How do I make spy gadgets at home for kids?

Updated March 23, 2017

Live the James Bond dream with a homemade spy-gadget tool kit. The basic essentials every good spy needs can be easily made at home at little to no cost. Homemade invisible ink, binoculars and similar tools have been used for children for ages. High-tech devices, such as a fingerprinting kit, are also easy to make using regular household items. Put the entire package in a stealthy container for ultimate spying fun.

Attache case

Cut a 50 by 107 cm (30 by 42 inch) rectangle out of cardboard. Cut a 15-by-15 cm (6-by-6 inch) square from each corner. Measure 30 cm (12 inches) from the new edge of the long side of the rectangle. Cut 15 cm (6 inches) into the cardboard. 15 cm (6 inches) away from that segment, cut 15 cm (6 inches) into the cardboard again. Cut out the tab created by these two cuts. Repeat on the opposite side of the cardboard. Fold the tabs on all sides of the cardboard upward.

Identify the 45-cm (18-inch) rectangle between the 15-cm (6-inch) squares that were removed in the middle of the cardboard. Fold each side of this rectangle toward the opposite side. This will allow the suitcase to fold over entirely.

Open the suitcase and create each side by taping the tabs together with duct tape. Paint the inside and outside of the suitcase black. Punch holes 15 cm (6 inches) apart in the open, long side of the suitcase. Thread a thick black rope through the holes and tie knots on the inside to create handles.

Spy gadgets

Tape or glue two toilet paper rolls side by side for binoculars. For a cool spy effect, tape green cellophane to the openings on one end. Decorate the sides of the binoculars with paint or by wrapping the binoculars in duct tape.

Mix equal parts cornstarch and soot in a small container for fingerprinting powder. Use some clear tape to lift prints.

Roll a sheet of black construction paper into a tight circle about as wide as a small marble. Push a clear marble into the end of the tube until it is halfway inside it. Secure the marble with clear tape. This tool can be used to look through small holes in walls and other openings.

Open a used hardcover book to page 20 or 25. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep square from the pages for a hiding space. Reinforce the cut section by lining the square with tape.

Squeeze several lemons to gather the juice. Put this juice in a small container in the spy kit. Add a make-up applicator to use as a pen with the juice. Lemon juice dries invisible, but will discolour when heated. Include a pad of paper with random messages on it to avoid suspicion.

Create a cipher wheel. Cut a circle from construction paper, making one small triangular attachment on the edge. Cut out another circle that is slightly larger. Use a ruler to divide each circle into 26 equal wedges. Write the alphabet in random order on each wedge, making sure that each wheel has one of every letter. Trim the triangular attachment so that it is only attached to one drawn segment. Pin the smaller wheel in the centre of the larger wheel with the metal fastener. Create an identical cipher wheel. Instruct children to start messages with the code letter. The triangle must point to that letter to determine the key.

Create a hidden spy identification card by tracing a credit card onto a piece of construction paper. Flip the credit card over, lining up one edge of the credit card with the drawn image. Trace it again. Cut out this shape. Decorate one side like the front and back of a credit card, and the other side like a spy ID card with the spy's picture inside. Include the spy's real and code name. Fold the ID card in half so only the credit card portion shows.


Include other items that small spies may need: rope, water bottle, snacks, sunglasses, magnifying glass, flashlight, watch, disposable camera, mirrors to see around corners, etc.


Spying encourages children to intrude on other people's privacy. While imaginative play is harmless, watch for unhealthy behaviour.

Things You'll Need

  • 50 cm by 107 cm (30 inch by 42 inch) piece of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Black paint
  • Black rope
  • Two toilet paper rolls
  • Green cellophane (optional)
  • Cornstarch
  • Soot
  • Two small, sealable containers
  • Clear tape
  • Black construction paper
  • Small, clear marble
  • Hardcover book
  • Sharp knife
  • Lemons
  • Make-up applicator
  • Pad of paper
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Metal paper fastener
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nicole Thelin has more than a decade of professional writing experience. She has contributed to newspapers such as the "Daily Herald" of Provo, Utah, and now writes for several online publications. Thelin is pursuing a bachelor's degree in education from Western Governors University.