Little Hands Art: Bubble Blowing

Painting with bubblesDiluting regular tempera paints with water and adding a little dish soap creates bubble paint. Blow bubbles, and when the bubbles pop against the paper, they leave a complex bubble shaped paint ring. The pictures don’t do a very good job of representing the results, since the bubble impression are rather faint as a rule.  The blue painting in the left of this picture, for instance, actually has a honeycomb of bubble rings in the center of what looks like an empty circle. In real life they are much more interesting.

There are two main ways of popping the bubbles against the paper. First, you can use a bubble wand (or a pipe cleaner bent to the proper shape) to blow a bubble directly onto the paper. This method produces an expanding circle of color as the bubble grows along the paper, with a darker outside ring when the bubble pops. That popping action also sends minute drops of bubble paint splattering to make teeny tiny drops on the paper (and sometimes on the face as well….)

Bubble paint in a bowlThe second method is to use a straw to blow bubbles into the bowl of bubble paint, and then lay the paper on top of the bubbles. This pops the bubbles onto the paper, leaving a complex honeycomb of multiple bubble rings with no splattering.

Both methods are fun. I personally found the bubble wand pictures to be my favorite mthod. This particular group of children, as well as my own preschooler when I tried this at home, heavily favored the blowing bubbles into the bowl method, likely because it’s fun to blow bubbles with a straw. As one of the children exclaimed, “I’m never allowed to blow bubbles in milk! And this is even messier!”

Painting with a pipe cleanerBecause this is process art and there is no wrong way to create art, we also had some children who used the pipe cleaners as paint brushes to paint pictures both abstract and representational.


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