is too low. A pH level below 7.0 is too low.
Citric Acid may be used to lower the pH level to approximately 7.5 if it is too low. A pH level above 8.0 is too high.
If you are making bubbles for a special event, don't waste your time trying to make your own soap bubbles. Seriously, don't risk having your bubble burst and letting everyone down. Bubble mixes are complex, tricky, and it may take you a few attempts before you make a good bubble mixture. There are many variables and many things that can go wrong. If you have a special event, I sincerely recommend buying a professional biodegradable bubble concentrate from our store. Then all you need to do is just add water and you will have incredible bubbles to make your event very special. If you want to go DIY, you would be better off spending your time making your own bubble wands (which is easy and simple) than trying to make your own bubble solution.
Ensure that everything you use to make bubbles in and with is absolutely clean. I recommend washing all of your buckets and measuring cups - anything that touches your bubbles. Soap will try to clean any oil or grease it finds which will distract it from your primary goal which is to blow great bubbles!
The order in which you mix your bubble ingredients can make a noticeable Improvement to the quality of your handmade bubble solution. I recommend that you mix the water and hydrogel first. Once these are thoroughly mixed, I like to leave them to sit overnight before adding any of the dish soap to my bubble mixture.
Bubble mixes get better with age, up to a point. It is best to mix up a bubble mix at least two days before you use it. If you don't have that much time, you can try using warm (body temperature) water. Don't use hot water!
Here’s A Great Homemade Giant Bubble Recipe
(Perfect for Emergency Big Bubbles)
9.5 liters of tap water (If you are in a hard water area use rain or distilled water)
1x bottle (433ml) of Fairy/Dawn/Joy dish soap
½ tablespoon of Guar Gum (available from your local health food store)
1 tablespoon of Baking Soda
1 very clean bucket (preferably with a lid) that can easily hold 10 liters of liquid and still have a little extra room.
1 very clean stirrer (manual or electric)
1 sieve to sprinkle the powders through
1 measuring tablespoon
Start by combining the Guar Gum and Baking Soda powders only (no liquids yet).
Get a friend to stir the 9 liters of water into a vortex whilst you slowly sprinkle-in the Baking Soda/Guar Gum powders mixture, through the sieve.
Once all of the powder is thoroughly stirred into the 9.5 liters of water, leave overnight to allow the guar gum to properly hydrate in the water and form a liquid gel.
The next day, you can add the Fairy/Dawn/Joy dish soap.
It is always best to test your homemade bubble recipes against a commercially available professional grade bubble mix. We recommend buying a bottle of Megaloop Bubble Concentrate to compare your homemade bubble solution with.