Homemade Giant Bubbles Recipe

Make the biggest bubbles ever with this homemade giant bubble recipe.

Homemade giant bubbles have been on our to-do list for a while, but we were waiting for optimum weather conditions:  humid and overcast, with very little wind. Well, yesterday was perfect, so I whipped up this Giant Bubble Mix in the morning (which is a great, little science project in itself) and we tried it this afternoon.  I an thrilled to report that this bubble recipe really does make the biggest bubbles ever!  And the recipe is easy!

Giant Homemade Bubble Recipe

Check out the size of these bubbles!  

giant homemade bubbles

I have to admit, I was not altogether convinced that this bubble recipe would work.  The ingredients seemed strange, the cornstarch didn’t completely dissolve into the solution, and when I dipped my hand in, to kind of test what it felt like, it just didn’t feel like it would be slick and slippery enough to produce bubbles of any kind.

homemade giant bubble mixture

How wrong was I?

enormous bubble

It was FANTASTIC!

I got my inspiration for this activity from Design Dazzle,  but I’ve tweaked the recipe a little because I didn’t have the ummm… interesting “secret ingredient”.  Pop over to see Design Dazzle’s Giant Bubble Kit with printables.  It would be the perfect gift for a summer birthday.

Ready to make some giant bubble mix for yourself?  Here’s what I did:

Homemade Giant Bubble Recipe:

Ingredients for homemade giant bubbles

affiliate links have been added for your convenience 

  • 6 cups water (distilled is best but tap water is fine)
  • 1/2 cup blue Dawn dish detergent
    *I used the ultra concentrated, but NON ultra (original) is supposed to work even better.
  • 1/2 cup corn starch (corn flour in the UK)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1 tbsp Glycerine
    (in place of design dazzle’s secret ingredient)

To make your bubble mixture:

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, stirring really well.  Then gently stir in the remaining ingredients.  Avoid creating a lot of froth.  Allow your mixture to sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally if you see the cornstarch settling to the bottom.  Some of ours continued to settle even while we played with it, but it was fine.

IMG_2880

The more bubbles you make, the better the mixture gets! 

The first several bubbles popped immediately, and I was feeling deflated, but the more we played with the mixture, the silkier it got, and within a few minutes, we were creating HUGE bubbles.  Some would lift off, and float way above the houses and out of sight.  It was crazy-cool!   We found our groove – arms high and walking backwards worked best for us.

How to make a bubble wand for your homemade giant bubbles:

homemade giant bubble wand with straws and string

 I used two drinking straws, and a length of yarn that was 6 to 8 times longer than the length of one straw.  Thread the yarn through the straws, tie a knot, and you’re good to go!

giant homemade bubbles - happy hooligans

This homemade giant bubble mix really does make the biggest bubbles ever.  It was a fabulous activity, and great for all ages;  my son and I had just as much fun with it as the little ones did.

Looking for more cheap and easy activities for kids?  Try our:

Recycled Water Wall

Ice Age Bin – melting ice with coloured salt

Baby Bath Station

Fairy Soup

Easy, DIY Water Slide

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

 25+preschool activities, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014.  Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th.  Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Follow the Hooligans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

Yours in play, Jackie from Happy Hooligans

124 comments to Homemade Giant Bubbles Recipe

  • Patty

    Love this! I have been making giant bubbles with my group for a few months now and was using JJ baby shampoo, water and glycerine. I can’t wait to try out this recipe.

    • tracy

      i cant find glycerine. whr can i find it?

      • happyhooligans

        For anyone else who’s curious, glycerine can be found in the health section of most pharmacies/walmarts, near the bandaids and meds. It can also be found in some health food/bulk food stores near the candy and cake decorating accessories.

      • tracy

        ok well i made a batch of this lets see if it will work. i didnt have “blue” dawn so i used the hand renewal pomogranate scent and i didnt find the “glycerine” in the cake decorating section i found “glycerin” in the pharmacy it says skin softening on bottle….

      • happyhooligans

        What a rebel you are, Tracy! First the tempera in the watercolour paints, and now this! lol You go girl!

      • happyhooligans

        What a rebel you are, Tracy! First the tempera in the watercolour paints, and now this! lol You go, girl!

      • Mona

        Hobby Lobby has it 8 oz for 4.00

      • happyhooligans

        Thanks so much for the tip, Mona!

      • Pam

        Try your pharmacy, ask at the counter.

      • Colin Butt

        supermarkets in the medical section or at a chemist

    • Melinda

      Steve Spangler has a fun idea..I did this with my students last year and they loved it…get a small kiddie pool and a small hula hoop and have the kiddos stand in the center of the hula hoop and pull the bubble up around them! It was so fun to watch their faces!

