2 super easy soap bubble recipes – for indoor & outdoor use

IMG_0832-4I have yet to meet a child who does not absolutely love soap bubbles! It’s almost a guaranteed succes with any toddler and can even turn a frown into giggles and screams of excitement in no time – especially when big bubbles are flying through the air and they are eagerly trying to catch them.

We use to buy these small containers with bubble water and wands, but I was starting to get a bit tired of having to buy water with soap in it (cause that’s pretty much what it is), especially now Eva has become that age where she wants to hold the container with the soap water, but still haven’t fully grasped the concept of water being liquid and that it therefore spills out of the container if you tip it. Let’s just say we’ve had our fair share of wet floor and pants. So I decided to search the internet for some easy to make recipes for soap bubbles – and after a few different attempts and modifications we ended up with two different recipes that we like to use. One is more suitable for outdoor use, but also makes it possible to make bigger bubbles, while the other is great for indoor use where staining is not an option.

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Blowing bubbles in the rain without going outside – 2 ½ hours passed by so fast!

I had three criteria for the soap bubble recipes –  they had to be easy to make, as safe as possible and I had to already have the ingredients in stock. And both versions lived up to this. Well almost. Along the way I learned that not all dish soaps are created equally – some seem to have too thin a mixture and some seem to prohibit bubbles (which makes sense considering it’s intended purpose is washing dishes, not making bubbles). So I did have to buy a different brand of dish soap – just to see if it made a difference, and it did.

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Recipe for indoor soap bubbles

This recipe requires the least ingredients of the two- and if you do not have glycerin (we have it for the occasional difficult stain and it can be bought in most well-equipped supermarkets) I’ve read somewhere that you can use corn syrup. I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t think Iwould recommend it for indoor use. I can only imagine it will leave behind some very sticky spots and we have enough of those already with a toddler in the house.

You’ll need (makes a little over half a liter / 2 cups):

  • 5 dl (2,1 cups) water (we just used tap water, but distilled should be better as it contains less calcium which makes the bubbles heavy)
  • 2,5 tablespoons dish soap liquid (if the bubbles burst too fast, try another brand)
  • 1 tablespoons glycerin
  • a clean container/bucket
  • a spoon or similar to stir in the ingredients

How to:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients and stir with a big spoon. Try not to mix to hard or stir to fast. You don’t want to make foam or bubbles.
  2. Let the solition sit for a few hours. Stir it gently for a minute before using it.
  3. That’s it – you’re done. Have fun!
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Eva trying to catch the bubbles with her wet hands

Recipe for outdoor soap bubbles

This recipe for outdoor soap bubbles was inspirered by paging fun mums. It seemed easy to make and I had all of the ingredients on hand. I did however add some glycerin to the mixture to make the bubbles extra strong and made a few variations to the recipe. On a further note this recipe will give you milk-like water, but fear not, the bubbles will be see-through.

You’ll need (makes a little over half a liter / 2 cups):

  • 5 dl (about 2,1 cups) of warm water
  • 2,5 tablespoons dish soap (if the bubbles burst too fast, try another brand)
  • 2,5 tablespoon corn starch
  • 0,5 teaspoon baking powder (not soda)
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin (I’ve read it can be substituted with corn syrup)
  • a clean container/bucket
  • a spoon or similar to stir in the ingredients

How to:

When you’re using corn starch you should mix it with the water before adding the dish soap – and make sure to stir it occasionally while using it as it will settle at the bottom.

  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water by stirring very well. 
  2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Try not to mix to hard or stir to fast. You don’t want to make foam or bubbles.
  3. Let the solution sit for a an hour or more. Stir it gently for a minute before making bubbles, especially if residue is forming at the bottom.
  4. That’s it – you’re done. Have fun!

 Some tips and tricks

  • Avoid getting the solution all foamy and frothy. With an almost two year old toddler this is actually much harder than it sounds. The eagerness to shake the container or vigorously dip the little bubble wand can turn even the silkiest soap water solution into a foaming mini ocean. The solution will still work, but not as great, though Eva seems excited as long as she is still able to blow bubbles.
  • The best weather for blowing soap bubbles are overcast and humid. Sun, wind, rain and dry air are not the best conditions for blowing bubbles. But don’t let the weather stop you. If it’s a sunny day try to get in the shade and if it’s raining, do like us and stand in the door and blow bubbles out in the rain. Eva, Ben and I spend over two hours doing this and almost forgot to make dinner.
  • If the bubbles break to easily, try a different brand of dish soap. I had to go out and buy a different brand of dish soap as our soap water solution didn’t really seem to work. We ended up using Fairy (not sure it is an international brand?) and it works wonderfully.
  • Keep the mixture in a container with an airtight lid if you want it to last longer. If you’re saving some of the outdoor mixture the powder will settle at the bottom. Just carefully mix it with a spoon again and it should be fine. It worked well for us at least!

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If you want your bubbles to be extra strong I’ve read that you can use waterbased lube. Yes, you read right. Lube. It’s a tip from a Danish Interactive Museum (Experimentarium). They go through a lot of soap bubble water every day and use quite a lot of lube to make the bubbles durable. I haven’t tried it yet, but I most definetely will – and I’ll make sure to make a seperate post with a recipe when I do!

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