Boo Bubbles - Dry Ice Science
Ghostly, smoke-filled bubbles that you can bounce make for spooky hands-on science.
Bubbles are cool, but bubbles filled with fog are even cooler. Just imagine the cool factor going up ten fold if you could bounce and play with these bubbles. Boo Bubbles are what you get when you fill a bubble with a carbon dioxide cloud using a cloud bubble generator that we'll show you how to make! But we saved the best for last because you’ll also learn how to roll and bounce the bubbles in your hands. It’s the combination of science and performance art!
- Two liter bottle
(ask the front desk at your local grocers)
- Heavy duty glove
- Strip of cotton fabric
- Rubber tubing
- Dish soap
- Utility blade (box cutter)
- Small plastic portion cups (2 oz works best)
- Bubble gloves
- Safety glasses
- Adult supervision
Want a quick-and-easy solution? You can purchase our Boo Bubbles kit!
Note: You'll need some thick gloves to handle the dry ice. The knit gloves used later in the activity do not provide enough protection for your hands. Find a good pair of leather gloves to protect your hands against the cold temperature of the dry ice and you're set.
- Use a utility blade (like a box cutter) to carefully cut the top off of the two liter bottle. Make sure the the hole in the top of the two liter bottle is not larger than the funnel you'll be using.
- Attach a length of rubber tubing to the narrow end of the funnel by squeezing the funnel into the tubing.
- Use the utility blade to cut a hole in the bottom of a small plastic portion cup just large enough to fit the rubber tubing.
- Slide the end of the rubber tubing (not attached to the funnel) into the hole in the portion cup.
- Mix up a batch of your favorite bubble solution in a cup that is large enough to fit your portion cup. (View our recipe here.)
- Fill 1/6 of the two liter bottle with warm water and add in a few pieces of dry ice.
- Place the funnel over the hole in the two liter bottle. Awesome! The smoke comes pouring out of the tube! If you adjust how much of the hole is covered by the funnel, you'll see a change in the pressure of the smoke coming from the tubing. Once yo've figured out a comfortable pressure, remove the funnel.
- Dunk the portion cup into the bubble solution and cover the top of the bottle with the funnel and watch what happens!
- When the bubble reaches the perfect size, gently shake it off of the portion cup and it will quickly fall to the ground (it’s heavier than a normal bubble because the bubble is filled with carbon dioxide gas and water vapor).
- When the bubble hits the ground, it bursts and the cloud of fog erupts from the bubble. Very cool.
- Want your Boo Bubbles to last? Shake them onto a towel!
Touchable Boo Bubbles!
Purchase a pair of Bubble Gloves (100% cotton gloves also work well). Blow a Boo Bubble about the size of a baseball. Bounce the bubble off of your gloves. Try bouncing the bubble off of your shirt or pants. As you’ll soon see, some fabrics work better than others.
Giant Boo Bubbles
Regular-sized Boo Bubbles are awesome, but Giant Boo Bubbles are even more awesome! All you need are a few parts and pieces from around the house and you'll be making these giant, fog-filled bubbles in no time.
- Cover a table surface with a thin layer of soap bubble solution and spread it around.
- Fill the large water bottle with warm (NOT hot or boiling) water and drop in a few large pieces of dry ice.
- Place the shop-vac hose over the open nozzle on the large water bottle.
- Gas will start flowing out of the hose... make sure you don't plug the hose so the gas can't escape... that never ends well, trust us.
- Dip the open end of the hose into the bubble solution and put it down on the soap-covered table. A giant Boo Bubble will start forming on the surface of the table!
- Keep the nozzle down and your bubble will just get bigger and bigger and bigger.
- When the bubble finally pops, all of that carbon dioxide gas will escape, leaving a ghostly fog behind.
How does it work?
The original idea of creating fog filled bubbles came from a demonstration presented by Bob Becker in 1995 called a Leaky Faucet. Fog filled bubbles dropped from a “faucet” made out of PVC pipe. Steve Spangler updated this idea by being able to control the flow of the carbon dioxide gas with his Dry Ice Cloud Generator. Steve also added his Bouncing Bubble demo using knit gloves to create a ghostly looking “touchable” bubble that vanishes with a burst of smoke.
Check out our Halloween Science Fun page for even more Halloween science!
FAVORITE EXPERIMENT SO FAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yram Romalliv - October 5, 2012
This is so awesome!!!!It's my Favorite one yet.. :D
Snekha Ravichandran - February 16, 2012
AWESOME! My Family Loved it!
Daria - October 18, 2011
I did this experiment with my three kids (ages 9,7 and 3). ALL of them were fascinated and full of questions. The experiment worked very well, was super easy, and very impressive. We LOVED IT! It is so cool to see the bubbles bounce and then when they pop to see the smoke come out...
Tammy Bailey Bremerton, WA - January 12, 2010
This was a huge hit! The kids didn't ever want to quit making the bubbles and trying new ways to create bigger bubbles. Everyone got into it!
jereme worthington moss, point mississippi - September 8, 2009
its cool steven