A DIY ‘Tri-String’ Giant Bubble Wand
Making a giant bubble wand is the easiest thing in the world, and all you really need are a few sticks and some string! These kid-made tri-string wands make the biggest bubbles I’ve ever seen – the kids won’t be able to resist playing with these all day long… Read on to find out how they can make their very own giant bubble wands, with our totally home-made and plastic-free tutorial!
We first discovered tri-string bubble wands when my brother bought the kids a posh set for Christmas. We had such fun with these that I thought they’d be great to take on our upcoming camping trip. But sharing two wands between the dozen kids on the trip? That sounded like the recipe for a ‘Battle Royale’-type showdown… Everyone would want a go!
Luckily, tri-string wands are so simple that it’s a cinch to whip up your own – and home-made work every bit as well as our ‘posh’ shop-bought ones. It’s so easy that it makes the perfect summer holiday kid-craft. And this is how you do it!
Tri-String Giant Bubble Wand Instructions
A tri-string giant bubble wand is just a triangle of string or cord dangled between two stick-handles. You dip the string into your bubble mixture, and lift out with the sticks held together. Spread them out and either the wind or just a gentle wave of the sticks will create absolutely HUGE bubbles! I mean really, really, big. Ginormous. Can you feel the kids getting excited already? I bet they won’t be the only ones!
Kids of any age can make these bubbles, just use slightly shorter sticks and string for very little ones. We found these much easier to use than the two-straw home-made bubble wands you may have seen around. Unlike those ones, only the string of ours gets dipped into the mix. These wands would also make great presents, or a fabulous summer party activity.
Tri-String Giant Bubble Wand Materials
To make a tri-string giant bubble wand, you will need to gather the following supplies (any links in this list are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience):
Anything from 45 – 60 centimetres long is great, or you could say roughly the length of an arm. This is an easy way to measure if you’re out and about gathering them from the woods or park, and means that kids get custom size that’s easy for them to handle.
If you want to be fancy or are in a tree-free zone, you could use dowel rods instead. These also look pretty slick and professional if you’re making the bubble wand as a gift, though personally I prefer the natural look of a nice, weathered, stick.
Whatever you use, you’ll need two of them for each giant bubble wand, and they should be roughly the same length. They also need to be fairly thick as you’ll be putting screws into them – mine were roughly a centimetre/half an inch thick.
I used braided cotton cord that was 5mm in diameter. You could use any wool/yarn, string or cord, but if it’s thicker, it will be less likely to get irrevocably tangled. Because I can tell you that untangling wet, soapy wool is not so much fun as you might think.
As you can make this any size, the length of rope/cord required is up to you. Just remember you’ll need one long piece, and a shorter piece roughly half the length. Ours were 150cm and 75cm long.
You’ll need two eyelet screws for each giant bubble wand (one for each stick)
A large metal washer to act as a weight (one for each giant bubble wand).
1. If you are using sticks rather than dowelling, then start by cutting off any jagged or pointy bits from your sticks. I used a small saw to do this. Remove any flaky bark while you’re at it, as you don’t want that falling off later in your bubble mixture. I know, I know… I should have removed the moss. But it looks so cool, I couldn’t bring myself to peel it off!
2. Insert an eyelet screw near the top of each stick. These are normally self tapping (meaning they will create their own hole when you twist them against the wood) so you shouldn’t need to drill first.
4. Tie your long piece of cord to one eyelet. Leave a tail on the knot of a few centimetres/an inch, so that you can make another knot with that shortly.
5. Thread your washer onto the long cord, and then tie the other end to the eyelet in the remaining stick. This will connect both sticks together.
6. Take your short piece of cord and tie it onto the longer cord (NOT the eyelet this time). This knot should sit just beneath where that long cord is knotted onto an eyelet. Do the same with the other end of the short cord, again tying it just below where the long cord is tied onto the other eyelet screwed into the second stick. Leave a tail on these knots too.
7. You will now have two ‘tails’ of cord at each eyelet. On each stick, tie the two tails together to make another knot right next to the first one. This ‘tail knot’ will keep your your short cord in place, and stop it sliding down the long cord later on.
When you hold the two sticks, the long cord with the washer-weight should hang down, while the shorter piece therefore stretches across the middle. Both strings together forming a triangle shape.
And that’s it! You’ve made a tri-string giant bubble wand. Unless you want to decorate your sticks like we did, with a bit of paint, then you are ready to start making some giant bubbles… and for that you will need bubble mixture. Head on over to our Giant Bubble Mix Recipe page, where we’ve got two recipes for home-made bubble solution. One that’s ridiculously simple, with only two ingredients that I guarantee you already have. The other one is the best bubble mix I’ve ever made – it beats store-bought mixture hands down and makes awesomely huge and strong bubbles.
Giant Bubble Wand Variation – The Garland Wand
If you fancy trying something different, you can make a few simple changes to your tri-string wand, creating a garland bubble wand instead. Rather than one big bubble, this will make a whole load of bubbles all in one go. A garland wand is basically the same as the tri-wand but instead of just one big loop making one big bubble, you’ll have a whole row of smaller loops that’ll produce lots of bubbles at once. The more loops, the more bubbles…
Garland Bubble Wand Materials
To make a Garland bubble wand, you will need pretty much the same stuff as for a tri-string wand (again, any links in this list are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience):
Two sticks or dowel rods, around 45 – 60 centimetres long / a centimetre in diameter, as before.
The same braided cotton cord, string or wool. Use about three metres in total (one metre short piece and a two metre long piece). With this length you’ll get either four medium size loops or eight little ones. Any longer, and the garland becomes hard for the kids to handle by themselves.
As before, you’ll need two eyelet screws – one for each stick.
• Thin string
Kitchen string, baker’s twine or ordinary, strong sewing thread… anything like that is fine.
Garland Bubble Wand Instrustions
1. To make a garland wand, add eyelets to two sticks, as per the instructions for the tri-string giant bubble wand.
2. Attach your long and short cords to the eyelets in exactly the same way, but this time WITHOUT the washer – you won’t need it for a garland wand because the loops are much smaller.
3. Spread out your wand so that you have the whole inverted triangle of cord laid out before you. Find the centre of the long piece (the bottom of the triangle) and bring it up to the short cord, so that you now have two small loops instead of one big one.
4. Use a piece of your thinner string or thread to tie the centre point in place.
5. Repeat this process with the two new loops, turning them into a total of four loops. You can stop there, or repeat again to make eight small loops, which is about the maximum you’ll fit on this length of cord.
For this wand, the loops don’t need to be the same size, so you can experiment with a combination of big and small loops if you like.
And that’s it! Your garland wand is ready to go… bubbles here we come!
This bubble wand is a really fun one to do as a co-operative task – two kids working together can dip a really long garland and spread it out between them to create loads and loads of bubbles. It’s not as easy as it sounds so takes a little practice to get right!
I have found, however, that eventually the kids gravitate back to the tri-string wand. Everyone LOVES making the looooooonng tubular bubbles that you can produce with the tri-string, and it’s also a little easier to handle than the garland wand. So we usually now make one of these garland wands as an extra to play around with, but make sure that kids all have a tri-string wand each!
I love activities for the kids that use natural, found things, and so we’ve done a fair amount of stick painting and forest school-style crafting before. But these bubble wands have to be the best make yet – SO easy and quick to do, and yet leading to hours of fabulous, bubbly, outdoors fun. Kid nirvana!
Looking for more bubbly fun things to do with your kids? Get our unbeatable recipe for giant bubble mix, and take a look at this baby bubble play activity for really little ones.