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One of my favourite messy summer art projects is bubble painting. It’s an easy activity to set up and makes use of materials you’ve probably already got to hand.
Bubbles and preschoolers are a fun mix, whatever the activity. There are endless hours of fun to be had from washing all kinds of things with buckets of bubbly water. The Internet is full of tutorials for enormous bubbles, bouncy bubbles, and making your own bubble wands.
Bubble painting with straws is an art activity I remember fondly from my own childhood, and it’s one of those things that’s still a lot of fun.
We also tried out two more methods of painting with bubbles – using a home-made plastic bottle bubble blower, and fun bubble-popping art. There are instructions for all three kinds of bubble painting in this post, and I encourage you to give them all a try.
Also, let your children lead the way a little. Listen for their ideas and let them try out different bubble painting techniques to see what happens.
What to do with your finished bubble prints? I’d recommend using them in another art and craft project. Maybe cut shapes and string them to make a beautiful garland, or use them as backgrounds for homemade greetings cards. My Pinterest boards are full of art and craft activities for preschoolers.
Bottle Bubble Blowing.
This was the most successful of the three techniques we tried.
It’s also the one with the most involved set-up, although, honestly, it took me less than a minute to get organised.
- A plastic bottle with the bottom cut off.
- Some mesh or netting. (We used a double layer of mesh from a shower scrunchie, but citrus fruit packaging would also work well).
- Bubble solution.
- Food colouring or liquid watercolours.
- A container for the bubble mixture. (Needs to be wide enough to dip the bottle into).
Make your bubble blower by covering the open bottom of the bottle with mesh. Keep the mesh in place with tape.
Use the container to mix the bubble solution with a little food colouring or paint. It just needs to be deep enough to dip the mesh part of your bubble blower into.
We found best results with food colouring, but my hands are still slightly purple. Liquid watercolours are good too, and tend to be easier to clean up.
Get your paper ready – either flat on the table or taped up on a vertical surface.
Dip the mesh into the coloured bubble mix. Allow it to drip a little.
Hold it over your paper and gently blow through the top of the bottle.
You should get a nice amount of coloured foam bubbles.
Let the foam drop onto the paper and watch as the bubbles pop, producing beautiful bubble prints.
My favourite prints were the ones where I’d managed to whip the paper out of the way before too much foam was deposited on it. My son disagrees, for him it was all about the process, and if the paper turned into a big soggy mess, then so much the better.
Bubble Painting With Straws
This is how I remember making bubble prints when I was little. I can remember taking more than one accidental mouthful of paint and soapy water though! One tip I’ve seen to avoid this is to put a pinprick hole through near the top of the straw. This lets your child blow, but makes it hard for them to suck up the paint.
- Bubble solution.
- Food colouring or liquid watercolours.
- A container for the bubble mixture. (You’re going to lay the paper over the container to make your prints, so wide and shallow works best).
You probably don’t need me to explain this one to you.
Mix up a bowl full of soapy water with some food colouring or paint. (Again, we had most success with food colouring, but it’s also really good at dyeing hands, feet, and anything else that gets in the way).
Hand out straws and let the children blow bubbles in the water.
Once you’ve got a nice frothy heap of bubbles rising above the top of your container, lay a sheet of paper gently over them to make your print.
We found that it took quite a lot of food colouring to get a decent colour to the bubble prints. It might take a bit of trial and error to get this right.
Experiment with how to get the effect you like best – how much foam should you have built up before taking the print? What happens if you add another colour of food colouring to the soapy water? Is it better to leave the paper on top of the container for a while, or to peel it straight off?
This bubble painting activity was the one my 4-year-old liked best. He loves to blow bubbles!
It’s definitely an activity for a still day. There was a slight breeze when we tried it, and it was challenging to get the bubbles to land where we wanted them.
The less-than-perfect weather conditions gave us the opportunity to investigate which way the wind was blowing, and for the children to figure out solutions to the problem of getting the bubbles onto the page.
- Bubble mixture.
- Food colouring (or liquid watercolours).
- Bubble wands.
Mix the colouring with the bubble solution.
Blow bubbles gently towards your paper.
Watch them pop and enjoy the prints they make.
A lovely simple activity.
This worked best when we taped the paper to the wall of our house and stood fairly close to it. Even then, a lot of the marks on the paper were splatters rather than the bubble prints we’d hoped for. Still beautiful though.
Bubble Art Projects And Other Bubbly Things To Do.
That’s three bubble painting activities to get you started. If you’re keen to try even more bubble activities with your children, then take a look at my Pinterest board full of bubbly fun for little ones.
If you’ve enjoyed this process art activity, maybe you’d also like to try creating a beautiful, HUGE piece of collaborative process art with your children?
Pin this so you can find it later!