Soap-Film Interference Model: Get on our wavelength!

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By making models of light waves with paper, learners can understand why different colors appear in bubbles. Since light has different sizes, you'll see why certain iridescent colors appear in clear, thin films.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Twenty-five 3 x 5 index cards “smaller cards” (approximately 76 x 127 millimeters; closest metric equivalent is A7)
  • Seventeen 5 x 7 index cards “larger cards” (approximately 127 x 178 millimeters; between A6 and A5 in metric)
  • Masking tape that is 1/2 in (1.25 cm) wide; the narrower the better
  • Transparent tape
  • Blue and red marker pens
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Optional: String


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Mathematics
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Diffraction and Interference
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Formulating Explanations


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Access Rights:

  • Free access