Giant Bubbles

    Kids, you can make gigantic soap bubbles with a mixture of liquid soap or detergent, glycerin, and water. The glycerin is the secret ingredient that adds strength to the bubble solution. Mix together 1 part soap with 1 part glycerin and 6 parts water (distilled water works best). Pour into a large tray or cookie sheet.

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

    Form a 12-inch circle with a handle out of stiff wire about the diameter of coat-hanger wire. You can try an actual coat hanger, but they are often coated to prevent rusting; this coating prevents the bubble solution from clinging to the wire. Dip the wire circle into the bubble solution and bring it out at an angle so that a film of solution fills the inside of the circle. Now sweep the wire through the air to form a large bubble. A twist at the end of the sweep helps to loosen the bubble from the wire.

    A bubble is really three bubbles in one. There's an outside layer of water, a middle layer of soap and glycerin, and an inner layer of water. When bubbles these big break, they leave a lot of soap behind. Be prepared to wipe it up (cleaning the floor at the same time!), or make your bubbles outside. 


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    November 1993


    Reference: "Mr. Wizard's Supermarket Science", Don Herbert, 1980, p. 48.