How to Make Giant Bubbles

Photo Copyright and Courtesy of Michelle Poyet
Photo Copyright and Courtesy of Michelle Poyet

After watching this video by Nighthawk in Light, I realized that I had to try making giant bubbles.  They are beautiful to look at, easy enough for anyone to try and difficult enough to master, that folks both young and old will be entertained making and watching them for much longer than you’d first believe.

Due to technical difficulty, I have not been able to upload a cool slow motion video of these giant bubbles.  I’m working on it and I’ll do a post once I get it on my YouTube channel to let you know it is ready to watch.

For the Fourth of July, we mixed up a batch of bubble juice and went to a local park with friends and everyone had a go.  We must have played with this stuff for an hour at least!  Now YOU need to make some.  Nighhawk’s video is so comprehensive, it is the best starting place for information.  I’ll repeat some info below and add in our observations.

STEP ONE – GET SUPPLIES
Bubble juice ingredients detailed below
(2) Rods capable of holding a ~1-2 lb weight (see video and notes below for details)
100% Cotton Rope – we got ours here
(2) Carabiners and (2) eye hooks or similar items to attach the rope to the rods (see video notes below for details)
– 5 gallon bucket – for storing the juice
– Easy off lid (optional) – for transporting and longer-term storage of juice NOTE: Link is for 10-pack only but can be bought individually in stores
Plastic bag (optional) – for transporting juice-soaked loop home for cleaning

STEP TWO – MIX UP BUBBLE JUICE

GIANT BUBBLE JUICE
24 to 30 oz liquid dish soap*
1 tablespoon J-Lube (Do not skip this weird ingredient.  It is the key.)**
3 US gallons water (tap water works just fine)
3 tablespoons baking powder

1.  Pour dish soap into bucket

2.  Add J-Lube

3. Mix until powder completely dissolves

4.  Add water one gallon at a time mixing completely after each addition (failure to do so will create lumps that do not dissolve quickly)

5.  Add baking powder and mix thoroughly

*Dish soap notes:  Don’t get concentrated/2x.  Hypoallergenic/additive-free is better.   Dawn Platinum Power Clean, Dawn Pro, and Dawn Manual Pot & Pan are three brands recommended by experts.  I have never been able to find them, but have had good success using whatever “everything-free” soap I could find at the time.

**J-Lube is a powder developed for veterinarians to use when “inspecting” the innards of large animals.  It gets very slippery when water is added to it.  You can supposedly buy it at tractor supply stores, but I got it on Amazon.com.  WARNING:  If you are easily upset, you may not want to read the comments in the Amazon review section.  It seems that another demographic has found a use for this stuff too.

STEP THREE – ASSEMBLE GIANT BUBBLE LOOP
You can use any normal loops for making bubbles with this stuff – the standard little plastic rings, coat hangers, etc. but if you are going to the trouble of making your own juice, why not go all the way?  Nighthawk details how to make a huge loop of 100% cotton rope held by two rods.  This works much better.  The loop is much bigger and it holds much more juice.  We used this cotton rope.  We made a small, medium, and large loop and rod set.  We removed the non-cotton core as detailed in the video.  For rods, we used dowels for some and some 1″ wood I ripped down on the table saw for the largest one.  We attached the rope to the rods using either eye hooks and carabiners I got at Harbor Freight or loops of nylon belt material and some old shower curtain hooks.  You can really use just about anything you have lying around for the connection.  Just be aware that the large loop weighs at least a pound or two when it is fully soaked with solution.  I also coated our rods with a few coats of spray lacquer and sanded them to cut down on chance of getting splinters.

STEP FOUR – MAKE BUBBLES
1.  With your back to the wind, dip the loop into the solution and let it soak up the juice.
2.  Raise the loop out of the liquid with the rods close together so the loop is in a closed line.
3.  Slowly spread rods apart opening the loop up from a line to a circle so the wind can fill it.  If there is no wind, walk backward slowly (A slight breeze works much better though).
4.  Bring rods back together to pinch off the back end of the bubble.

OBSERVATIONS
1.  The juice seems to work much better if you give it a day to sit before using it.

2.  As the juice develops a foamy head on it (from the action of dunking bubble blowing loops in and out of it) it seems to be more prone to popping.  For max-size bubbles, it might be best to wait for the solution to become clear again.  If you are like me though, there is no way you’ll have that patience.  🙂

3.  You don’t need to weight the bottom of the loops as shown in the video.  We didn’t and it works just fine without that feature.

4.  Bring a plastic bag and lid for your bubble juice container to the bubble blowing site if it away from home.  After the fun, clean up is easy.  Pop the lid back on the bucket of juice.  Disconnect the loop from the rods and pop it in your garbage bag to take home, rinse, and hang to dry.  You don’t have to rinse the loop out but, if you don’t, you’ll want to find a place for it to drip dry that you don’t mind getting soap solution all over.

5.  When picking a bubble blowing site, find a place that is ok to get messy.  This stuff will get dripped and slopped out of the bucket.  It will just wash away with water but better to drip it in the grass or mulch than in a slippery puddle on sealed concrete or tile for example.

6.  It is good to have loops and rods in different sizes.  The biggest ones can only be handled by tall people, as smaller folks can’t lift the rods high enough to get the loop off the ground.

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