The year 2020 has presented us with many days of negative temperatures. This has given us the great opportunity to experiment with projects that require cold weather! Recently we made frozen bubbles!
I Pinterested how to make the bubbles. I believe I have read that around (positive) 10°f will do just fine when attempting frozen bubbles. Though it was -20°f on the day we did our experiment. Many of the recipes called for Karo Syrup, which we didn’t have in the house. I didn’t want to lug two children (in -20°f) to Walmart just for Karo Syrup. The Karo Syrup was state to be used for thickening the bubble solution to make it more durable and for the sugar content. Bubbles without sugar do freeze, but they freeze with very little of the pretty patterns that you see in most frozen bubble photography. The sugar will add those pretty, crystallized patterns to your bubbles!
So instead of adventuring to the store, I went down to the garage and dug out what was left of our 12 pack of bubbles from over the summer. To these I added different amounts of sugar, honey, and corn starch (some of the recipes I found said that corn starch will thicken your bubbles and make them more durable). Then we bundled up and began making bubbles!
When getting the bubble to form on a surface we had some luck with blowing them at our picnic table that was covered in snow. However, I had the best luck in bowling the bubbles into the air and then catching them again on the bubble wand.
First, we started with our control, normal premixed bubble solution from the kid’s outdoor section of Wal-Mart. For us, this bubble solution worked great. All bubble solutions I tried to make on my own failed horribly. This solution made adequate bubbles that froze. However, there was minimal visible crystallization. The bubble appeared to just be a clouded over shape. These frozen bubbles did not live up to my expectation of the beautiful frozen bubble photographs that you picture when you think “frozen bubbles.”
Next, I took another bottle of that pre-made bubble mix. We added 1 tbsp of white granulated sugar. This time there was viable crystallization with a pretty feathering effect.
In the third bottle we added 2 tbsp of white granulated sugar to the same pre-made bubble mix. This time we observed geometric crystallization! There were squares, hexagons and other shapes.
In the fourth solution we added 1 tbsp of honey to the pre-made bubble mix. This time we viewed some feathering crystallization, but mostly starbursts!
In the fifth and final bottle we added corn starch and 1 tbsp of white granulated sugar to the pre-made mix. Once again we observed feathering crystallization, but no increased durability.
Our conclusion is that added sugar does change the look of the crystallization. Honey was my personal favorite. I thought the starbursts were the prettiest and most stunning. However, in our experience cornstarch made little to no difference
I set this project up as an experiment. It mostly went over Jasper’s head (he being only four), but he did enjoy helping to blow the bubbles. While he wasn’t overly interested in how the crystallization of the bubbles looked and differed between sugar types and quantities, he did enjoy popping and smashing them. So, as long as he enjoyed himself I think the project was a success. I believe he will appreciate the subtleties of the project a bit more when he is older.