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Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Homemade Bubbles and Beaded Bubble Wands

Homemade Bubbles and Beaded Bubble Wands

This week, Katie and I and three other Del Ray families are participating in a week-long summer camp co-op, which we’re calling Camp Del Ray. Each day of the week, one family hosts everyone else’s kids for the day. I started out the week yesterday with six kids piled into my living room at 8 a.m. ready for an entire day of fun and games.

Needless to say, my personal goal was to have several crafts, outings, and cooking activities up my sleeve so not one single kid (boys and girls, age 5-9) would ever utter, “I’m bored.” Here was one activity that worked out well: We made personalized bubble wands with alphabet, glass, and wooden beads, and we used a DIY giant bubble wand and homemade bubbles.

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Easy DIY Bubble Solution

You can find various recipes on the Web, but the basic idea is to mix dish soap (Joy, Dawn, for example, or in my case, Palmolive) with corn syrup (or glycerin), and water. The ratios differ based on the recipe you follow, but it’s generally 6 parts of water to 2 parts dish soap to 3/4 cup corn syrup or glycerin.

Pour all the liquids into a container. I wanted to make a lot, so I used an old gallon pot I’ve used in the past to make natural plant dyes.

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You can add food coloring to the solution too, to see how the bubbles take on a different hue and experiment with color mixing.

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I read that the bubble solution works best if you let it rest overnight. It also makes better bubbles in high humidity and you shouldn’t stir it too much or else you’ll get too many tiny bubbles.

Making Bubble Wands with Beads

I taught the kids how to make their own wire bubble wands with handles that they could decorate with glass and wooden beads and alphabet letters to spell out their names.

I had 18 gauge wire to use as the wand.

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I arranged the wooden and glass beads into an old muffin tin.

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And put the alphabet letter beads in a separate bowl.

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I started out by shaping the wire into an oval for the opening of the wand (about 3 inches in diameter or so) and twisting the wire at the bottom, leaving a long section for the handle. (The pipe cleaners are there for making tiny versions of the wire wand.) I added one bead to mark the beginning of the handle.

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The kids then could pick the beads they liked for decorating their wands.

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And add them one by one…

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Leaving room for their names. You can see that I ended up snipping one piece of the wire on the handle so it wasn’t doubled, since some of the beads were too small to slip onto two pieces of wire.

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And these are some of the finished products…

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Nadja found it helpful to bend the wire a bit when dipping it in the colored bubble solution…

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But that didn’t seem to keep it from working, although the added food coloring didn’t really change the bubble’s color all that much, we found.

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It was fun seeing how the pipe cleaner wands changed color when dipped into the bubble solution though.

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Making a Giant Bubble Wand

The basic idea for making a bubble wand that makes really long, wide bubbles is simple. You need dowel rods, string, a way to attach the string to the dowel rods, and something to weigh down the string so it forms a triangle. This diagram nicely illustrates the contraption and its various parts.

My father-in-law drilled holes in one end of each dowel rod and then we screwed eye hooks into the holes.

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I also used a metal washer to provide the weight on the string.

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You can see here how the whole thing works. The string goes through the eye hooks and then gets tied in a knot to make an equilateral triangle. The point is where you position the washer, of course, to weigh down that corner of the triangle.

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The kids had no trouble whatsoever getting the idea of how to use the giant bubble wand. They plunged it into a tub of bubble solution.

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And backed up while holding the wand aloft.

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They had a really good time with it, challenging each other to make bigger and more elongated bubbles.

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Some even floated fairly high into the yard, where the kids would try to capture them again with the wand and “keep them alive” as long as possible.

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The homemade bubble wands and bubble solution is really inexpensive to make. The beads were probably the most pricey at about $15 for the lot from an Etsy vendor. How great it is to know how to make more bubble solution on the fly when we run out, with just a few simple household ingredients too.

Stay tuned for more of the Camp Del Ray activities we have cooked up for our happy campers this week!

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