I've had a few bad run-ins with chewing gum. The worst was when I got it stuck in my hair and my mom had to give me the worst haircut of my life. All 12-year-old me could think about was what makes gum so sticky and how this pink glob was made.  After some research, I've uncovered the truth for all of us asking how is bubblegum made so we can finally know what we're putting into our mouths (and hair, if you're unlucky like I was).


smiling girl, Gum, outdoors, happy, smile, bubble, bubble gum, grass, tea
Julia Gilman

Before the 1940s, the main ingredient in bubblegum was a substance called chicle, which is a latex sap that comes from a tree in Central America. After World War II, chemists developed a synthetic rubber that has the same chemical properties as chicle. Additional sugars and flavorings are added during the process, which are released as the gum is chewed.

Step 1: Preparing the Chicle

Chewing gum, smile, girl, gum tape, Hubba Bubba, Gum, Pink, bubble gum, candy
Julia Gilman

This step is only necessary if natural chicle is used to make the bubblegum. The chicle is tapped from a tree and collected into buckets. It is then strained and put into large kettles, and the chicle is then boiled down to about 2/3 of its original volume so that it's more concentrated. It's then put into greased wooden molds and shipped to a manufacturing facility.

Step 2: Mixing and Drying the Latex

The gum, whether natural or artificial, is ground down to a coarse grain and then mixed together to ensure a uniform consistency. The mixture is then packed into a warm room, where it is left to dry out for a day or two.

Step 3: Cooking and Purifying the Base

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Matthew Wenger

In this step, the gum base is cooked at 243ºF until it liquefies. The liquefied gum is passed through a screen to filter out any impurities and is then spun down in a high-speed centrifuge. The liquid gum base is then passed through a series of finer screens to remove smaller and smaller impurities.

Step 4: Blending Other Ingredients

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Julia Gilman

It is in this step that the additives are added to the gum. First, fine powdered sugar and corn syrup are added to the base to make the gum taste more sugary. Second, flavorings and softeners are added, which makes it taste better and easier to chew. After the gum is uniformly mixed, the gum base is poured into long sheets and left to cool.

Step 5: Kneading and Rolling

Emma Delaney

This step of the process lasts a few hours, as the gum is flattened and pressed. Large chunks are cut off from the larger piece and are flattened to exactly .17 inches thick. Once this thickness is achieved, the gum is prepared for cutting. Throughout this entire process, the gum is being dusted with powdered sugar so it is easier to cut.

Step 6: Cutting and Seasoning

sweet, cream, chocolate, tea, coffee
Katherine Baker

A machine cuts every piece of gum down to the same size: 1.3 inches long and .449 inches wide. The gum is then set out to "season" at a room temperature, which means that it concentrates flavor within the individual sticks of gum.

Step 7: Packaging

Rachel Weitzman

Once the gum has finished seasoning, the individual sticks are wrapped in aluminium foil or wax paper, and placed in their proper packaging and shipped off to stores across the nation.

For those of you wondering how is bubblegum made, most people don't like the fact that it is made from latex sap or a combination of chemicals. However, all of the ingredients that go into bubblegum are natural, aside from the flavorings. Despite the fact that bubblegum is made from a form of rubber, it still goes hand in hand with many American traditions, and I'll continue to chew it 'til the end of time.