Glow Bubbles and Dry Ice: a cool combo

How to glow bubbles and dry ice explosions

Walt Disney encouraged his employees to take a good idea and “plus it” to make it even better. We needed to “plus” our glow bubbles.

You see, the other night we found a basic glow bubbles recipe on Pinterest. We activated a glow stick, cracked it open, and poured the contents into a clear container filled with bubble solution. Although it produced an eerie glow, the project left us feeling meh.

An idea immediately came to mind: frozen CO2, AKA dry ice.

Glow Bubbles and Dry Ice

Dry ice always makes for a good time (but only if you handle with care; otherwise you’ll get burned and that’s no fun). It sublimates, that is, dry ice melts from a solid directly into a gas. You’ve probably seen that smoky effect before.

Dry ice + bubble solution is a lot of fun. It noisily produces a stream of smoky bubbles as you’ll see in our video below.

So I figured dry ice + glow bubble solution would be even more fun!

And then, just for kicks, I thought we should take a small canister (i.e. from old skool film or medicine container), fill them with glow bubbles and a small piece of dry ice and immediately slap the lid on.

As the dry ice sublimates, the pressure in the canister builds until the cap pops off and glowy bubbles fizz or spray out.

Okay, so it took a little bit of experimenting and a new container to get it to work, and the smoky CO2 bubbles didn’t seem to capture the glow, but we did a bit of creative thinking and had a lot of fun. Check out our video recap.

With glow sticks at close to a $1 each (my boys went through an entire $10 “value pack” of 12 in one night) and dry ice at only $1 a pound, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck (literally!) with the dry ice.

Call around to local ice cream shops to see if they sell dry ice. Note- the $1 per pound average may be thrown off when you add in the cost of a cone or two oh a hot summer day, but I still recommend the dry ice over glow sticks if you have to pick just one.

Turn the Summer Slide into the Summer Soar; tell me about your backyard science fun!

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  1. Michelle says

    That’s so fun! I love those colors, and I never thought to get dry ice from an ice cream store, but you know I’m going to have to find time to play with it now!

  2. tiarastantrums says

    so cool – my kiddos would adore this task- I need to start searching for some dry ice now!

  3. Susan Wells says

    Great idea. We love using dry ice for experiments and will definitely try adding it straight to the bubble solution. I do want to warn you, however, that it can be hazardous to open up glow sticks. The chemicals inside can cause burning and irritation in the throat, eyes and skin. It’s best to use a safer glow solution to achieve the glowing than the insides of a glow stick.

    • kim/TheMakerMom says

      Thanks. I’ll check out Steve’s link. The glow sticks were labelled as nontoxic and my boys are 12 and 14, so I wasn’t too worried. With younger kids, it’s especially important to take safety precautions. It’s no fun if someone gets hurt!

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