  • LOL This looks like so much fun! Too bad it’s so H?T & dry here to do such a thing! I’ll have to look through your winter play stuff!

  • Jackie Coker

    Hi, Jackie! I had a more basic recipe for the bubbles but couldn’t do that because I couldn’t find glycerine anywhere. Do you know what stores sell it?

    • happyhooligans

      Hi Jackie,

      I found mine at my local bulk food/natural food store, in among the cake decorating things. I’ve seen it at Walmart as well, but in larger bottles (and therefore more expensive). I have heard that corn syrup will work as well, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t say how well it works, or if it even does. I would try a bulk food store or a Walmart type of store. Good luck! (I do know you can order it online. I think mine is Wilton brand (the cake decorating people), and I know they have a website that you can order from, so it’s probably available that way).

      Cheers! Jackie

    • Jennifer

      Walmart in the pharmacy aisle by the bandaids is where I found mine

  • Juliet

    How much would you use of the each ingredient listed?

  • WOW! Those bubbles are awesome! What great fun!

  • Excellent photos!(I love bubble photos) I have never had luck with bubble recipes. Some I have heard if you let them sit they will work better. I will have to try the recipe you used.

    • happyhooligans

      Thanks, Melissa. I’ve tried making bubbles a few times before too, and never had any luck. This recipe is by far the best one I’ve tried. :)

  • LOVE this idea! so much so that I am going to do this for my son’s 7th birthday party next month. Do you think I can get away with just the straws/yarn instead of the wooden dowels/cotton cord? Plus, what did you used for the bowl? Should I have individual bowls like Design Dazzle or could I used a big rubbermaid bin?

    • happyhooligans

      What a fun idea for a birthday party! I think you can totally get away with the straws and yarn instead of making the dowels. I just poured mine into a pyrex (glass) baking dish. We were using two of them today, a small rectangle, and a larger rectangle that they could dip big plastic bubble wands into as well. A shallow rubbermaid container would work too. The kind that I use for my water bins would be perfect, if you’ve seen those. They would allow for more children to gather around instead of the small baking dishes. I love the baking dish set up on a low table with a non-slip pad underneath. No fear of anyone tipping it over and spilling the mixture. You could do the same with a shallow rubbermaid. :)

  • Thanks for posting this recipe! We just tried these bubbles today at our preschool and had a blast. I took out the leftover solution out later in the day and we had lots of fun sensory play making suds and “washing dishes”. We will definitely be making these again :)

  • Thanks for these gorgeous bubbles and recipe how to make them! :) I really love your blog! So much practical, easy and fab ideas!:) I am so happy that found you and could following you! Thanks for inspiring me!:)

  • What is the shelf life on these? Can we make big batches or is it a day use kind of thing? Thanks!

    • happyhooligans

      There’s nothing perishable in there, so I think it should last for a while, Eileen. I don’t know that for a fact though because we used ours all up in a couple of days. You would definitely have to give it a gentle but thorough stir after letting it for a day or two, as the powders settle.

  • so making this. Next week, after the science fair! :)

  • Thanks for sharing our bubble post. I’m so glad you and your kids had such a fantastic time. Love your straw wands. We’ve used those in the past – they work great!!
    Contact me if you would like to contribute a post for Summer Camp : )
    Toni

    • happyhooligans

      Thank you, Toni! Your post was so inspiring. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit so we can make your bubbles again. I’ll keep your Summer Camp offer in mind! That interests me!!

  • These look amazing! We’ll have to give them a try this summer. I chuckled a bit when I saw Design Dazzle’s secret ingredient…hilarious! I think I’ll go for the glycerin instead!

  • kelly

    Cant wait to do this! I have five kids and they all LOVE bubbles :)

  • Ashley

    It is early and I’m dying of laughter over here…. Looked at the recipe thinking who the heck has glycerine lol so I went to check Design Dazzles recipe to see what you replaced. LUBE lol now that I have.

  • This is amazing! We’ve seen people using ropes and making giant bubbles at outdoor events, and I’ve always wanted to try. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • For truly giant bubbles, and easier too, go to the inventor who started it all at http://bubblething.com

  • Patti

    Thank you so much for sharing your bubble recipe! I supervise the summer free lunch program at our school, so I made some up and brought it, and the kids had a blast watching and popping the huge bubbles (although I think some of them forgot all about eating)! It was fun seeing how the little kids wanted to pop them immediately and how the older kids were learning to watch and wait. I can’t wait to share your bubble recipe and website with students and parents! I’m not sure I could bring myself to share the other one LOL… :)

    • happyhooligans

      Wonderful! I’m so glad your hooligans had such a good time with their bubbles! Yeah…. you might want to keep the other recipe to yourself. lol

  • Hey, Jackie! I saw you mention last night that you were experiencing some website problems. We had a follower asking for a link to giant bubbles. I gave her yours, but the post isn’t actually showing, just the comments. Just wanted to give you a heads up!

