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What's your favorite Bubble Mix Formula
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Hawaii

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:34 am    Post subject: I will Try Again_Your Mix Reply with quote

Thanks for your kind and Prompt relply to my long-winded posts.

I will try once again to brew up a batch of your mix with the suggested water adjustments. Also, when I FIRST tried your mix, I did follow your ratios and proportions for the ingredients exactly. I only started making adjustments on my own when I found that I was having some problems with it. But I will adjust them back to what they were according to your recipe.

I did not yet try adjusting the water by such a great amount yet. Maybe that might help greatly....I will try.

I am not implying that your mix is inferior to the commercial mixes I have tried. It's just that I have had better luck with them. Maybe it's because all I have to do is to add water. More likely, it is probably something I'm doing wrong on my side, as to the reason that I'm having problems with your mix. It is mainly a bubble longevity thing.

Yes, I remember Bill from Cricket Hill mentioning sometime back on Soap Bubble Fanciers I think, (I am a member) that distilled water may be detrimental to a bubble mix. I used to use distilled for his mixes, but now I use just regular tap water, as I do not notice any difference in performance. Hawaii has rather good water. For Beeboo I originally tried distilled out of habit and it did not work for me. But the moment I switched to tap water it worked fine. Strange, this distilled vs. tap water stuff...

But anyways, maybe I will try mixing up 2 small batches of your mix again one with distilled and one with tap...along with your suggested adjustments in water and ingedients. It's just a matter of time before I nail it and get it right. I know environment has a lot to do with it. Just have to keep testing.

Thanks again for all your input and kind help...I'll keep you posted

Do take care, Bryce
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Joined: 15 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: PVA poly vinyl acetate try Reply with quote

Hi Big Bubbler, you told me about your website at the OCF on 7/14. Thanks! Lots of fun so far! I wanted to post a comment about PVA, PVA is also PVA Sealer or poly vinyl acetate, a basic paint ingredient and is used as the first coat on new drywall to seal before the more costly finish paint is applied. Any paint store will have it, we buy it at about $5-$7 per gallon.

I intend to try some blends of PVA sealer and a cheap sudsy detergent we use that is also a disinfectant...called a "quat" or quaternary ammonium chloride. I will let you/the web site know if positive results.
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Big Bubbler
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:15 am    Post subject: PVA poly vinyl acetate try Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, RestorerCR,
PVA has been discussed some on the soapbubblefanciers group at Yahoo. I have not heard any real mix formulas using it that people rave about. I think it may be great when we figure out how to use it. i think there may be more than one kind and different levels of purity. Looking forward to your future reports on experiments. BB
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Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


just a few quick (this has turned into something longer now I've written this) comments:

In 1998 the formula for Procter & Gamble 'Joy' dishwashing liquid changed. The original dishwashing liquid was an amazing product.

The wonder of original Joy:
I used 1 part Joy to 10+3/4 parts distilled water, and 0.5% glycerine; as I recall, to make a record bubble tube over 105ft in 1996 (plus another tube over 90ft). The mixture had been outside overnight, both air and mixture temperatures would have been about 6 degrees C (43F).

The bubble was blown by fast-walking-pace stable air-flow coming down a tree-filled wide gully- humidity was probably almost 100% and the green trees would have provided plenty of negative ions and fresh oxygen in the air. The air quality would have been very high.

What was so good about the original Joy is:

it was gentle yet powerful; the mixture could drop in temperature so that ice formed on the surface yet it still remaiined clear and great for bubbles; the bubbles were very 'film-like'- they would pop in slow motion- you could see film remnants like sheets in the air.

The original bottle of Joy says the ingredients contain cleansing and sudsing agents (anionic and nonionic surfactants), dispensing aid (ethyl alcohol), water, stabilising agents, colourant and perfume. It was made under one or more U.S. Patents 4,133,779 and 4,316,824 (the label is copyright 1992 Procter and Gamble).

(I hope P&G will one day answer this question: how much would it cost bubble-blowers to get a batch of this old formula made?)

The patents have expired (can be found at by entering the patent number.)

I had the original formula analysed by my local University's mass-spectrometer though this doesn't necessarily show all the ingredients. A chemist said that the diswashing liquid made such good film as it contained molecular bonds that could break and re-form very easily.

My own hunch is that magnesium ions may play a key role (along with sodium and calcium ions) both in Joy bubbles and in how sea-water makes long-lasting foam.

