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Dissolving ink T-shirts are about to make you the coolest mom ever

Remember when you were a kid and you thought disappearing ink was the coolest thing to ever be invented? News flash: It’s still pretty cool. But while you had to wait six to eight weeks for that nifty package you read about on the back of a cereal box to get snail mailed to your house, our kids have got it made in the shade.

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In fact, the moms behind the incredibly popular Kids Activities Blog (and the wildly successful companion Facebook page, Quirky Momma) have a new book out to jump-start your kids’ summer vacation planning. Holly Homer, Rachel Miller and Jamie Harrington’s The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments: Awesome Things To Do With Your Parents, Babysitters and Other Adults just hit bookshelves, and they gave SheKnows a sneak peek at one of their favorite projects … dissolving ink T-shirts.

Check out an excerpt from the book: 

Science Question:

Can you make permanent ink dissolve?

A solvent can break the bond of a permanent marker, freeing the ink to spread and burst.

More: If your kid’s not hooked on comic books, here’s how to fix that

Dissolving Ink

Prep time: 10 minutes | Experiment duration: 20 minutes plus drying time | Mess meter: 3 | Adult supervision required

Supplies Needed

  • Spray bottle
  • 70 percent rubbing alcohol
  • Aluminum foil or cardboard to line the inside of the shirt
  • White T-shirt
  • Colored permanent markers


The Experiment

Fill the spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Cut your foil and put it inside the shirt to keep your marker from bleeding through. Color your shirt with the markers and spray the shirt with alcohol.

The Outcome
Image: Kids Activities Blog

The Outcome

Watch as the colors morph into a colorful explosion!

Dissolving ink 2
Image: Kids Activities Blog


Why It Worked

The alcohol acts as a solvent and dissolves the ink as it saturates the shirt, causing the ink to spread.

Dissolving ink 3
Image: Kids Activities Blog


  • If you don’t have an old shirt to spare, this same technique can be used on paper towels or coffee filters.
  • Try hydrogen peroxide or water and see how the colors change (or don’t!).

Tip: After your shirt is dry, wash it alone so the colors don’t bleed onto the rest of your laundry.

More: Cupcake made from onesies and socks is so cute you won’t miss the frosting

Did You Know?

Way back in 12th century BC, the Chinese used ink from squids to write and draw with.

101 Coolest Science experiments for Kids
Image: Jill Browning

THE 101 COOLEST SIMPLE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS: Awesome Things to do with Your Parents, Babysitters, and Other Adults (Page Street Publishing Co.), by Holly Homer, Rachel Miller and Jamie Harrington, is available now.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

Comic books for kids
Image: Amazon

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