Frozen soap bubbles

One intrepid experimenter with a good camera, a cold night and a soap-bubble-maker creates sheer joy in this gallery of frozen bubbles: "It's very cold tonight, so we played with bubbles. If you blow them upwards enough they have time to freeze on the way down."

freezebubbles (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)



  1. people used to think i was nutz when i told them about blowing bubbles in ultra cold weather — so once i showed them. thanks for this post!

  2. Great stuff and further proof that global warming is a myth because we still experience winter in some parts of the world.

  3. the guy talks about the bubbles freezing from top to bottom because the sky is colder than the ground – it probably has more to do with the ‘windchill’ on the rising side of the bubble.

  4. Pure unicorn material, thanks to boingboing et al for diffusing it.

    re: top part of the bubble freezing first – probably also due to most of the water draining to the bottom part of the bubble.

    re: global warming. That’s right, keep your head in the sand – it’ll be cooler there.

  5. Now you just need to fit a unicorn in there and have the bubble reflect a steampunk camera…

  6. @ #4 and #7 (Guy_Jin and Cowicide respectively)

    I was wondering if the bubbles weren’t thinner on top, due to gravity, and froze from the top down because of that….

  7. @Mostrinho – they don’t smash, unfortunately. They gracefully crumple.

    I remember doing this years ago when I was a kid on holiday in the Italian Alps. It was about -20C, and huge fun.

  8. Any idea what’s the required temperature range for this to work? I’d love to try it myself sometime.

  9. #15: same here! There’s a cold snap in the UK right now, and i’d love to try this tonight if I can..

  10. Ice is less dense than liquid water, so ice floats. Perhaps the ice floats to the top of the bubble? I’m just taking a guess.

  11. Could we get some shots of the crumbling bubbles as well? Sounds beautiful but it isn’t cold enough in Austin to try it myself

  12. #4, #7: #12 is correct… gravity… bubbles are thinner on top, so they freeze from the top down…

  13. I’ve done this before. It really is neat to watch. If the bubbles make it to the ground they begin to crumble under their own weight. If they remain in the air long enough they just sort of dissolve, vanishing into the air. If you touch one it does look a lot like glass breaking. All of this is silent, just like when soap bubbles normally pop. I think it has to do with the bubbles having very little mass and low air pressure, so you don’t hear them either shatter or pop like you might expect. It helps if it’s pretty freaking cold. I wonder if anyone’s ever successfully thawed a frozen bubble.

  14. That is amazing. The next time it gets cold here (well, colder, 35 degrees won’t cut it), I’m definitely trying this.

  15. no, Monstrinho, they crumple like cling wrap. I lived in Fairbanks, AK for years, where it gets plenty cold enough in the winter to freeze soap bubbles. Another fun activity when it’s that cold out is to blow a thin, forceful stream of air out of your mouth and play Superman, ’cause the air is so cold that the steam doesn’t dissipate as quickly – y’know, the scene from movie II where he puts out the fire? Okay, so I’m a dork, it’s still fun!

  16. Someone with access to a walkin freezer and a video cam could have the next youtube hit here.

  17. Is there any existing industrial process similar to this. If not, I wonder who can come up with one first?

    Pterry Hunt

  18. @#15 POSTED BY URSUS , JANUARY 5, 2009 7:43 AM

    agreed. fuck it, it’s bubbles. i’ll agree to any theory about these things as long as they look neat.

  19. Wow these are really pretty! I think i’ll try this tonight, forecasts say it’ll be -8 degrees celcius, hope that’s enough.
    I wonder if this will work with giant bubbles as well, or with those clusters of little bubbles you can make with a special straw…

  20. I’m also wondering how cold it has to be for this to work. We’ve had a couple of nights below 10F so far this winter, but both nights were windy – not good for outdoor bubble fun.

    For those making the attempt, refrigerate your bubble juice for a couple hours first. It might help the bubbles freeze faster/easier. Of course, it also might make it harder to create the bubbles in the first place. I’m not a bubble scientist.

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