Blow Frozen Bubbles

    Kids, there are some incredible frozen bubble photos on-line that are amazing. You too can blow bubbles that freeze into delicate frost patterns. You can even pick up the bubbles and examine them before they pop. All you need is bubble solution, a bubble wand, and a cold winter day (below freezing, at least).

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    It helps if you blow the bubbles close to a cold surface, so they don't freeze in the air and break upon landing. You can catch bubbles on mittens/gloves or on snow or ice. You should see a frost pattern forms on the bubble surface. The bubbles will eventually pop, but with a bit of practice you should be able to pick them up and examine them first.

    The frost creates magical patterns in the freezing bubbles. The smaller ones may freeze momentarily in mid-air, and then fall down and scatter like thin glass chips. The bigger ones should freeze more slowly on the surface.  Photographer Angela Kelly noted " they would freeze completely before the sun rose but that once the sun was in view they would defrost along the tops or cease freezing altogether.  We also noted how they would begin to deflate and implode in on themselves making them look like alien shapes or in some cases shatter completely leaving them to look like a cracked egg.”

    Any bubble solution will work. You can make your own detergent and water solution or make stronger bubbles using glycerin or corn syrup.  See the June 2013 issue of ChemShorts for Kids for the best recipes.  If you don't have seriously cold winter, your other option is to blow bubbles over dry ice (see below for a link with directions on how to do this).


    Angela Kelly,
    Anne Marie Helmenstine, Chemistry,
    ChemShorts June 2013 bubble recipes:
    Make frozen bubbles using dry ice: