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DIY Invisible Ink for Kiddos

If you want to feel like a scientific genius and have your kids' eyes get as big as saucers at your magic skillz, read on...

My unschooling guru bestie, Jessica, and her two daughters (one of which is Addy, of our Let's Ask Addy column) sent my two sons the coolest homemade invisible ink kit for Christmas, and I just have to share it! She even teaches an upcoming Outschool class for kids that teaches them all about the science behind it, all while playing with art and volcanoes! Check it out by clicking here.

It is so incredibly easy, and I bet you have everything you need in your cupboard! Here are the instructions that these 3 beautiful ladies sent us, and below that, I will provide a link to the radical website they found this activity on:


  • baking soda

  • water

  • turmeric

  • rubbing alcohol

  • q-tips

  • paint brush

  • two small bowls

  • white paper

  • cardboard or wax paper

Step 1: Make invisible ink

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with a half cup of water.

Step 2: Write your secret message

  1. Take a q-tip and dip it in the invisible ink.

  2. Use your q-tip as a pen, and write your message on your paper. You only need to drag it lightly over the paper.

  3. Let it dry completely.

Step 3: Make "decoder" solution

  1. In another small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with a half cup of rubbing alcohol. NOTE: Turmeric will stain, so make sure you are using bowls that you don't mind staining with a beautiful yellow hue.

Step 4: Reveal your secret message

  1. Lay a piece of cardboard or wax paper on a tabletop to prevent the tabletop surface from getting stained from the turmeric.

  2. Make sure you are wearing clothes that are OK to stain.

  3. Set the pieces of paper with the secret messages down on your cardboard or wax paper.

  4. Break out those paint brushes and dip them into the "decoder" solution.

  5. Paint a thin coat over the entire surface of the paper to reveal the secret message! It may take a few seconds to appear... think Polaroid picture wait-time.

And that is it! Jessica and her husband wrote clues to a scavenger hunt on the ones they did for their girls, but the possibilities are endless! Here are just some of the ideas you could try...

  • Learning early math skills: you could write out 4 + 1 in pencil, and the answer in invisible ink!

  • Learning early reading skills: you could write out most of the alphabet in pencil, but write every third letter in invisible ink!

  • Just for fun and art-making purposes!

The website Jessica found this activity on is fantastic! It is called Research Parent: Educational Resources by a Research Scientist. Sooooo many amazing ideas!

I would love to see some of your creations, and please feel free to share ideas you have on how to use this super cool technique. Tag us on IG or FB (, and we will feature it in our stories!


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