How to Make Ink

You will have to tinker to make ink or ink with your own hands. But if you look from the other side, when will we have to do these seemingly simple and ordinary things ourselves? Probably only after a global catastrophe or when we are entirely cut off from the civilized world. Then we will have a lot of time and, perhaps, there will be a desire to write in ink or ink. But how to make ink? Read the answer to this question below.

But before proceeding to the description of the ink recipe and how to prepare it, let’s dive into history a bit and find out how and when they appeared.

Ink History

ink history

According to archaeologists, the first ink appeared in ancient Egypt. The most ancient recipes were found there during excavations. According to the description, scientists found that the Egyptians used chewing gum, thick and sticky sap of cherry or acacia trees, and ashes left after burning papyrus or its roots to make ink. Scientists have discovered that the same ink was used in China two and a half thousand years ago.

As early as the III century BC., the Greeks and Romans used different kinds of ink and even made red ink! It was meant for special occasions and was considered sacred in those days. Only the emperor had the right to write in red ink. It seems no coincidence that only teachers could write with a red pen in educational institutions! This is a joke and a digression, but let us go back to the third millennium B.C. and see what the ink was made of. Fruit pits, soot, charcoal, and vines were used. The ink found in the excavations of a Roman city was made from soot diluted in oil.

Later, ink from roasted green chestnuts and walnut shells was added, and ink from the nuts or “gall” covered the oak leaves. These nuts are special projections that form on the branches and leaves of the oak. The larvae of the tuna bee grow in these projections. A fixative (also a gum used in ancient Egypt) prevented the ink from leaking. Remarkably, manuscripts written with jelly ink have retained their brilliance and legibility. Incidentally, some graphic artists use this ink today to create unique works of art, and of course, they make their own.

Let’s try to make ink. With the advent of gelatin ink, their old history ends, and their modern one begins. The production of alizarin ink began in the 19th century. Natural dyes (marane root) gave way to synthetic ones, and then modern, fully synthetic aniline colors appeared. It is impossible to prepare them yourself at home. So we’ll come up with a simple recipe and make a stew with our ingredients.

1. Black Permanent Ink Recipe

The most popular ink, permanent black ink, can be prepared at home using the following materials:

  • 1/2 teaspoon black lamp (you can either buy one or make your own by holding a plate over a candle and collecting soot or some other kind of charcoal).
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon gum arabic
  • 1/2 cup honey

Mix egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey. Add a black lamp. The result is a thick paste stored in a sealed container. Mix this paste with a bit of water to the desired consistency to use the ink. Applying a small amount of heat can improve the consistency of the solution, but be careful – too much heat will make the ink challenging to write.

2. Brown Ink Recipe

Brown ink is a popular alternative to black ink and can be prepared without charring or soot. All you need for this:

  • 4 teaspoons loose tea or 4-5 tea bags
  • 1 teaspoon gum arabic
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour boiling water over the tea. Let the tea steep for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much tea (tannin) as possible from the tea or tea bags. Add gum arabic and mix until you get a homogeneous solution. Strain the ink to leave a thick paste and let it cool before bottling.

3. Prussian Blue Ink Recipe

An even simpler recipe for bold colors is the Prussian blue recipe, used by artists since the early 1700s. All you need for this:

  • Prussian blue pigment (sometimes sold as wash bluing)
  • water
  • Mix the pigment with water until you get a rich blue ink with a thick consistency.

If you don’t have a calligraphy pen, it is easiest to use this ink with a homemade pen or brush.

4. Blackberry Ink Recipe

The recipe above produced a rich blue ink but darker and made entirely from natural materials. To make it, you will need:

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon gum arabic
  • 4 drops thyme oil

First, heat the blackberries in water, pressing down on them to release the juice. Once the mixture turns dark blue and all the juice comes out, strain the mixture and add gum arabic until you get a thick paste. Add thyme oil and stir. Let the ink cool before bottling.

5. Nut Ink

To make ordinary stationery or school ink by infusing or extracting it with cold water, prepare 3 ink nuts, 2 ferrous sulfates, 2 aerobics, and 60 water. Grind the nuts to a powder, place them in a glass jar, and fill them with water. Dissolve the ferrous sulfate and gum arabic together or separately in another container. The walnut decoction should be left for a few days until the water removes all the tannins, and the vitriol and gum will dissolve completely in a few hours. Pour the two solutions together, stir well, pour carefully to separate the liquid from the sediment, and leave for a day or two.

6. Alizarin Ink

The ink called by this name completely incorrectly since alizarin is not included in their composition. Alizarin ink is also prepared from extracting ink nuts containing acetic acid. The dye is in the smallest particles floating in the liquid in ordinary ink. In alizarin ink, however, due to the presence of a significant dose of acid and glue in them, sedimentation does not occur. Acetic acid, which is part of the ink, has the purpose of dissolving and maintaining the dye in a dissolved form.

