Glowing bubbles?! Yes! …but no.

The other day I was in the store and my attention was caught by “Super Miracle Bubbles® GLOW FUSION™ Bubble Solution” — bubble soap that claimed that it made bubbles that glowed.  These were not bubbles that glowed-under-black-light (fluorescent), not bubbles that glowed-in-the-dark (phosphorescent), but actually bubbles that glowed-of-their-own-accord (chemiluminescent), or so the package claimed.  $3.99 later, I was the proud owner of a bottle of this magic elixir.

Later that night, well after dark, Rosa and I carefully followed the instructions, adding the two included packets of “activator A” and “activator B” to the bubble soap, and stirring (not shaking!) for a minute.  Lo and behold, the little bottle began to glow bright orange, like the innards of a glow stick!

Excited, we dipped the wand in the glowing solution, and blew some bubbles!  In the cold, dark, winter night, they looked like this:

…nothing.  Blackness.

We tried and tried, and sure enough, after a while from the right angle, for a fleeting second, you could see that the bubbles had a tiny glim of light.  But in practice, the drips of bubble solution that fell on the ground far outshone the bubbles themselves, and the full bottle itself was the brightest thing around.  There was no hope of getting enough light out of it to photograph them.

The directions (inside the package!) point all this out.  They tell you to cover the (clear) bottle with black tape or a black bag, and to let your eyes fully adjust to the dark to see the glowing bubbles.  Any other nearby light will drown out the few photons escaping from the bubbles themselves.  Also of note: the instructions repeat several times that these are for outdoor use only.

So, do they glow?  Technically, yes.  Practically, no.  You cannot get a good, satisfying, “glowing bubble” from this bubble solution.  On the other hand, it is pretty nifty to have a bottle of bubble solution that’s glowing in your hand while you’re blowing bubbles.  Fun?  Kinda.  Worth $3.99?  Not for regular use.  Worth trying once?  Yep, and I’m glad we did.

-Mark

Updated April 4, 2012: Here’s a video of some Occupy folks experimenting with adding the contents of a chemical glow stick to some bubble soap.  They got more or less the same results I did, but by a different route.  Clearly, we need some SUPER glow chemicals…

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62 Comments on “Glowing bubbles?! Yes! …but no.”

  1. Lobo3411@sbcglobal.net says:

    i love the word “outshone”.

  2. Mishbernie says:

    LOL People are pinning this, and saying ” Break glowsticks up to make glow bubbles! ” I had to inform them to READ The blog it came from.. lol. gahh…

    • Gen says:

      Indeed, I just saw such a pin, clicked to read more before pinning myself. Sorry, but won’t be repinning, still glad I clicked through, though.

      • I read first and will not be repinning!

      • Morgan says:

        Rather than not repinning, you should repin and change the text to actually reflect the product and warn people not to cut into glow sticks because it’s dangerous. Then report the pin for being dangerous and misleading using the flag tool.

    • nate says:

      Ya this is all over facebook and people dont even realize that this is not something you want to be bathing your kids in. This could be really bad considering people keep reposting it. I think a sick person made this to harm children and the authorities should persue this as a federal child abuse case.

  3. amber says:

    problem is glow in the dark necklace liquids contains tiny glass shards. not a good thing

  4. [...] Blog.Kriegsman.org Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  5. melissa says:

    My son was breaking a glow stick to start the glowing and got that stuff in his eye once and it was terrible. Burning so bad we had to call poison control to find out what chemicals were in it and what we needed to do about it. He had to wash in the shower blinking for 15 minutes straight! It was awful and scary, I would not recommend doing this you could splash it in your eye cutting it open or especially the way bubbles pop sometimes when you are blowing them, very cool, but not worth the risk. I always try to warn people away from those things. Really bothers me to see kids put them in their mouth and everything else since this happened to us.

    • that’s sad and strange because the solution is non toxic. i wonder if he got a shard of glass in his eye rather than it being the solution?

      since i was li’l (and i’m 40 now) my friends and family have broken those things, sprayed the solution all over us and our clothes. bathed with the solution in the dark and generally had a great time. you have to just get the broken glass out first.

      sorry you had such a terrible experience.

      • Kim says:

        So how DID you get the broken glass out? Did you strain it through something?

      • J says:

        The stuff in this blog post isn’t from a glow stick though. It’s something else. You’re definitely not supposed to get the liquid from glowsticks on you (definitely bad). I’m sorry that happened!

    • jennifer says:

      I used to work for a DR. office and we had a child come in that had a glow stick that he had been chewing bust and it got in his eyes and mouth and clothes. We called poison control and they said that the product was non-toxic and to watch him, use normal saline to flush his eye if it irritated him and that if it still hurt the next day them we had to do a test on his eye with dye to see if the eye had been scratched but tother then that there was nothing to worry about. THey even called back an hour later ro see how the child was and we had already sent him home.

  6. [...] had seen this pin for glow in the dark bubbles. but when i read kriegsman‘s review of the store bought bubbles i was disappointed to hear [...]

  7. Ari says:

    My friend received a bottle of these bubbles in the mail a few weeks ago and we experienced the same problem; you really couldn’t see anything while outside. However, you could definitely see the liquid itself and when it spilled, it created a cool effect on whatever it touched.

    Not wanting to give up quite yet (and having not read the full directions), we decided to try somewhere that was darker, which ended up being inside.

    As you can imagine, when you enclose a group of college students in to a pitch black space with glowing liquid, things can get a little wild. At the end of it all, our bathroom ended up looking like a planetarium and we were all covered in the stuff (which can’t be good for our health, but nothing has happened because of it yet…knock on wood).All in all, it was wonderful experience and fun to listen to peoples’ surprise and wonder when we brought them in and turned off the lights :)

    If you do happen to get the stuff again, try going somewhere, like an old shed or an attic, and blowing splatters on the walls. I promise, if it’s dark enough, you’ll feel like you’re standing among the stars.

  8. jen says:

    yeah, we did the glow sticks in the bubbles..didnt work. the container looked cool. but no glowing bubbles. i read if you get washable glow in the dark paint and do a 50/50 mix with bubbles, you have better luck.

    • pam says:

      ours didnt work either….very disappointed!!!!

    • Morgan says:

      That’s because, if you actually read the blog, he didn’t use glowsticks. It’s an actual product on it’s own.

      • Liv says:

        jen didn’t actually imply that she didn’t read the blog, she was just explaining her own experience trying to make glowing bubbles… That was kind of rude, just saying. Plenty of other people are talking about their experience trying to use glow sticks. No reason for the attitude.

  9. Rochelle says:

    Where do u get it from?

  10. Domino says:

    HA! And I thought it was just us. Spent the better part of 15 minutes trying to cut open glow sticks to pour into bubbles. NADA! Cool in theory….not cool in real life.

    • Morgan says:

      Can I ask, did you read the blog? Or did you just come from pinterest? Because he didn’t use glowsticks, this is an actual product. Don’t ever cut open glowsticks.

      • Liv says:

        Can I ask, Morgan, did YOU read the blog? at the end it happens to say “…folks experimenting with adding the contents of a chemical glow stick to some bubble soap. They got more or less the same results I did, but by a different route.”

  11. Lara says:

    Damn, just re-pinned this. Glad I red the blog though, will un-pin immediately. As for the glowing gar, it would still be cool to cut open a glow stick or two and add them to soapy water for summer nights on the porch, or even string together several mason jars full of them for a softly glowing lantern of sorts.

    • kriegsman says:

      Lara- You’re welcome to leave it pinned; I figure the more people who see the actual blog post (as opposed to just the ‘headline’), the more people will get the idea on how well (poorly!) it works. BUT I really like your idea about pouring the glow liquid from glow sticks into other things as lanterns! You could dilute it down and pour it into long clear plastic tubes and hang them up on the porch — or anything! Thanks for visiting and thanks for the ideas!
      -Mark

    • Morgan says:

      Rather than un pin it, change the text to reflect the truth and warn against the dangers of cutting open glowsticks, while you’re at it, report the original pin for being dangerous.

      • kriegsman says:

        The chemicals in glow sticks are “nontoxic”. And while they won’t kill you, they’re not tasty or nutritious.
        On the other hand, glow sticks DO have a breakable inner tube, which can be hard plastic or glass, and in either case, it can make sharp bits when broken.