The original Joy contains many clues about how it works:

it stays clear even when below 4C (39F) even when ice forms on the surface of the water-Joy mixture in the bucket,

it looks 'oily' in the bottle

it is described as 'so powerful' yet 'mild on hands', and one can try it on "hand-washables and other cleaning needs"- I never before heard of a dishwashing liquid that was recommended for washing hand-washable clothes

(Also the label says that it contains no phosphorus and that its cleaning agents are biodegradeable; and to not mix it with chlorine bleach to avoid irritating fumes.)

A theory I have is:

the Joy has the effect of breaking water into ionic charges H2+ and OH- (or groups of water molecules with net + or - charge); allowing the water to act as a surfactant; while the + and - charges of the actual surfactants form charge neutral complexes that mimick the role of water (so the roles of water and surfactant can swap). The more one scrubs the dishes, the stronger the lifting action of the Joy as the water 'breaks up' (becomes more fluid) and the detergent breaks down (becomes more highly charged)('power plus').

This way the detergent is gentle yet powerful- the harder one scrubs the dishes, the more actively the detergent formula works to clean the dishes. It 'blows' the grease off the dishes (whereas a more recent P&G formula claims to 'vacume' the grease off the dishes).

That's my theory roughly so far - don't know if it's correct.

When the formula changed in late 1998: the new formula went cloudy if the mixture dropped below about 6C (43F). Then it became not much use for bubbles. I started putting a thermometer in the mixture, and using a bottle of hot water to protect the mix from falling below 7C (45F). I still wanted the mixture cold, as I found cold-mix made very 'glassy' strong bubbles (I would place a bottle of ice in the mix to bring the mix down to 7C.)

If the new mix went cloudy, it could be restored by heating it. Above 7C it still made great bubbles, and even seemed better for giant spheres. But the problem of it going cloudy was a real hassle, as some of my best spheres were made in air below freezing (as bubbles love cold air- they are stronger and less likely to pop if a drop of mix falls from the bubble base, also no insects are flying around at these temperatures).

At one stage I found over time at say 15C a thick white material would settle in the bucket of Joy-mix stored indoors over time. I could carefully siphon off the clear mix- that sort-of worked but was very difficult as the slightest disturbance would send the fine white powder back up into the main mixture. I noticed the powder was made of tiny glass-like 'shards' when floating around the mix.

In more recent years a good mix turned up in Australia called "Dawn power plus"- similar to the post-1998 Joy; it was 'ultra' and I found 1 part of this detergent to 22 parts distilled water was a good recipe (plus a little glycerine)("Mountain Spring" (green) I preferred of the Power Plus range). Unfortunately P&G changed the formula again, seriously harming the bubble-capability of the mix (it now required a mix-temperature of 17C (63F) to be much good and then only seemed to do 6ft spheres usually.)

Now I use Dawn original scent ultra (from U.S.A. in 2006 or 2007) 1 part to 20 parts distilled water plus sometimes 0.5% glycerine thiough glycerine doesn't seem to work well any more with this. The film-forming tendency has largely gone (though sounds like additives like baking powder might help restore this).

(Another thing: properties of mixture, weather, equipment, and bubble-making style all contribute to a bubble- one can vary one of these to compensate for changes in the others. to some extent)

More about mixtures...

However, the discovery in America of veterinary lubricants' effect on bubble mixtures has changed everything- my best formula at the moment is Jumbo Juice though this changed a lot it still looks very promising. Bubble Magic conc-T solution from Korea is a fun mixture for tricks (bubbles-in-bubbles) but although has made 70ft tube and 10ft sphere seems unreliable though sometimes spectacular- bit of a mystery mixture.

I have tried adding stabilisers to mixture- they can have amazing effects but also can tend to dry out the mixture. KY gel is great if used in small amounts for encouraging bubbles-in-bubbles to stay separate and not re-join the main bubble, but I don't think is suited to large bubbles.

Carboxy-methyl cellulose has similar effect though dries the bubble quickly. Xanthan gum is stunning in special recipes for specialised trick bubble mixtures and bubblething mixtures in high humidty, but dries out the bubbles.

I also found a 'secret ingredient' which has an amazing effect for big bubbles- encouraging them to expand though it reduces colour and thins them (put not by drying them it seems)- it strengthens them in lower humidity yet makes them thinner and lighter. Not sure what to about that as it's apparently no longer available and my small stockpile may have deteriorated. But I do know the chemistry must exist for a fantastic formula that has yet to be made.

