How to make your own ink with your family

Fountain pen bottled ink

Although here at The Pen Company, we do have a whole host of differing refill ink and fountain pen ink, there’s nothing quite like starting an artistic chemistry project with the family!

If your tykes enjoy painting and drawing, did you know that you could make your own ink from all kinds of ingredients?

Here are some homemade ink recipes to get you going:

Tea ink

After making yourself a cup of the hot stuff, all you need is:

  • One tablespoon of gum Arabic
  • Three to four teabags or two tablespoons of loose tea
  • Half a cup of boiling water (administered of course, by an adult)

By placing the bags into a large ceramic bowl, pouring in the water and adding the gum Arabic, your chemistry session has begun!

Leave the concoction to steep for roughly 20 minutes, depending on how dark you would like the ink to be. Use the back of the spoon to squeeze more tannin into the water.

Once you have taken the teabags out, you need to let the ink cool completely. After this, you can bottle up your solution and away you go! You can use a steel nib or a quill pen to write with.

Black permanent ink

Possibly one to make if you trust your children not to spill it anywhere, you can make permanent ink quite easily and all you need is:

  • Half a teaspoon of lamp black
  • One egg yolk
  • One teaspoon of gum Arabic
  • Half a cup of honey

First of all, you need to mix together the egg yolk, gum Arabic and honey, stirring in the lamp black afterwards.

Once you have done this, you should have produced a thick paste which you can then store within a sealed container. When you need it, mix the paste with a small amount of water to get the correct consistency.

Blue ink

One that takes but only two ingredients is blue ink, otherwise known as Prussian Blue Ink.

For this you will need:

  • Laundry bluing, or Prussian Blue pigment
  • Water

And all you need to do is simply mix the pigment into the water to achieve a thick blue ink. Again, a quill or even a paintbrush can give you what you need to use the ink.

Heat activated invisible ink

Though not quite as popular, it is also possible to make invisible ink that comes to light when you place it on a radiator or hold it up to a light bulb.

You will need:

  • Half a lemon
  • Water
  • Cotton buds

To get this, you need to squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl before adding just a few drops of water. Mix the two together using a spoon. From here all you need to do is simply dip the cotton bud into the mixture and begin writing onto white paper.

Once that the ink has dried completely, simply hold it close to a light bulb to see the secret message! You can also do this with orange juice, milk, honey and wine!

Anna has been a lover of stationery since the age of three, when she got her first red spotted pencil case. Lucky enough to work part time for The Pen Company, she is surrounded by stationery; the dream of many a collector!

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