Intro: Giant Bubble Wands
You want to make giant bubbles?
GOOD!!!! They are awesome.
You only need three things to make giant bubbles: The giant bubble wand is made from the first two things: the wands and the string.
All you have to do is attach a loop of string to two poles and then dip it in a bubble solution. Pull it out and spread the string and voila, bubbles form (wind helps.)
1) Poles: dowels, painters' poles, or fishing poles
2) String: cotton piping, mop head, or twine
3) Other: 2 screw eyes, 2 key rings, and 1 heavy washer
4) Optional: 2 fishing swivels, 2 S-carabineers
The third and final thing you need is the bubble solution, but that is for later and can vary depending upon your preferences.
Step 1: Step 1: the Wands
The Wands can be made out of mostly anything. The key to making wands is something that will hold up to the weight of all the solution after you dip the string into the solution and yet something light enough that you can raise it again and again without getting tired.
Above are two examples of ones I made out of wooden dowels and painters' poles. The dowels are the cheapest and easiest to use. Dowels are lightweight and sturdy, and four feet is a good length to start with. If you get them longer, they tend to bend and break.
The painters' poles are still pretty cheap but are somewhat heavier. The can extend so they are easier to carry around than than a wooden dowel equal to the extended painters' pole length.
The best are fishing poles because the are strong and lightweight and can be collapsed. They are much more expensive, so make you choice wisely, or don't -- we are talking about playing with bubbles here.
I got both of these at Home Depot or a related store.
Step 2: Step 2: Attachments
The screw eyes are used to attach the string to the wands. Again dowels are the easiest and you just screw in a screw eye into the end of each dowel.
With the painters' poles, I did this but went a step further. I attached a fishing swivel to the screw eye because the string can get twisted when you dip it in the solution and the swivels help keep it untangled.
Second, I put attached an S-carabineer to each of the screw eyes. This just helps you to attach different strings more easily as well as taking them on and off to rinse and dry them. Of course the fishing swivel and S-carabineer can be put on the dowel as well as the painter's pole.
I got the eye screws at Home Depot, the swivels at a fishing store and the S-carabiners pretty much anywhere.
Step 3: Step 3: the String
With the string you have options again. You can go for an organic or synthetic string, I prefer organic. The main purpose of the string is to hold as much solution as possible and have it release the solution freely so the bubble can keep growing evenly and for a long time.
For synthetic string most people use a mop head - see top left of the picture. They have been specifically designed to soak up water and soap, but in my experience they did not hold that much solution. If you do go this route, make sure you get a mop head with loops and not a bunch of separated ends. You will need a single long string to make the loop.
For organic string, I have used twine and cotton piping. Twine is very thin and again does not hold much solution -- see top right of the picture. My favorite is the cotton piping -- see middle bottom of the picture. You can get it in a variety of thicknesses and it can hold a lot of solution. I went with the 1/4-inch thickness and it seems to work well.
After you get the string you want, you will also need two key rings, about one-inch diameter, and a heavy washer (something that won't rust) about one-inch wide. Thread the key rings and the washer onto the string and then tie the two ends of the string together to make a loop. Don't worry -- the knot will not affect the bubbles.
The key rings will be attached to the S-carabineers, which are attached to the eye screws on the poles. The washer will hold down part of the string and help to create a large opening so a large bubble can be created.
I got the mop head, key rings, and washer at Home Depot and the cotton piping at a fabric/sewing store.
Step 4: Step 4: the Technique
You've got your poles, you've got your string, and you are almost ready to go. First attach the key rings to the S-carabineers. Hold the poles up and move the tips of the poles away from each other. The string will connect across the top. With the washer hanging at the bottom, the string will hang down to make a giant triangle pointing down. Don't worry this will not make a triangle bubble, but just think of how cool that would be.
For the best technique, start by dipping the poles with the tips close together, almost touching into the solution. Then raise the poles out of the solution still holding the tips together. You don't want to start by separating them because it will create a bubble before you are ready and might pop on the ground.
Next let some of the extra solution drip off and then move the tips of the poles slowly apart and let the wonders of bubbles be created before you.
The wind can be a blessing or a curse. Ideally you want a light constant breeze. A day with no wind can work too because you can always walk backwards, creating a bubble. Gusting wind is the worst because it will most likely pop the bubble right after it starts to form.
If you are bubbling in a dusty area that can be problematic as well because each particle of dust can pop a bubble. Right after it rains is a good time to make bubbles because the rain has taken most of the particulate out of the air.
Lastly, heat is the big killer of bubbles. Bubbles are soap and a little water and, as they evaporate, they get thinner and a hole in the side of your bubble can form, causing it to pop. The ideal time to go out to bubble is at dusk or dawn, on overcast days, and again, after it rains (because it is most likely still cloudy.)
Bubbling can be frustrating at first, but just keep focusing on how cool and big your bubbles will be -- and you'll be a master bubbler in no time at all.