How to Make Spy Stuff at Home

    by Lauren Vork

    About the Author

    Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.


    Almost everyone dreams of being a spy--even if it's just for fun. But what's a spy without nifty equipment and ingenious gadgets? Build those gadgets using simple crafting skills and everyday household materials, so you'll always be ready whether you need to do a little of your own sneaking, or want a fun spy project to share with your kids.

    Things You'll Need

    • Old hardcover book
    • Scissors
    • Old sunglasses
    • 2 small mirrors (removed from makeup compacts)
    • Glue
    • Milk
    • Writing paper
    • Quill pen
    • Cornstarch
    • Candle
    • Clear tape
    • Old blush brush

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    Make a false-front book for hiding things. Start with an old hardcover book. Cut out the center of each page in the same size and shape on every page. You can make your hole as small or as big as you want. Bear in mind that if you only make enough space to store a small object, your book will be less likely to rattle and will keep secrets better. You can also cut the center of the book out all at once using a band saw or scroll saw, but this method requires gluing the pages back together at the point where the saw enters.

    Make rearview sunglasses. Using a large pair of sunglasses, glue two small mirrors (the ones found in most eye makeup compacts are the perfect size and shape) onto the outside back edges of the lenses. When you wear these sunglasses, you'll be able to look in the mirrors and see things behind you without turning around.

    Make invisible ink. Dip a quill pen in milk and write a message on white paper. When the milk dries, the message will disappear. However, if you hold the page up to a hot lightbulb or a burning candle (be careful--don't hold it too close), the proteins in the milk will cook and turn brown, revealing the message. Give this secret message to someone who knows how to use the ink. If you really want to hide a message, write it with invisible ink between the lines or in the margins of a letter written with a regular pen.

    Make your own fingerprint powder by mixing equal parts of soot and cornstarch. Collect soot by holding a spoon or an old porcelain dish just above a lit candle, then scraping it off as it accumulates. To use your fingerprint powder, dip an old blush brush in it, then twist and shake the brush over the spot where you're looking to collect evidence. (Don't brush directly on the object's surface, as this may smudge the prints.) Blow excess powder away, leaving only what's stuck to the naturally oily fingerprint. Remove this print using clear tape.

    • Use a watercolor paintbrush to write with the milk if you don't have a quill pen.
    • Always closely supervise children when working on projects involving blades and lit candles.
    • Do not allow children to operate power tools.