Paper Cup Bubble Machine

Activity Type: STEM Engineering


Learn about bubbles and build a bubble machine with a cup and straw.

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Fun Facts about Bubbles

  • When many bubbles join together it’s called foam.
  • On May 16, 1999, 23,680 gathered at a soccer field in London for a mass bubble-blowing event.
  • Children have been blowing bubbles for at least 400 years.
  • It’s possible to freeze bubbles.


  • Poke a hole with a pencil in your paper cup, about 1 inch from the bottom.
  • Stick the straw through the hole and push forward, but don’t let it touch the other side. Have the bendy portion on the outside of the cup, facing up.
  • Use masking or duct tape to secure the straw on the outside. Make sure you’ve plugged any cracks so the straw doesn’t leak.
  • Pour  dish soap into the cup, enough to cover the straw. Make sure the bendy part of the straw is pointing up or the soap will pour out.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring if you’d like colored bubbles.
  • Gently blow through the straw and watch the bubble overflow (this is best done outside).
  • You may choose to decorate your bubble machine with markers, stickers, etc.


1 Star = less than $.50 per project
2 Stars = $.50 - $1.00 per project
3 Stars = more than $1.00 per project


1 Star = Easy (No Assist K-5)
2 Stars = Moderate (Possible Assist K-2, No Assist 3-5)
3 Stars = Hard (Assist K-2, Possible Assist 3-5)

Time to Complete

30 minutes

Materials List

We provide Amazon links to the materials. These links are not affiliate links (in other words, we do not make money when you purchase via these links). These links are included so you can SEE the product. If you do purchase through Amazon, please be aware of the quantities, as the quantities on our links might not be appropriate for you. Also, the links do not necessarily represent the cheapest prices. You may want to consider searching Amazon for even cheaper prices or purchasing items locally (we have lots of luck with dollar stores).

Meets Common Core Standards:


    Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.


    Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


    Conduct short as well as more sustained projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

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