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I love playing with my macro lens. I mostly practice on insects and flowers, but during the Winter, I am absolutely fascinated with all things frozen. After freezing my fingers and toes today, I decided to share my secrets on how to freeze bubbles!
Making frozen bubbles works best when the temperatures are in the single digits or lower (Fahrenheit). The pictures in this post were taken when it was about 5F outside with minimal wind. Make sure you dress for the weather and take breaks as needed. If I don’t plan well, sometimes my hands freeze before the bubbles!
I’ve experimented quite a bit and there are plenty of other ways to pull off this fun activity. But, I know the pain of frigid fingers and am sharing some of the quickest techniques.
1) Bubble juice – homemade is best since the store bought bubbles don’t have enough sugar to crystallize.
2) Bubble wand – using a straw and plastic bottle launcher can be more effective, but I wasn’t up for that today.
3) A couple different dark colored trays – you’ll be able to see the crystals better with a dark background.
4) Food coloring (optional) – the extra color was kind of fun, but I prefer to just put color under or behind my bubbles.
5) A camera – your phone camera will probably do a decent enough job. Bonus points if you have a DSLR and a macro lens.
6) A butt cold day, ideally with plenty of sunlight and no wind – sunlight to keep you warm, give you plenty of light for pictures, and you don’t want the wind to pop your bubbles.
7) Hot Chocolate waiting on the stove.
Heat up 200ml water. Your sink might be hot enough, but I went ahead and microwaved my water in a glass measuring cup. Stir in 2.5 Tbsp of corn syrup and 2 Tbsp of sugar. You want the water hot enough to dissolve both the corn syrup and sugar. If you get it too hot, you’ll be waiting longer to make bubbles; the solution needs to cool way down before show time.
Transfer your solution to a jar then add 2.5 Tbsp of dish soap. Gently stir (you don’t want your liquid to bubble up at this point). You can put a lid on the jar or just stick it outside open so that it cools quicker. It will probably take around half an hour to be cold enough to start blowing bubbles. If you start too soon, you’ll be waiting a while for the crystals to form and that can result in your bubble popping before the ooh’s and ahh’s.
Please take appropriate precautions because to pull this off, it really does need to be very cold. I tend to go out for 5 minutes or so then run inside to warm my hands up.
1) Softly blow them toward some snow and hope they don’t pop when they land. When using a wand, I’ve found that swiftly pressing the wand under the surface of the snow can leave the bubble sitting happily on top. Though, it can be pretty difficult to see the crystals on that white back drop unless you are using food coloring like in the following two examples.
2) Blow the bubble and let it stay on the wand. This often results in some pretty cute kid pictures if you have one of those willing to brave the cold. It even works to just let them dip the wand in the bubble juice and watch it crystallize without making bubbles.
3) Use a platter, cutting board, or cookie sheet as your bubble surface. If you pour some of your bubble juice on the plate to coat the surface, the bubbles will settle more easily without popping. You can get some pretty big bubbles freezing if there is no wind to stop their progress. I like to use a dark surface so I can see the details of the crystals as they form.
Please share any tips you have for this fun Winter activity over on my Facebook post!
I’d love to see some of your pictures, too!