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Invisibility Ink

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A substance that grants Invisibility when applied to something. Usually, it is invisible ink or vanishing cream, despite the fact these real-life items do not grant invisibility at all.

Alternatively, a character applies the substance on himself/herself yet remains visible, but thinks he/she is invisible.

Often washing the substance off will restore visibility.

See also Invisible Writing for the correct use of invisible ink. Compare and contrast Invisibility Cloak.


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  • The Rabbit uses disappearing cream in one ad for Trix so that he can steal all of the titular cereal from the kids.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One of the various gadgets of Doraemon, where the ink can last for around two hours. It gets washed off very easily, however.

    Comic Books 
  • "Val's Vanishing Cream" in Cor!! (later Buster) was one of many IPC characters with the gimmick of "kid has a normal-looking item with superpowers". In this case, a tub of vanishing cream that made anything she covered invisible.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Skinner, who is The Invisible Man. He's always invisible and he puts on ordinary white cream make-up so we can actually see him.
  • Muppets from Space: One of Bunsen's recent Muppet Labs inventions was a rubber ducky that released an invisibility spray when squeezed; Kermit and the gang uses this as a means to sneak into the Covnet facilities to rescue Gonzo, however, Fozzie washes his hands after using the bathroom, washing the spray away from his hands, leaving them to appear as a pair of floating hands. When the spray wears off shortly afterward, we see Fozzie was picking his nose, Piggy was chowing down on a bag of potato chips, and Pepe was dancing ballet in a tutu.
  • This is the MacGuffin of Now You See Him, Now You Don't. Dexter Reilly attempts to create one of these and succeeds due to a lab accident. Unfortunately, a group of gangsters find out about it and steal the formula to perform a bank robbery which leads to a car chase with an invisible car.

  • In The Shadow and the Flash — one of Jack London's forays into science fiction — the two protagonists invent two different versions of this: one is transparent paint (as in, it makes the painted object transparent); the other is "absolute black" paint that makes the painted object invisible since they no longer reflect visible light.note  Both paints are subtly imperfect — transparent objects sometimes emit colored flashes by refraction, perfectly black ones cast a shadow — and the two inventors are caught in a rivalry, each to prove that their version is the best.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Fraggle Rock, the Gorgs use radishes to make anti-vanishing cream, which keeps them from vanishing. This only appears in one episode, then never mentioned again.
  • An episode of Mopatop's Shop featured an invisibility machine that sprays an unidentified substance onto objects to make them invisible.
  • In a Season 1 episode of Smallville, a Freak of the Week uses a specialized oil that grants invisibility to human skin when applied. He describes creating it based on a mysterious green rose he discovered, implying that it was a biproduct of the meteor shower from the pilot episode.
  • In the The Zack Files episode "Gone", the gang are exploring lemon juice as an invisible ink with Gwen's diary being written in it. Zack feeling thirsty drinks some of the lemonade used for ink and ends up turning invisible himself. However he develops resistance to the lemon juice over time and keeps regaining visibility, forcing him to drink a higher dose of lemon juice with each instance.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: From the Complete Scoundrel, bladeshimmer is a magical oil that turn non-living objects invisible. It is usually used to coat a weapon in order to catch an opponent flat-footed on the first attack, though any successful attack wipes out the oil.

    Video Games 
  • Used in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow to fool the last of five guards who each represent one of the five senses. The apparently empty inkwell, found among a wizard's discarded belongings, makes Alexander invisible long enough for the guard's keen vision to tell him there's no-one present.

  • Dr. Shark of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella can create invisible paint by pouring a can of any color paint into an empty paint can (under the "logic" that he's "dividing by zero"). They use it to repaint Wonderella's invisible jet after she drunkenly paints flames on it, destroying the stealth advantage.

