- Arts and Design
Onion paper and salt are the keys
How can we do it? Using onion paper and salt are the main ingredients in invisible writing. We used to do it when I was child, if some secret words are to be relayed to my sisters and brothers, without the knowledge of our parents. Just for the heck of it.
I've read it in the autobiography of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, the pride of the Malay race (and of couse, the Filipinos). He used it to convey love messages to his girlfriend or secrets to the propagandista during the Spanish regime.
To start with, we need:
a) onion paper ( 1 or 2 pcs), b) small amount of table salt (iodized or raw), c) drinking glass with water, d)pointed wooden stick (resembling a pen), e)candle and f)matches
The procedures are:
1) Melt the salt in the drinking glass with water. The water should equal the level of melting salt.
2) Using the wooden stick, dip it in the liquified salt mixture, then start writing on the onion paper the topic you desire (whether it's a love letter, a secret code of something and the like). Don't let the liquid drip on the pointed edge of the stick. (I'm sure, you'll enjoy doing this).
3) Let your finished writings dry on the onion paper for a few minutes. You will see that all the words you've written are disappearing one by one. Once totally dried up, carefully blow the excess of salt that are visible on the onion paper.
4) To retrieve the writings on paper, light the candle. Slowly view the paper near the lighted candle (very near but avoid burning it) and you can see the content of paper.
Amidst the modern technology that we are enjoying right now, it's also important that we knew the things that our ancestors did, especially those who wrote our world history.
Even kids are into invisible writing!
I thought this best kept secret among the elite society or the revolutionists in our ancestors' era is still hidden in an old treasure's chest. I was wrong. Kids already knew it!
Ordinary white bond paper and lemon juice will do. With the help of stick or cotton buds and a flat iron, you can easily read what they have written. Provided the lemon juice is not yet dry on the paper. Just plug in the electric flat iron an press the paper against another bond paper. Presto, you can read the "cryptic" message of your kids! You can also use milk instead of lemon juice.
How about just using white crayola as writing medium on the white bond paper or just ordinary paper? To read it, burn a page of your old newspaper. Spread the carbonized paper evenly on the paper with writings and you can now read its content or message.
How about you, fellow hubber, do you have a method of invisible writing?
Understanding invisible writing
During World War II, secret messages were passed through this kind of writing using liquids or chemicals that will not be traced on a piece of paper, without fumes or any chemical remains on the surface. Here's how they determine what substance to use.
The World War II SOE training manual identified the following properties of an "ideal" invisible ink:
- Very water soluble, i.e. non-greasy.
- Non-volatile, i.e. no pronounced smell.
- Not depositing crystals on paper, i.e. not easily seen in glancing light.
- Invisible under ultraviolet light.
- Does not decompose or discolour the paper e.g. not silver nitrate.
- Unreactive with iodine, or with any of the other usual developers.
- Potential developers for the ink should be as few as possible.
- Should not develop under heat.
- Easily obtainable and has at least one plausible innocent use by the holder.
- Not a compound of several chemicals, as this would violate "7".
Some of these are organic substances that oxidize when heated, which usually turns them brown. For this type of 'heat fixed' ink, any acidic fluid will work. The most secure way to use any of the following substances for invisible ink is by dilution, usually with water, close to the point when they become difficult to develop.
- Cola drink
- Honey solution
- Lemon, apple, orange or onion juice
- Bodily fluids such as urine, semen, saliva or blood serum.
- Soap water
- Sugar solution
- Wine, or vinegar
- Cobalt chloride, which turns blue when heated and becomes invisible again after a while (if not overly heated)
Inks visible under ultraviolet light
Absorbing ultraviolet light without flouresceing is a special property of inks with a yellow tint.
Some UV-visible inks may be detected on a photocopy, due to the relatively strong ultraviolet component in light from the photocopier scanning head.
Examples of inks visible through an ultraviolet light are:
- laundry detergents containing optical brighteners.
- Body fluids, such as semen, serum, saliva, milk or urine.