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Invisible Ink Valentine Failure

I’ve been on a free Valentine printable kick lately.  I’ve done scratch off Valentines, Kool Aid Valentines, and my next one was suppose to be these invisible ink Valentines.

Invisible Ink Valentine


Well, if you can’t tell from the photo above, I failed.  I didn’t fail at the printable I made.  In fact, I think it was turning out pretty cute until I quit.  I failed at the invisible ink part.

I did invisible ink all the time when I was little.  My sister and I, or my friends and I, would write with “invisible ink” then hold the paper up to a light bulb and watch the message appear.  I’m not sure what my mom used as ink when we were younger but when I looked it up online, people said anything from vinegar to lemon juice to milk.

I tried vinegar and milk out on a piece of paper to see which one to recommend to my readers (we didn’t have any lemon juice).  I wrote the word “test” out on paper, let it dry then held it up to a light bulb.  Nothing happened.  I figured it was just because our florescent or LED light bulbs don’t get as hot as the old incandescent or tungsten light bulbs.  So I tried ironing the paper to see if the message would come through…nothing.  UGH!

I give up.  Maybe lemon juice will work better, maybe not, but I’m not going to put up a printable that doesn’t work very easy.  I don’t want to disappoint kids who think they’re going to get/give these awesome invisible ink Valentines only to have them not work.  I failed and I admit it.

Have you done invisible ink with your kids?  What did you use?  How did it work?


  1. In my former life, I was a program manager for the Girl Scouts. I definitely remember that lemon juice was the invisible ink of choice for our super sleuth program. It has to be fresh though, juice out of the plastic lemons didn’t cut it. 🙂 Sorry this was a fail but your printable does look adorable!

    • Maybe I should put up the printable for people to print anyway? Can the lemon juice sit dry for a few days before people try to warm it up to see the message?

  2. Wow I feel totally robbed, I don’t remember ever using invisible ink! It sounds like a great idea though!

  3. Your printable is cute–but I’m no help on invisible ink though. My kids would love to do it, I’m sure! I can’t wait to see more of your posts and get to know you better in our little tribe!

  4. I’m old but can remember that as a child we used onion juice to send inisible messages.

    • Never heard of onion juice!

      • There doesnt seem too be so much liquid coming out of onions these days. From memory there always seemed to be a small amount of white fluid available for our letter writing. This dried clear and then we used a hairdryer, iron or light bulb to warm the paper to show the writing.

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