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How to make ink

Updated on September 20, 2014
Zodiacimmortal profile image

I've always wanted to be a writer in some fashion and now I am... be it blogging, hubs or writing a couple of story or poems for fun

Splatters of stains

Do you or have you ever wanted to use a Quill pen, or ran out of refills for your fountain pen in the middle of writing?

Well here I will explain how to make your own in.

It's pretty easy, and as long as you have berries in the house (or other items) you can make ink with it!

Like if you have a fire place... you can use the soot or if you use charcol to do art, there's a way to make it from that as well.

I will try my best to explain it all but first I think we should start with the basics

What you will need

Keep in mind, most if not ALL of what is used for the coloring WILL STAIN

Also please be sure to READ THE WHOLE LENS BEFORE making the ink. There's more information than just the instructions.

Basic instructions...

Put whole berries (if soft) in strainer (with harder more dense berries cut to 1/4 inch slivers)

holding the strainer OVER a bowl or mortar (or better yet hopfeully the strainer will stand IN the bowl as you may need bowl hands to...)

CRUSH berries with the spoon or pestel until the 'bleed' no more & be sure only the juice goes into the bowl (you can put aside the fruit part to make a smoothie)

Store ink in jar (& I've heard to put it in the fridge but I'm not sure if that's for certain ones or all)

see individual instructions for each type below

Supplies & Instructions continued

  • an ink well or small container that is spill proof. (if it gets knocked over or on the ground it will not come off & spill out)
  • What you will make your ink from.

    Berries 1 Cup Fresh or thawed are fine Cherry, Pomegranate would probably be pink,

    Black Berries work better than blueberries - blue/ purple

    Beets 1 raw beet for deep red

    fireplace soot or charchoal

    walnut shells, Brown at least 10 shells (if they were whole)

    Potberries black look for the jet black ones though those on the ground would be ideal! (leaves, roots & berries are HIGHLY POISONUS do not make or leave around children & pets!!!)

    Potberry ink has been said to have been used to write the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

    (for every CUP of berries, use 1 teaspoon of the salt & teasoon of vinegar)

  • 1 teaspoon salt (to prevent ink from spoiling)

    (Some use alcohol but that will eventual make the ink evaporate, & is probably what the ink companies use)

  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (will help the ink color last longer)
  • strainer or sieve
  • mortar & pestle (or a bowl & spoon)


Individual 'inks' information / instruction

by type or color

picture l to r Salt, Vinegar (suppose to be white) bowl and strainer Mortar & pestle & I have the pom juice in there to represent the berries for ink)

Roman Ink

Make a dark gray ink close to what the romans may have used in their time.

For this you will need

*Gum Arabic (or Honey)

*charchoal sticks or soot from the fireplace

put the charchoal sticks in a plastic baggie and crush them completely with a small hammer or mallet, bowl (lean on it) or spoon even with a rolling pin it should be right quick.

Place 5 teaspoons of the soot or crushed charchoal into a small metal or glass bowl

ad 2 teaspoons of gum arabic (or Honey) and 4 teaspoons of vinegar stir until all it combined.


Blue Ink

if you want to make a dark blue ink

mix 2 tablespoons of LAUNDRY bluing powder to 5 tablespoons of water. This gives a deep rich blue ink.

(or to try, add only 1 tablespoon in to the berry mix)



Slice a raw beet in 1/4 inch slices

place int a sauce pan wilth a 1/2 cup water

and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until thesloces are tender.

add a 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar & 1/2 teaspoon of salt.


Berry Ink

Aside from the previous berries mentioned, You can also use wildberries such as Pokeberries, mulberries, or Hawthorne berries.

(But do not eat them as I only know for sure that Pokeberries are poisonous)

Be sure to use a metal or glass bowl only so it won't be permanantly stained.


Puprle Ink

In a small sauce pan bring to a boil a 1/4 cup grape juice

2 tablespoons of vinegar & 1 tablespoon of salt


Dark Brown Ink

simmer 5 to 6 black tea bags in a half (1/2) cup of water, until it has reduced to a quater cup.

add a teaspoon of powdered gum arabic & stir with a wood skewer or of the sort that's disposeable.


Walnut Ink (see videos)

If you are using English or black walnut shells first beware of Squirrels & chipmunks!!!

Put the walnut shells in an empty bag, & Pretending you are Thor wack them with the hammer.

Repeat until; they are small little pebble pieces.

Now put them into a saucepan with 2 cups of water on medium heat bringing it to a boil for 45 minutes to an hour

. Let simmer until the water gets dark (around 15 minutes)

add your salt & vinegar & simmer another 5 minutes

Strain using an old t-shirt/rag or cheesecloth as a filter.

This ink WILL stain plastic, clothes, & fingers but will wash right out of metal or glass pots


Here's one for EXTRA fun!!!


Mix equal parts baking soada and water mix it well

inject with syringe into your ink cartridge.

Once the paper dries hold it up to a warm light source for a surprise messege!

(maybe adding a bit of laundry detergent. (see videos for why)

I've also heard lemon works but never did for me. Check out the videos for something

else that works as invisible ink

Standard well

Clear Cut Glass Inkwell Antique Reproduction
Clear Cut Glass Inkwell Antique Reproduction

Clear hinged inkwell with clasp to keep closed.


How to make Ink videos - a Variety of help

I'm also includeing a few more ideas, & if you are under 18 I will NOT be liable for anything you do to ruin anything in the house!

But The 2nd video would be really cool for a halloween haunted house effect..Hint Hint (that I WILL NOT deny)

Elaborate examples of Ink wells -

If you purchase one of these thencolor me jealous!

I'd like something intriguing, with more personality than the above affordable one, but less complex than one of the ones here. I WISH however I could get that writing desk.

Have you ever made home made Ink? What did you use (as for the ink resource)? Did it work?

Parchment - guests

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    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      @anonymous: Where did you see POT berries? It's Poke berries

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Zodiacimmortal: Hey, I typed "Potberries" into a search engine, I didn't get any links of significance. Do they go by any other name? What is the name of the plant that produces them?

      Other than that, interesting read!

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      @LiteraryMind: I never heard of Ironing the paper. I've only heard of putting it over a flame.

      There's your idea for your next lens!!! Invisible ink! I would love to add it to the How to make ink lens. If you make it please let me know so I can post it!

      & Thanks for the like. (I think I tried to use lemon for ink once but i don't remember it working for me. Did you have to use something other than the lemon?

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      We used to make secret ink as kids. We wrote in lemon juice and then it had to be ironed to reveal the message. I never thought of making any of the ones you gave instructions on.