Colored Bubbles

A Colorful Spin on Bubbles

No one could burst Tim Kehoe’s bubble. Even when experts said his idea would never work, he kept trying — for more than 15 years. Then in 2009, Tim made his dream a reality when Zubbles, the world’s first colored bubbles, finally came to market.

Zubbles are like high-def versions of the classic soap bubbles we all know and love. They contain a special dye that makes them vibrant pink or blue. The dye is nontoxic and non-staining, so if the bubbles pop on your shirt, the color will evaporate. That sounds like a simple
concept — colored bubbles that don’t leave stains when they pop. But it took years of experimenting with bubbles, refining the dyes, and streamlining the manufacturing process to get to this point. (Popular Science recognized the significance of Tim’s creative chemistry by giving the groundbreaking colored bubbles its grand award for innovation in 2005.)

Throughout the years of experimentation, Tim made a living by designing toys, working for software companies, and writing. And his persistence paid off. Right around the time Zubbles started selling, Tim published his novel, The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow about a 11-year-old boy who dreamed of being a toy inventor. Both big debuts remind us how important it is to chase our dreams.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Tim

    I'm Tim Kehoe, the inventor of Zubbles - the world's first colored bubbles. I played with clear bubbles for years and thought why hasn't someone made bubbles in color? I went to the grocery store and bought everything I could that had color so that I could try to get the color onto the bubble. Of course I was only able to make a big mess. Turns out the scientific community was sure that adding color to the thin wall of a bubble was impossible. That just made me more determined to get a colored bubble. After years of tinkering and many ruined carpets, I finally figured out how to color bubbles and I am proud to see them available now.

  • Marc
    3/11/2010 12:00 PM

    Hi everyone. This is Marc and I bought the Zubbles business from Tim. I'm thrilled to share with you a major advancement in a toy that has been around for hundreds of years. You've played with bubbles before and probably have some somewhere in your house, but now you can play with colored bubbles for the first time. I welcome you to ask any questions about Zubbles to me or to Tim, my friend who invented Zubbles after a lot of experimenting.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    3/11/2010 12:13 PM

    Some of my favorite pictures of my son growing up involve bubbles. This would be a great prop for some truly magical childhood pictures! Joanne, you have nerves of STEEL! The only place bubbles are allowed in our house, colored or not, is in the bathtub. Can you imagine how fun these bubbles would be in the bathtub?!

  • Kate
    3/11/2010 1:13 PM

    Disappearing inks, markers that draw on special paper but not on walls, things that change color with the warmth of your hand it's fascinating what people who have a vision are able to create! I don't understand where the color goes? How does it disappear?

  • Joanne
    3/11/2010 4:01 PM

    I should add that I would not want these bubbles around delicate fabrics or upholstery. The soap leaves a ring and the bubble lands with an alarming splatter of color. See my kitchen floor in the video. It washes easily but bubbles are best played with outside. BTW - the kids clothes and skin will be 'colorful' too..just rub it and it disappears. Fun.

  • Michele
    3/11/2010 4:26 PM

    My 4yo would go crazy for these. Bubbles indoors??? We always do bubbles outdoors. I never thought about doing it indoors. My daughter always spills the bubble liquid whether it's colored or not. I think getting messy is half the fun. Getting messy and then have it disappear? Awesome.

  • Tim
    Tim – Special Guest
    3/11/2010 9:50 PM

    Thanks for the question Kate. I get a kick out of all the postings on the Internet that claim they know how Zubbles are made. Wikipedia claims Zubbles use leuco dyes or something called crystal violet lactone. The online explanations are usually far more complex than the actual process. At the end of the day we use dyes, and derivatives of dyes, that have been used in toys for years. Mix in the magic ingredient (something that is most likely in your kitchen right now), and a little soap—you get disappearing colored bubbles! But leuco violet lactone might sound cooler! I hope you enjoy them.

  • Kevin
    3/11/2010 11:46 PM

    We were thrilled when we first discovered color wonder markers.... But these bubbles take the cake! Our girls would love them!

  • Andy lee
    Andy lee
    4/20/2010 5:53 AM

    I really surprise when found zubbles in googling. Because it's my dream. And I try to mail to your company but failed. How can I contact to you by email. I like to talk to you. Thanks.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/20/2010 10:10 AM

    @Andy - I agree colored bubbles are something you would think you could only dream about! I will get in touch with you directly with the Zubbles contact information.

  • Normie Buehring
    Normie Buehring
    11/15/2010 9:59 PM

    I am un able to order your Zubbles bubbles on-line. Do you have a phone # for me to call and place the order? Your reply is appreciated. Thanks.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/15/2010 10:56 PM

    @Normie Buehring: You can call in your order to 877-862-0222 ext 210. If you are having a technical issue with ordering from our site, please let them know that as well so that we can get that resolved. Thank you for stopping by Daily Grommet today!

  • Jill Paulos
    Jill Paulos
    12/1/2010 1:53 PM

    Forget the kids, I cannot wait to play with these ;)............

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    12/1/2010 2:11 PM

    @Jill Paulos: ;)

  • Eileen
    12/5/2011 8:47 PM

    Two questions:

    What ages are these appropriate for? I have both a 3 yr old and 5 yr old nephews. Are they too young? I can't remember when i first started playing with bubbles.

    Next...it says the color disappears when exposed to air. Duh, air is all around us. Does that mean I can't take the boys outdoors to play?


  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    12/6/2011 12:17 AM

    @Eileen Polakoff: Both 3 and 5 year olds will have a blast with Zubbles. The color does disappear when exposed to air, but it's gradual. Inside or outside is fine. It may leave a soap ring that will wash out...but you still will want to be careful around items that are hard to wash such as a couch. Enjoy! You will all have a lot of fun.

  • Vicki Koe
    Vicki Koe
    12/14/2011 3:06 AM

    Hi Katherine,

    I am keen to purchase Zubbles but have not been able to get a response via email. Could you please email me?

    Thank you!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    12/14/2011 11:55 AM

    @Vicki Koe: I have just sent you an email. We'll see what we can do for you to get some Zubbles in your hands!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

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