Author Topic: Making your own walnut ink?  (Read 13786 times)

Offline Briana

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #60 on: September 29, 2014, 03:27:27 PM »
Awesome, Natascha! I still have a basket of walnuts from last year (oops!) to try and cook. I should do it soon!
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #61 on: September 30, 2014, 02:26:48 AM »
Okaay, so here's my final review of this process.

For me, cooking the ink for longer and letting the husks soak overnight didn't make any difference to just letting it cook for a hour. The ink is thicker, yes, but funnily enough it's not darker. It's also not substantially different to write with.
Compared to the walnut ink from kalligraphie.ch I bought, mine is lighter in colour. The main difference is that it is oilier, kind of like iron gall ink. It also covers the nib similar to IG. This leads to wonderful hairlines (thinner than with the ink I bought).

To sum up the good and bad things:

++ Cheap!!
+ Easy
+ Collecting the husks was a fun activity for the kids
++ Hairlines!!

- Not as rich in colour as expected

Finally, a picture of the short cooking time batch, the long cooking time -> overnight soaking -> long cooking batch and the one I purchased:
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #62 on: October 02, 2014, 03:31:07 AM »
Hi Natascha, I love your ink!! I'll try to collect some husks to in the kindergarten garden, before they put them all away ;D.

I think the reason why your ink is lighter is that the walnut ink from kalligraphie.com is mixed with Bister (it says so on the label – 'Bister-Nusstinte'). Bister apparently is a traditional (cheap) brown ink made of water and Holzruß (I found grime or carbon black in the dictionary). They used to scrape this out of the oven and mix it with water and a binder (for example gum arabic) – sort of a poor people's ink who couldn't afford to go to the apothecary to buy iron gall ink. Also I guess it's darker than walnut ink. The thing about Bister is somewhere explained on the kalligraphie.com site ;).

I was also wondering about this because most opf the samples I see on the internet when people write with walnut ink look much lighter than my ink …
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #63 on: October 02, 2014, 09:02:37 AM »
Oh, that's interesting.  My ink comes out a little lighter than yours, Stefanie, but darker than Natascha's.  I can certainly make it lighter, but the solution is nearly saturated as it is so probably no darker.  Now I'm tempted to start playing around with lampblack.

Offline schin

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #64 on: October 02, 2014, 12:38:48 PM »
It looks great! Has anyone tried mixing walnut ink with sumi or iron gall? I have been dipping twice in sumi and walnut to get the lovely dark-black-brown ink, but such a pain. Mixing it both in the bottle weirds out the consistency though.
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Offline SueL

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #65 on: October 02, 2014, 09:28:40 PM »
Schin, that's interesting. Wouldn't the black sumi overpower the brown walnut? Do you dip in sumi or walnut first?

Offline Faeleia

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #66 on: October 03, 2014, 05:23:21 AM »
I'm gonna try! I'm a bit scared to use gall since I want to prolong my nibs, but maybe adding walnut ink and water will dilute and hopefully ease the acidic component a little..

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2014, 03:13:47 AM »
Update: The ink smells so bad. I opened the bottle again after two weeks or so and ... oh YUK, PUTRID  :'(
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2014, 06:22:11 AM »
Sorry to hear that, Natascha - do you think some sort of nasty organism has taken up residence?  Perhaps a few drops of alcohol might be in order next time.

Offline Blotbot

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2014, 10:24:14 AM »
Update: The ink smells so bad. I opened the bottle again after two weeks or so and ... oh YUK, PUTRID  :'(

Thank you for the warning!  I just added a bit of tea tree oil to the batch I made this week.  I boiled the bejeevers out of it so no bugs yet, but I imagine they are coming.

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2014, 12:55:12 PM »
Sorry to hear that, Natascha - do you think some sort of nasty organism has taken up residence?  Perhaps a few drops of alcohol might be in order next time.
I actually added some alcohol :( I don't see any mold growing and it still writes fine but .... UGH. :-\
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2014, 02:26:04 PM »
Your reference to the horrible smell rang bells with me, but I wanted to check the facts first.

Since the process is so similar to brewing beer, it sounds like it could be the same bacterial infection which causes "ropiness" ... obviously a low concentration of alcohol isn't going to do much good if that's the case, so ignore my earlier comment.  The only cure which definitely works is to sterilise everything you use after boiling up the brew - spoons, funnels, containers etc.  If you dilute it, used boiled water.  And so on and so forth - lots of hassle.  Adding alcohol will deter any fungal intruders from taking up residence, so it's still worth doing.

A ropey batch of beer was enough to put me off brewing permanently - it's truly disgusting - so I do sympathise if that is indeed what has happened.

Offline Briana

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #72 on: October 19, 2014, 01:40:56 PM »
Update: The ink smells so bad. I opened the bottle again after two weeks or so and ... oh YUK, PUTRID  :'(

I keep a small plastic container of walnut ink mixed with gum arabic for regular use and then just refill with the larger bottle when it gets low. It was always smells bad when I open the large bottle, but the smell goes away in the small one. Not sure why! Maybe it just needs to air out a little :)
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Offline Briana

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #73 on: October 19, 2014, 01:41:50 PM »
It looks great! Has anyone tried mixing walnut ink with sumi or iron gall? I have been dipping twice in sumi and walnut to get the lovely dark-black-brown ink, but such a pain. Mixing it both in the bottle weirds out the consistency though.

I tried mixing sumi into the ink but it never gave quite the effect I wanted. Gouache seems to do really well, though!
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Making your own walnut ink?
« Reply #74 on: October 20, 2014, 04:00:42 AM »
It looks great! Has anyone tried mixing walnut ink with sumi or iron gall? I have been dipping twice in sumi and walnut to get the lovely dark-black-brown ink, but such a pain. Mixing it both in the bottle weirds out the consistency though.

I tried mixing sumi into the ink but it never gave quite the effect I wanted. Gouache seems to do really well, though!
Mixing with Higgins works, too!
I hate Higgins by itself, but with the home-made walnut ink it's really nice.
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