    Web Original 
  • Subeta has the "Vanishing Cream" wearable item, which renders anything worn in the avatar layers underneath it invisible. And yes, this does have its uses.
  • WitchCraft SMP: Invisible ink can be applied to the Botania mod's Cloaks of Balance, Sin, and Virtue to make the bulky cloak invisible, but not the wearer.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts: The Donald Duck short The Vanishing Private has Donald discovering an experimental "invisible paint" and using to camouflage an Army cannon. He then gets it all over himself and uses his invisibility to drive Sergeant Pete crazy.
  • Cow and Chicken: In "Invisible Cow", Red Guy sells what he claims to be invisible sauce to Cow, which she actually believes makes her invisible, so she frolics through town doing as she pleases, even though she's in plain sight of everyone else. In the end, Red Guy decides to sell fat sauce instead, which he uses on Chicken, and it actually works; Chicken then asks for some invisible himself so people won't see how fat he is, but Red can't find where he put it, since it's invisible.
  • In The Flintstones Season 3 episode "Invisible Barney", Fred has Barney drink a concoction he mixed up in his garage lab to get rid of his hiccups. While it does make Barney's hiccups go away, it also makes Barney do the same, as in, become invisible. Hilarity ensues, especially over at the bowling alley when a rival challenges Fred to a game, and Barney is "down at the pins" fixing the game in Fred's favor.
  • One episode of Futurama has the Professor invent a ray that turns ink invisible in order to rid Fry of an Embarrassing Tattoo. Unfortunately, it's even more painful than a regular laser removal. And then it happens to hit Zoidberg, who's soaked in his own ink, making him completely invisible, convenient as he was running from the Robot Mafia at the time.
  • During the episode I Just Don't Get It on KaBlam!, Henry and June give the studio a thorough Spring Cleaning, with Henry doing the pair's laundry... using an industrial-sized bottle of Disappearing Ink as detergent. June makes it off-screen just before she loses her undershirt and shorts, Henry... gets locked out.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In Water, Water Every Hare, Bugs Bunny turns himself invisible by pouring a bottle of 'vanishing fluid' over himself. After various hijinks, the Mad Scientist restores him to visibility by pouring a bottle of 'hare restorer' over him.
    • In "Cheese It, The Cat!", in order to sneak to the refrigerator to get a cupcake for a birthday party, Ralph Crumden covers Ed Morton in "invisible ink." It doesn't make Morton invisible, but as long as he thinks he is, he does not fear the cat. Morton gets the cupcake and eventually eats it, leaving no recourse but for Ralph to get another but not before he has Morton cover him with "invisible ink." Ralph can still be seen and when he goes out, the cat attacks him. And it's Ralph who calls Morton "a mental case!"
    • One Foghorn Leghorn cartoon has Fogie putting vanishing cream on Henery, then making him believe that he's invisible. Henery uses his "invisibility" to gang up on the Barnyard Dawg, but he's not convinced.
  • Popeye:
    • In the Popeye short, "Ghosks Is the Bunk" (1939), Popeye covers himself and Olive Oyl with invisibility paint after discovering that Bluto is "haunting" the abandoned hotel.
    • In another cartoon, after Bluto pulls a bunch of spooky pranks on Olive and makes it look like Popeye was responsible, Popeye turns the tables by using Olive's vanishing cream to make himself invisible and give Bluto a scare of his own.
    • An Al Brodax cartoon has Wimpy making himself invisible with vanishing cream to escape Brutus' wrath. Popeye gets into the act to help Wimpy yank Brutus' chain.
      Brutus: Popeye, have you seen that moocher Wimpy?
      Popeye: Brutus, ya knows I never tells a lie... Nope, I hasn't seen him today.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: In a "Mr. Know-It-All" segment about how to remove a mustache, Bullwinkle puts mustache remover on. Then Rocky tells him it isn't mustache remover, it's vanishing cream! Cut to Bullwinkle's mustache, sans Bullwinkle, floating in air. "Now he tells me!"
  • One episode of Rugrats has Angelica cover herself in "vanishing cream" when it seems that Tommy and Chucky, who only had a little bit put on, were actually invisible. What she hadn't known was that Didi convinced Drew to essentially ignore Angelica when she starts doing bad because she was just trying to get attention. However, his ignoring worked a little too well and, when Angelica couldn't get the dried up make up off of her, she began fearing that she was forever stuck invisible. When Drew saw how much Angelica was remorseful for what she did, he dropped the act and took her home to get her cleaned up.
  • SheZow: the title character can use vanishing cream to turn invisible for a while.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Pranks a Lot", SpongeBob and Patrick bought an "invisible spray" from a toy store. After they fought each other over the usage of the spray, they accidentally sprayed themselves with it, making them invisible. After accidentally scaring off a random bystander, they decide to pull a prank on everyone in Bikini Bottom - a prank in a scale so big that it gets in the news.
  • Tom and Jerry
    • "The Invisible Mouse": Jerry hides in a bottle of invisible ink to avoid Tom. Once he jumps out, he sees his lower half gone. After being initially shocked, he realizes the effects of invisible ink and goes to apply more on the rest of his body.
    • "The Vanishing Duck": the aforementioned duck, along with Jerry, apply vanishing cream, making themselves invisible for most of the short. It ends with Tom having used that same cream on himself, making himself invisible so he can pursue them.

    Real Life 
  • One case of Stupid Crooks involved a man covering himself in lemon juice to fool a bank's security cameras (after all, if lemon juice can be used for Invisible Writing, so whatever it's on is also invisible, right?). The cameras, security guards, and employees... weren't fooled. A couple of social scientists took notice, and developed a hypothesis around this case.