Soap Film on a Can

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The beautiful iridescent colors of a bubble in a can! With this Exploratorium Science Snack, create beautiful soap films on the open end of a can to see beautiful rainbows of color.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • One black plastic film can (you can make a substitute)
  • Dishwashing liquid—Dawn™ Ultra Original Scent in blue works best
  • Water—distilled water works best
  • Mixing container
  • A shallow dish to hold the soap solution
  • White paper
  • A pencil or pen


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Perception
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Diffraction and Interference
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color


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Access Rights:

  • Free access