How To: Make Soap Bubbles
Required: Soap-bubble solution and, ideally, a humid day with an overcast sky
“Humidity helps keep the bubbles from popping, and bubbles are more colorful in less direct light,” says Keith Michael Johnson, a bubble artist in Warwick, Rhode Island, who can create bubbles that are larger than a small car.
- Start with a bowl of bubble solution: 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons liquid detergent, 1 tablespoon glycerin (available at drugstores), and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
- Make an OK sign with your fingers and dip them into the bubble solution, fully submerging the O. (Moms, don’t wince. Have you ever known kids not to get bubble juice all over their hands, even with a wand?)
- Blow gently on the soap-film spread across the O.
- Want an even bigger bubble? “Use both hands, connecting thumb to thumb and pointer finger to pointer finger, and hold that position until you’ve created and released a bubble,” Johnson says.
How To: Make a Balloon AnimalRequired: A balloon and a hand pump
- Start with high-quality twisting balloons (like Qualatex) that are less likely to pop, and always inflate them with a hand pump, says Ernie Shown, co-owner of the San Antonio–based balloon-art company Balloonamations.
- Pump the balloon until it is nearly full, but not completely: The more complicated a shape is, the more uninflated space you need to leave at the tip.
- Once the balloon is inflated, “burp” it by releasing a little bit of air. “The balloon will stay the same length but will become softer and easier to twist without popping,” says Ernie.
- The fastest and easiest balloon shape to make is probably a sword (or a magic wand, if you will). Leave about three inches of uninflated balloon at the tip, then, working from the knotted end, pinch the balloon about a hand’s length out from the end with your left hand and twist the rest of the balloon several times with your right hand. Hold the newly segmented balloon in place, grab the balloon about six inches down from the first twist, and fold it back to that twist, pinching it and twisting it into that same spot. Repeat this motion once more and you’ll have a handle with a loop on each side and a “blade” or a “wand” at the opposite end.