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Making the invisible visible

In Chapter 9 and 10 of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy come across some strange characters who can't be seen. They want her to help them because, as a girl, she is able to go to the Magician's Book and read the spell that makes the invisible, visible. When she found the spell:


She read it through to make sure of all the hard words and then said it out loud. And she knew at once that it was working because as she spoke the colours came into the capital letters at the top of the page and the pictures began appearing in the margins. It was like when you hold to the fire something written in invisible ink and the writing gradually shows up; only instead of the dingy colour of lemon juice (which is the easiest Invisible Ink) this was all gold and blue and scarlet.


Today we are going to have our own fun in making the invisible visible, using different ingredients from the kitchen to make invisible ink.


There are three main ways invisible ink can be made visible:

  • heat

  • chemical reaction

  • UV light

This website suggests a number of things you can find in your kitchen which once they have dried clear on paper, can be shown up through heat.


These include:

  • Any acidic fruit juice (e.g., lemon, apple, or orange juice)

  • Onion juice

  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

  • Vinegar

  • White wine

  • Diluted cola

  • Diluted honey

  • Milk

  • Soapy water

  • Sucrose (table sugar) solution

The website also explains that there are certain liquids which change colour when they come into contact with different chemicals. The most likely one you can find in your kitchen is bicarbonate of soda which you can put grape juice on. The video below shows you how to write your message clearly.

Just before the spell to make hidden things visible, Lucy reads a spell 'for the refreshment of the spirit'.


And what Lucy found herself reading was more like a story than a spell. It went on for three pages and before she had read to the bottom of each page, she had forgotten that she was reading at all. She was living in the story as if it were real, and all the pictures were real too. When she had got to the third page and come

to the end she said, 'That is the loveliest story I've ever read or ever shall read in my whole life. Oh, I wish I could have gone on reading it for years'.


Lucy found she couldn't turn back the pages of the story, and she couldn't remember all its detail but she remembered a cup, a sword, a tree and a green hill.


'And ever since that day, what Lucy means by a good story is one which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician's Book. '


Can you draw the symbols of Lucy's spell for refreshment of the spirit in two types of invisible ink and give them to someone to decode? What do the symbols remind you of?

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©2020 by Emmanuel Christian School.

All artwork  © Tim Steward. 

Other images Creative Commons.