Instructables

How to Make HUGE Bubbles

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video How to Make HUGE Bubbles
For best viewing click the gear in the bottom right corner of the video and change the quality to 720p!

I had more fun making this video than any I can remember in the recent past. Making giant bubbles may turn into an ongoing hobby. Some of my younger cousins have certainly enjoyed it as well! The bubbles seen in this video all used the three part bubble mix that I show being made.

24 oz Dishwashing Liquid
1 tbsp J-Lube (The most important part for giant bubbles)
3 US gal Water

After filming all the shots used in this video I started experimenting with baking powder and found that 3 tbsp added to the above mix improves the longevity and durability of the bubbles significantly. The ones in the video may have been large, but I have since been able to make them much larger! As I mention at the end of the video, the size increases greatly as you learn.

Here is a source for J-Lube as promised (one bottle makes hundreds of gallons of bubble mix): http://www.amazon.com/One-10-oz-bottle-Mix---Water/dp/B00BISI6HC/

For those outside of the USA it may be difficult to find J-Lube. An alternative giant bubble mix uses Guar Gum instead, and quite effectively. Guar Gum is common worldwide. More info about bubble mixes using Guar Gum and where it is usually available for purchase can be found here: http://soapbubble.wikia.com/wiki/Recipes_Guar_EAS

For my bubble wand I use two fishing poles similar to this model: http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Four-Piece-Wonder-Pole-13-Feet/dp/B003D5XJFW/

The fishing poles come in four sections, but I removed the last section because it was too flimsy to support the heavy wet rope. The tri string loop is attached to the end of the third section of each pole. As shown in the video, I use carabiners as an easy way of taking loops on and off, though a loop could just as easily be taped directly to the pole.

The rope I use for my tri string loop is 100% cotton clothes line with the core removed as demonstrated. Removing the core allows the rope to absorb significantly more bubble mix which allows much larger bubbles to be made. For more information about making a tri string wand (it's not a difficult thing to figure out on your own) you can do more reading here (there are also listed a number of other wand types that may be of interest): http://soapbubble.wikia.com/wiki/Getting_Started_With_Tri-Strings

If you enjoyed this project please share it with your friends, it would really help me out! Thanks!
mparker37 months ago
I LOVE that the art of giant bubble making is spreading!
Something to consider though, if you're going to try this - please be aware of your surroundings, and other people. In other words, be careful not to smack a kid in the head while dipping your string. Excited children do not pay attention - you must. Also be a considerate bubbler and dont dump out your leftover solution in a public area. Always rinse down the grass when you're done too, to avoid others slipping and falling after you've left. These simple courtesies go a long way toward helping us professionals maintain our reputations. Nothing worse than a careless amature setting a poor example and getting all bubblers banned from a park or public garden we're fond of.
Also - not every dishwashing liquid will work well for making bubbles. I use a professional grade detergent that I have to special order from a janitorial supply company, however, the best off the shelf alternative I've found is Dawn Power Clean Platinum.
For the absolute beginner, I'd recommend the guar gum recipe over j-lube for two reasons. 1) j-lube is extremely slimy and not that easy to clean up if you happen to spill 2) the polymer in j-lube degrades over time, which leads to poorer bubble performance. to correct it, you can add a bit more, but then run the risk of overdosing your bubble solution and then it gets stringy and harder to use. Fine tuning your bubble juice takes time, patience and practice. If you just want to dig in and let the bubbles fly on your first try, go guar gum.
The guar gum recipe is very easy to mix and I'll also add a link to the poles I use. their cheap, super light weight and telescoping, so you dont have to carry multiple sections with you to wherever you're going bubbling. I also remove the last section, and then use a bit of mighty putty to embed a brass fishing swivel in the end of the poles, to which you can attach your string. I like the diamond braid clothesline rope for certain things, but for a big loop, I much prefer using Rubbermaid brand Rayon Finish mop string. Just buy the mop head replacement, pull out the stitching and you've got about 200 feet of good bubble yarn.
Here are the poles I use:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/15908258?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227000693168&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=14062157590&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=34978554310&veh=sem
And here is the guar gum recipe (Incidentally, this is the same recipe I used in April, to break the Guinness World Record for largest free floating soap bubble. It's quite effective and even outperforms j-lube mixes in low humidity)
This recipe is very forgiving. Exact measurements aren't going to make it or break it.
As long as everything is pretty close to this, you should be fine.

