Gelatin Bubble Tutorial

8/13/12

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen me post these guys:

 

I made them for a shoot and they’re possible my new favorite thing. Gelatin bubbles! I found the original tutorial on Cake Central and after a few trial and errors, I found what works best for me.  Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do, because I think they’re pretty rad.

What you need:

  • Water balloons
  • Duct tape
  • Sticks (I used cake pop sticks)
  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Cold water
  • Food coloring
  • Patience

Mix 1 part gelatin to twp parts water.  I used 2 T. water and 1 T gelatin for 6, 1″ balloons. One of which will be the sacrificial lamb. Put the COLD water in a dish (I prefer a white one so I can see what color I’m making). Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let it sponge up. There will be undissolved gelatin. Let it be.

 Now make your balloon stick thingys. Blow up the balloon to the size you want (I made mine about 1″), tie a knot and duct tape it to a stick.

Grease your balloons. I ALWAYS forget this step and it’s a freakin PITA to remove the balloon from the bubble.  I remembered once and I used my finger to smear shortening all over the balloon. Make sure it’s a light smear or the gelatin won’t stick. It should look like a shiny face after a hot day, not like a greasy face mask.

Take the sponged up gelatin and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt the gelatin mass. Maybe 8 seconds if you have a strong one. Don’t let it boil or air bubbles will form and you will be sad. Take the dish out and SWIRL it.  Like you do with that glass of pinot you drink every night (don’t lie). If you mix with a stick, fork, spoon, whatever, air bubbles will form. And you will be sad. There will be a clump of undissolved gelatin-gently fish it out with a fork and toss it.  Here’s a pic of the clump before tossing. It looks like a strange alien that will come to life and eat your face.

Now add some food coloring and swirl it around to incorporate. Gelatin has a yellowish color to it already so factor that into your final desired color.  I used black. At this point, let it sit for a minute or two to let it cool down. Hot gelatin will pop your balloons. And you will be sad.

It’s time for your sacrificial lamb. See all the air bubbles? You will use one of your balloons to skim the surface of the gelatin mix to pick up as many bubbles as you can. Then toss it. I skipped this part for the bubbles in the top photo. There were air bubbles, and I was….sad.

 

Dip, twirl and coat your balloons. You’ll need about 3-4 coats to make it thick enough. If the mix gets too thick, pop it in the microwave for 3 or so seconds.

Line them up in a stand of your choice and let them dry. Overnight is best, but you can put them in front of a fan for a few hours. It should feel like an eggshell when it’s ready. It’s supposed to be hard, not rubbery. If they still reek of gelatin, they’re not done.

Here’s the fun and satisfying part. Turn them over when dry, cut the balloon with scissors and peel the carcass away. You’ll be left with a super rad gelatin bubble to play around with.

The ones I made in this tutorial are still drying, so here’s a picture of one I made a few weeks ago. They keep really well; I put them in a tupperware container and I’ve read they last indefinitely. Use them to decorate cakes, cupcakes, your kitchen wall-get creative!

So, here’s the thing. They’re made of unflavored gelatin and would taste pretty gross (IMO).  They’re made of unflavored gelatin, and don’t taste fabulous. I finally took a bite of one, and it kind of tastes like nothing with a hint of glue. I’ve not tried making them with flavor, but if you do, let me know how it works!!!

Have fun, my friends!

 

 

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Pam

57 Comments
  1. You crack me up! Great tutorial and you made me laugh too! Love your light heart and maybe this will encourage people to try something fun…like this project! Love your explanation! Thanks for posting this!

    1. Looks fab, can’t wait to try…..but sad coz I don’t know what a water balloon is. Is it just a balloon filled with water or more specialized??

      Thanks for great explanation.

      Regards
      Hilda

      1. A water balloon is just a small balloon. Their what kids fill with water in the summer and throw at each other for a fun game in the hot sun. They are usually available in the summer and are cheap to buy. They are an American sold item. If your not in America try buying them from EBay.

      2. A “water balloon” is just a smaller-sized balloon. DO NOT fill it with water when doing this technique. Fill it with air.

  2. Thanks for the explanation..very well said:) so these are just for decorations?? I thought they wher edible.. But they’re still fun and nice looking…
    Again than you so much.. And I’m not sad:)

    1. They are for decorations, but can be eaten if you’re so inclined. It’s kind of like fondant toppers-you technically can eat them, but it’s definitely not the highlight of the cupcake :)

  3. Pam, fabulous explanation. I am going to try them today. Today is 10/27/2012. I hope I will enjoy as seem you did. I love to do all this. My hobby is gumpaste. I do flowers, I love them. Thanks for your tutorial.

  4. Hi!! Thank you for this amazing tutorial! I’ve seen these spheres on cakes and I was wondering were to find them. Now I know!! Only one thing I would like to know: What do I use to stick them together on a cake without melt them? Is there any precaution to observe in order to prevent wreckage?? Thank youuu!!

    1. Hi! I would use royal onto it but make sure to put it on at the last minute. They don’t dissolve right away but will melt over time on buttercream. If you are attaching to fondant you can use white chocolate :)

  5. Love this! You made me laugh! I just tried making these however forgot the shortening part! And yes holy heck to get the balloon out! I’ll b making another set instead of trying to get the balloon out. You said they will dissolve over time on buttercream. How long will they last? Thank you for writing this tutorial! Can’t wait to try again greasing the balloons first. Oh one more thing, when I blew up the balloons I wanted smaller bubbles. How do I get rid of the little nipple at the top of the balloon to keep smaller bubbles?

