Monday, May 23, 2011

Spy Party Clandestine Invitations: Secret Message in a Pen

Invitations to a spy party... what to do?  must! be! creative! and clandestine!

How about a small piece of paper with party details rolled secretly in a retractable ball point pen?  Hopefully in the attempt to be creative we haven't compromised our mission of getting the info out... 

1) First, finding pens.  I went straight to the dollar store but as is my lack of luck with that place, I couldn't find any that looked like they could be unscrewed.  Target had "value 4 packs" of retractable, mostly black ballpoint pens for ($1.99). That'll do! 

2) Examine your pen to get a rough idea of the length of note that will fit around the ink tube when rolled up.  Unscrew the top and separate it from the bottom piece.

3)  Print out your party's details on a piece of paper small enough to fit inside the pen when rolled up without inhibiting movement of the pen's retraction feature (mine was about 1.75" by 3.5"). 

I downloaded a Detective Font (follow link) and included the following text in size 8 for party particulars:

Your special agent expertise is needed to prevent global catastrophe while celebrating (name)'s birthday!

             RENDEZVOUS POINT:   your address
             DATE:                         4/18/2011
             TIME:                         1400-1630 hours
             CODE:                           "nitro"
             RSVP Spymaster:      phone and email

Come incognito (wear a dark shirt) and bring this pen....

I used the "word art" feature to write TOP SECRET in transparent red behind the text and copied the whole thing to make 10 invitation notes at one time.

3) Cut one length of thread (about 3-4") for each invitation.  Tear up a bunch of tiny pieces of transparent tape in advance preparation for the next step.

4) Roll note tightly from left side so that it fits inside the pen, but loose enough to spin around ink tube. Tape a piece of thread to the roll and tape the roll closed with one piece of tape.  Position thread about halfway down the paper and smooth the tape tightly.

3) Grab the top piece of the pen.  Shake until rectracting mechanism falls in your hand or gently poke at it with a screw driver or another pen.  Separate the three pieces.

4) Grab the inner tube piece, the one with a hole in it.  Poke a small kength of thread through the tube, fold it over, and use a tiny piece of tape to secure the thread to the outside of the insert.  This step caused me the most grief!  Too big of a piece of tape  interfered wtih the retrating mechanism. The mechanism needs to slide freely. I had to keep the tape on side of the tube to make it work (not all the way around the tube).

5)  Reassemble pen and check to see if everything still works.  Message should pull out as top of pen is unscrewed.  Adjust as necessary! 

6)  Celebrate finishing this step in your party planning before whisking off to the next task!

Report Back:  The invitation spy pens were a big hit!  One guest wrote back his RSVP in his own style, a note written in lemon juice that we held over the toaster to read (the juice written words turn brown in heat).  Let the fun begin!


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