A STEAM project includes many elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In this fun STEAM project, mix science and art by creating mystery paint drawings. Talk to your kids about the science behind how the mystery paint STEAM activity while they do this activity. Try other ways to make the hidden image too, like baking soda and water, lemon juice, or vinegar! Which method produces the clearest picture after the painting is finished?

– Life Over C's The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!

Materials for the Mystery Paint Activity:

  • Paper
  • White Crayon
  • Watercolors
  • Dot Markers

Reveal hidden designs and secret messages with this fun mystery paint STEAM activity!

– Life Over C's The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!

Draw a design onto the paper with a white crayon. The thicker lines you make the better. Really press the crayon into the paper deeply. You want to make sure that your design is fully coating the paper where you have lines drawn.

– Life Over C's The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!

Paint the rest of the paper lightly with watercolor paints or dot markers. The darker colors work best to create a high-contrast image and reveal the hidden painting below.

Let the painting dry. The wax design won’t show completely until the paper is fully dry.

– Life Over C's The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!

Show off your mystery paint drawing!

THE STEAM LESSON

A white crayon is made mostly of wax. When you color the white crayon on a white piece of paper, you can’t see the design. But when you add a watercolor paint over it, the wax prevents the color from soaking into the paper where the drawing was created, which reveals the hidden wax design when the rest of the paper is colored in. This experiment works best with high contrast colors. Watercolors, dot markers, and any other form of water-based paint will work, but acrylic paints and kids washable paint are too thick to reveal the design and will just color the wax.

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– Life Over C's The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!
– Life Over C's magic mystery paint STEM experiment for kids

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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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