Make Bubble Art
In this science experiment, kids make bubbles in a paint solution and use it to make art.
Bubble solutions are usually made up of soap molecules mixed with water. In this experiment, we make a bubble solution using water and dish soap, but also add paint so that the bubbles leave behind a print when they pop on a piece of paper.
Bubbles form when water molecules stick together, creating surface tension. When molecules stick together too firmly, bubbles don't form as easily. That's why when you blow bubbles in plain water, the bubbles don't last. Adding soap helps decrease the surface tension, making bubbles easier to form and stick together.
Bubbles pop because the water in them evaporates. Glycerin and other thickening agents have water-holding properties that delay evaporation, making the bubbles last longer. When you blow bubbles on a rainy day, they last longer because there is more moisture in the air. What do you think happens on a sunny day? How about a windy day?
Bubbles are "minimal surface structures" (as are balloons). This means that they always hold the gas inside of them with the least possible surface area – and the shape with the least surface area for any given volume is always a sphere. This is why bubbles are always round, even when you blow them through a square wand!
Be sure to remind kids to blow through the straw and not suck up the paint solution through the straw. If this happens, be sure to have the child thoroughly rinse his or her mouth out with water. Call poison control if you have used anything in your solution other than washable tempera paint, water and dish soap and are concerned.
- Washable liquid tempera paint - 1/4 cup per student
- Water - 1 tablespoon per student
- Dish soap - I tablespoon per student
- Bowl - 1 per student
- Spoon - 1 per student
- Straw - 1 per student
- Paper - 1 per student
In your bowl mix together the paint, water and dish soap.
Now use a straw to blow bubbles in your solution.
Press a piece of paper down on the bubbles
When you lift up the paper, you will have a bubble print!
Repeat as many times as you'd like to cover the paper. You can also make different colors by changing the paint color in the bubble solution.
You can also try varying the amounts of the various ingredients to see if you can get bigger or smaller bubble patterns, or thicker paint in your prints.