How to Make Bubbles - the Best Homemade Bubble Solution

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About: Instructables Community Manager - I am powered by sugar and rainbows! For realz!

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.

Instructable 312

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Supplies:

  • 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

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    24 Discussions

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    CHRIS11556

    19 days ago on Step 5

    Hi, Thanks for all your testing so we can make great bubbles. Now I must "POP" on the internet and "BLOW" some cash on Xanthamumum gumumum. Ta.

    1 reply
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    mpwall

    24 days ago on Step 5

    Joy and water works great. I have had bubbles travel nearly 455 feet, distance from the house on left field line out side of Wrigley Field to near the home plate. You can see the house in League of their own.

    1 reply
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    Penolopy Bulnickbpark1000

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I had not heard of that before but someone else mentioned it here too!

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    pgs070947

    4 weeks ago

    Going back quite a few years, I used to like the smell of bubble solution.
    In a laboratory I worked in, we analysed detergents in water. One of them was Lissapol-N which was one of the early non-ionic detergents.
    The smell of Lissapol was the nearest I got to the original bubble solution smell.
    While searching for Lissapol, I was amazed at just how many there are now and the uses for them.

    1 reply
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    satosi

    5 weeks ago

    Xanthan gum is great stuff. I use it in cooking, product formulation & more. Takes very little to get the desired effect.

    Great idea to add it to bubble solution!

    4 replies
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    Penolopy Bulnicksatosi

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Thank you :)
    I wouldn't think you would need preservatives? Hopefully, it would be used often enough it wouldn't matter, but looking at the individual ingredients I don't think I'd worry about mold too much. And at the end of the summer, you could dump out extras and just make more the next summer!

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    satosiPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    It may need one if stored - even over the summer - due to the way xanthan gum is made. It's fermented using a specific type of bacteria, with glucose & sucrose, if I remember correctly, before it's dried into a powder. I'm not sure if that bacteria could potentially 'resurrect' when water is added. Bacteria + water = trouble for anything being stored, especially in warm temperatures, unless you're purposely fermenting something.

    On the other hand, people do get sick from airborne bacteria, and bubbles like this naturally fly through the air & burst, so for me, it would be something I'd seriously consider. Personal choice.

    Maybe someone with a different background than myself could chime in on this. I'm not a scientist of any type.

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    Penolopy Bulnicksatosi

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    I don't know enough to add input, but I still have my original jar that's been sitting on the counter so I'll update my project if I notice anything wrong with it in the coming months :)

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    satosisatosi

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Now I'm wondering if it would be necessary to add a preservative to prevent mold from growing. Might be an issue if you're storing your bubble solution over the summer.

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    goldenskyhook

    5 weeks ago

    I've used guar gum before, and I use Xanthan gum all the time for my gluten free baking, but I never thought of it for bubble juice. I also got something called "J-Lube" which is a powdered "veterinary lubricant." It's basically powdered KY, but vets sometimes need to lubricate a 3 foot long glove to reach into a large animal orifice or body cavity. It works quite amazingly, but the juice is kind of slimy. I make the 6 foot diameter bubbles at my grandkids' birthdays and the like.

    1 reply