Some forumlas deteriorate and I found benzoic acid to be a good preservative (only need maybe a teaspoon of white crystals per litre or two of mix- dissolve in hot water (used to be used as a preservative in orange juice)(sodium benzoate may work- used in milkshake concentrate).

-some ideas
powder snow
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Big Bubbler
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Thanks for that great comment Alan! Reply with quote

Wow, The comment above is full of thought provoking ideas and insights. It's author, Alan McKay, is the current world record holder for the longest recorded bubble (over 105 feet). Needless to say he is a hero of mine. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts here!
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Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:30 pm    Post subject: J-Lube, among other things Reply with quote

I'm eager to get the ball rolling on this forum again. It seems there hasn't been a post for quite a while.

I just recently got into big bubbling and have begun to experiment with different recipes. I've been fooling around with J-Lube quite a bit in different proportions to Dawn and water. I'm about to mix up an experimental batch this evening.

Has anyone had any success with this product yet? I'll report back with this batches results.
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Big Bubbler
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:19 pm    Post subject: J Lube Reply with quote

Yes, people report liking it. I have not made it a part of my formulas yet. Happy to hear your results, Big Bubbler

PS here is a random quote from Keith J. That includes much food for thought:

> > Anyway in looking through our archive for posts on this topic there
> > seems to be a variety of ratios and brew-up methods for liquifying a
> > quantity of JL before adding it into the final solution.
> >
> > If it's not getting too personal, would you experienced users post
> > current personal favorite ratios of water to powder and methods for
> > mixing? (Or could you email me?) Bramm's is noted above.
> >
> > In digging around the net (and then quickly clearing my computer
> > cookies) I've found plenty of recipes but they seem to be after a much
> > more robust consistancy than I am.
> >
> > Some things about JL I didn't know:
> > According to the bottle, it is manufactured for Jorgensen Laboratories
> > in Loveland, Colorado and consists of 25% polyethylene polymer
> > (polyethylene oxide) and 75% dispersing agent (sucrose, according to
> > the MSDS)." That sucrose is sugar... could the clouding be something
> > growing in the mix and feeding on the sugars?
> >
> > Rumor has it that unless you are very careful to sanitize your mixing
> > bowls etc., mixed-up JL doesn't have a very long shelf-life? Those of
> > you who make it and store it to be added later, have you found it
> > "rots" or degrades over time? Do you bottle it while it's hot?
> >
> > It's often suggested that another lube be incorporated into the JL
> > brewing process. Often added at the end & for the "preservatives"
> > they bring. Some think a KY type Gel is good. Others, this stuff...
> > "General Lubricant (the product name) is a product manufactured by
> > First Priority, Inc. of Elgin, IL. It can be purchased through Nasco
> > as well as through a few other supply houses. The ingredients are
> > listed as deionized water, propylene glycol, sodium
> > carboxymethylcellulose, methyl parahydroxybenzoate, and propyl
> > parahydroxybenzoate. My whole reason for including it in the recipe is
> > to provide some degree of preservative action in the mix to improve
> > shelf life, and to make the final product a bit easier to handle. It
> > seems to reduce the stringiness you normally find in a batch of
> > straight J-Lube, and it also seems to make it a bit easier to clean up
> > as well but it does not detract from the lubricative nature of the
> > J-Lube."
> >
> > Which is your favorite mix method? Mixing with cold water, slowly
> > adding powder to prevent clumping, until water is cloudy and then
> > heating to near boiling in microwave? Or, sifting powder into hot
> > water? Warm water and a long, long stir?
> >
> > Is this your experience? "...when the water begins to boil (in
> > microwave) it bursts the remaining clumps (of JL) from the inside out
> > and leaves you with, if done carefully enough, perfectly smooth,
> > lumpless J-Lube." Then, "Add the secret ingredient: Now that you
> > have sufficiently boiled and stirred your J-Lube to the point that it
> > is smooth and uniformly mixed, let it cool for a little while (not too
> > long though, you want it to still be hot) and then add the one fluid
> > ounce of General Lubricant. Stir this in thoroughly. The General
> > Lubricant adds body and durability to the J-Lube; it also adds a small
> > amount of preservative and seems to make it easier to clean as well.
> > After this has been added and fully mixed in with the J-Lube, set the
> > entire thing aside and allow it to cool to the point where you can
> > safely handle it. "
> >
> > "...blender mixed lube never seems to be quite as good as hand mixed
> > and subsequently microwaved lube. I have tested this one, and I have
> > found that blender lube reliably takes more powdered lube to achieve
> > the same levels of lubrication. Interestingly, in doing a few web
> > searches on the subject, I have found that others have come to the
> > same conclusion as well, and that it is a behavior not limited to just
> > J-Lube. Methylcellulose mixtures have the same problem. A blender's
> > blades will effectively "chop up" the long polymers that make up a
> > hydrated batch of J-Lube, and in the end you need more of them to
> > achieve the same effect."
> >
> > Which brings us to the behavior of long polymer chains. Is it true
> > that the JL doesn't do much to change the viscosity of a solution (the
> > way it feels) but it greatly impacts the flow-rate, or rate at which
> > the solution releases off of a wand and feeds the growing bubble? Is
> > this what makes it so attractive to thin-string (or bare metal tube)
> > outdoor bubblers? I think I remember reading something about this...
> >
> > JL has been described somewhat like this, "the water isn't any thicker
> > but it's very slippery and makes the things it touches much wetter."
> > Where as the HEC (cellulose) of KY & perhaps Surgilube does thicken
> > the solution and is clingier.
> >
> > Is it true that while the JL bolstered films are more colorful and
> > self-healing the JL doesn't seem to add to the life-time of the
> >
> > Do you think Glycerine adds to or detracts from the effect of JL in
> > solutions? Some sites recommend adding glyc to improve the lube,
> > other say to avoid glyc. They aren't thinking about soap films though.
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Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3
Location: SW Florida

