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Here is a nice round-up of some simple sneaky inks. The old favorites like lemon juice and vinegar are there, but also some more sophisticated systems using stuff like cerium oxalate and iodine fuming.

From the pages of MAKE:


Mike Golembewksi shows us how to make an invisible inkjet printer in MAKE 16 – Spy Tech.


Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. Rick says:

    You can also do the following simple procedure:

    Wet a sheet of paper – Put a dry sheet on top and write message with a ball point pen or pencil.

    Destroy top sheet, (to keep the secret), when dry the lower paper seems blank so write something innocent on it.

    To develop the writing wet the sheet again and the secret message is visible when you hold up to the light.

    1. Good one! Thanks. I’m thinking some more secret ink content may be in order.

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