Upon seeing Bubble Magic in a nightclub or other grown-up venue, people will often exclaim, "oh, but the kids must LOVE this."
And, of course, children do love bubbles. But my skill with bubbles is less surprising to them … they hadn't spent so many years assuming that a bubble cube would be impossible. They can imagine bubbles the shape of a donut or bubbles that float straight up or bubbles within bubbles within bubbles or …
When grown-ups see these things they seem to be witnessing an overthrow of established laws. The effect is often one that frees their imagination. For kids there is seldom an imagination that is less than free.
Over the years I have had to change from one formula to another. I developed Bubble Magic using Wonder Bubbles from a company called ChemToy. A larger toy corporation called Strombecker bought up ChemToy and renamed Wonder Bubbles as Mr. Bubbles (not to be confused with Mr. Bubble, the bubble bath product). That was the same good stuff and it was cheap and available for years and years at Woolworth in America. Now Strombecker has gone out of business (so has the American Woolworth). By then I had discovered that I could do my show with Pustefix, a German product from a nice family company (I would modify their excellent bubble solution with dish soap to make it act a bit more like the Mr. Bubbles that I'm use to).
Now there is a newer product on the shelves called Gazillion Bubbles that works good so I sometimes use it, sometimes I will use Pustefix and sometimes I'll mix dish soap and water and add a bit of this or that to make it stretch better
When mixing at home (usually better for very big bubbles) I will mix some dishwashing liquid with water and maybe add some of the commercial bubble solutions sold in the shops or a little glycerin (sold in drug stores/pharmacies.
Try the following mixture of homemade Bubble Juice:
1 part dish soap (I'm having the best luck with blue Dawn nowadays)
16 parts water
8 parts commercial bubble liquid or a MUCH smaller amount of glycerin or corn syrup (start with a teaspoon and mix thoroughly before adding more … don’t over do it).
Stir it well but try not to make a lot of suds while mixing, if you do, scoop the suds off of the surface. Suds is the enemy of bubble making and having a bucket around to periodically scoop it into will improve the bubble blowing a lot.
This is the one bubble activity that I like the best for kids. Bubble domes are very stable and it's a lot easier to manipulate them. Blowing bubbles through a straw allows you to fix the size more carefully ... too big? suck some air out of it, not big enough? put the straw in and then a quick suck to break the film within the straw and blow to add more air and increase the size of the bubble.
This can be messy but that can be minimized with some care beforehand but in either case, put down a rug or non-slippery mat or just newspapers around the play area.
A level table helps and consider creating a rim on the edge of the table (a simple one can be made with duct tape and imagination).
I suggest that you put the liquid into a doggie bowl or one of those Tupperware-like tubs that people sometimes use to wash their dishes in ... something stable that will not be easily spilled. In either case, don't just hand out jars of liquid to playing children that encourage them to go mobile with the liquid ... if you do, and they spill it ... well, that wasn't their fault. You'd spill it too if you'd play.
* A table
* Plastic drinking straws
* Bubble mix (see above) in a stable container (doggie bowl or dishwashing tub)
* Bubble liquid container. My favorite is a doggy bowl or other stable container for the liquid, not a normal bubble jar.
1.Wet a part of the tabletop
2. Dip the straw deep into the bubble mix
3. Now blow bubble domes onto the wet surface.
You can make a long chain of bubbles attached one behind the other (caterpillar), bubble domes within bubble domes (make sure that a lot of the straw is wet, any dry part will break the outer bubble), groups of bubbles together (six bubbles around a center bubble will show you a hexagon, five around will show you a pentagon ...) bubble towers, ...
You can't blow an ugly bubble so why not just jump in and give it a try?
Easy to make Big Bubbles
For this you will need:
* Plastic drinking straws
* Cotton string cut to various lengths
* A bucket or tub of the bubble liquid
* Paper towels for drying hands afterwards
1. Thread a length of string (minimum of about 30 inches / 75 centimeters or ... about four times the length of the drinking straw) through the two drinking straws
2. Tie the ends of the string into a knot. The straws then become the handles for this simple and excellent bubble-blowing tool.
3. Hold one of the straws in each hand and immerse your hands into Bubble Juice. Keep your fists together as you take them out of the liquid and once you are out in the air with them, spread them apart to expose the large soap film to the air.
4. NOW pull this through the air to produce very big bubbles!
* Hint for success: Pull, don't push ... if you push, the bubble will emerge directly in front of your body and it'll pop on you.
* Hint for success: Read #3 above again. Pulling the film up out of bucket and perhaps into a wind can be a tricky part of this ... the film might snap while emerging. Keeping your hands together will ensure that there is no vulnerable film until you're ready to wave out the bubble
* Hint for success: To close the bubble simply put your hands (therefore, the straws) together again. The film will close off by itself.
* One more hint: When cleaning up afterwards, add some vinegar to the cleaning water. This will destroy the frothing ability of the soapy water and eliminate all the trouble with foam while cleaning.
School Science Project
Through my website I often receive letters from students who are working on school projects. Some are very polite and some less so. Often the students are asking that I simply hand over the information that they’ve been assigned to discover. I do my best with the email that I receive but, of course, with so many science projects going on out there it would be impossible to engage in extensive dialogue with everyone who writes. I often simply refer them to the information that others and I have already written and put on their websites.
But I had a very good exchange with a high school freshman who used her own initiative as well as my contributions to put together a nice presentation. I appreciated they way that she approached the project and the way that she approached me and so I thought that I would share that exchange with those interested. CLICK HERE to read the exchange.
©Tom Noddy and Bubble Magic
P.O. Box 1576 Santa Cruz, California 95061 USA (831) 426-2230