When I first discovered bubblemaking a few years ago, one of the first recipes that I found was the one at BubbleTown. It uses just flax seed, water and detergent. For whatever reason, I never got around to trying it. This past summer on SBF, the Soap Bubble Fanciers Yahoo Group there was a lot of discussion of tricks to use in low humidity. Flax seed water (more about that below) was mentioned as an ingredient that extended bubble life significantly.
This weekend, I made up a quick batch of very simple "flax juice" just to see if it was promising enough to pursue. It definitely is. I have no idea how it will end up comparing to other recipes, but it definitely works: for both small wand work and large bubbles.
Conditions were bad (swirling brisk winds and 30%-40% humidity) but I managed to create enough bubbles in a few minutes to determine that it is worth exploring some more and comparing to a known juice in somewhat better conditions (and in low humidity with winds that are less tricky).
Here is the recipe that I used:
1 tablespoon whole flax seeds added to 250 ml (one cup) water
the mixture was simmered for about 6 minutes (I did it in the microwave -- be careful not to have it overflow)
I then strained the liquid and added enough water to bring the volume to 1 liter.
I let it sit till it got to room temperature and added 50 grams Dawn Pro (making the dilution 20:1 water-to-detergent).
WIth a dimestore wand, I was getting 10 to 20 colorful bubbles per dip.
I added 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/8 tsp citric acid (both tightly packed and then leveled). This brought an 8.5 pH solution down to 7.3.
I took the mix outside and tried it with a 29" rayon mop yarn top-string and a single strand soda-washed twine bottom.
The wind is so swirling that I don't feel it fair to make any judgement about the juice other than to say that it was quite bubble-friendly and bubbles were easy to close. It will a require a session with calmer wind when I have a known juice on-hand for a valid analysis.
The next morning with 50F and 80% humidity, I tried the flax juice alongside a standard guar mix using 30" topstring Lehigh diamond braid loops. The flax juice bubbles lasted longest. One 4 foot diameter bubble lasted 44 seconds before breaking on the ground. Size potential seemed good.
See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPEXi6gt6qM
2013 11 11 Follow-up
It seems that the solution has lost a bit of oomph over the 9 days since I mixed up the last batch. It still works, and the solution is clear with no off-odors, but there are noticeably fewers bubbles-per-dip with a small plastic wand than when the mix was fresh.
See the Nov. 17, 2013 update.
Read other articles in the Flax Seed category.