To prepare “alizarin” ink, take 10 ink nuts, 6 iron sulfate, 1 gum arabic, 100 vinegar, 20 indigo carmine solution. Crushed nuts are insisting in vinegar for 4-6 days; as for vitriol and gum arabic, they dissolve separately in vinegar, and it is necessary to boil them once. When the liquids are draining together and strained, the indigo carmine solution is added. The latter should not add at once in a large amount, but little by little, and with each addition, shake the solution. Vinegar can take ordinary, but wood-acetic acid is better, as it contains a small amount of carbolic acid, which prevents mold formation.

Another recipe for “alizarin” ink is as follows: 20 ink nuts, 5 gum arabic, 5 wood vinegar, 2 ½ indigo carmine, 50 water. The ink nut insists on half the vinegar and water for a week. At the same time, prepare a solution of iron in vinegar; to do this, you need to take some wooden utensils, pour the rest of the vinegar into it, and put various old iron into it, for example, nails, horseshoes, hoops, etc. After three days, drain the liquid and strain, dissolve the gum arabic in the infusion of the ink nut and combine everything strained. Add as much indigo carmine to the finished nuts as needed to give the ink the desired strength of blue-green color. Acetic-iron salt in these inks makes steel nibs less likely to deteriorate.

How to Make Ballpoint Pen Ink Using Plants

ink pen

When a ballpoint pen runs out of ink, you throw away the used pen and buy a new one. This is a cheap and convenient way to refill writing instruments, so most people do it. You can make your eco-friendly ink at home using a variety of household items.

  • Pour half a cup of ripe berries into a strainer. Types of berries that can eat include blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries.
  • Hold the strainer over a bowl or container. Break the berries into a strainer using a wooden spoon or similar utensil. Continue beating the berries until the juices drain and only solid residue remains.
  • Add half a teaspoon of vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt to the liquid. This will help keep the color and freshness of the ink.
  • Remove a small amount of ink from the bowl using a pipette or syringe. Release ink into an empty ballpoint pen cartridge. Repeat until the cartridge is full, then replace the cartridge in the ballpoint pen.

Making Ink from Baking Soda


  • Water;
  • Grape juice;
  • Baking soda.

Combine water with soda in a one-to-one ratio. Mix them well in a bowl, and you have soda-based ink. Put them on paper, but heating will not help to reveal the secret message. Use grape juice. Dip the brush in the liquid and paint the paper until the inscription appears.

Instead of iron, a candle, or a light bulb, you can use an oven to heat the sheet. Place the secret message in a hot oven and wait a few minutes for the message to manifest. Invisible inscriptions appear on a sheet when heated because the ink substance chars faster than paper.

Don’t forget safety precautions if you’re displaying a message on an open fire! Prepare a pot of cold water ahead of time. You will put out the leaf in it if it accidentally catches fire.

How to Make Ink from Lemon Juice

How to make ink at home from ordinary lemon juice? To do this, squeeze the liquid from half the fruit into a container, add a few drops of water and mix the resulting composition well. Then you should moisten a cotton swab in the solution and write a message on paper with it. In conclusion, it remains to dry the secret letter.

Lemon juice is, in fact, a fairly concentrated acid. Substances of a similar nature change the shade to a darker one in exposure to high temperatures. For the text with lemon juice to appear, you need to iron the paper or hold it over candlelight.

How to Make Rice Water Ink

Rice water contains a significant concentration of starch, which, after drying on paper, does not leave visible traces. To manifest a message with rice water liquid, it is enough to moisten the paper with a non-concentrated iodine solution. The result will be the appearance of different inscriptions of a blue tint.

Ink from Aspirin

You will need an ordinary aspirin tablet, a glass of water, and a powder containing iron salts. It can purchase separately or as a kit for home chemistry experiments. Place aspirin and iron in different containers, add water, stir. With a brush dipped in an aspirin solution, write an invisible message. Dry a sheet of paper and smear it with dissolved iron. The components will enter a chemical reaction, and the inscription will appear.


As you can see, there are quite a few ways to prepare ink. The modern industry allows you to produce from black to multi-colored ink. Recently, technology has been developed to prevent the appearance of mold. There are special compounds that, when added to ink, completely neutralize the role of the fungus. These are creosote and, formalin, salicylic acid.

As you can see, the ink composition is not at all complicated. If you are fond of chemistry, you can easily repeat this at home. However, the big question is whether this is worth the time investment, especially considering the cost of the product in the office supply store and its expense.

Choose any ink recipe and surprise your friends or play spies. Even the secret agents of Ivan the Terrible wrote their messages to the Tsar with onion juice, and no outsider could read the message. We hope you found the above how to make ink helpful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top