This Lemon Juice Invisible Ink experiment makes for an incredibly fun STEM activity with your little ones! Learn how to make text “magically” appear on paper with a few household items, including lemons and a candle!
Hello creative friends! My name is Lisa and I am the founder of the Sugar Agenda blog! Normally, you’ll find me organizing epic parties and baking thematic desserts… but when I’m off the clock, I’m a total family gal!
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I love the idea of STEM activities, and encouraging learning through hands-on activities. Recently, we did an experiment for Lemon Juice Invisible Ink and it was so much fun!
How To Make Your Very Own Lemon Juice Invisible Ink
It’s just like magic… well, almost. It’s actually science! This Lemon Juice Invisible Ink requires very few supplies but can offer hours of fun with your kiddo.
What You Need:
Here’s what you’ll need from the store. The exact amounts are in the printable craft card at the bottom of this post.
Lemon Juice Invisible Ink Tips
Invisible Ink Explanation
So how exactly does this STEM activity work? What is the science behind lemon juice as invisible ink?
Here is a simple invisible ink explanation: lemon is an organic substance, which means it’s made out of carbon compounds. Since it’s organic, it oxidizes and turns brown when it comes into contact with heat.
It’s such a simple experiment that will produce hours of fun and discovery with your little ones!
Do I Have to Use Q-Tips?
Not necessarily. You can also use a small paintbrush for this Lemon Juice Invisible Ink experiment.
Be Sure The Lemon Juice Dries Completely
For this experiment, it’s important that the lemon juice dries on the paper for it to work properly. So patience is definitely requires for this activity, but it’s totally worth it!
What Other Heat Sources Can I Use?
Based on my research and our own experimentation, you can also use an oven (placing the paper on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven works the best), a light bulb, a clothing iron, or a hair dryer.
We tried all three of these (in addition to the open flame for a candle), and while they worked, it would have taken a very long time. The open flame was the quickest and produced the most color from the invisible ink.
Grown Ups Need to Help With the Heating Portion of the Experiment
For the most part, this STEM activity is very kid-friendly. However, the invisible ink does need a heat source to reveal itself, and this is where a grown up needs to step in. When you’re putting the paper over the open flame, be sure to work swiftly and not keep the paper on the flame for too long. This will cause the paper to burn.
Lemon Juice Invisible Ink
- 1 lemon
- 2 q-tips
- 5 sheets white printer paper
- 1 candle
- 1 candle lighter
- Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl.
- Dip a Q-tip into the bowl and use it as a pen/paintbrush to draw your secret message onto your printer paper.
- Allow the paper to dry completely.
- Once dried, light a candle and hold the paper over the open flame, moving it around to reveal the message written in "invisible ink!"
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