How to Make Ink: Detailed Tutorial for Making Your Own Ink

Ink is something that many of us take for granted. We simply pick up a pen and start writing without thinking about the process that goes into making ink. But have you ever wondered how ink is made? It’s actually a fairly simple process, but there are a few things you need to know in order to make quality ink.

In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in making your own ink, as well as some of the common problems that can occur. So whether you’re an artist who likes to make their own supplies, or you just want to save some money, read on for our detailed tutorial on how to make ink!

What Is Ink?

Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments, dyes, and other colorants. It can be applied to almost any surface with a pen, brush, sponge etcetera by using it as a medium of writing.

Inks are typically made from organic compounds such as tannins (found in tea leaves) and dyes like indigo or madder root extracts for example; however, there are also synthetic materials used nowadays which contain chemicals that react chemically when exposed to air turning blacker over time.

The word “ink” comes from the Latin incaere (“to stain”).

What Are Inks Used For?

It is used for writing or drawing with a pen on paper, as well as many other purposes such as printing textiles (fabric) and photographs onto fabric using an inkjet printer. It can also be applied to wood or other surfaces as a dye (a substance that colors something).

Types Of Ink

Inks have been used for writing since prehistoric times. They were initially made from natural materials like ground charcoal, soot, and metal salts.

The earliest known example is from the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II (1279 BC), who wrote on papyrus with carbon black ink derived from soot and gum arabic; however, other materials such as plant extracts were also used throughout history which often caused problems because these organic pigments faded easily over time due to light exposure and moisture content changes within them.

There are many different types of inks that can be made at home using simple ingredients like berries or vegetables such as beetroot juice mixed together with water until thick enough so it feels smooth when rubbed between fingers.

Inks can also be made with more complex ingredients like acrylic paint or drawing inks, but these will require a little more know-how and equipment.

Why DIY When You Can Buy Inks?

There are a few reasons why you might want to make your own inks. The first is that they can be cheaper than store-bought inks, especially if you use natural ingredients. You also have more control over the properties of the ink, such as color, transparency, and vibrancy. And finally, it’s just really fun to experiment with making your own inks!

How to Make Ink: A Detailed Tutorial

Now that we’ve answered some common questions about ink, let’s get into the detailed tutorial on how to make your own ink at home!

This process will require a few basic supplies like jars or bottles with tight-fitting lids, water filters or bottled water (unless you live near a clean source), and mixing containers.

It’s also good to know that most pigments are not soluble in water, so we’ll need an acid like vinegar or lemon juice for example which will help break down the pigment molecules into smaller ones that dissolve better with each other when added together. This process is called “acidification“.

How Do You Make Ink?

There are a few different methods for making ink, but the most common is the water-based method. This involves dissolving pigments or dyes in a solvent (usually water) and then adding a preservative to prevent it from spoiling.

The steps involved in making your own ink are:

  • Choose your ingredients: The first step is to choose the ingredients you want to use for your ink. You can use natural materials such as plant extracts and dyes, or you can use synthetic materials like chemicals and plastics.
  • Make a solution: Next, you need to make a solution of the chosen ingredients. This can be done by boiling the ingredients together until they dissolve, or by mixing them in a container and then stirring until they are fully dissolved.
  • Add a preservative: Once the ingredients have been dissolved, you need to add a preservative to prevent the ink from spoilage. This can be done by adding an alcohol or vinegar solution, or by using a chemical like sodium benzoate.
  • Bottle your ink: Once the preservative has been added, it’s time to bottle your ink. You can use any type of containers such as bottles, jars, or vials; just make sure it is well sealed to prevent the ink from evaporating.

How to Make Black Ink

There are many different ways to make black ink, but the most common is by using lampblack.

The following tutorial will walk you through the process of making black ink from scratch using natural ingredients. Keep in mind that this is just a general guide – feel free to experiment with different combinations of ingredients to create your own unique ink.


The ingredients needed for making your own black ink from scratch are:

  • Distilled water: 5 parts
  • Gum arabic: 3 parts
  • Lampblack: 1 part


Step 1

Combine the water and gum arabic in a container, then stir well until they are completely dissolved.

Step 2

Now it’s time to add the lampblack. This can be done by adding it in solid form or by dissolving it in water first. Stir until it is fully dissolved.

Step 3

Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar or bottle. Tightly seal the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to help the ingredients mix together better. Let ink sit undisturbed overnight so that all of the ingredients have enough time to absorb moisture from the air and fully blend together.

Step 4

Use a brush or pen to apply ink onto paper, fabric, or other desired surface. Let the ink dry completely before touching it or using it for any further applications.

How to Make Ink From Charcoal

Another way to make black ink is by using charcoal. The following tutorial will show you how to make ink from charcoal using the vinegar-based method.


The ingredients needed for this recipe are:

  • Vinegar: 3 parts
  • Charcoal powder: 1 part
  • Honey


Step 1

Put three parts of vinegar and one part of charcoal powder in a container. Mix well to make sure that all the lumps are out.

Step 2

Add honey to taste (optional), making sure that you do not leave too many bubbles behind. Store in a well-sealed glass container at room temperature for up to six months before use.

How to Make Alcohol Ink

You can also use alcohol to make colored ink. Alcohol-based inks are highly saturated and very fast drying, making them ideal for illustration art.


The ingredients needed for this recipe are:

  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl): 1/2 oz
  • Printer ink refills: 3 ml
  • Glycerin: Glycerol is used to increase the ink’s glossiness and transparency; you may skip this step if you do not have any glycerin available at home.


Step 1

Pour rubbing alcohol into a jar. 90% is the best option but any kind will work as long as it’s at least 70%.

Step 2

Add in printer ink refill until the desired color is achieved; mix well so there aren’t any visible streaks left behind from stirring.

Step 3

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six months before use. This ink can be used for brush painting, dip pens, and fountain pens. If you want to make more than one bottle of ink at a time, double or triple this recipe as needed.

Common Problems With Making Ink

There are a few common problems that can occur when making ink. Here are some of the most common:

  • Incorrect proportions. If the proportions of the ingredients aren’t correct, the ink will not form or will be unstable.
  • Incorrect temperature. If the temperature isn’t correct, the ink may not form correctly or could spoil.
  • Not enough dye/pigment. The resulting ink may not be very colorful if there isn’t enough dye or pigment in it.
  • Excess dye/pigment. If there is too much dye or pigment, the ink may be very thick or clumpy.
  • Poor quality ingredients. If the ingredients aren’t of good quality, the resulting ink may not be very stable or could spoil quickly.

You might also be interested in our article about How to Make Black Paint.

How to Store Ink

Once the ink is made, it’s important to store it properly so that it lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips for storing ink:

  • Store in a cool, dark place. This will help keep the ink from spoiling.
  • Avoid contact with air and light. Air and light can cause the ink to fade over time.
  • Use a tight-fitting lid. This will prevent the ink from evaporating.
  • Add a preservative (optional). Some people add a preservative such as potassium sorbate to help keep their ink stable for longer periods of time.

Final Words

And that’s all there is to it! With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can create your own beautiful inks with whatever colors you desire. Have fun experimenting with different combinations, and be sure to share your results with us in the comments below!

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