After making some 3D printed custom bubble wands, I figured I should try making my own homemade bubble solution. There are a lot of recipes out there and most are pretty similar. Despite the various ratios I was trying with the popular ingredients, I wasn't getting the same results as storebought, but I was determined! After trying to think of how to thicken the solution, I thought of it! Xanthan gum! This magical little ingredient was perfect for making a nice thick and sturdy homemade bubble solution. Now you don't have to have xanthan gum to make bubble solution but it will make it noticeablybetter.
Step 1: Supplies
To give you a starting point, this recipe is for 1 cup of water, but you can multiple the ingredient s and increase this to as much as you want.
- 1c Water
- 2T Dish Soap - many people recommend Dawn, if you have it use it, if not, I would say to make do with what you have, BUT the more watery your soap the worse, I assume, your bubbles will be. I would say to avoid things that say things like All Natural
- 1tsp Glycerin or Corn Syrup (optional) - helps make the bubbles more durable
- You aren't going to need a lot, so if you have it I say to add a little, but I don't think it's necessary to buy either of these if you don't have it already
- 1/8 - 1/4tsp Xanthan Gum - 1/8tsp should be good but if you want to go crazy, go up to 1/4tsp
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Plastic container with resealable lid
- Though I'm using glass jars, since this is for kids, I highly recommend using plastic containers.
- In my opinion, it makes the most sense to buy a large container of bubble solution plus a couple of small ones (since it is easier to use the small ones day to day and they come with bubble wands), use up what is in them, then refill them with your new mixture when it's gone. Now, not only do you have containers to use but you have some solution to start with.
- Keep in mind your bubble wands when you get containers/find containers to use. If you make custom wands you may need containers with wider openings. Using old jars like peanut butter could work well as long as you get it clean.
- Plastic Covers for Mason Jars - If you do decide to use glass mason jars, I recommend getting some plastic covers for them, make sure you get the right size for whatever jars you have
Step 2: Experimenting
When I first decided I wanted to make my own solution, I went looking around the internet to see what people were doing. Many, many people do some kind of combination of water, soap, and glycerin or corn syrup. I decided to experiment and see if I could get just the right ratio and even tried one with sugar and one with cornstarch. (If you want to try your own experiments, some others tried Jello or Gelatin too, but this seemed like more effort than I wanted to put in for just bubble solution.) But, no matter what I did, all of the solutions seemed to work the same and they never worked as well as the storebought stuff.
I knew the solution needed to be thicker, but adding more glycerin wasn't really helping and just made this more expensive than it needed to be. I was going to give up and share the best I could come up with, when I finally thought of a thickener: xanthan gum! As some people might know, xantham gum is a nifty little thickener that I've used in the past with frappuccinos. It's probably not something people are going to necessarily have in their kitchen but it can be a nice addition. If you can find an affordable container of it, I say it's worth getting just for making bubble solution. No matter what you are using it for, you barely need any, The Spruce Eats recommends only 1/8 teaspoon per cup of liquid, so it will last you a long, long time. I actually bought mine years ago and I think it expired in 2017 and it still worked great.
The second picture shows a bubble mixture with a fair amount of xanthan gum. The cloudiness is actually lots of tiny bubbles. You know your mixture is thick enough if when you tip the bottle over and back up, the tiny bubbles that get stirred up stay suspended in the mixture rather than all quickly rising to the surface.
The last picture shows the bubble mixture with xanthan gum on the left and one without on the right.
Now that I knew what I wanted, it was time to mix it up!
Step 3: Mixing!
So, you could just throw this all together, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Because of how xanthan gum works, it is best to mix it with your soap and glycerin first. It is more likely to mix in there than if you add it to the water first. (The first time I tested this I added the xantham gum to the water and it seemed to mix fine, but this is the safe way to do it to make sure it mixes well.)
So, mix together your soap and glycerin or corn syrup (if you are using it). Add in your xanthan gum and mix it as well as you can.
Slowly add water and mix only as much as you need to. You don't want to go crazy and make this foam/bubble up. Save those bubbles for blowing.
Many people recommend letting it sit and this does seem to help, but you can use this right away if you want. It just should get better over time.
Step 4: Videos! - Test Comparison and Slow Motion
Here is a look at my very scientific tests of the bubbles!
The first two are testing a traditional homemade bubble solution (no xanthan gum), the third test is a storebought solution (this works great, no reason to do more than one example), and the last two are the homemade solution with xanthan gum. All tests I am using a simple single circle bubble wand I 3D printed.
There is no talking in the video because I am very awkward.
Here are a couple of videos showing me blowing bubbles in slow motion using this new homemade bubble solution because, why not.
Step 5: More Pictures
Participated in the
1 Hour Challenge