Really, really cheap homemade bubbles

by Kristen on November 15, 2012 · 27 comments

in DIY

My girls are big bubble-blowing fans.

And normally, we have a pretty decent stash of clearance-purchased bubbles around here. But the other day when they wanted to blow bubbles, we discovered we were running a bit low.

So, I did a little googling, and found that to make homemade bubbles, most people recommend getting some glycerin to mix in with the soap and water.

But I had no glycerin.

Fortunately, I came across one recipe that didn’t call for glycerin, so I gave it a whirl.

All you need is a cup of water and two tablespoons of dish soap (I used dish soap from Aldi, since that’s what I had on hand.)

Fill the measuring cup with water first, and then gently add the dish soap, stirring gently so that you don’t make piles of suds.

The recipe said that these work best if you let them sit for 24 hours, but of course, we wanted to use them right away.

The verdict: They work surprisingly well, even without a waiting period!

I’d say they’re maybe a little less stretchy and durable than commercial bubbles (the glycerin would fix that), but the girls had no trouble blowing bubbles with them, using a wand or a straw.

Now, if you stick a straw into the bubbles and blow for a while, as Sonia did, you will have some sudsing problems. ;)

I probably still will poke around online to see if I can order some glycerin, but I’m pleased to know I can so easily make bubbles even without the glycerin.

This is especially wonderful news if any of your children are still in the bubble-spilling stage. If they spill these bubbles, it’s no problem to just mix up more.

(the suds are from Sonia blowing through the straw. As long as you don’t do that, suds aren’t an issue!)

Now, if only I’d figured this out and posted it in peak bubble-blowing season.

Ah well. I’ll remind you guys about it when spring rolls around!
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Do you have any tips for making homemade bubbles? And do you know of a great online place to buy glycerin?

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Joshua’s 365 post: Fallen

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elisabeth November 15, 2012 at 7:43 am

You can order glycerin at amazon! I got mine on subscribe and save as we go through a lot of bubbles. And actually even with the glycerin it is better if they sit for awhile so now is actually a good time to post this! I have two vinegar bottles in rotation…one to sit and the other to use.

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2 Kristen November 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

This is good to know. What proportions of soap, glycerin, and water work for you?

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3 Elisabeth November 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

I found my recipe on the internet also, but I don’t remember where. I use 1/2 cup dishwashing detergent, 4 1/2 cups water, 4 T glycerin. I have been known to double the recipe also since my daughter is not past the bubble knocking over stage and she likes to blow a lot of bubbles. I let it sit for months and the longer it sits the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last. I’ve watched some of the bubbles fly around our yard over into the neighbor’s yard and up over the trees before they were out of site or they popped.

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4 Nancy November 15, 2012 at 8:11 am

I buy my glycerin at Walmart in the pharmacy section.

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5 elizabeth November 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

You can find it in the first aid section in most drug stores or Target/Walmart.

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6 Iveth Caruso November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

I have to give this a try, my girls absolutely love bubbles. Fun, cheap & easy!

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7 Angela November 15, 2012 at 9:32 am

You can also get it at hobby lobby or hobbylobby.com. Be sure to use that 40% off coupon! Of course, I’ve never used glycerin in my bubbles. My grandmother made them for us as kids using dish soap and water. If you use a little more dish soap they are a little sturdier. Plus, if you use scented dish soap then you can make scented bubbles.

Another tip – one thing that blows lots of cool bubbles is an empty thread spool. My grandmother was fabulously creative!

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8 karenkl November 15, 2012 at 9:38 am

I’ve been wondering how to make homemade bubbles for my 3 year-old, thanks !

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9 Juli November 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

My mom used to make bubbles with corn syrup. They were great!

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10 Jo@simplybeingmum November 15, 2012 at 10:12 am

You can buy glycerin here (UK) in the home-baking aisle. I know this as I am attempting to make my own fondant icing/sugar paste, rather than buying ready-made. However I opted for the liquid glucose option – not sure why? Quite gutted as was very excited when I read this post thinking I’d bought glycerin (as that’s what I’d originally gone in for). My Kids love bubbles, but I’m not keen on shop bought bubble mixture (long story – won’t go into it here). Now wondering if liquid glucose will work instead? Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained! :-)

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11 Laura November 15, 2012 at 10:25 am
12 tina November 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

I was going to say corn syrup too. just helps to thicken it a bit so it sticks to your wand!

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13 Bonnie November 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

The Children’s Science Centre here uses baby shampoo instead of dish soap so it is tear free in case things get a little crazy! They make bubble big enough to jump into with it! We have tried it and it works great.

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14 Jennifer November 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Just ask at your local pharmacy, I found they had a bottle of glycerin for just a few dollars!

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15 Cheri November 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

We live in So. California and strangely bubbles do go out of season here even thought the temperature last week was 91. I am so pleased to have an option when they are hard to find. Thanks!

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16 Kristen November 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

That is odd! You’d think people would be into blowing bubbles all year round.

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17 Louise November 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Since glycerin is an oily product you might try castor oil, aloe vera gel, shea butter, or even olive oil! I haven’t tried it, but would imagine just a small amount would do. Worth a try since you likely have one of these in either a kitchen or bathroom cabinet.

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18 Jenifer November 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Wow that looks like all kinds of fun. I just told the kids if they would finish their chores we would made the new bubble recipe.

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19 Economies of kale November 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

It looks like your kids had a lot of fun :)

We used this exact recipe when I was a kid :) We used to buy the commercial stuff to get a bottle and a wand, then keep refilling them with water and washing-up liquid over and over again.

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20 AFS November 16, 2012 at 12:18 am

these were the only kind of bubbles I knew growing up

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21 Vicki November 16, 2012 at 2:06 am

When my kids were little I had a bubble recipe that called for a little sugar to help stabilize the bubbles–maybe a couple of tablespoons. But glycerine is easy to find at any drugstore.

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22 Diane C November 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

You can also use glycerin to make liquid hand soap. Fun and easy.

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23 Christina B November 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm

sesame street used soap, water, and corn syrup.

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24 Linda April 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

I heard instead of Glycerin you could use light Karo syrup!? Didn’t try it yet but cost might be better…worth a try anyway!

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25 MikeRosera June 5, 2013 at 9:31 am

Yes, high quality glycerin can be purchased at http://www.cheapglycerin.com the site currently shows 55gallon drums, but call/email customer service fir packaging sizes as small as 1 gallon.

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26 Rose Dunnigan August 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Buy glycerine at any drug store

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27 Heather Moore January 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I had heard if you blow bubbles in below freezing temps, the bubbles become “ice.” I didn’t have any Bubbles, (no kids) so I searched homemade Bubbles. Your link came up, and it worked! So, post season or not, still very valid! If you happen to be affected by the Jan 5-6 winter storm with sub-zero temps as I am in NE Indiana, try this! It’s so cool!

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