Introduction: Bubble Blowing Top Hat
I have wanted a "bubble blowing top hat" for some time. I bought the supplies a year ago, but envisioned a tricky build involving an Arduino, a small motor, buttons, a battery source, 3D printed parts, and a bit of programming.
I put it off until I saw the Silly Hat Contest - Speed Challenge. I thought, How can I do this quickly, simply, and without any extra electronics? This is result!
Hope you build one for your next black tie party!
Step 1: The Handheld Bubble Gun Must Be of This Type.
You'll need this specific type of bubble gun. I chose it because it was compact; the container is mostly spill proof; and it shoots continuous bubbles. I really appreciated the engineering found in such a simple, cheap toy - blower and pump mechanism as well as the film arm.
The way it works is when you pull the trigger, an arm raises and bubble solution is pumped, creating a film at the blowhole. As long as you hold the trigger, the solution keeps replenishing the film and you get lots of bubbles. Any excess solution pours back into the bottle to cycle again.
So, without using any extra electronics, I had to figure out a way to squeeze the trigger mechanically. I thought, Can I make some kind of air bladder that could push the trigger? Is there some kind of brake wire handle thing I could use to squeeze the trigger? Totally overthinking it.
As I was messing around with it, I pulled up on the film arm up and it activated. The solution was simple - I just had to find a way to pull up the arm and the bubbles would blow!
I took a piece of thread and looped it around the film arm. Then I cut off part of a bendy straw and hot glued it to the top side. I fed the string through the guide so that pulling down on it would lift the film arm and activate the bubble gun.
Step 2: Make Cardboard Frame
I cut out two pieces of cardboard to fit snugly inside the top hat. I positioned the bubble gun as close to the top and forward as possible and hot glued it between the two pieces.
I added shims at the handle to help support the handle. I added a bit more cardboard to help stabilize the frame.
Step 3: Position the Frame Inside the Hat and Adjust Shape
I placed the frame inside the hat to test fit, cut off the excess, and tried it on my head. I made adjustments as necessary so that it fit well.
The frame wedged itself inside the hat and would not move once I positioned it so I didn't need to glue it down. That makes it easier to change batteries or add more solution.
Step 4: Mark and Cut Out Hole for Bubbles
I just used a chalk pencil to mark where I felt the frame press on the hat. Then I cut out a hole to match the opening on the bubble gun. I made sure to match the size of the bubble gun so that the bubbles would not pop on the edges of the hole.
That's pretty much it! It took me about an hour to make (shorter than it took me to write and edit this tutorial). :D
All that's left is to place it on your head, pull down the string that's near your cheek, and the bubbles will shoot out!
Here are some issues that I will address in Version 2.0.
- Build a better frame out of sturdier material. This build is probably good for one night only.
- Make my own top hat so that it's taller and has more room for my head. The hat sat on my head, but I honestly wouldn't be able to wear it without some kind of elastic to make it stay on my head.
- Use a sturdier plastic pipe to guide the string. I used a straw which was a bit too soft. The tube from a pen that is heat formed might be better at guiding the string.
- Maybe change the activation method - instead of pulling a string, maybe pulling down the front of hat will activate it. It will look like I'm tipping my hat and surprise bubbles will shoot out.
- Incorporate a larger reservoir bottle than the one that is included. It's a decent size, but I wouldn't mind it holding more bubble solution.
Here it is again so you don't have to scroll to the top:
Participated in the
Silly Hats Speed Challenge