The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Making Oak Gall Ink/Dye Using Acorns

Larry Vienneau shows us how to make oak gall ink using the more readily available acorns. This is a dark-brown-black ink. He writes:

“Iron Oak Gall Ink was used for hundreds of years until modern archival inks arrived. This is the same ink used to sign the Declaration of Independence and to write most Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts.”

He notes that a similar ink was also used as a dye by Native Americans.

What you’ll need: clean whole acorns (no other debris), vinegar, gum arabic (or honey, which he says works just as well as a binder), a slow cooker, a wide-mouthed funnel, cheesecloth, a strainer, iron (rusty nails, steel wool, etc. or iron tablets from the health food store), a preservative (he uses solvent alcohol).

It can take up to a week to make the ink.

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