  12. Hbflag19 says:

    I tried this experiment and I was deeply disappointed…but of course I saw it on pinterest and didn’t look into this further…I was super excited and thought I ws going to have actual glowing bubbles

    • Chy says:

      Dittos. It wasn’t until after I tried this and was disappointed that I read the rest of the info. It sounded like a very fun idea!

  13. TwinsMama says:

    Ok so …. same here. Did this over the weekend with the kids… I broke open the glow sticks ( not without cutting myself on an shard of glass by the way ) and poured them glow stick solution into each clear bottle so all five kids could see the glow. We ran outside..spilling some on ourselves and WE glowed, but the bubbles sadly did not. It definitely was such a disappointment. Thought maybe if I used several glow sticks in one bottle.. might increase the chances of a glow? Have not tried it yet.. but was considering it. So .. good think I had some sparklers and we fired them up and the kids forgot all about the bubble disappointment.

    • Tosha says:

      I just tried tonight using a very small bottle of bubbles and a large glow stick. It was close to a 50/50 mixture and the bubbles still did not glow. :(

    • Morgan says:

      That would be because you use GLOWSTICKS and not the actual glow in the dark product. You should not be cutting open glowsticks. Did you even read the blog?

      • Liv says:

        You seriously need to calm down, Morgan. The blog actually does mention that using glow sticks doesn’t work, if you’d read it. Chill out. It literally says “…folks experimenting with adding the contents of a chemical glow stick to some bubble soap. They got more or less the same results I did, but by a different route.”

  14. Tiff says:

    Just like everyone else, I tried it over the weekend without actually reading the blog. I was so upset that it didn’t work, but then me and my friend ended up having a glow war in the garage with the solution and it turned out to be a whole lot more fun than bubbles would have been anyways.

  15. Deb Parmele says:

    Glad I read the blog, though I had in my mind glowing bubbles floating away in the dark – sure had a great time imagining – will try the liquid in jars hanging in trees.

  16. [...] glowing in the dark, try buying some glow in the dark bubbles. According to a blogger called kriegsman, for a few dollars the thrill is worth [...]

  17. lifestooshorttoplaypossum says:

    I borrowed your photo (giving you full credit of course..) and posted about your experience. I originally found it on pinterest ane linked your blog as well about the bubble experiment.
    Hope you don’t mind. I’m new to blogging..so not sure it will bring you some traffic but did want to make sure it was okay with you. It’s a positive post by the way…I don’t believe in bashing bloggers. :)

    • kriegsman says:

      I’m happy to share my photo and my experience! I have a nascent idea for how to make this actually work, but it’s going to take more exciting chemicals than I have on hand right now. Nevertheless, the order’s been placed, and I’ll let you know what I find!

  18. Lynette Vincent says:

    Tried the glow stick solution 3 of them bottle glows nicely but as said earlier the BUBBLES DO NOT GLOW And it thins out solution to much it was hard to get any bubbles. : (

  19. lorjoe says:

    I should have read all of the post before going out and getting the supplies. Thank goodness I tried this before I got all of the 5 kids involved. It didn’t work. Plain and simple, just doesn’t work!

    • kriegsman says:

      Anne- THANK YOU for the link; that’s great.

      As you can see from my blog post (above), I didn’t cut open glow sticks; I used the commercial glow bubble kit … which also didn’t work.

      I also agree with Steve Spangler that the chemicals inside glow sticks need to be treated with respect. None of them are deadly poisons, but they’re not exactly health tonics, either. I’d advise avoiding prolonged skin contact (they wash off with soap and water), make sure not to get it in your eyes (which are notoriously difficult to wash with soap and water – ow!), and definitely do not ingest them. At best, this is an adults-only operation, like launching model rockets or using the lawnmower. Probably ok for responsible big kids; definitely not for the younger set.

      Thanks again for the link!
      -Mark

  20. [...] Glow in the Dark Bubbles from blog.kriegsman.org [...]

