3 Ways to paint with Bubbles

Bubble painting is a classic children’s art activity, and it’s easy to see why – it’s easy, cheap, kids love it, and the results are pretty good too, but bubbles are also amazingly versatile, we’ve tried 3 different techniques now, and each one has distinctively different results.


Bubble Painting #1




The first technique is the one most people will be familiar with. Here, you mix your paint (in this case tempera) with a little water, and a squirt of washing-up liquid, stir it up and then blow into it with a straw to create lots and lots of bubbles. You then gently place the paper over the bubbles to take a print from them, remove, and allow to dry.

This is the basic technique, but you can vary it. For example, you can use a large tray of bubbles to cover the whole sheet. Alternativelyyou can use several small pots of different coloured bubbles, as in the example below, and print them one at a time on the same page, (or cluster them together and do them all at once) to create multi-colour bubble circles.  Another variation is to try layering one colour print with another using bubbles of a different colour.




Bubble Painting #2

The next technique is equally popular with children, but is potentially messier. It’s a great project for outdoors on a sunny day, but we did this indoors, and so I used a cardboard box to ‘contain’ the mess.




This time we used watercolour inks mixed with a squirt of bubble solution (we’ve acquired lots of pots of this from numerous different party bags). The bubbles were then blown through a ‘window’ in the cardboard box, onto a sheet of paper below. The ink I used can stain, and the thought of inky bubbles floating and popping around the house did not appeal! However the box limited the damage quite successfully.

We used watercolour paper to blow our bubbles onto, as I found this retained the image of the bubbles better when the paper got quite wet, instead of pooling and running. I like the combination of bubbles here with splatters and dribbles, and it was a really easy activity which the boys loved doing.




Bubble Painting #3

The 3rd technique we’ve tried involves painting with ‘foam’. Once again, this is a messy activity – possibly the messiest of the lot. This time you mix the tempera paint, as in the first technique, with a little water and a squirt of washing-up liquid. It’s important with all of these techniques to make sure you don’t dilute the paint too much if you want to get a strong print. I used old ice-cream tubs for the paint, and mixed up several different colours.




A sponge is used to apply the paint. I used a clean sponge for each colour, and squeezed it a few times in the paint first to get plenty of foam. The coloured foam is then applied to a sheet of toughened glass or perspex (or even an old tray) in whatever design you like, and then the paper placed over the top to take a print.




When you remove the paper pull it back and forth (up and down) a little as you do it – this enhances the veining effect that you achieve, which looks very organic, rather like trees.

I have to say that I carried on with this activity for a whole morning, long after the boys had moved on to other things! With this technique particularly I love the combination of the bubbles and the veining, and the finished papers are so evocative that I feel sure we will be using them as the basis of further artwork. It’s rather like seeing pictures in the fire. I look at these and see underground caves, mysterious fantasy architecture, enchanted forests, and undersea scenes….




Pin It
27 Responses to “3 Ways to paint with Bubbles”
  1. AmyA@CCS says:

    Thank you for linking up over at We LOVE Paint over at the PreKandK Sharing linky party! I love all of your bubble painting ideas, I’ve never painted with the foam before, I’m sure we will we doing that soon!

  2. Ooooh what fun! I have wanted to have a go at bubble painting with the kids for ages now… and now I have THREE ways to choose from.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  3. aqeela says:

    Oh wow, i love the results from all 3 of your techniques, i think they will be projects for my son to do soon, we havent had paint out in months!
    Aqeela xx

  4. SunJ says:

    I aleady used this play with my students.
    They all enjoyed it. It is very useful and helpful play to child. 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to try these in my preschool class. We might have to wait for warmer weather. Beautiful results 🙂

  6. Kim curic says:

    We did this last week with food coloring and soap water, but the bubbles formed were not very bright. i guess your idea of blowing directly with tempera might work better. Will be sure to try.

  7. jude says:

    I have to say I’m not big fan of using food colouring as paint, because I find the results are often disappointing. I used coloured inks, and made sure that the colour in the bubble mixture was quite concentrated. As you can see, this gives a good result.

  8. Shelle says:

    Terrific post. I have never thought to paint with foam. It will be fun to try once we head outdoors again. I am curious though if this post gets a lot of views from England and other European countries. My son did a bubble painting post on his blog over the summer for the first method and it has as many views as the rest of the blog combined, more every day, and mostly from Europe.

  9. Shelle says:

    Okay, so I am having a dense moment. I just realized this is a UK website, so the answer is probably “Yes”. =)

  10. jude says:

    You are of course right, being a UK site! It has however been one of my most popular posts. Something about bubble painting must appeal to readers!

  11. Marie-Jo says:

    Great ideas, thank you for sharing.

  12. Marie-Jo says:

    By the way I am in Australia.

  13. Trudy says:

    Just a courtesy note to let you know I have pinned your “Three ways to paint with bubbles” post to a pinterest board with a collection of learning resources to complement the “Bubble Mania” app. You will find lesson ideas, learning activities and reviews for a range of apps on my boards. If you have other posts suitable for this or other boards I am compiling, you are welcome to email me. You can view my boards at http://pinterest.com/fingerpprojects/.
    Warm regards

  14. Love this idea and will defintely give it a go in the next couple of days

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] de jabón. Lo había leído en alguno de los libros de Mary Ann Kohl y hace poco me lo recordó este post de Art­ful Adven­tu­res. Así que el domingo pasado nos pusi­mos manos a la obra y os avanzo […]

  2. […]  Check out the first and most familiar technique for bubble painting here and click over to Artful Adventures for more ideas on how to paint with bubbles! Photo Courtesty of […]

  3. […] ‘shaving cream marbling’ technique, they painted with watercolors/salt/and glue, and a sponge and bubble painting technique. On the final day, the parents brought in family photos, then helped the kids rip up their art and […]

  4. […] can get messier with those air bubbles !!! just to give an idea, got a random link from web; 3 Ways to paint with Bubbles : Artful Adventures and I liked manjukps' idea of teaching simple kolams. even my DD likes kolams but haven't taught […]

  5. A Few Things says:

    […] tried bubble painting this weekend. It was fun, and would be great to do with kids in red white and blue for Independence […]

  6. […] looks like fun, bubble painting. Instructions are here by Artful […]

  7. […] 21. Bubble art – make a bubble painting and then write the name of the day on it. (artful-kids.com) […]

  8. […] I knew I had to try my own version of all those painting with bubbles activities I had read about here and there. They just looked like such […]

  9. […] Three Ways to Paint with Bubbles on artful-kids  * On top of the usual press onto bubbles printing technique, this tutorial shows the use of a […]

  10. […] the mid 1600s! While there are many benefits to blowing bubbles like developing oral motor skills, creating art, and experimenting with bubbles, I want to talk about the benefits of DIY bubble solution, wands, […]

  11. Crochet Blog says:

    Coloring Techniques For Paper

    […] them together and do them all at once) to create multi-colour bubble circles.  […]