Fun with Bubble Wrap

March 17, 2010 10:27:58 AM PDT
Bubble Wrap was created 50 years ago by an American engineer and a Swiss inventor in a New Jersey garage. They were actually trying to invent textured, plastic wallpaper with a paper backing. When that idea didn't take off inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding sold the product as insulation for greenhouses. According to Bubble Wrap legend, they were inspired to transform the plastic product into pop-ular packing material we know, when Chavannes was flying into Newark Airport and noticed the billowing clouds seemed to be cushioning the plane.

After a lot of tinkering, they ended up with the cushioning material we all love to pop and a Fortune 500 company called Sealed Air. The makers of Bubble Wrap call it a "pop" culture phenomenon best-known for the satisfaction and joy that comes with the popping of each plastic cell. Bubble Wrap now has more than two million fans on Facebook and has inspired users to come up with hundreds of different uses. It has been used as a medium for creating works of art, as a fashion statement and as a central prop piece to movies and commercials.

To celebrate Bubble Wrap's official birthday last January, the company produced a limited run of gold Bubble Wrap instead of the familiar clear plastic. For fun and games with Bubble Wrap visit www.bubblewrapfun.com.

HOW TO MAKE A POINTILLIST BUBBLE WRAP MONO PRINT

Chicago artist Larry Crost specializes in sustainable art; he uses recyclable materials in his projects. Here's how to use Bubble Wrap to a make your own print like Larry's.

A. Purchase bubble wrap (any size) anywhere mailing or packing supplies are sold

B. Place the sheet of bubble wrap onto a flat working surface, than secure the edges with a several pieces of masking tape.

C. Using your choice of painting instrument, paint an original design with tempera or acrylics onto a textured portion of the bubble wrap.

D. Gently place construction paper over the painted bubble wrap surface. Lightly pat the construction paper to assure a proper transfer of your design.

E. Carefully lift the paper from the bubble wrap and enjoy your creation.

For more information on sustainable art activities for families, community education, media and corporate team building events, contact Larry Crost at Art Colony: 312-371-3263 or larrycrostart@yahoo.com.

BUBBLE WRAP® BRAND CUSHIONING "POP"-ULAR USES

50 Best Fun Ideas and Practical Uses from www.bubblewrapfun.com

"POP" ART & CRAFTS

1. Paint that Pops - For a different look, use Bubble Wrap® instead of a sponge to apply paint to interior walls to create a cool and unique textured design.

2. Lighter-Than-Air Kite - Using two sticks, Bubble Wrap®, clear tape and butcher string, create a kite that is as light as air.

3. Bubbleships - Use Bubble Wrap® and duct tape to create fun and floatable bubbleships, ducks or any kind of aquatic toy.

4. Bubble Paint Gloves - Want a new twist on finger paint? Wrap children's hands in Bubble Wrap, let them dip their hands in paint and go wild making handprints that pop!

5. Bubble Chocolate - Try making chocolate with Bubble Wrap® as the mold. Just pour chocolate over Bubble Wrap® then freeze or refrigerate. Since Bubble Wrap® is made to not stick, once the chocolate cools, just pull the Bubble Wrap® away and you are ready to eat.

FUN & GAMES

6. Bubble Wrap® Road - Unroll sheets of Bubble Wrap® to create a track so children can ride their bikes, scooters and pull their wagons on the bubbly road.

7. Pop Twister - Add a layer of Bubble Wrap® to your Twister mat to give the game some added pop.

8. Pop Tent - Bubble Wrap® works great as a tent material. Also, since Bubble Wrap® is clear, you can be protected while looking up at the stars.

9. Pop-Off Game - Have fun with a great head-to-head popping game. Have each player lay out a single sheet of Bubble Wrap®. When the referee says "go" each player has one minute to pop as many bubbles as possible using just their pointer fingers. The player who pops the most wins!

10. Give me a "B," Give me a "U" - Create popping pom-poms by cutting two dozens 16 inch strips of Bubble Wrap®. Take a dozen strips, fold in half and tape with clear tape in the center. Repeat with the second set and you are ready to cheer.

11. Freeze Game - Lay out a carpet of Bubble Wrap® and let kids pop as many bubbles as possible until the music stops. When it does, everyone must FREEZE!

12. Bubble Trap - Lay a layer of Bubble Wrap® next to your bed so your brother/sister/friend can't sneak up on you when you are sleeping.

13. Bubble Wrap® Volleyball - Create a super light bubble ball using Bubble Wrap® that can set, volley and dig all day long.

14. Costume Party - What is the best costume you can create with Bubble Wrap®? Bubble Bride, Mr. Bubble, Professional (W)Rapper, the ideas are endless? 15. Snowboarder's Cushion - If you are trying to learn how to snowboard, you're going to take a few (or several) spills. Try adding a little extra cushion for your knees, hips and butt. Now if only we could help protect your ego.

16. Bike Seat - Bumpy road? Why not provide some extra cushion with a Bubble Wrap bike seat.

17. Stress Reliever - Tax day, college finals, getting ready to pop the question? Don't worry, take a deep breath, grab some Bubble Wrap and pop your worries away.

18. Sumo Bubble - With the help of some friends, wrap your arms, legs and torso with a super thick layer of Bubble Wrap®. Keep wrapping until you are bulked up like a pro and face off with your opponent to Sumo wrestle, Bubble Wrap® style.