    • Well, I take that back! It showed up right after I posted the first comment! Hope that means everything is up and running properly for you! :-)

      • happyhooligans

        Hey, Courtney. I don’t think it’s really fixed yet, but what I’m finding is if I re-try the link I can usually get the full post on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. It’s very bizarre. i think it’s a plugin that’s making things a little wonky. Thanks for passing my bubble recipe along! I hope your follower is able to see the full post eventually. :)

  • Kristi

    I made these today and they were fun. Our problem was they popped as soon as they came off the string wand. Any ideas what I did wrong? Thanks!

    • happyhooligans

      I don’t really know, Kristi. We’ve done this a couple of times, and both times, the mixture got better and better the more we used it. I do know that the weather plays a big factor. Overcast, humid days with very little wind are best. If you’re in the sunlight, move into the shade. The sunlight, or hot, dry weather will dry the bubbles out as they come off the wand.

  • Michele

    My bubbles are breaking help

    • happyhooligans

      If it’s hot and sunny, they won’t work well, Michele. Move into the shade, or save the activity for a humid, overcast day. Grey skies and high humidity are key.

  • Alicia Stanley

    Awesome ! How long does the mix last for ? Can you make it a few days ahead ?

    • happyhooligans

      You can definitely make it ahead of time. It does best if it sits over night. I’m not sure exactly how far ahead you can make it though, or how long it’s good for (we never have leftovers).

  • ed

    What kind of yarn works best

  • Kathie Merritt

    Would any detergent do as we don’t have Blue Dawn in NZ

    • happyhooligans

      You can try, Kathie. I’ve heard Palmolive works well – the original green kind. I think the thicker the detergent, the better.

  • Renee

    Any ideas for an alternative to glycerine? I haven’t been able to find it anywhere here in Australia.

  • Jodi

    Did anyone bother to read the ingredients before making this? I think I got the right one but I assume the dishwashing detergents are pretty similar: http://www.pg.com/productsafety/ingredients/household_care/dish_washing/Dawn/Ultra_Dawn_Power_Clean_Dishwashing_Ingredient_Disclosure.pdf

    There is also an MSDS sheet for Dawn Dishwashing Detergents. They can be found here: http://www.pg.com/productsafety/search_results.php?searchtext=Dawn&category=msds&submit=Search&submit=Search

  • Gaby

    YOU HAVE TO USE PHARMACY GLYCERINE (It is different from food glycerine). There are two types of glycerine. (DON’T USE FOOD GLYCERINE).

  • StephsTwoGirls

    Hi Jackie, just want to say thanks so much for this, my girls absolutely LOVED doing these and I know we’ll do them again and again! Am about to reblog for my UK readers, with links back to you of course, hope that’s OK! Everyone should know about these!!

  • SpurgeonGirl

    Thank you for sharing your recipe and tips. Do you think this solution would work in a hula-hoop/baby pool scenario? If so, someone mentioned wrapping the hoop with string- any thoughts?

  • Michelle

    Is dawn the same as fairy just I’m in the uk and we don’t have dawn

  • I am making this bubble recipe for our neighborhood block party tomorrow. If its a big success I will make it again for my 4yo bday party… I am confident it will by all of these wonderful comments! Thank you Thank you Thank you.

  • Susan Catron

    What did you put the solution in that they could dip the straw wand in, just the measuring cup?

  • Susan Catron

    Thanks.

  • Yaya

    PLEASE GOOGLE DAWN IT’S TOXIC. GREAT RECIPE AND I APPRECIATE IT BUT DAWN IS NOT SAFE.

    • happyhooligans

      Of course it’s toxic, Yaya. It’s dish soap. I’m quite certain any brand of dish soap or dollar store “bubble mix” could make you quite ill if ingested. Please be rational and reasonable when you’re looking at ideas on the net. I’m not suggesting you drink this mixture. It’s for a one time play in the backyard.

  • I’m going to try this with my Grand Kids.
    Thanks for the tips

  • If you add some glow-in-the-dark paint, it’s an amazing activity for summer nights. I tried a bunch of different ones and found that Rust-Oleum worked best (http://amzn.to/1i4FVPz).

