March 5, 2009

Making Walnut Ink

By Britany
Long ago there weren't any ink pens like today, so they had to make their own. They made pens out of turkey quills and ink by a long process of boiling and straining walnuts. When we made the ink the gross smell went all around the house, and we smelt it for the rest of the day. If you make it yourself you might want to make it outside. Our walnut ink turned out so dark that when we painted with it, it was a beautiful rich brown. Painting with the ink was really fun, but it stains everything that it gets on. Boy, am I glad that we don’t have to make our pens like that today!

How we made Walnut Ink
  • Collect nuts from a walnut tree. We read that the best ones are the ones that are already black because they have begun to oxidize.
  • Place nuts in large pot and cover with water.
  • At this point you are supposed to simmered for 8 hours then soaked for another 16, but after 15 minutes we knew this was not an in-the-house project! It smelled terrible. So, after 15 minutes of simmering, we took the pot out to the garage and let it sit for about 24 hours.
  • Strain the liquid several times through a sieve to remove large pieces of husk and the nuts. We used a metal strainer, covered by a pair of pantyhose.
  • Reduced the liquid in half. (Again, after 15 minutes on the stove we called it done!)
  • Added 1TSP Vinegar
Our paintings with Walnut Ink

by Britany

by Mary

by Lizzie

I enjoy painting with walnut ink. Although it smells horrible, it makes a pretty picture.The aged brown ink mixes well with walnut ink, and makes a beautiful picture.It's necessary to wear a smock or some old clothing while painting with walnut ink because it stains anything it gets on. I'm looking foward to doing it again.

by Nicole (Teacher)

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