Frozen Soap Bubbles

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I want nothing more than to hibernate until this second polar vortex comes to an end, but Angela Kelly’s stunning photos of frozen soap bubbles inspired me to come out and play.

Materials

  • Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • water
  • corn syrup
  • bubble wand
  • wire, needle nose pliers and wire cutter (to make a bubble wand)
  • container
  • spoon or whisk
  • camera

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I spent some time comparing recipes on the internet, and soon realized this would involve some experimenting. The first recipe we tried had water, Sunlight detergent and sugar. And while the temperature was below 0˚C, the bubbles consistently burst before freezing. Sooooo disappointing!

I noticed a number of recipes specified Dawn dishwashing detergent, and corn syrup instead sugar. Not sure what’s in Dawn that makes it special, but thought I would give it a try. Corn syrup, I learned, creates a sugar polymer which makes for a much stronger bubble. With this new recipe, we did manage to make some frozen bubbles, and had much better success at -16˚C than -6˚C. Some words of advice – wind and direct sunlight are your enemies, the colder the better, waving the wand to make bubbles is better than blowing them with your hot air, and wear gloves!

You’ll need:

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup Dawn dishwashing detergent

3/4 cup hot water

Instructions

1. Add 1/4 cup of corn syrup to 3/4 cup of hot water, and mix well until dissolved. Add 1/4 cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent and mix again. If you don’t have a bubble wand lingering about from the summer, you can easily make one using wire. Place both the solution and wand in the fridge until cold.

2. When you’re ready, head outside with the bubble solution, wand, and a camera to capture all the cool things you’ll discover. Try waving the wand to make bubbles, as well as blowing them, and see if there is a difference in how the bubbles behave. We found some bubbles remained intact until they had a chance to freeze, while others burst very quickly and, more often than not, burst when landing on surfaces like the ground or the car.

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Best results for us occurred when we waved the wand to make bubbles, caught one with the wand, and carefully held it until it started to freeze, forming frost-like patterns on its surface, before slowly losing air and deflating.

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We still have more experimenting to do since we have yet to have a bubble freeze and shatter, rather than slowly deflate. We also hope to witness different types of frost-like patterns forming on the surface of the bubble, since ours were quite similar each time.

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For some science behind frozen soap bubbles, have a look at these sites:

Canada Science And Technology Museum

National Geographic

Wikipedia – Soap Bubble

soapbubble.dk

Some beautiful images of frozen bubbles:

Angela Kelly

Marianna Armata

Jess Clifton

Jeff Wallace

joyfee1

Cornelius Crab

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26 Comments

Filed under winter fun

26 responses to “Frozen Soap Bubbles

  1. Thanks for this info! My daughter has been trying to make frozen bubbles with her kids, but with little success. I’m going to direct her here. Not every idea turns out as good as it sounds, so I appreciate your honesty!

    • It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be! In the end, you just have to be willing to experiment in different conditions, and with different ingredients and brands. I still have a few combos left to try out. I do hope your daughter has better luck this time!

  2. I tried this last year and did not use Dawn. I am going back to the drawing board. Thanks for your excellent post!

    • Yes, it does seem to be that sort of thing where you have to keep trying – different ingredients, brands, outdoor conditions – all with the hope of holding one of those elusive frozen bubbles in your hand. Don’t give up! Now what could that secret ingredient in Dawn be???

  3. Jeann in Australia

    Today, here in Victoria, Australia it is 41C (105C) so I am sending you some sunvibes to help with that polar vortex!

  4. Now that looks like some serious fun! Wish I had this recipe when I lived farther north, but we might get a chance to try it here if it doesn’t warm up soon!

  5. Crystelle Boutique

    Oh my! what a terrific idea! Such a simple concept that creates such amazing beauty! I am going to have to try this in the cold Idaho weather…. (so basically anytime during the 5 winter months..) :)

    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  6. We love experimenting with bubbles! So far the winter has been very mild and wet here in the south of England but if we get a cold snap we might give this a go – you got some wonderful photos!

  7. Thanks for the post! I have tried this before and could not get them to freeze. I will give it a try again!
    Kelly

  8. Ida

    Oh man I would love to make this but it would never work in Miami! Stopping by from the Family Fun hop!

  9. Wowx this is seriously cool!! I’m so glad I came across from the blogvhop! Must pass this onto my sister to do with her daughter! X

  10. We’ve done this and they are AMAZING. It’s the best kind of winter play; you are so enamoured with the bubbles you forget how frigid the temps are! Thanks for sharing at the After School Linky Party!

  11. I love this idea. Unfortunately here in Florida, I think we’ll just have to just admire your bubbles because I doubt it will ever get quite cold enough to make our own, lol! I’ve pinned this to my creative ideas board. Thank you for linking up last week to the Lovely Ladies link party, I wanted to let you know I’ve featured your bubbles this week at our new party! You can check it out here if you’d like http://bit.ly/1fuwRCU
    and we’d love for you to come by again. Have a great week.
    -Molly from Just a Little Creativity

  12. Congratulations! This post is featured over at Diana Rambles today and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest, Tweeted, and Recommended on G+. Please grab a featured button off my sidebar or via the link under the features. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

  13. Have a friend that put water in a balloon and put food color in it too…and froze them outside! Pretty neat. Hope next yr Tennessee don’t see those types of temps again…

    • I’ve seen some of those online, and they look so cool. Since winter doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I might just give it a try. Here’s hoping next winter is a little nicer for all of us!

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