Invisible Ink Recipes for Kids – Guaranteed Fun!

Try these invisible ink recipes. Kids love them! They make great additions your mystery or detective unit.

Ms. Sneed Tries Invisible Ink Recipes

Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat at her kitchen table. She peered at her laptop.”Invisible ink recipes,” she said to herself. “Yeah, these will be a perfect addition to my mystery genre study.”

Suddenly she jumped up and began to gather materials from around the house. First she took lemon juice, cranberry juice, and milk from the refrigerator. Then she pulled a box of baking soda from the cupboard. Next she pulled a pencil, a white crayon, some water colors, and a stack of paper from her school supplies. Finally, she took a hair dryer and some Q-tips from the bathroom.

Indentation Method

First, Ms. Sneed stacked two pieces on top of one another. Pressing firmly, she used the pencil to write, “It’s a mystery!” Then she removed the top paper and lightly shaded the bottom paper with the pencil. Sure enough, the invisible ink message could be read easily.

“Yep. This is a keeper,” Ms. Sneed said to herself.

One simple form of invisible ink is indentation. Just go over the area lightly with a pencil.

White Crayon and Paint Method

On another piece of white paper, Ms. Sneed wrote “Clue #1” with a white crayon. Then she brushed over the words with some blue paint. The words popped out. “Wow, this is the best so far,” she commented.

Kids love this form of invisible ink. Write (as much as you want!) with a white crayon. To disclose the message, paint over it.

Heat-Activated Invisible Ink

Ms. Sneed decided to try heat-activated invisible ink next. She dipped a Q-tip in milk and wrote “Clue” on a piece of paper. Then, with a new Q-tip, she wrote “#2” with lemon juice.

After waiting for the liquids to dry, Ms. Sneed turned the hair dryer on high. She applied plenty of heat to the area where she wrote. “I can barely see the words,” she said to herself. “Therefore, the heat-activated methods are not a good match for my classroom.”

Baking Soda and Juice Method

Finally, Ms. Sneed mixed baking soda with water. Using a Q-tip, she wrote “Clue #3” with the paste. After it dried, she brushed cranberry juice over it. “Not bad,” said Ms. Sneed, “but definitely not the best method.”

Using a baking soda mixture for invisible ink - and going over it with cranberry juice - doesn't work as well.

Students Experiment with Invisible Ink

When the time came, Ms. Sneed was ready with a fabulous activity. “Today’s mystery activity,” she told her class, “is invisible ink.” Everyone cheered.

“Each science group will experiment with three methods. Then you will determine which is best.” The teacher distributed lab sheets and materials. After that, everyone got down to business.

Ask your kids to test all three types of invisible ink - then analyze to see which kind works best.

As Ms. Sneed circulated around the room, she smiled to herself. What a great detective activity!

Enjoy Teaching with Detective Activities

Ms. Sneed loves teaching genres. During her mystery unit, active learning brought her particular joy. To accomplish this, she added lots of activities: observation, secret codes, invisible ink, fingerprinting, and logic puzzles. Try some with your students!

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