  6. Hi Pam, I just want to thank you for linking to my original tutorial, well not the original, since Cake Central was not where I posted, but you get the idea. Funny you are in San Diego, so am I! I teach these and more gelatin projects here in San Diego.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and making it enjoyable with added comments. I plan to try this and not be sad!
    Have a great day!!!

  8. I have made these a couple times and your tips are the BEST!
    I tried boxed jello and that did not set at all.
    I also replaced a little water with flavoring and that worked well.
    Thank you for your great tips and your great sense of humor.

  9. My friend gave me a recipe with flavored jello and I’ve seen her do flowers and bubbles with it. 2 parts cold water half a part Knox gelatin and 1 and a half parts jello. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  10. Thanks for this!
    I know you said to put the bubbles on last minute, but I may not be able to. Do you have an estimate of how long they will last before melting on buttercream? And will refrigeration help slow the process down?

  11. Take the sponged up gelatin and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt the gelatin mass. Maybe 8 seconds if you have a strong one. Don’t let it boil or air bubbles will form and you will be sad. Take the dish out and SWIRL it. Like you do with that glass of pinot you drink every night (don’t lie). If you mix with a stick, fork, spoon, whatever, air bubbles will form. And you will be sad. There will be a clump of undissolved gelatin-gently fish it out with a fork and toss it. Here’s a pic of the clump before tossing. It looks like a strange alien that will come to life and eat your face.

  12. Hi, thank you for including the 2T water to 1T gelatin to make 6- 1″ balloons. I had the right porportions from another website but used 5pkgs to a little less than 1/4 cup water thinking that would be enough for several larger balloons 3″-4″. It was, but the heating time was off because I had more ingredients and had to keep reheating what I had. The balloons are drying now and look OK but having exact time and measurements is a big help. I would recommend using the smaller 1 T. gelatin and just use several containers for dipping. F

  13. I just love the “attitude” lol, we need more of it. some “cake” people are so critical & stuffy lol, love it. also, in the UK you can buy water balloons in the £ shop

  14. hi, could I ask how long do you wait inbetween each coating of gelatine? do you let the first layer dry then dip again for second & repeat?

  15. Great tutorial. I have the same small question as summer. How do I get rid of the little nipple at the top of the balloon wen making smaller bubbles?
    Thanks

  16. Hi I love the bubbles however I am trying the tutorial right now ans everyone of my balloons are popping :( I remade the gelatin and I’ve let it cool completely …. Still popping :(

  17. One way to get rid of the “nipple” at the end of the balloon is to slightly under fill your balloon, then take tie a knot in the balloon. Then when taping onto your stick, tape the knotted end and pull then nippled end together and tape again. This creates a rounded balloon shape without the nipple. It’s a little more trouble and you have to be sure you have the nipple end VERY secure or it will come undone, but if the nipple really bothers you, this will eliminate it. Thanks for the great tutorial Pam!!!

  18. Pam you are a hoot! Loved your not so sad bubble guide. Thanks. You and I would have a ball working together. Have fun. Enjoy what you do!! Thanks for sharing the info :)

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  20. I tried this tonight and all my balloons have drips underneath where the extra fluid dripped off. How do you prevent that?

    1. How bad are the drops? There will be a little bit of a drip, but you wont see it when you place it on the cake. Or you can always cut it off with scissors when dry. Make sure you’re not over-dipping as well. They should be fairly thin.

  21. Olá querida, parabéns pelo post! Será que dá para colocar um pouco de doce dentro pelo orifício que ficou para dar sabor ao morder? Beijos!

  22. Can’t wait to try this to make snow globe cup cakes!!! I think water balloons are gonna be my choice for balloons as most don’t have that pesky nipply problem.

  23. i was reading from other site about using white grape instead of water that might improve the flavor so it isn’t like eating dried glue. just a thought.

  24. Thanks so much for your ace info on gelatine balloons. My first ones look a bit alien but I think I know what went wrong. I am not sad. And I have lots of cute little bubbles. For a first batch i am very happy. And they make the most terrifying sound when the water bomb comes away. Loads of fun highly recommend

  25. True story…i made these without reading your tutorial …and i was sad. I have now since read your tutorial and feel much better and more confident that my sadness can be replaced with bubbly happiness once again if i follow your steps. My first attempt of bubbles unaided by your tutorial represented the craters in the moon…after 1,00000 comments had hit. And it was thicker in some areas and thinner in others because i tried hard and the gelatin just wanted the last laugh. So i sat sad and defeated resenting the $2.00 i paid for a 100 gram jar of Gelatin. I sat there mad at my ugly bubbles because there was no way i was letting the Gelatin win. No way! So i googled and googled until i found a tutorial that spoke to my soul. Spoke to my sad defeated soul. That tutorial was ylurs. And im glad to say that after a nap and a cuppa i will put my cape back on and show that Gelatin who’s boss! Wish me luck! :) Thanks for the handy tips and much enjoyed humour. :)

  26. Anyone try using olive oil spray instead of the shortening? It just seems much easier to spray instead of shmear. 😉

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