  21. Frggy152 says:

    Just tried using the glow sticks poured into the bubbles. Thought it would be cool for the kids while we are camping. The bottle glowed for about 1 min and then lost its glow. Of course the bubbles didn’t glow at all. So disappointed!! Unpinning

    • Morgan says:

      Did you read the blog? It’s not glowsticks, don’t be a moron, that is extremely dangerous. This is a product in itself.

      • kriegsman says:

        Hey Morgan- Mark here; I wrote the original blog post. Thanks for chiming in to let people know that this is a separate product, but please keep the tone positive! Thanks for commenting.

        Have you tried anything that DID work for making glow bubbles? I’ve only tried one thing that worked even a little, but I haven’t been able to reproduce it.

  22. BrandyG says:

    Try combining this technique with that solution, I bet youd get better results!

    http://www.pincookie.com/how-to-make-rainbow-bubble-snakes-kids-love/

  23. Ruthie says:

    Did anyone use this bubble solution under a black light?

  24. Sarah says:

    These definitely work! You have to use them inside in a dark room. At first you can’t see them, but when your eyes get acclimated you will start to see them, and when they pop it is like Tinker Bell waved her wand. The glow stuff settles all over making what looks outer space. So cool!

  25. Oh geez – be careful people! Glow stick solution might be “non-toxic” but it will “eat” holes in clothes, strip varnish and wax off furniture and irritate sensitive skin! I have several burnt strips in my dining table where the kids left their Halloween glo sticks at the end of the night. In the morning, all the varnish had been eaten away!

  26. Fulton7876 says:

    My friend me my kids and her 2 year old daughter tried these outside and we couldn’t see them well at all. We decided to try inside where it was a little darker so we went into the living room. Tried blowing just one and we could see it perfectly so we did a few more and then noticed the splatter it left after the bubbles broke. It looked very cool and it didn’t stain. I was wearing white jogging pants and was covered in it not a stain. The walls and carpet were fine and so were the couches. We love this stuff. We have had fun with glow in the dark bubbles 5 or 6 times since then and use them inside every time. The kids love them and are always covered in them and we have never had any issues with irritation of any kind.

  27. JR says:

    I’m a bit of a tattle tale, but just thought you’d like to know that someone stole your photo and put text over it telling people to break open glow sticks and pour it in the bubbles. They obviously didn’t read your post but didn’t mind stealing your photo. I’ve included the link, but in case it doesn’t work it was found on the Facebook Page: Fairies, Myths, and Magic

    A few other versions of altered photos were found on Pinterest but didn’t lead anywhere.

  28. I wonder if the homemade version of this would work better if you used the super bright high intensity type of glow sticks instead? They only glow for 5-30 minutes but if you’re blowing bubbles you don’t need a long lasting light anyway. I’d check if that variety are nontoxic first though.

  29. eplisonic says:

    Hey we love glow in the dark products and have always wondered about these glowing bubbles. Thanks for your report that these do not actually glow!

  30. Morgan says:

    I actually got these bubbles, It’s a shame they don’t really glow that well, but I had a lot of fun finger painting all over my walls with glow in the dark bubbles. Since it’s soap it just washes right off, and even if you don’t wash it off, the glow fades away in an hour.

    I repinned your blog post warning people of the danger of cutting open glowsticks. Hopefully more people will do the same and we can get the word out that you shouldn’t be cutting open glow sticks..

    ALSO, NOTE TO PINNERS… REPORT THE PINS, There is a little flag in the lower right hand corner of the pin, select other and report it for dangerous and misleading instructions.

  31. Sky says:

    So, my step brother and I got the product. The actual bubbles somewhat glowed. Well, we thought it was more fun to throw it on each other. A bit got in my hair and so when we were done I washed it out. The next morning my hair, where the bubbles had been smelled like mildew! I brushed it it off thinking that I just didn’t get it all out. Well, 4 showers since then, the smell is still pungent in my hair!!! I don’t understand BUT IT REALLY SUCKS!!! Has this happened to anyone else?????

  32. Debi says:

    So I have also tried the glowstick stuff in bubbles nothing. enjoyed reading all this to find out why it didnt work after the fact. lol any one know WHY the stuff in the glowsticks dont work when u pour it in bubble bottle?


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