December 23, 2016

SUBJECT: Frozen Soap Bubbles

My friends and family all pretty much thought I had flipped when I told them that for the past week or so I was outside in the bitter cold blowing bubbles. Who could blame them? This is not normal. Even for Minnesotans who sometime get a little whacky from cabin fever in February, this is only December.

My idea to make these bubbles all started by stumbling onto some frost formation images using soap bubbles. I was instantly intrigued by this. Some of the "frost globe" images I saw were incredibly beautiful. I thought that using a bit of ingenuity I could bring these images to life in the form of a video.

Little did I know at the time how much science there is behind making these bubbles and how addictive they are to make. Every bubble is just a like a snowflake--they are all unique in how they form and how they progress over time. Temperature, humidity, infrared heat, soap-solution temperature and even where they rest all play a role in what type of patterns will form.

And then there are various recipes for making the soap solution. I've tried all sorts of mixes and so far, the best I have found is:

6 parts water
2 parts dish soap
1 part corn syrup

I have also tried various dish soaps and so far Dawn seems to be the best, but I'm far from trying everything.

My first attempt at making frost bubbles were outside. I thought it would be "cool" to make them with the reflection of the sun. My biggest frustration however was the wind. That wind really burst my bubble!

frost bubble


Eventually I gave up with the outdoor idea and I decided to move my operations into my man cave. It's unheated at present and with temperatures in the upper teens and low 20's (F) and no wind, it made for the perfect environment.

It took me a few days to get the backdrop, lighting and platform to my liking, but eventually I got it all working together and it made for some really stunning 4k video. Here are a few stills taken from my latest video on Vimeo. I added a starry background to give the frozen bubbles a rather unworldly look.

frozen soap bubble


frozen soap bubble 


frozen soap bubble

frozen soap bubble

As my holiday gift to you, sit back and enjoy my video entitled "Frozen Worlds." This is best viewed full-screen on Vimeo:


Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

—Alan Stankevitz


Web design © 2007-2016, Alan Stankevitz
All photographs © 2002-2016, Alan Stankevitz

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