DIY ink

Homemade walnut ink

 

Find a black walnut tree in late fall or early winter.

Collect a few plastic bags worth of walnuts that have fallen to the ground, then let them rot in bags until they are all black and beginning to fall apart. Things will be messy from here, the rotting husks will stain your hands and clothes.

Remove the nuts from the husks.

Cover husks with water and simmer for an hour. Stir frequently and cook it down to the consistency of thick mud.

Strain through a cheesecloth.

After this has cooled, add isopropyl alcohol to prevent mold (approx. 1 part alcohol to 10 parts ink), mix thoroughly.

This light liquid form of the ink can be darkened. Pour fresh ink into a shallow pan, and set the pan in a warm place (or a carefully monitored low oven) until the ink evaporates into ‘crystals’. These can be rehydrated with a wet brush like watercolor.

Four plastic grocery bags of nuts yields nearly 2 gallons of ink.

 

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