We drew and wrote with homemade invisible ink a few days ago. I think that as humans we have a fascination with making something appear out of nothing. Whether with pulling-the-bunny-out-of-the-hat kind of magic tricks or with invisible ink. Since we have a science experiment book, and have pledged to try some of the experiments this summer (see our summer list), we decided to give the invisible ink a try.
This version involved writing (or drawing, as Maia did) with lemon juice and a Q-tip. Maia's plan was to send an invisible drawing to her pen pal with instructions on how to make it visible.
But when the lemon juice ink had dried, we did a test run with one of the notes, and it didn't really work. Darn! The instructions said to hold the paper over a candle flame or a light bulb. We tried both.
(And I didn't realize until this science experiment that Maia has developed a crazy bad fear of fire, which I am thinking must come from all the fire safety instruction and fire drills in Kindergarten. I couldn't get her to hold the paper herself and she ran out of the house when I held it above the flame. Now I'm wondering what I can do to reverse this fear. I want her to respect fire without fearing it.)
So, anyway, the candle did kinda work, but only if I practically burned a hole through each letter (and I couldn't keep doing that without Maia hyperventilating).
The other option that the experiment book suggested was to hold the invisible note up to a light bulb. Maia really wanted this to work and held her paper up for a looooong time (but probably not letting it get close enough for fear of fire). And when she got tired of that, she taped the paper to the wall next to the lamp bulb hoping that it would eventually work. It didn't.
I thought this would be so easy -- the ideal first experiment to try from our book. I know that lemon juice invisible ink notes are standard fare for childhood; I've seen the idea mentioned in several books. So what did we do wrong?
Any ideas for us? Or other ideas for invisible ink (besides crayon resist)?