What is needed

What to Do

Mix it all up in a clean container, and let it sit for a while.

(This recipe was worked out by David Sites, a junior high school student who works with us in the Little Shop of Physics. Thanks David! Exactly how much of the different liquids you use is not too crucial, but this particular mix seems to work very well.)


What is Happening

You can blow pretty good bubbles with any dish soap if you dilute it with some water. But adding glycerin makes the bubbles last longer - and makes the colors brighter! It seems to make the solution a bit thicker, which makes for thicker, beefier bubbles.

The colors in the bubbles come from interference between light that reflects from the inside of the bubbles and the outside of the bubbles - some of the light will cancel, which gets rid of some colors - but leaves other colors. If you want to know more about how this works, come to Colorado State University and take a physics course with us!

Other Things to Try

We have been blowing bubbles with other gases recently. If you blow bubbles with helium, they will float very nicely. How about if you blow them with a blow dryer? Will the resulting "hot air bubbles" float?