DIY Invisible Ink

The DoSeum is a place where interactive fun and hands-on learning come together—a place where minds are always at play.  During your visit, our exhibits, programs, and classes will encourage young minds to explore the joy of learning through connections to STEM, the arts, and literacy, but curiosity and exploration don't have to end when you leave!

Explore our DIY Activities, Storytimes, and Questions from Kids that were created for you to DO at home and stay connected with your family while keeping minds at play in between your visits!

To learn more about how you can help support your DoSeum, especially during these unprecedented times, please visit our SUPPORT page.



DIY Invisible Ink

Invisible ink isn’t just for spies — you can make it at home with 3 simple ingredients!  Explore one-way invisible ink is made and the chemical reaction that makes it possible.  This quick DIY will have you and your child communicating through endless secret messages while learning how acids and bases react with one another.  Remember you can use invisible ink to send a top-secret message or even to hide a treasure map!

What you'll need:
  • Warm water
  • Several Q-tips or small cotton balls
  • A tablespoon
  • A paintbrush or a sponge
  • Two small bowls
  • Baking Soda
  • White paper
  • Lemon Juice
  • Food Coloring
Building Tips and Tricks:
  • If you do not have lemon juice you can substitute a different acid such as grape juice. Most acidic liquids should work for this activity with varying results.
  • This could be a fun way to encourage little ones to practice writing their letters!
  • If they are impatient for the paper to dry, you can quicken the process by outing it in a sunny place or even using a blow dryer.
  • Sometimes experiments fail, it is the nature of science. If you are having trouble getting a chemical reaction another option is to write a message in lemon juice, let it dry, and then expose it to a mild heat source such as a lightbulb or stove burner by holding the paper next to it. This will require an adult's assistance so that they do not accidentally burn themselves or catch the paper on fire.
  • If they really enjoyed this activity allow them to play with different safe acids and bases to create their own formulas. What happens if they adjust the water to baking soda ratio? Will vinegar work instead of lemon juice? What if they do it backward and write in lemon juice and then add baking soda? The experimentation is endless!

Ready to share your secret message? Be sure to tag @TheDoSeum and use #DoSeumAtHome we love seeing all that you create!

Download Invisible Ink Instructions: 0-4 Years Download Invisible Ink Instructions: 5-11 Years


See all DIY Activities >

  • TEKS 1 - VI.A.1
  • TEKS 1 - VI.A.3
  • TEKS - 5.5A
  • TEKS – 5.5B
  • TEKS – 5.5C
  • TEKS – 5.6A
  • TEKS - 5.1A
  • TEKS - 5.2A
  • TEKS - 5.2E

For more information on TEKS that were applied to this activity, please visit the TEA website.   

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