Glowby's Flexible Mix
This recipe is based on "Sterling's Mix" for giant and smaller bubbles, with additional notes and flexible options for making simpler or more complex blends. Please see and try Sterling's recipe in this Wiki. It's potent! ... and a pleasure to work with, especially for creating colorful and monstrous bubbles.
The following mix is inflexible, however, in its requirement of BLM (Brian's Lube Mix). Please see Brian's recipe in this Wiki, and the discussions regarding its preparation. I recommend making your BLM at least 2 days in advance of using it, to let it blend thoroughly. HEC (from K-Y Jelly and its clones) can be substituted for HPMC (Surgilube) in the BLM recipe, with similar results but somewhat different behavior.
This recipe makes 5 cups (40 oz or 1200 ml) of concentrate, which will yield about 4 gallons (15 liters) of ready-to-use bubble juice. I recommend preparing the concentrate at least a day in advance of using it in your final bubble mix. Use wooden or plastic implements for stirring. Use glass or plastic containers for mixing and storage.
Dawn Ultra Concentrated dishwashing liquid (any color or scent or hand conditioning formula) - 4 to 5 cups (950-1150 ml).
BLM (Brian's Lube Mix) - 12 oz. (350 ml)
Water (distilled or tap - see notes)
Vegetable glycerin - 4 oz (120 ml)
Dawn Professional (or Manual Pot and Pan) dishwashing liquid - 4 oz (120 ml)
Commercial bubble mix - 16 oz (475 ml)
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid - 16 and 8 tsps, respectively. These are only used together and always with 1/2 as much citric acid as soda.
Notes on Ingredients:
Any color or scent or hand conditioning formula labeled "Dawn Ultra Concentrated" works well.
Outside the U.S., Dawn may be branded as "Fairy" by Proctor and Gamble. Good results have been reported with Gain and Joy, however I can only attest to Dawn's effectiveness in this mix.
If you have trouble locating any ingredients, please search this Wiki and the SBF (Soap Bubble Fanciers' forum). You'll see tips for finding convenient suppliers and good prices.
Some well-recommended commercial bubble mixes are Mr. Bubbles and Gazillion Bubbles. Others will suffice.
Most tap water is as good or better than distilled water. If you suspect yours could be a problem - too hard or too soft - try the recipe with distilled water instead, and see if things improve. Using the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid can help relieve problems with tap water too.
1. Make the BLM. (See BLM recipe in this Wiki. Tumble it a few times a day for 2 days).
2. Make the concentrate. Use a 5+ cup (40+ oz or 1200+ ml) bottle for mixing.
Pour in 4 cups (950 ml) Dawn Ultra Concentrated dishwashing detergent.
Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) Dawn Pro/Manual Pot & Pan dish detergent (or optionally, another 1/2 cup of the Dawn Ultra instead).
Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) glycerin. (Or optionally skip it, or substitute another 1/2 cup of Dawn Ultra).
Tumble or stir until evenly mixed.
- Let the mix vent with the cap off (or replaced by a piece of paper) for at least a day.
3. Make the ready-to-use bubble juice. This makes a batch of a little less than 1/2 gallon (1900 ml), with a ratio of about 11:1 (water:concentrate). Tumble, gently shake, or stir each ingredient before adding it to the mix. Using a 1/2 gallon container ...
Optionally, put 1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate in the mixing container. If you do this you must also add citric acid in a later step.
Add 7 cups (1650 ml) warm water.
Add 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) of BLM. Stir until thoroughly dissolved.
Optionally, and only if you added sodium bicarbonate at the start, add 1/4 tsp of citric acid and stir until completely dissolved.
Add 5 oz (150 ml) concentrate. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Optionally add 2 oz (60 ml) of commercial bubble mix. Stir until mixed. (Or skip it; or substitute water or concentrate).
Notes on Options:
You may choose to use more Dawn Pro and less Dawn Ultra (or Pro only), in which case the concentrate will be more "concentrated". You can use proportionally more water and get similar results.
- Sodium bicarbonate and citric acid seem to extend the life of bubbles in low-humidity conditions (< 40% RH).
Less dilute mixes and/or ones with more BLM seem better for use with "garland" lines that make many smaller bubbles (see Wiki).
Most of the time, tap water works as well or better than distilled water. Try each to see which works best for you
If you plan to use the mix in cool or cold weather (< 60 F or 16 C), you may get better results is you heat it by placing your juice bottles in a tub or sink of hot water. Keep your mix warm as you bubble with it.
The concentrate keeps indefinitely at room temperature.
A diluted mixture may seem to improve over a few days time, and maintain its potency even longer. However, after 2 or 3 days a fresh mix will usually work better
- If you save and store a mix that you've used outside, it can degrade more quickly. Refrigerate it or use it ASAP.
I'd certainly have no clue how to make giant bubble solutions if it weren't for the performers, artists, and hobbyists who have generously shared their knowledge with the world, both here at this Wiki and in the SBF forum. I thank you all for helping us amateurs to "get a clue", and by proxy, putting smiles of amazement on countless thousands of faces all over the world.