How do you measure the success of a kid’s art project? The actual end result of this activity was nothing like I has pictured in my head, but does it really matter? We had several hours of fun in the process so I am pretty sure that it was a success no matter what, but as an added bonus, I also learned a ton so that you can do better with the actual “art”.
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We started off with a trip to the dollar store for supplies. This may have been our first mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dollar store, but I have definitely learned over the years that just because you can buy something for $1, doesn’t mean you should. We bought a few sets of bubbles from the dollar store. It was basically the equivalent of this. With 12 wands and 12 small bottles of bubbles, I thought we were all set.
We started mixing up colors with our food coloring.
Set up a place to work. (I didn’t want to end up staining anything important so this pallet worked really well.
And started blowing bubbles.
I let him get this “special wand” that was supposed to blow lots of bubbles. That was mistake number 2. It mostly just made foam… and a mess.J
Seems simple enough, right? So what’s the problem?...
The first thing I noticed was that it was pretty hard to get good bubbles. Especially for my 6 year old. Despite years of bubble blowing experience, he usually ended up with a drippy mess hitting the paper, rather than decent bubbles. This could have easily been fixed by using better bubbles. Like I said, just because you can buy something for $1 doesn’t always mean you should. J *See our bubble recommendations on tip #1 below.
The next problem was visibility. Some of the colors were showing up really well, but some simply were not. It took a little while for me to figure out, but it was the colors with gel food coloring that worked well. I had to add a ton more coloring to the ones with just liquid food coloring, which of course, made the bubbles themselves even worse.
We made quite a few “paintings” and hung them on the clothesline to dry. Notice how many of them look blank?
While we were at the dollar store I had also purchased a couple of big foam boards. The idea was that we would perfect the technique on paper and them create a couple of “masterpieces” on the foamboard. This is when I noticed the next problem.
All of our previous work had been done on standard printer paper. There are a couple of reasons that wasn’t ideal. 1. It gets saturated too easily. And 2. It practically rejects the color. Any decent art paper would have absorbed the color much more, and watercolor paper would have been perfect. I only figured it out when we switched to the foam board because the paper coating on the foam board worked so much better! (Not the type that has a glossy posterboard type paper.)
The last problem? Well, remember that pallet I used as an easel? It may have ended up looking a bit like a rainbow. Not a real big deal on a pallet (though we use so much pallet wood that I was pretty disappointed. J ), but if you did this project and accidently dyed something important, that would be a big deal.
So what do you think?
Does it really matter how the “art” turned out?
Or is it really just about having fun and being silly together?
Was this project a failure because the bubble painting didn’t work the way I had intended?
Or was it never really about the painting in the first place?
Whatever your opinion, this list will help ensure that your bubble painting turns out better than ours. J
1. Use good bubble solution. - The cheap bubbles pop too easily and just splatter everywhere. You can either buy better bubbles or just make your own. Here’s our favorite recipe.2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap, 1 galloon water, 2-3 Tablespoons glycerin. (If you are unfamiliar with glycerin check your pharmacy, or you can get it here.)
2. Stick with simple wands. - Unique bubble wands can be lot of fun but for this project it is best to stick with a basic circle. Different sizes are fine though. Also, if you need to share wands between colors, have a bowl of water to rinse the color off before you stick the wand in the next color.
3. Use lots of food coloring. - I used to have a bakery, so my food coloring supply is a bit ridiculous. We found that the gel colors worked best. Also, don’t stir hard to mix the colors, foaming on the top makes it harder to get good bubbles. (If you don’t already use gel colors in your baking etc, you should definitely switch, they work so much better than liquid.)
4. Use the right paper. - Art paper works better than standard paper. Watercolor paper is best choice.
5. Be prepared to make a bit of a mess. – Remember that you created this bubbles/food coloring mixture with the intention of staining the paper. Well the paper probably isn’t the only thing that will get stained. Luckily food coloring isn’t generally 100% permanent, but I wouldn’t exactly call it washable either.
For more fun projects to do with the kids, check out these popular posts!