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: best way to mix j-lube Reply with quote

This is how I mix j-lube and avoid the lumps. I boil distilled water in my teapot then I pour the boiling water into a ceramic mixing bowl (a deep, round casserole dish). Then I sprinkle to J-Lube on top and mix using a using a wire wisk. Basically, the same principal as making Jello.

My mixing bowl usually has a bit of my bubble mix in it....just because I'm usually in the middle of fiddling around and mixing.

I'm not sure but I think that a glass or ceramic bowl works better than a metal mxing bowl because it keeps the solution warm.

I can't offer measurements as I wing it all the way.

Question 1: Thoughts on Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP)? I have some but if I use it then I do so very, very sparingly. I'm not sure if it's good or bad.

Question 2: Does anyone know the effect of magnets? I was thinking of experimenting on the end of my dowels to help keep them together.
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Big Bubbler
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not tried magnets or magnetically treated ingredients. That could be great? I like the idea of helping the wand tips come together w magnets. Very interesting. Wash them well first. BB
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Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I recently have found glycerine (here in New Zealand) breaks the bubble film. I noticed the container had changed, but an earlier version had the same effect. Possibly the source of the glycerine changed a while ago.

Although it says "100% glycerol BP" on the label, it reacts to polyox WSR 301 polymer as if it has some water in it. I think I'll need to try dissolving the polymer in ethanol, or propylene glycol.

I am hoping to find an alternative to the polyox ethylene oxide WSR 301, as it is a very troublesome ingredient. The ingredient is hard to wash off- small traces spread a greasy-slipperiness on to other surfaces- and it is off-putting that the J-lube version says it can be fatal if it gets into the peritoneal cavity (a slip layer between vital body organs in abdominal cavity and wall of abdominal cavity apparently).

I know an alternative exists- as John Pastorello found it- a guar-gum compound, unknown (and unfortunately it disappeared from the marketplace before he could purchase a lot of it- I think it may work a different way but still allow bubbles to stretch- it sounds much better as is edible).

Recently I saw at the soap bubble fanciers forum that "crystal slime" delivers results like peo (Polyoxethylene oxide)- sounds good as being in a kids' toy product hopefully is safe.

Some toy bubble mixes seem to allow film mobility- the one I use for larger, more mobile film bubbles is 15ml of "Unique" brand toy bubbles per litre of mixture (any more seems to cause the film to run too much and be too volatile (too unstable in bubble geometry in space) ).

I tried replacing glycerine with propylene glycol (food grade)- this worked quite well- it didn't disrupt the film (though I think may reduce stretch)- appears lighter than glycerine, does seem to improve bubble longevity. Also it makes very nice bubbles-in-bubbles that stay separate from the parent bubble.

