We absolutely LOVE doing dry ice experiments for Halloween parties or just for fun. A fun and easy experiment to do is to make a giant dry ice bubble that looks exactly like a magical crystal ball. Who knows, you may be able to see the future in yours!
*Safety Alert* Dry ice is relatively safe, but it can be dangerous if handled incorrectly. Please see our dry ice safety FAQs for more information about safety, storage, and handling.
For such an insanely awesome experiment, we only had to gather a few supplies:
- Large glass mixing bowl 3/4 full of warm water
- Food coloring
- Dry ice
- Small cup
- Liquid dish soap
- Long piece of cotton fabric
We dripped a few drops of food coloring into the water and then used gloves to place a chunk of dry ice in the bowl. The initial spurt of fog bubbling out of the water is a surprise that never, ever gets old!
In a small cup we mixed liquid dish soap and a little bit of water. We placed the piece of fabric in the soapy water and were ready to try our hand at creating a giant dry ice bubble.
Dry Ice Bubble Crystal Ball
The fog bubbling out of the dry ice water is a mixture of condensed water vapor and carbon dioxide gas. The idea behind making a dry ice bubble is to trap the fog underneath a thin film of soap. It’s a little bit tricky, but with some patience, we did finally get it to work.
Grab the fabric out of the soapy water and wring it out a bit. Pull it taut and then slowly pull it across the rim of the mixing bowl. You will be able to see the film of soap stretch out across the rim behind the cloth.
It may help to get the rim of the bowl wet before pulling the cloth across it. My husband and I both tried a dozen times without success and then our 8-year-old came in and made a dry ice bubble on the first try! You never can tell.
Once we perfected our technique we had a magical time pretending to peer into the future through the crystal ball. The kids absolutely loved popping the dry ice bubble once it got nice and big. A flood of fog, met with squeals and giggles, poured out onto the table as they popped it.
We even experimented with glass containers of different sizes and shapes to see various crystal balls we could make. It turns out that it’s much easier to make a dry ice bubble from a bottle with a small mouth than it is to make one from a large bowl!
Crystal Ball Science
You should notice that the inside of the dry ice bubble churns with dry ice fog. Occasionally you may even see a smoke ring on the inside that hits the bubble membrane. It’s really cool!
The thin film of soap traps the fog inside. Since the dry ice in the water continues to sublime and produce carbon dioxide gas, the bubble gets bigger and bigger until it finally pops in a cascade of dense fog.
This is such a fun dry ice experiment to do any day of the week, but we especially enjoy pretending to be magical wizards or witches around Halloween. Scroll down to see several more Halloween science experiments that are perfect for a Halloween party or just for fun.