Extreme Science: Penny Shine

What you will need:

  • Straw
  • Water
  • Dish washing liquid
  • Sugar, corn syrup or glycerin
  • Small container
  • Adult supervision


  • Small piece of panty hose
  • Tape


  1. In a small container, add one cup of water.  Distilled water works the best.
  2. Add one tablespoon of dawn dish soap.
  3. Add one teaspoon of glycerin.  You may substitute sugar or corn syrup if you do not have any glycerin.
  4. Pour a small amount of bubble solution on the table and spread it around to create a wet area on your table top.
  5. Dip your straw into the bubble solution and blow a bubble near the surface of the table.  You should end up with a bubble on top of your table.
  6. Dip your straw into the bubble solution again and insert the end of your straw inside the bubble that is now on your table.
  7. Carefully blow another bubble INSIDE of your previous bubble.
  8. See how many times you can repeat this process and see how many bubbles you can blow inside other bubbles.

What is going on?

Although you cannot see it, the water molecules in your container of water are all “pulling” towards each other due to the fact that water molecules are attracted to each other.  Since there is air above the water, the water molecules at the surface are attracted to the water molecules all around and below them.  This creates a force known as surface tension.  Plain water does not make very good bubbles.  Adding dish detergent lowers the surface tension allowing bubbles to form by increasing the distance between the water molecules, lowering the surface tension.  Adding glycerin (or sugar / corn syrup) will help keep the water from evaporating so quickly making your bubbles last longer.

Try this:

For younger children who may have a harder time doing this experiment, attach a piece of pantyhose over the end of their straw using a piece of tape to hold it in place.  Have them dip the end with the pantyhose into the bubble solution.  Now, as they blow, they will create long columns of hundreds of bubbles with ease.

Radical Rick

Extreme Science



Recommended for you