I want to make some homemade ink suitable for amateurs to practice calligraphy. I have access to many household chemicals, including acetic acid, sodium hydrogen carbonate, sugar, sodium chloride, and more.

Can someone give me an easy recipe for a colored (any color will be fine) ink that I can make at home? (preferably basic, but slightly acidic is fine too I guess)

Here are some ideas:

  1. Caramelized sugar --- nope, too expensive and smelly.
  2. Something with rust? (iron)
  3. Something like india ink. (pigments are acceptable too)
  4. Cornstarch and iodine.

1 Answer 1


I don't have a full recipe, but if you're fine with black ink, try to boil some crushed or grounded organic material containing large amounts of gallic acid (or other hydrolyzable tannins) with rusty iron and some vinegar (acetic acid).

Suitable organic materials that come to my mind are oak bark or green tea.

You should end up with an ink that darkens over time. Note that this ink will probably clog fountain pens but should be fine for calligraphic pens.


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