Of course you’ll need an actual walnut tree with walnuts hanging on it. You’ll find these now, in October. For making the ink you need the green husks, not the light brown hard shells around the nut itself. If the green husks have turned brown or black already, even better.

You can write very fine lines with walnut ink, so it’s suitable for very delicate calligraphic work. The color is an absolutely beautiful warm brown, light or dark depending on the amount of water added.

Preparation and Materials

First you should seperate the green husks from the nuts. Soak the husks in water for at least 24 hours, this will result in a better color. I tried it without that phase, the color didn’t turn out as intense.

You’ll also need:

  • A pot
  • A fine mesh or cloth (a nutmilk bag or a fine laundry mesh bag)
  • small glass containers for the ink
  • rubbing alcohol or vinegar
  • gloves

How to make the ink

  • Put the soaked nuts with the water (just enough to cover them) into a pot and simmer them for at least half an hour. The longer you let them sit and the more husks are in the pot, the more intense the color will be.
  • Filter the liquid through a fine mesh or cloth. There shouldn’t be any solid parts left in the liquid.
  • Be sure to squeeze all the liquid from the husks, and wear gloves for that – the ink will dye your hands, too.
  • If you want to make the color darker, let the liquid simmer again until you have reached the desired result. You can make a test writing with the ink from time to time on a piece of paper. The ink will be slightly darker when it’s dry.
  • To prevent the ink from mold, add approx. 10 to 20% rubbing alcohol to the ink.


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