1.5 teaspoons guar gum powder
1-2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol (to make a guar slurry, before adding it to the water)
1 gallon HOT tap water
1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
6-8 oz. Dawn Power Clean Platinum dish soap

Be sure to use clean containers for mixing and storage, to avoid contaminating your bubble solution and only pour out as much solution as you'll be using at that time, into a separate pan for dipping in. never dip your wand directly into the whole gallon, because it introduces bacteria, which can make the solution go bad and turn smelly.

Into a bucket or other large container, draw 1 gallon of the hottest tap water you can and add the baking powder. Mix it up well, until there are no lumps. Set aside. Measure the guar gum powder into a small bowl and add enough rubbing alcohol to blend it into a smooth, lump-free slurry that will pour easily. This only takes about 1 minute, using a fork. Start stirring the water in the bucket and when it's moving quickly enough to create a slight vortex in the center, pour the guar/alcohol slurry into it and continue to stir for a minute or two as it thickens slightly and the guar hydrates. Then, gently mix in the dish soap (try to avoid foaming) and you're done! Let the whole thing sit for about 15 minutes and you're good to go.
You will notice some sediment at the bottom of the bucket. This is the cornstarch from the baking powder, which doesn't stay suspended in the solution. It's of no consequence and doesn't need to be either strained or mixed back into the solution before you use it.
Store your solution in a leak-proof container (I find that 1 gallon Arizona Iced Tea jugs work well for this). Just be sure it's been cleaned thoroughly first.
Good luck and happy bubbling. :)
NightHawkInLight (author)  mparker37 months ago
Thank you for your very detailed comment! I have some guar gum that I intend to do some experimenting with to see how I like it. I'll be sure to try your recipe. It's interesting how close it is to the proportions I use in my own J-Lube mix which I came up with through pure experimentation. Makes me think I maybe did something right. I have tried about half a dozen dish soaps so far and found that Dawn's hypoallergenic variety works the best from what is locally available. For consistency's sake I'll use that same detergent in my first guar test so it's a fair comparison with J-Lube. I have no doubt the the power clean or manual pot and pan detergents may work better, but having driven all over the county looking for it without success I decided for my video that it would be better to provide a recipe that utilizes something that's more common, even if the result is slightly less impressive than it could be. I have hundreds of thousands of viewers on my YouTube channel and they tend to buy out online supplies of items quickly, so I avoid making videos utilizing things that are not locally available when I can.

If you would not mind I would love to quote your comment in my video description on YouTube for the benefit of my viewers. Would that be ok? I can credit you to your real name or an alias if you would prefer.
marcellahella4 months ago
This is toooo cool! I wish I knew it when I were little…!
uncbill7 months ago
Has anyone tried Polyethylene Glycol for the jlube? Sold as Mirilax in any drugstore. The same sort of polymer, but shorter chain polymers are referred to as glycol, the longer called oxide.
espiegel uncbill5 months ago
Mirilax has a very low molecular weight compared to the stuff in J-Lube (which has an MW of about 4,000,000). I have tried it and it does not work comparably -- it is also FAR more expensive than J-Lube (one 10 oz bottle of J-Lube will make hundreds of gallons of bubble juice). If you want a cheap, easy-to-find additive, you can use guar gum. You can find a lot of great recipes and other information about making giant bubbles at http://soapbubble.wikia.com
fuzzylumpkin15 months ago
I must do this!!! This is now on my bucket list!
racoontnn6 months ago
A very funny thing - certainly need to do such a thing and give her grandchildren.
bgepp16 months ago
sweet home Alabama, I love this!
KROKKENOSTER7 months ago
Boy if I had this 40 years ago!
daltah7 months ago
Nice a must try

spark master7 months ago
I used a 3 foot loop to make ones so big that they stopped traffic in my neighbor hood. Cars slowed down to ogle them, as they were rolling down the street at them. As big as motorcycles. A little old Eyetalain lady and in broken English DEMANDED to see how I made it and the "Zuppa" I dipped it in!

