"HIDDEN" LETTERS


My best friend and I have a way of writing to each other that no one else can understand. It's our own secret writing, and we made it up ourselves.

Have you ever tried making up your own way of writing?

Chaz Bojórquez has. His painting looks very mysterious, but it's really a list of his friends' names.

Charles "Chaz" Bojórquez
Placa, Rollcall
He made up his own rules for making letters and punctuation marks. We can read what he writes if we learn the rules, too

The painting above by Chaz Bojórquez looks looks strange and intriguing. If you study it carefully you can find the names of Chaz's friends. Bojórquez disguised the names by using a modified alphabet.

We can decode the names in this painting if we know the rules that Chaz used. Chaz made an "M" by putting an "X" on top of three"I"'s, and a "Y" by drawing a triange on top of a dot.

How about trying it yourself! Click on the painting and see if you can you find the names "Tony" and "Tommy"? How about: "Kelly" "Fernando" "Dawn" "Enrique" and "Connie"? Try spelling these names out by clicking on each letter of the name in order. If you find three, you can use a secret typewriter that types with Bojórquez's alphabet. If you find all seven, Cappy will tell you a secret. There are more names, but you're on your own for them. When you're done, here's some secret writing you can do!

1. Get out these supplies:

  • pencil
  • scrap paper
  • colored construction paper
  • clear-drying glue (A bottle with a pointed tip will make "writing" easier.)
  • colored chalk or pastels
  • tissue
2. Plan your message.
  • Choose one or two short words.
  • Think about what the letters of the alphabet look like. There are lots of different ways to make them. With your scrap paper, draw some bubble letters, or some fancy cursive ones.
  • What direction will your letters go? They can go in a circle, or in a diagonal line across the page. They can even be upside down!
  • Make your letters big!
3. Practice making lines with glue.
  • Use a piece of scrap paper.
  • Pull the glue bottle away from the lines you're making. If you push the tip back through the glue, your lines will smear!
  • Squeeze the bottle just a little if you want thin lines. Squeeze harder for thick ones.
4. "Hide" your message.
  • Now you're ready for your real message.
  • Use the colored paper, and write your message in glue.
  • Keep your letters big!
  • Don't worry if you make mistakes or if the glue lines don't look like your pencil lines. Mistakes will help hide your message even more!
  • Let the glue dry.
5. Give your message to your friend.
  • Your message will still be a secret. It will look like a blank piece of paper with some old glue dripped on it.
6. Help your friend find the hidden message!
  • Color the whole paper with chalk or pastels.
  • Your glue lines made different shapes. You can use a different color for each one, or you can put different colors inside the same shape.
  • Color right up to—or even over—the glue lines!
  • Rub the chalk with tissue to help blend the colors.
  • Use the tissue to clean the chalk off the glue lines, so you can see the colored paper through them.
  • Can your friend read your secret writing?