How to Make Invisible Ink Using Lemon Juice

Letter Showing Invisible Ink
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Use this easy recipe to make invisible ink. It only takes a few minutes to complete! Lemon juice is acidic and weakens paper. When paper is heated, the remaining acid turns the writing brown before discoloring the paper.


You only need a few simple materials to make invisible ink:

  • Lemon or Lemon Juice
  • Sunlight or Heat Source
  • Paper
  • Paintbrush or Stick

How to Make Invisible Ink

  1. Squeeze lemons to obtain their juice or obtain bottled lemon juice.
  2. Use the juice as ink by applying it to a stick or paintbrush and writing on paper.
  3. Allow the paper to dry.
  4. When you are ready to read your invisible message, hold the paper up to sunlight, a light bulb (recommended), or another heat source.
  5. The heat will cause the writing to darken to a pale brown, so your message can now be read.
  6. Another way to read the message is to put salt on the drying ink. After a minute, wipe the salt off and color over the paper with a wax crayon to reveal the message.

Useful Tips

  1. Experiment with other juices. White wine, orange juice, vinegar, and apple juice all work well, too.
  2. A cotton swab makes an excellent disposable paintbrush.
  3. The writing turns brown because the weakened paper burns before the rest of the paper. Be careful not to overdo your heating and ignite the paper!
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Invisible Ink Using Lemon Juice." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). How to Make Invisible Ink Using Lemon Juice. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Invisible Ink Using Lemon Juice." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).