Great project I never thought of going bigger but I may need to revisit my kids childhoods!

ciao
corcutt7 months ago
Awesome! I love the playfulness of making bubbles. We need more fun activities in our lives! Thanks.
spark master7 months ago
You also can use glycerin from the pharmacy.
astrong07 months ago
Amazing! I actually have a store called Cal-ranch here in my home town and I actually saw the J-lube powder the other day because of the .....interesting....(yes that will work) name. Thank God for Cowboys Rednecks And Farmers. The store is actually pretty awesome anyway.
wandaw7 months ago
Your video was very well done. The scenes, narration, multiple views, and thorough How-To explanations made it a pleasure to watch. Thank you for sharing.
NightHawkInLight (author)  wandaw7 months ago
Thank you for your kind words! I strive for those things in my videos so I'm happy to have achieved them.
I enjoyed this wonderful instructable and also appreciate the input from mparker3!So much information and how to do this safely and responsibly!..Huggs.......Kitty
Pinguino727 months ago
Question.. Can you use this solution to make smaller bubbles as well? I don't want to make the huge ones for my toddler.. she likes chasing the dozens of bubbles her littler bubble maker machine makes and popping them.. Or would this solution be too thick? We just find the store bought stuff just pops way to quickly.
NightHawkInLight (author)  Pinguino727 months ago
The mix I show in the video works *really* well for smaller bubbles. If you take a hollow section of the cotton clothesline that I show in the video for the large wands and feed a stiff wire through the center you can bend it into smaller bubble wands. I may be doing a follow up video showing how to make those at some point. They're extremely entertaining and work unbelievably well. In any case, yes, this mix works great for bubbles of any size.
rfakhre7 months ago
mesmerizing.
windsorbug7 months ago
awesome! got to try this
dscopel7 months ago
What is the source of your guar gum? I found some at rite aid but it is mixed with dietary fiber. Will that matter?
NightHawkInLight (author)  dscopel7 months ago
Guar gum is a type of fiber, so I doubt that what you found actually had some other fiber mixed in. I bet it would still work fine. I bought some guar gum on Amazon, but I'm yet to try a bubble mix using it.
Yeah, that is the one that I was looking at as well.
http://www.amazon.com/Source-Naturals-Powder-Dietary-Fiber/dp/B0046S6UL0/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1378650718&sr=1-3&keywords=guar+gum+powder
Thanks for the awesome post. My supplies should be arriving around mid week and I'll give it a shot.
This might be kind of wasteful not to mention expensive! But if you had some bubble helium in a can or tank with a hose or whatever you may be able to add enough helium to make your bubbles neutral buoyant or even slightly positive and that would be fun too I think. Great Inscrutable! Tks.
altomic7 months ago
looked up J Lube on ebay (I'm in Australia) and found a listing from Austria with the title as "J-LUBE JLUBE Hand Fist Fisting Lubricant Lube Gel Body Glide Gay Vet Concentrate". lol
rgraham77 months ago
I can hardly wait. Lol we have an 19 month old who loves bubbles and a 16 yr old who loves making them
going to make this after work so when my nieces and nephews come over we can make bubbles! My nephews are in my profile photo with me. :D
sgfidlin7 months ago
Have you thought of using 10 foot pieces of PVC as the poles?
NightHawkInLight (author)  sgfidlin7 months ago
Yeah, they're heavy to hold up in the air for very long with the wet string dangling from them. They do work though.
That's true. By the way awesome instructable!
enelson87 months ago
Wow, this could be a great birthday resent fora younger child, entertaining. Ummmm, I'm entering into a 123d contest and I wanted to know if you could vote for me and give me some advice. In doing the 123 d ukulele
mikeasaurus7 months ago
Wow, those are some very large (and amazing) bubbles. Thanks for sharing this!
M3G7 months ago
All I can say is wow. This is amazing! I dfinarely have to do this!
M3G M3G7 months ago
*definately
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