  • WebbletMama

    We made this today….it took some getting used to to figure out how to make the bubbles with the straw and yarn. Thank goodness my 4 year old twins figured it out ;) they love it! One of my boys said “wow mom, beautiful colors you have there!” -referring to the colors they make when blown up. It will keep us entertained all summer. My 2 year old even managed to make mini bubbles with it. So cool- thank you for sharing!

  • Barbara Peters

    Great recipes. I’d like to add my experience regarding the bubble mix. I use baby shampoo instead of the dawn because it doesn’t burn when it gets in their eyes. I’ve found that using dish detergent can sometimes turn them off on bubbles, forever.

  • Jo Howell

    Hi, I am in the UK and would love to give this a go but we don’t have Dawn, do you know what liquid I may be able to use. I saw a referece to baby shampoo is that any brand? Thanks in advance Jo

  • Vanessa

    teehee! the other link’s “secret ingredient” made me giggle like a school girl. I would see myself blushing everytime i saw a kid dip into the solution knowing the original purpose of the secret ingredient….also….awkward to explain to neighborhood parents who want to make their own for their kids….glad you found an alternative for us immature adults hahhaha

  • Shannon

    Great ideas! We’ve done the Design Dazzle version of bubble wands before, but they are difficult for little hands (and shorter arms) to wield, even though they want to desperately. The straw wands seem much more “little hand-friendly” — thanks!!

  • Bill Sweet

    If you really want to do something new with bubbles go to the dollar tree or any other dollar store and buy a bunch of “Glow Sticks” cut the end off and pour the liquid into the bubble mix. Wait till it gets a little dark and the bubbles glow in the dark. Also in the winter when the weather is really cold you can blow small bubbles and they will freeze before they hit the ground. Some will break but some will stay whole and last a long time.

  • Carolyn

    We make the most incredible bubble mix at my work with the same liquid ingredients and the a powdered bubble formula that we buy. I bet I know what is in the formula!

    Thank you!

  • This is awesome! my toddler loves playing with bubbles! However, is there a substitute for glycerine in the event i couldn’t find some?

    • happyhooligans

      Sure, Izyan! Just check out the “secret ingredient” that I refer to in the post. Click on the link to find out what it is. :)

  • Joyous

    HELLO! So ~ I made your recipe this morning and every time I walk by the sitting solution, all the powder (cornstarch or baking powder) is just settling on the bottom. I have to re-stir the sludge back into the liquid. Does it eventually dissolve completely? I did mix in just the water and cornstarch really well before adding everything else, so I don’t know what happened.

    • happyhooligans

      Hi, Joyous, Yes, it will settle a bit. You can gently stir it and let it rest for a bit before using. You’ll see some settling while you’re using your solution as well. It didn’t seem to affect our mix and the more we used it, it seemed to dissolve. Most important is that you don’t want to stir it in vigorously. If you agitate your mixture too much before or while using it, it won’t work nearly as well.

  • melanie klem

    I’m wondering if you could tie the string to kabob skewers instead of using straws…or would wood maybe not work as well?…….

    • happyhooligans

      I think that would work very well, Melanie. I’ve seen wooden dowels used so skewers should be fine. :)

      • Dustin Covey

        A great permanent wand can be made by cutting a hula hoop type toy into 4 equal segments and using those instead of soda straws. The thicker diameter makes it easier for small hands to use. Also if there is cornstarch that doesn’t dissolve in 2-3 days, try cutting back a small amount in your next batch – it’s only the dissolved starch molecules that are strengthening the bubble. ..drr

      • happyhooligans

        Great tips, Dustin! Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda

    can you substitute arrow root for the corn starch ?

    • happyhooligans

      Hi Linda. I’m not familiar with arrowroot. Maybe “google” it and see if the two are interchangeable? Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      • Dustin Covey

        Arrowroot is fine, but try dissolving it in a small amount of warm water, and slowly stirring it in. The amount used will require adjustment; I’d start with about half the amount called for using corn startch, as you can add more if required.

  • Joyous

    this just isn’t working out ~ it blows seemingly okay bubbles with a normal wand but pops as soon as you open the straws. What’s the trick?

    • happyhooligans

      It’s hard to say for sure, Joyous. I’ve found the biggest culprits are sun, dry heat and wind. They wick the moisture out of the bubbles, causing them to pop quickly. Heavy, humid, damp air is great, especially when it’s overcast. A grey day is much better than a sunny day. If it’s sunny, make sure you’re doing it under the shade of a big tree.