19. Bubble Boxing - Wrap and tape each hand with a very thick layer of Bubble Wrap®. Keep the blows below the neck and above the waist.

20. Pop-a-Phone - Create a percussion instrument like none other by rolling out a strip of Bubble Wrap® and using your xylophone sticks to play some serious pop music.

21. Protective Sportswear - Sports enthusiasts can help avoid bumps and bruises in inline or roller skating and contact sports.

22. Pop Bingo - Create a bingo board underneath a layer of Bubble Wrap® so a number is under each bubble. Each time your number is called pop it until someone eventually yells "Bingo!"

HOME & GARDEN

23. Fruit Protector - Place sheets of Bubble Wrap® on the bottom of your refrigerator's crisper compartment to protect fruit and vegetables from bruising.

24. Freezer Efficiency - Fill the spaces in between the frozen food in your freezer with Bubble Wrap®. Packing the items tight will block warmer air from circulating causing your freezer to work harder.

25. Window Insulator - Use Bubble Wrap® to insulate windows. Simply cut the Bubble Wrap® to size, spray the glass lightly with water, and apply the flat side of the material.

26. Plant Protector - For container plants that are susceptible to cold but can't be moved inside, line the inside of the planter pots with Bubble Wrap® to prevent compost from freezing and damaging the roots. Make sure to leave space so as not to cover the drainage hole.

27. Frost Protector - Want to protect your plants from frost? Use Bubble Wrap® as a blanket to protect your plants while still letting the sun shine in.

28. Greenhouse Insulator - Believe it or not, after the inventors' initial idea for the material to be a textured wallpaper fell flat, they sold it to growers as a greenhouse insulator. Just because it is an old idea for Bubble Wrap® doesn't mean it's a bad one!

29. Winterize Your Pipes - Use Bubble Wrap® to winterize outdoor spigots before temperatures dip below freezing. Wrap outdoor pipes using string or rubber bands in order to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.

30. "Pop"able Placemats - Make your own "pop"able place mats that work well for passing time during any lulls in a dinner conversation. Not sure what to eat? Try Pop Tarts, popcorn and soda pop. Oh, and don't forget your Bubble Wrap® napkin ring.

31. Windshield Cover - Hate scraping ice off your windshield after an evening freeze? Try covering the glass with Bubble Wrap® and come morning just pull the plastic aside and voilá, no ice.

32. Camping Tent Protector - Lay down a layer of Bubble Wrap® before putting down and staking your tent. The layer will help keep out moisture and will also add a nice layer of added comfort.

33. Drink Cozy - Does your soda lose its cool too quickly? Use tape and Bubble Wrap® to make a "pop"able drink can cozy. How's that for soda pop?

34. Car Seat Cover - Why use those expensive beaded seat covers when you can line your bucket seats with the light-as-air Bubble Wrap®?

35. Bleacher Seat Buffer - If you need a quick and easy fix for the hard, cold, metal bleachers at a big game, try adding a layer of Bubble Wrap® to cushion your toosh. And if it is after a rain storm, Bubble Wrap® keeps you dry.

36. Baby Mat - Use Bubble Wrap® to make a Bubble Wrap® baby mat. It is light, easy to carry and padded too.

37. Travel Wrap v Pack along some Bubble Wrap® on trips so when you return with fragile souvenirs, you will have them well protected.

38. Dog House Helper - Help Fido out this winter. Insulate his house with Bubble Wrap® to help keep him warm through the cold nights.

39. Puffy Pillow - Rest your weary head on a pillow of air by making a Bubble Wrap® pillow.

40. Extra Padding - Help ensure a good night's sleep by placing an extra layer of Bubble Wrap® under your sheet or bedspread. Lay back, relax and rest easy.

41. Beach Blanket - If you don't have a towel, no sweat ? try a Bubble Wrap® blanket.

42. Bubble Wrap® Door Mat - If you need a door mat and don't have a door bell. Kill two birds with one stone with the Bubble Wrap® door mat that also pops when your guests arrive.

43. Matrix TV - Tired of watching the same old programming? Add a layer of Bubble Wrap® to your screen and watch the textures of the screen change before your eyes.

44. Bubble Wrap Wrapping - Add a little pop to your holiday gifts or birthday presents by wrapping them in Bubble Wrap®. Warning once they see it is Bubble Wrap® they might be too distracted popping to open your present.

FASHION

45. Fashion Show - In pairs or teams, work together to dress your model in an outfit that really pops! Once the designs are made, models walk a Bubble Wrap® runway so the judges can pick the winning designers.

46. A Tie that Pops - Not sure what to get your "Pops" for Father's Day? Why not make him a Bubble Wrap® tie that is sure to make him a standout at the office.

47. Hush Bubbles - Add some bubble inserts to your shoes to provide a comforting cushion of air. Just trace your feet, cut the Bubble Wrap® and make your walk all the more enjoyable.

48. Shoe Protector - Don't want to muddy up your fashionable kicks? Try wrapping your shoes in a layer of Bubble Wrap® to keep them clean and dry.

49. Bubble Wrap® Formal - Plan your own bubble ball and dress in your own Bubble Wrap® gowns and tuxes.

50. Purse Liner - Add a little extra protection to your purse by adding an inside lining that keeps your personal items safe and sound.


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