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Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Black Walnut Ink ~ Completed

To give an idea of the color I've used my ink on a scrap of 140# watercolor paper to achieve an aged effect by toning the paper and applying a heavier wash around the deckle edge. I'm very happy with the results and find this ink very easy to work with. I did a small still life of an acorn and oak leaf last night but it was too rushed so I plan to re-do it before posting.


The finished ink waiting for a drop or two of clove oil to help preserve it. I will also have to cover the jars to block out any light or replace with tinted glass containers. Walnut ink should be protected from direct light.


I decided to go with coffee filters to strain my ink. I felt the filters would do the best job removing any unwanted sediment. Once the liquid was strained from the husks it still contained a lot of 'sludge' so I left it to drain all night to get every bit of useable ink possible.


Mold forming on the top of the ink. It didn't show up until 3 weeks into the steeping process and was easily removed.
***

My ink is finally ready for it's debut. I let it steep for a little over a month, scraping mold from only one jar twice. The second jar of ink did not produce any mold at all. I noticed no foul smell during the process from either jar. The ink has maintained it's original earthy aroma which is ok by me and the resulting ink is a beautiful warm shade of sepia.

After separating the husks from the liquid I wound up with barely two cups of finished ink. My steeping jars held slightly less than a quart each and the husks took up half the space in each jar to give a rough idea of what amount of ink can be expected. In hindsight I wish I had put the removed husks in cheesecloth and wrung out more liquid. Instead I arranged them on newspaper and paper towel to drain, then double bagged them in ziploc baggies and put them in the freezer for storage. I hope to thaw them at a later date and see if I can make more ink using these same husks.

7 comments:

Jeanette said...

Wow, it looks like your experiment with making walnut ink was a success!

I love the aged look it gives on the paper, very elegant.

Two cups of ink is a lot and should last a long time. And, now that you know how to do it, you can always produce more if you access to the walnut shells.

I look forward to seeing what you produce with this unique ink.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Amazing! I didn't know the bit about protecting walnut ink from light.

How good is the ink at remaining lightfast? Presumably pretty good otherwise people wouldn't still be using it?

Billie Crain said...

Yes, it seems to be a success, Jeanette. I thought it was going to be a messy job but it really wasn't and I would do it again with no qualms. I have enough ink to last me for sometime so I'm not complaining. I've read the husks can be reused so that's why I saved them. I wonder if the used husks will produce the same quality of ink. Time will tell.

Billie Crain said...

Katherine, according to my source at Bukisa.com sunlight will break down the plant matter in the ink but once applied to paper the author of the article stated it was fairly permanent. At this point I'm assuming that means normal care will have to be taken as with watercolor but some testing would probably be wise. This ink can also be used as fabric dye and wood stain.

Feathers said...

Love the look of the "aged" paper, and I'm anxious to see what else you think up to use it for--I can imagine that it WOULD dye fabric and stain wood really well too. Thanks for sharing your journey of ink-making with us.

Yuviza said...

That was a good "experiment", i hope you are happy with the result, all the best!

Nice blog, i like your paintings

Billie Crain said...

Welcome to my blog, Yuviza! I did enjoy making my own ink and was pleasantly surprised that it turned out so well. Thank you for your nice comment on my work, too.:)