These are my current procedures for making BLM (Brian's Lube Mix) - that powerful and superbly effective additive for giant bubble solutions. Many thanks to BLM's creator, Brian Lawrence, for sharing his recipe and helping enable so many people to create and enjoy truly GIANT bubbles.
Please see Brian's recipe for the real deal.
I hope that by describing this recipe in a different way and with extra detail, I might help those who are just learning to make BLM feel more confident with their first steps. I don't claim this is the best way to make it, but it works for me and gives consistent results.
This recipe makes 1 quart (32 oz) of BLM - enough for about 10 gallons of bubble juice. Ingredients are as follows:
- Distilled water: 32-40 ounces (or more)
- J-Lube powder: 32 grams
- Surgilube : 4 1/4 ounces (1 tube)
The equipment I use...
- 4 cup measuring glass
- 5 quart microwavable plastic bowl
- 1 quart empty container to hold finished BLM
- Wire whisk
- Candy thermometer
- Gram/powder scale with cup for weighing powder
- Kitchen scale
- (Microwave oven not pictured.)
Procedures:1. Boil 4 cups (32 oz) of distilled water in a pan or microwave oven. (I use a glass measure.) While it's heating ...
3. Measure 32 grams of J-Lube powder and place it in the bowl.
6. Remove the cooked J-Lube/water mix from the oven and measure its total weight (bowl + mix).
7. Take the weight of your bowl (in oz), add 32, and then subtract the total weight of the cooked mix, including the bowl. You'll find that at least 2 ounces of water have boiled away. In my case, the math went like this:
5.20 oz (weight of bowl)
+32.00 oz (starting weight of water and target net weight of mix)
=37.20 oz (total target weight of the mix and bowl)
-33.35 oz (total weight of the mix and bowl after boiling)
=3.85 oz (water needed to reach target of 32 oz net weight)
Note: The J-Lube powder accounts for about 1.1 oz of the weight of the mix. It doesn't boil away. Therefore the amount of water lost in the example is about 2.75 oz (3.85 - 1.10). By setting a target of 32 oz total, each oz of the finished mix will contain 1 gram of J-Lube and a little more than 1/8 oz of Surgilube. (If you can get that last 1/4 oz of lube out of the tube!)
If you divide or multiply the recipe, cooking time remains the same: 6 minutes AFTER the mix comes to a boil.
The beating and whisking can be accomplished with a fork or pair of chopsticks, with only a little more effort.
I don't know what the ultimate shelf life of this BLM is. I have used mixes as much as 3 months old, and didn't notice any significant loss in potency. I store mine in a cool, dark place, to avoid those conditions that typically degrade the quality of canned or bottled goods and medicines.
When boiling the J-Lube/water mix, use a bowl that's at least 4 times larger than your mix. Bowls having narrower bases or sides will boil over more easily than those having wider bases. If you experience near-boil-overs, use a larger bowl next time rather than a lower microwave setting. Ideally, it should cook on high for 6 minutes straight. The cooked mix will cool more quickly in a broader-based bowl than in a narrower one.
You'll find that a lot of your mixes will stick to the sides of your bowls. You can reclaim much of it by adding some distilled water and whisking it against the sides. Rather than diluting my finished BLM with these 'scrapings', I add them to a bottle reserved for extra dilute BLM. I then use this mix in the field when I feel a bucket of juice could use a BLM boost.
You may prefer to add some extra water to the mix - when whisking the Surgilube, reclaiming the scrapings, or blending the Surgilube and cooked J-Lube mixes together. It makes blending easier and gives smoother results that mix more easily with other ingredients. But be aware that you'll need more of it to treat your juice. The waterier it is, the more it impacts your target water:detergent ratios too.
At full-strength, as little as 2 ounces of this BLM per gallon of finished juice are effective for giant outdoor bubbles. I usually use 3 ounces or a little more. Be aware that the potency of J-Lube powder can vary from batch to batch, and can diminish with age and exposure to air.
Water-soluble personal lubricant, like K-Y Jelly and Wal-Mart's 'Equate' brand, can be substituted for Surgilube with very satisfactory results. However, real BLM is made with Surgilube or its key ingredient HPMC.
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below. Chances are, most answers can be found in the Soap Bubble Wiki. It's an amazingly thorough and valuable resource for bubblers.