How to build a bubble machine from scratch

Nothing captures a child’s attention—or an adult, for that matter, like Bubbles.

Nothing captures a child’s attention—or an adult, for that matter, like Bubbles. On a warm Carolina afternoon, you will find kids of all ages looking to make as many as possible.

If you are not in the market to buy a professional bubble machine, try this handy guide and craft a homemade one instead. Using items you have around the house, this simple build will provide hours of entertainment.

1)      Find your base

Find an empty, water-tight container capable of holding bubble solution. For my build, I used a large cashew container cut in half. If you have more than one kid, this will yield two perfect size containers.

2)      Make a place for your axel to spin.

Make two cuts on each side of your container about 1 inch deep. This is where your bubble axel will go. You can also mark holes for your axel to cut later. Once this is done, trim away any remaining plastic or container material until you have two protruding tips on either side. Using a hole punch, scissors, or razor knife, carefully pierce the holes for your axel to spin.

3)      Building your axel.

Thread a pipe cleaner through a flexible drinking straw. Feed it through the holes and bend the ends so it does not go anywhere. There are several different methods in which to make an axel. Bamboo skewers, chopsticks or other Dowell will work, as long as it does not slide around, and is not susceptible to damage from the bubble solution.

4)      Make your bubble wand

Using additional pipe cleaners, create a small loop on each end and wrap each one around your straw axel. The loops should be no bigger than a finger. Using hot glue or other means, attach your bubble wands in a propeller-shape. Additional wands may require you to create additional space in your container.

5)      Make sure everything works!

At this juncture, check to make sure everything is secure, and that your bubble wands are hitting the bottom of your container. Make modifications where necessary.

6)      Fill your container and let ‘ere blow!


Try this easy recipe for long-lasting bubbles:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 2 tbsp. glycerin
  • 4 tbsp. Dish detergent.
  • Mix gently as to not create suds.

Fill your contraption with bubble solution and spin your axel to dip each wand into the sticky liquid.

7)      Other recommendations:

Add a small personal fan, one you may get at the dollar store, to blow the bubbles for you. If you have any aspiring engineers in the family, challenge them to work out a way for the axel to continuously spin. You can also decorate the outside of your bubble machine to give it a truly personal touch. Soon, you and your family will create bunches of bubbles and new memories that will last a lifetime.


Bubble recipe: