Science with Shields: Episode #7 – Secret Message


ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to write secret messages.

What you need:

  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Paper (preferably card stock)
  • Bowl
  • Q-tips
  • Hairdryer, gas stove, or a lighter (with parent’s help)


Take your lemon and squeeze to put juice into the bowl. You can also use the lemon juice bottles from the grocery store.

Next, take your Q-tip and dip it into the lemon juice. Now, write your secret message on your piece of paper. You’ll be able to see what you write at first until the lemon juice dries.

Now, to be able to read the secret message later, there are different ways to see it. The easiest is to hold it up to a light, and you’ll be able to read it.

You can also use a heat source to heat the paper. The lemon juice will turn a brown color and it will be visible. If you use a heat source, make sure you have parents help!

To heat the lemon juice you can also use a blow dryer, a gas stove, or a lighter. Again, be careful and make sure a parent is helping with this step. The lemon juice should turn brown before the paper gets too hot and catches on fire.


Heating lemon juice will decompose it and release carbon. When carbon mixes with oxygen in the air, it will oxidize and turn brown. Oxidation is the chemical process when a substance gains oxygen or loses electrons and hydrogen.

Tune in on Tuesday’s at 10:30 a.m. for more Science with Shields experiments you can try at home.

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