Back in the pioneering days soap was rare and difficult to make but an important ingredient to making bubbles. When the American midwest was being cleared in the early 19th century, one means of ekeing out a living was to boil the ashes of trees that had been felled and burnt in large pots over a fire, concentrating the extracted lye, and selling it as potash. This potash was used mainly for making soap, and for purifying saltpeter for gunpowder. The fat used came mostly from pigs, some from cattle (tallow), but the latter was valuable for making cheap candles. Fine soaps were made from olive oil or other high-quality fats. (source: http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/phys/bubbles.htm)
Dissolving the soap in a small amount of water helped make a soap liquid that could be used to make bubbles for the children. In the early days glycerin was unable to be removed from soap production so they didn’t need blowing bubbles recipes as the soap was extra bubbly and dissolved quickly!
My baby girl has recently discovered the joy of blowing bubbles. Seeing the delight on her face as she watches all the bubbles float by is so adorable. I wanted to make it a pioneer pretty experience, so started thinking about what would make a lovely bubble blower…a key of course. This beautiful key was purchased from Riots art and craft store, I love how it has lots of different size holes making lots of pretty little bubbles.
Storing the bubble mixture in a glass jar gives a more traditional look and by adding a key you have the perfect pioneer pretty gift – don’t you think?
Blowing Bubbles Recipe
Here’s a recipe I found for making bubbles of your own – just make sure no one drinks the mixture:
1/2 cup of dish detergent (washing up liquid)
5 cups water (soft water is best – if your water is very hard consider using distilled or bottled water)
2 tablespoons glycerine (available at the pharmacy or supermarket). You can substitute light corn syrup (not golden syrup!)
Mix the ingredients together very carefully, so that you they don’t get too bubbly. Pour into storage containers and, if possible, leave overnight to blend.
Here’s some more blowing bubbles recipes.