Scented invisible ink

Today’s message is being brought to you by Courtney…

Have you ever made a fun discovery and just can’t wait to share it with someone?  Well, that is exactly what happened when I figured out a new way to make invisible ink…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

We’ve been exploring mysteries at preschool this week!  Find out more about how we solved our missing snack mystery by clicking here.  The children learned about our missing snack by revealing a message written in invisible ink.  Once I had decided on our mystery theme and scavenger hunt, I knew I somehow wanted to incorporate invisible ink.  I began scouring the internet for the best invisible ink recipe that I could find.  I tried several different recipes using common ingredients found around the home and classroom, but none of them seemed to work out very well.  So, that’s when I began to brainstorm…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

I really wanted this process to be as simple as possible, in case our students wanted to try it, as well.  Through my research, I learned that their was usually a chemical reaction taking place in order for the secret message to appear.  One common ingredient among the recipes was lemon juice or grape juice.  Another common ingredient was baking soda.  I deduced that both of the juices contained citric acid, which would react with the baking soda.  I had baking soda, but no lemon juice or grape juice.  That is when I began thinking outside the box.  I began thinking of other things that contain citric acid.  That is when I thought of powdered drink mix, otherwise known as Kool-Aid.  We keep Kool-Aid at preschool for scenting playdough.  Since we had the two main ingredients, it was time to test my creation…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

Making invisible ink is a two step process.

  1. First you need to make the ink and create your invisible message.
  2. The second step is to create your magic revealing potion.  

To make your invisible ink, you mix equal parts baking soda and water.  Dip a clean paintbrush into the invisible  ink mixture and create your message on white paper. Let the invisible ink dry.  It should only take a few minutes to dry…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

To make your magic revealing potion empty the packets of drink mix into cups and mix with a small amount (probably about 1/4 – 1/3 cup) of water.  If you add too much water, the citric acid will be diluted and your message may disappear again after it dries.  The wonderful thing about using powdered drink mix is that it smells nice and fruity, adding a nice sensory element to this activity!  The children won’t be able to resist smelling this yummy paint…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

When your baking soda/water invisible ink is dry, you are ready to start painting over it with the powdered drink mix/water magic revealing potion…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

Not only does the magic revealing potion smell wonderful, it also makes a nice fizzing sound as the baking soda reacts with the citric acid.  Continue to paint your entire surface until all of the secret message is revealed…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

Our secret message said, “Snack is missing.  Can you help us solve this mystery?”  Painting with invisible ink was just one of the fun activities we did during our mysteries unit.  Stick around for more fun mystery ideas…

Scented invisible ink by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to grow on:

Message in a bottle by Minieco

Secret message paintings by Familylicious

Pumpkin patch scavenger hunt by Teach Preschool

By |2013-02-23T06:00:46+00:00February 23rd, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Stacy @ Share&Remember February 23, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    My kids are so into mysteries too, they would love this!

  2. jackie February 23, 2013 at 8:08 am - Reply

    This is fabulous Deborah! I just love that you brainstormed this one up. Thinking outside of the box is often the best way to come up with the greatest ideas. Way to go!! You’re so creative!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 23, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      I would love to take credit Jackie but this idea and the post was all the brainstorm of my wonderful assistant Mrs. Courtney:)

      • jackie February 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        Oh! How did I miss that key point! Good work, Courtney! How brilliant! You know what’s funny, is the whole time I was reading the post I was thinking it didn’t really sound like Deborah’s “voice”. That makes sense now!

  3. Brenda February 23, 2013 at 11:07 am - Reply

    I can’t wait to do this, wonderful!

  4. Trisha February 23, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    This whole “Mystery Theme” is such a good idea! And you even had a fun science adventure yourself as you figured this out:) My students would love this too! Thanks!

  5. Deborah McNelis February 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    What a fun and fabulous find Deborah!! You were using your brain!! And it sure will contribute to a great amount of children gaining new connection through the fun they will have with this!
    I am certain your discovery will be shared everywhere!! I know I will be sharing with parents an educators (but I won’t make it invisible!) 🙂

  6. Heidi Butkus February 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Wonderful idea, Deborah! Love it! I think we may do this with sight words!

  7. Amanda February 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I never thought of a mysteries unit! This would be so much fun! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. MIRIAM FERNANDEZ BORASO February 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    hello deborah! It’s a wonderful idea! here in ARGENTINA doesn’t exist what you call drink mix. what can I use instead of it?
    thanks for sharing! you always shine with your ideas!
    love & kisses!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Miriam,
      You might try an orange drink or orange juice. Do you have that available?

  9. Jessica @ Play Trains! February 24, 2013 at 1:49 am - Reply

    Nice twist on this kind of secret message! My son would really enjoy this.

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