  • Tina

    We live in California where it is very dry and hot. Our bubbles keep popping as so as we make one. Where do you live and do you have any pointers to help us out? We’re pulling our hair out trying to master it and the glycerin is expensive….lol

    • happyhooligans

      I’m in Canada, Tina. The best I can suggest is to wait for a humid, overcast day or to try it in a very shaded area on a day with little or no wind. The wind, sun and dry heat are the enemy when it comes to bubbles. lol

  • I’m laughing because I made this same recipe this week (from another mom’s site) and thought the same thing (oh, this does NOT look like it worked) and then it did, brillantly, and I about 1 cup of bubble lasted 15-20 minutes (with my one big wand while the other kids ran around popping them) versus the store bought stuff that I went through a giant bottle in two afternoons! This stuff is awesome! :) And now, I feel validated too that YOU, the expert that I wish were closer so that you could play with :) my kids, use the same mixture. Fun! Fun! Fun! Thanks for always sharing your ideas and talents. I have so many things from your site on my summer bucket list! Thanks!

  • Nataly Ponce

    Hi! I don’t live in the US so Dawn soap it’s not available, would any other liquid soap woul work? Thanks!

    • happyhooligans

      Yes, I think any thick, unconcentrated soap would likely work, Nataly. I’ve heard that Palmolive is good, and if you’re in the UK, a brand called Fairy works well, apparently.

  • I tried it with different detergent, didn’t work so well. Next time I’ll try Fairy. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll order Dawn in an US-import drug store.

  • I live in Poland and so far I’ve learned that here the best choice of detergent is Fairy (lemon of apple). Also: I highly recommend you try a recipe with guar gum. It’s amazing and you don’t have to keep stirring it to prevent the starch from falling.

  • I made this today. Live in the Uk I and used Fairy liquid and corn flour. They were fab. Kids had a great time and it kept the happy for hour. What does the corn flour actually do to help make the bubbles????

  • I think I might have done something wrong as I can’t get my bubbles to work, is there two types of glycerine and if so which should I use?

    • happyhooligans

      I got mine at a health food store, so I’m assuming mine is food grade, glycerine, Lucy, but I don’t think it matters which kind you use. The weather is key. A damp, humid, overcast day is best. No sun, very little wind, as those two things evaporate the moisture in the bubbles. Also, be sure to let your mixture sit overnight before using it. It won’t work well if you use it right away.

  • Lucy

    Hi, I must have done something wrong as my bubbles don’t work, I used food glycerine not one from the chemist should I have used that one? Is it better?

  • Paula Kennedy

    I have made bubble solution for years. I am going to try the giant bubbles this weekend with my four year old granddaughter. I got my glycerin at the grocery store in the pharmacy section. I live in South Georgia and we make bubbles all the time. I am anxious to see if the giant bubble mixture works.

  • Fardusa

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Made the bubble solution today and my whole family had a blast. :)

  • Emma

    Thank you from Spain! Brilliant recipe, we´ve had an afternoon of great fun with it. Wands are super easy and effective too – a bit of technique needed opening and closing the bubbles, which meant I had to do most of it, but we all enjoyed ourselves immensely!

  • Awesome bubble activity! My son would definitely love it.

  • Trying these next week… My 3 year old will go crazy for big bubbles ! I love your blog and all your great ideas! :)

  • janita kruger

    We live in south africa. We made it today and didn’t work. What can be the problem. I used sunlight liquid SA to brand dish washing detergent.

    • happyhooligans

      Well, there could be a few problems, Janita. As I mention in the post, the weather plays a big factor in the success of the bubble mixture. Hot, sunny, windy and dry conditions will quickly wick the moisture out of any bubbles you blow, resulting in the bubbles popping before the even get a chance. The other major factor is the type of dish soap. I’ve only heard of people having success with the Blue Dawn that I recommend in the article, or with “Fairy” liquid, which I understand is a brand available in other parts of the world. Other brands are too watery for this recipe. Do you have Fairy liquid available where you are?

  • Jennifer

    Hi. I made this recipe and it was great. One thing I don’t understand is why cornstarch is put in the mixture. I tried another batch without corn starch and the bubbles were just as big. In support, I have tried many recipes and is was most successful with or without cornstarch. Suggestion for a large bubble blower: slide off the net from a butterfly catcher from the dollar store. We had plastic ones laying around…works out great. For tiny, multiple bubbles, we used an old badminton racket.

  • Ok, so I’m in New Zealand and we don’t have the same brand of dishwashing detergent, do you think other brands will work as well?

Got a comment? Leave it here! I'd love to know what you think!

Happy Hooligans for kids crafts and activities from toddlers to preschoolers

Join 7,939 other subscribers

Categories

Get My E-book!

playful preschool

Popular Posts

Follow Me!