KIB is short for kid-in-a-bubble and is a favorite bubble activity for parties that is enjoyed by both kids and adults. While it is called kid-in-a-bubble, with the right rig, you can put a grown-up in a bubble, too.
There are two main styles of kid-in-a-bubble, KIB for short: bottom-up and top-down. Bottom-up seems to be the most frequently used setup. The person to be enclosed stands surrounded by a moat of bubble juice a hoop is brought up from the moat. A top-down setup is one in which a hoop or bubble frame is brought down to surround the subject.Dr. Froth has posted a wonder tutorial for performing bottom-up KIB:
Bottom-UpEditThe bottom-up method uses a moat that contains bubble juice in which a hoop is placed. A person steps into the the area surrounded by the moat and the hoop is brought up to encase the person in a bubble column which may or may not be closed to finish the effect.
For bottom-up rigs, most bubblers build their own hoop from flexible tubing (such as PEX) or a hula hoop. Some people wrap their hoops with a wicking material or used ribbed tubing to increase the hoops capacity though many use a simple uncovered hula hoop or PEX hoop.
See the list of DIY articles at the end of this page for articles about making your own hoop.
The "Twister" moat is another ingenious idea from Brian Lawrence.
- Make a bubble hoop with a large enough diameter to encase a person of the desired size.
- Make two concentric rings: one a bit larger than the hoop and the other a bit smaller. The space between the rings is the moat that you will fill with bubble juice. You can use coiled garden hoses for the rings. You can make a ring from pipe insulation and duct tape, too. There are many possibilities
- Lay something thick flexible plastic sheet (such as the one that comes with the game Twister or a sturdy plastic painter's dropcloth)
- Press the drop cloth down between the rings to form a moat.
- You fill the moat with bubble juice.
You may want to put a non-slip surface (such as a towel) in the area where the person will stand.
See this SBF post for a variant of the Twister moat.
Baby Pool MoatEdit
There are a number of ways that you can make a moat from a baby pool or two. Here are a few projects:Rick's portable KIB moat project.
Fiberglass moats are relatively simple to make. There are many ways to do it.
Thommy's garden hose form. See Thommy's DIY Article that shows the process for making a great fiberglass moat using a garden hose for the form.
Megan's Swim Noodle Form. Megan shows you how to use swim noodles as the moat's form in this article.
Using a baby pool as a form. You can use an inflatable baby pool (or any other appropriately sized item) as a form that you partially cover with fiberglass as shown in the diagram below.
Bottom-Over MethodEditA variation of the bottom-up method has been implemented by a few people. Take a look in this  at 1:50 for an example.
Top-Down MethodEditWith a top-down KIB rig, the wand/hoop is brought down around the kid. Such rigs are handy as they do not require a moat though they can be somewhat trickier to operate.
Another method of top-down KIB has been described on SBF by Sterling Johnson: "I use a tri-string with a 2 meter top-string for putting kids in bubbles outside. I stand upwind of the kid and hold the poles so I can open the tri-string just downwind of the kid and then pull the string with emerging bubble toward me and over the kid, dropping the tips of the pole after the topstring is between me and the kid. It works pretty well, as long as the wind is not too strong."
How can I close a bottom-up KIB bubble?
Watch the tutorial video by Dr. Froth found higher up on the page. Watch it on YouTube by clicking here.
How can I get my KIB bubble to last longer?
Unless you use a moat and hoop whose radius is larger than your subject is tall, KIB bubbles will be short-lived. Soap bubbles will adjust to minimize their surface area with relation to volume. A bottom-up bubble will try to be a dome (half-sphere) or will split itself into multiple bubbles whose bottom portion would be a half-dome. If your moat is 40 inches across (20 inch radius), the closed bubble will try to be a dome 20 inches tall at its center. So, the closed bubble's top will race downwards.
You could make a huge contraption with a sufficiently large diameter to enclose a person. To enclose someone 6 feet tall with 6 inches of headroom (which wouldn't be much, you would need a hoop (and moat) 13 feet in diameter. We've seen video of a large that could do just that -- it was something like 30 feet in diameter!
Also, be aware that when you make a bubble column, it will try to narrow itself in the middle. This limits how long the column will last because it will narrow until it makes contact with the person being enclosed. Look at the pictures on this page. You will see the narrowing. In all these cases, the bubbles shortly after the picture was taken.
How can I avoid the narrow "waist" that happens when I create a bottom-up KIB bubble column?
You can't. The physics of bubbles causes this narrowing. There is an equation that describes the relation between internal and external air pressure and surface tension (described the LaPlace-Young Equation). Also, since the bubble is anchored to a base, the film will try to close itself to form a half-dome whose height is the radius of the base of your dipping tray or moat. Careful control of the speed can influence how quickly this happens but only to a limited degreed. KIB columns are short-lived by nature.
Can you give me some good tips?
Besides the information on this page, there are some related articles (click on the KIB link in the categories/tag section at the bottom of the page). Don't miss Dr. Froth's video tutorial.
How do I empty my moat?
There are a few methods that people use: using a scoop (you can make one from an empty plastic water bottle cut off at the bottom), a cheap siphon pump, or a syringe-style water squirter. Water-squirters tend to cause a lot of foam when you expel the juice into your storage container. No matter what your method, you will want to tilt the moat so that the juice is concentrated in one area of the moat.
Where can I get more KIB tips?
Over the years, there have been some great threads over on SBF, the Soap Bubble Fanciers Yahoo Group. Visit its home page and search for "KIB" or "kid in a bubble". Brian Lawrence shares his hoop wrapping thoughts here.
See the KIB category page. Don't miss this. There are many articles and DIY projects for kid-in-a-bubble afficionados.
Some related KIB How-Tos and DIY Articles: