Sitting on the side-entrance steps, right next to rhododendron in the garden, I spent many lazy summer afternoons just blowing soap bubbles using nothing more than lathering soap, water, a tumbler to hold the solution and a straw. Just watching the rainbow colors on the soap bubbles almost glass-like and delicate, afraid to blow any more lest it pop before it floats away merrily... that was many years ago.
I love blowing soap bubbles, even today. One of the activities we did recently combines this love for soap bubbles with art exploration with Ana - i.e., Bubble Painting.
We tried two ways:
- Blowing pigmented bubbles onto a piece of paper
- Frothing up the paints and allow the bubbles to rise up in the bowl to interesting formations and put a piece of paper on top to catch these bubble formations - sort of like bubble printing
We liked the second activity better. Ana likes to mix colors herself these days, especially since I only get Blue, Red, Yellow and White tempera paints. She decided to focus on pink and purple for this bubble painting activity, and mixed up the colors first.
Items used: Tempera paints, water, dish liquid soap or baby bubble bath soap, straw, and cardstock paper. Apron and goggles for safety as dish soap can sting the eye a bit and the bubble-blowing can turn into spray-painting.
- Mix a teaspoon or so of bubble soap with a teaspoon of thick tempera paint, add about ¼ cup of water (or more), one small dish per color
- Stick a piece of tape at one end of the straw to mark it as the blowing end (in all the excitement, sometimes it is hard to keep it straight); poke a hole through the blowing end of the straw with a needle so kids cannot drink the paint but can still blow through the straw
- Have several pieces of cardstock paper handy - I usually cut an 8x11 inch paper into 4 pieces
- Start the bubble blowing process, allow bubbles to froth up and get into interesting patterns and before they die down put a piece of cardstock paper on top of the bubble formation to "catch" or "print" them onto the paper
- Make as many imprints as desired (we used both sides of the paper) and allow to dry
What I like about these art explorations is that it takes a life of its own, and we end up with a few new lessons we never intended to learn :)
Thicker solution made richer impressions, while naturally, the diluted paints made faint ones that seemed so ethereal, to capture the essence of soap bubbles...
And, after she was satisfied with the results of catching the paint bubbles on paper, Ana wanted to just play with the colors in her own way. She tried:
- toothbrush painting/spraying - simply using a toothbrush as a paintbrush, then spray the paint by teasing the bristles
- making "colored paper" - viz., saturate the white card stock with multiple colors and leave it on a rack to dry
- as well as allowing a blob of paint to flow around on the paper by tilting and shaking the paper while blowing through a straw or two (Ana likes blowing through multiple straws at a time)