Soap Bubbles are generally made by dipping a wand (which could be anything from the familiar plastic wands with a small hole to a loop of string attached to handles) into a soapy solution (bubble juice) and introducing air (often by blowing on the wand or waving it) so that the soap film englobes the air. Bubble solution is usually a mix of water and mild detergent (usually dish soap) plus some other ingredients that make the solution easier to work with (by making bubbles more durable or more elastic).
Soap bubbles can last quite a long time in the right conditions as long as they do not come into contact with anything dry. Even a speck of dust (if it is big enough) can pop a bubble. Touch a bubble with a dry finger and it pops. But get your hands soapy and you can stick your finger into a bubble. In fact, some bubble artists use their hands as their preferred bubble wands?
More about Soap Bubbles on Wikipedia.
What are soap bubbles?
Detergents contain (among other things) chemicals called surfactants that lower the surface tension of water. A bubble is made up of a very thin layer of water sandwiched between surfactant films. Bubble solutions often use ingredients that make the bubble walls thicker which makes them less-prone to popping. Other ingredients can increase the longevity of bubbles or make the bubbles self-healing which enables bubbles to heal very small punctures. Self-healing bubbles also make it possible to make bubbles-in-bubbles by blowing into the side of a bubble. They are also easier to form since they tend to close themselves off. Non-self healing bubbles can be easy to form but may break when breaking free from the wand.
How to make them
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Are you just getting started? These sections may be of interest:
- Recipes - reliable bubble juice recipes (as of Sept 2010)
- Wands - read about different types of wands and how to make your own wands (cheaply) that work better than commercial ones.
- Giant Bubbles - bubbles bigger than a car are easy to make and mind-blowingly fun.