It’s summer and we’ve been doing a lot of citrus juicing in our home. Between my 4-year old expert juice squeezer and my almost 2-year old juice taster, our simple and inexpensive juicer has been hard at work.
While little Rainbow napped, Nutmeg and I gathered materials and set up the project. We talked about how we’d have to reveal the ink (lime juice) with the high heat of an iron or hair dryer, and she couldn’t wait to get started. She loves dangerous tools.
We gathered our ingredients.
Here’s the full recipe:
|Invisible Ink: A Citrus Painting Experiment|
- Lemon or Lime Juice
- Paint brush or Q-tip
- Squeeze lemon or lime into a bowl.
- Paint the juice onto your paper with a paint brush or Q-tip.
- Wait for the paper to dry.
- Heat the paper with an iron, hair dryer, light bulb, or other heat source. Be careful that you don’t hold it there to long, as it could burn the paper.
Experiment with other liquids: milk, orange juice, white wine, vinegar, and apple juice are good bets.
Just as we were getting started, baby R woke up to join us. She’s 22 months old now, and enjoyed the sensory experience of squeezing the limes with her bare hands, and then licking her fingers. According to my mom I used to eat lemons right off our tree, so this wasn’t too much of a surprise.
The girls experimented with different colored papers and brushes. Afterwards I realized that Q-tips would have been perfect for this project, but we enjoyed the challenge of small watercolor brushes.
The papers dried pretty quickly on this warm day and we were able to get right to the fun part of burning the acid with heat. N’s grandma blows her hair dry every day, and N is obsessed with this tool. Obsessed. We ran the heat on the paper for about a minute with little success. I never blow dry my hair and have a cheap blow dryer for projects like this, and maybe that’s why? In any case, we decided to move on to the iron.
I folded a thick towel, placed the art on top of it, and she ironed away. In most cases an ironing board would have been better, but ours pulls awkwardly out of the wall and it’s too tricky to get the three of us around it safely. This worked perfectly and only took a few seconds to show its results.
N’s picture of her and her dad (he’s above her head, slightly visible in all his heated lime acid glory).
I really like how the abstracted images turned out and wished I had joined them once I saw how cool these looked. I usually join in when we’re creating and somehow forgot to on this round.