Secret Scroll


What's the secret message? Create a secret code and antique-looking paper. Who can decipher what you wrote on your scroll?


1. Read about secret codes and how languages work. Find out how scrolls were made and where they were used. Symbols that create a secret code match up with a specific letter of the alphabet or numeral.

2. Create your own secret code using symbols that you design yourself. You could use tiny drawings, letter forms, or unusual shapes. Make a key to show what word or letter each symbol stands for using Crayola® Fine Tip Markers.

3. Cover your art area with recycled newspaper. Crumple up a piece of construction paper. Soak it with diluted brown Crayola Watercolors and a Watercolor Brush. Spread the paper flat to air dry.

4. Write a secret code message on your handmade antique-looking paper. Roll up your secret scroll and tie with string

5. On construction paper, draw shapes that relate to the message inside. Cut them out with Crayola Scissors. Attach shapes to your scroll with Crayola School Glue. Air dry.

6. Give your secret scroll to classmates. Who can decipher the message?

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

String-Like Materials—Includes string, raffia, lacing, yarn, ribbon, and other similar material. Children 3 years and younger should not be given any string-like material that is longer than 12 inches. Close adult supervision is essential whenever children use string-like material. When crafts are to be worn around the necks of children 8 years and younger, attach the ends of the “string-like material” with clear adhesive tape, which allows easy release of the bond if the craft becomes entangled or caught on equipment. For children older than 8 years, the ends of the “string-like material” may be tied and knotted.


  • Give a friend the key to your secret code. Exchange messages often.
  • Send original special event or holiday cards to friends using your secret code.
  • Copy historic documents or poetry on your scroll.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Fine Line Markers
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Watercolor Brushes with Plastic Handle
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • string
  • paper towels
  • container(s) of water



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Children examine various scrolls, codes, and languages.

  • Children develop their own secret code and compose a message using it.

  • Students create antique-like paper scrolls and write messages on them in their secret codes, then try to decipher each other's messages.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards