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The Bubble Files


I’ve developed a small-scale obsession with bubbles this summer. At Toy Fair, the nice people hawking the Bubble Thing pressed one into my palm during the final moments of the show and told me to take it home and try it out. So I did, and then we were hooked. Blowing giant bubbles is wondrous and fun and it’s one of those rare activities that will engage all three kids.

But if you’re blowing giant bubbles, those small bottles of bubble solution aren’t really going to cut it. So I set out to research bubble recipes. I read a lot of different sites with a lot of contradictory opinions about bubbles. It all sounded convincing but ultimately inconclusive. Finally, I decided to conduct a bubble experiment of my own. I purchased some ingredients and this past weekend, the kids and I mixed up 8 different solutions and tested them.


Here’s what we learned. There are two things worth buying especially for bubble making. The first is distilled water. It’s obviously not a must, but it will produce a more consistent solution because the other ingredients won’t be affected by other things in the water. The second is glycerin. This is an ingredient commonly used to make soap. It’s sold in drug stores and it’s relatively inexpensive. Our recipe combines the glycerin with light corn syrup, since we found that gave us the best results, but if you don’t have corn syrup in the house, just substitute with more glycerin.

The other ingredients you need are dish soap and water.

We experimented with the different types of soap, the different types of additives (glycerin vs. corn syrup) and the various concentrations of the different ingredients. Many, many bubbles later, we had our answer.

Ultimate bubble recipe
1 cup distilled water
2 Tbsp Dawn Ultra dishwashing liquid (blue color)
1 Tbsp Glycerin
1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup (or another Tbsp of Glycerin if you don’t have Light Corn Syrup)

Put the water into a mason jar or other sturdy container. Add the dishwashing liquid, the glycerin and the corn syrup and stir gently to avoid creating foam. I found the solution got even better a couple of hours after we first mixed it up. Keep it in a closed container when you’re done with it.

Do you have a favorite bubble recipe? I’d love to hear about it. You can check out some other recipes here.


  1. I can’t wait to try it out! I need some supplies first.

  2. Ohhh…this looks great! Headed to the store now to get the glycerin…will keep you posted!

  3. OMG, Sherri! Your daughter looks just like you!

    Anyway, thanks for this; Xander (now 2.5) loves bubbles, and we go through even the monster bubble containers fairly quickly. Any recommendations for sturdy bubble wands? He tends to bash them on the ground and break them quickly.

  4. we’re having a bubble party for my almost-2-year old in a month. I’m definitely using this recipe!

  5. Hi Marcus! It’s so nice to “hear” from you. I’ve been using cookie cutters for bubble wands – you can get a set of round biscuit cutters, and those work too. They’re pretty sturdy. Also, a drinking straw will make fun, albeit tiny, bubbles, and those are pretty expendable. Pipe cleaners are great for making bubble wands at home. Just twist them into a loop and blow.

  6. just made these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party today–HUGE success! thanks so much for the recipe!

  7. So happy to hear it! Happy birthday to your little girl!

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