Magic disappearing ink is a popular trick or prank that children enjoy. While it can be used for fun purposes, such as passing notes, making disappearing ink can serve as an activity to supplement classroom units on science. While you can purchase disappearing ink online and from speciality stores, you can also make your own from several different substances.
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Basic chemicals can be used to make magic disappearing ink. According to a recipe listed on the Steve Spangler Science website, don a pair of safety glasses before adding 1g of the chemical thymolphthalein into 100ml of ethyl alcohol. Stir the mixture until the powder is dissolved and add 900ml of water. Stir the mixture once again and add 10ml of lye, which should be handled by adults only. The disappearing ink will turn dark blue and, when spilt on clothing, will disappear. The Steve Spangler Science website recommends testing the ink on a small section of fabric first.
Lemon juice can be used to make a chemical-free magic disappearing ink. The Science Kidz website suggests squeezing the juice of half of a lemon into a bowl and adding several drops of water before stirring the mixture. You can then use a cotton bud dipped in the mixture to write a message on a piece of white paper. Allow the invisible ink to dry. The hidden message can be read by heating the paper, which can be done by holding it up to a light bulb. The lemon juice will oxidise and turn brown to reveal the message.
Magic disappearing ink can also be made using milk in place of lemon juice, in a similar fashion to what is described in Section 2. Add a small amount of milk to a bowl and use a cotton bud or small paintbrush to write a message on a piece of white paper with the milk. Once the milk dries, the message can be revealed by heating the paper. While you can do this by holding the paper up to a light bulb, you can also use an iron or stove element. When working with heat, adult supervision is recommended.
Another way to make magic disappearing ink at home is to combine 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup of baking soda. Dip a small paintbrush or cotton bud into the mixture and use it to write a secret message on a piece of paper. Allow the writing to dry completely. A message written in baking soda disappearing ink can be revealed by painting grape juice across the paper with a sponge or brush. This works because grape juice possesses an acid that reacts with baking soda.
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