Homemade Indian Ink

By Joshua Black ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 1 oz. charcoal ash
  • 1 oz. distilled water
  • Vinegar
  • Disposable bowl
  • Small art brush
  • Small ink jar with tight-fitting lid
Make your own India ink at home using natural ingredients

India ink is one of the oldest known inks in the world, dating back almost 4,000 years. Its simple, natural ingredients and long-lasting properties make it very useful as a drawing ink as well as a staple color in the tattooing world. India ink also goes by the name China ink because it originated in China and Japan before making its way to Europe. You can make your own India ink at home using a few household ingredients.

Pour an ounce of charcoal ash into a disposable bowl. Perform this step outside in case of spillage. You can use ash from a charcoal grill or the black ash from a wood fire.

Pour an ounce of distilled water on the ash. Pour the water slowly so that you do not splash the ash on your clothing. The resulting mixture should look like clumpy, black mud.

Mix the water and ash with a small artist's brush. Stir the mixture until all of the lumps are completely out of the ash and the bowl only contains black liquid that looks like ink.

Add one drop of vinegar to the black liquid. Stir the vinegar into the ink. This will help stabilize the ink and make it more permanent once it has dried. After you have finished stirring, the ink is complete.

Pour the India ink into an air-tight ink bottle and screw the cap down tightly. This ink dries quickly once it's exposed to air.

Tip

Keep your ink bottle capped at all times to prevent it from drying out prematurely.

Make small amounts of ink at a time, so that you are only making what you plan on using in the next few weeks. This ink does not have a very long shelf life in the bottle.

Warning

Do not allow India ink to get on your clothing. This ink will cause a permanent stain on almost any type of material it touches.

About the Author

Joshua Black is a business writer, copywriter and blogger who began his professional writing career in 2000. He has written numerous eBooks and has articles published on various websites and ezines on topics in small business, marketing, sales and sports. He holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial design from Western Michigan University.