Simply 1 part Procter&Gamble ultra dishwashing liquid or similar (I have been using British 'Fairy liquid" from the English Corner shop in Auckland by post) to 20 parts distilled water makes a good base formula I find (though not as gentle as the pre-1998 P&G "Joy" 1: 10.75 recipe); dramatically improved by dissolving 2 grams baking soda first in the water, then the detergent, then 1 gram citric acid* (or maybe adding sodium citrate would have the same affect as these two).

Bubbles now create a film that looks like cellopohane as bubbles pop in slow motion, like the original "Joy" dishwashing liquid bubbles.

Including xanthan gum solution (so about .65 grams xanthan gum per litre I think) further improves the recipe (*based on Dustin Hick's 'Jumbo Juice" formula). The xanthan seems to add fluidity to the bubbles, and some thickness (if keeping mix over a day, xanthan gum needs preservative e.g. a little benzoic acid in hot water) .

Adding modified hydroxy ethyl cellulose (from Slyvain Letuvee) (20ml per litre of a I think 6 grams/ 500ml solution plus preservative) further improves the bubble in terms of helping construct large geometric forms.

I use less than half the JJuice amount of hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose (due to adding the modified hec) - seems to add spreadability;

the polyox (the % as in JJuice) adds stretch and lots of self-healing.

The "Unique" bubbles adds lightness and extra expansivity- flow.

Ideally one could replace the polyox with something easier and the detergent with more gentle detergent.

Apparently beer can contain propylene glycol alginate, may explain its reported usefulness, though haven't tried beer as an additive; also noticed a shower gel that contained some xanthan gum and some hydroxy ethyl cellulose (main ingredients I think were water, sodium laureth sulphate and a coco betaine (haven't tried the shower gel as an additive)).

powder snow
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Again Alan,
Thanks for the many useful comments. Your messages are always so full of ideas I have trouble responding in my limited time available. I do love getting your posts though.


I recently have found glycerine (here in New Zealand) breaks the bubble film. ...
Although it says "100% glycerol BP" on the label, ...

Disturbing news. I have changed over to corn syrup instead of glycerine and so am happy atm that I did. I am not sure glycerol and glycerine are the same thing. Here it is called "glycerine USP". Also, mine says "glycerine 99.5% anhydrous". I don't know if that means it is up to 5% water or if up to 5% of it is hydrated. I would guess it hydrates itself if left open to moist air.


I tried replacing glycerine with propylene glycol (food grade)- this worked quite well- it didn't disrupt the film (though I think may reduce stretch)- appears lighter than glycerine, does seem to improve bubble longevity. Also it makes very nice bubbles-in-bubbles that stay separate from the parent bubble.

That sounds very promising Very Happy

a film that looks like cellopohane as bubbles pop in slow motion

I think enough corn syrup will do this also. I think what you are seeing are the remaining "solids" (i think that was the term used by John P.) in the mix that have not evaporated out of the film. So, my guess is the old Joy may have had a lot more solids than the newer versions (or maybe the bubbles just lasted longer and evaporated more before popping). The touchable bubbles product may be like 99% solids and never evaporates away?

Nice to hear from you Alan, Hope your doing well these days, BB
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Location: Henderson, TX

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings from Texas! Last night I tried to make a batch of giant bubble mix for the first time and had great results! I made about 4 gallons and ended with about 2 by the time the neighborhood kids and I were finished!

So, here's what I used. It's based on the recipe at the beginning of this topic, but I mixed it up a little. If it works here in this awesome, 100 deg Texas heat, it should work anywhere! The bubbles were better as it got later and cooled down to around 85 deg. I got everything at walmart. I'll get UPC codes for you later.

My mix:

1.5 gallons (5.68 liters) of tap water
2 quarts (1.89 liters) of miracle bubbles
1.25 (1.18 liters) quarts of super miracle bubbles
30 oz (887 mL) bottle of joy lemon
25 oz (739 mL) bottle of ivory in the white bottle (soft on hands, tough on grease)
2.5-3 oz (74-89 mL) of equate personal lube pre-mixed with 2 qts (1.89 liters) of tap water

That's it! I think the miracle and super miracle bubbles were actually the same formula, but they had different labels. The UPC codes were the same. As the night cooled, we were making large, closed bubbles that were car length or larger.

For my wand I used two 1/2" (12.7 mm) dowel rods and 3/8" (9.5 mm) cotton clothesline. I saw that in a post on the wands topic. It works well with this mix. I'll work on getting those UPCs so you can match them up where you live. Thanks for the fun!
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