People have been making inks and dyes out of natural materials for thousands and thousands of years! Legend has it this recipe for ink has been used since colonial times. Instead of heading to the craft store, take a step back in time and restock your art supply with this easy recipe for homemade ink.
What You Need:
- 1-2 cups strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or pitted cherries
- Sieve and/or hand blender
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- Bowl, spoon
- Optional: Aprons
What You Do:
- Let your child know that for many years, people made most of their art supplies out of materials that could be found in nature. Clothes were often dyed with leaves and plants and paintings were painted with mud and clay! This ink recipe is said to have been used during colonial times.
- Help your child assemble the ingredients for the homemade berry ink. Pick them up from your local grocery store, or if you live close to a berry patch, she can get the real colonial experience by picking them herself! As she chooses the berries, ask her how many she thinks she’ll need to make 1-2 cups. Remember, the volume will be different once they’re juiced!
- Once inside, help her use a sieve or hand blender to mash the berries into liquid and strain them so that pulp and seeds are left out. Put the liquid in a bowl.
- Next, help her measure a ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of vinegar and add it to the liquid mixture. She can add more vinegar if the mixture needs more thinning. Have her stir all the ingredients together.
- Provide some rubber stamps (the kind usually used with ink pads) to your child so she can experiment with her homemade stamping ink. She can stamp some designs on paper with her new ink, or decorate other art projects!
- Note that this ink may stain the wood bases of your stamps, so if you have some very special stamps, you may not want to use them in the berry ink. Perhaps your child can use homemade ink stamps in her homemade ink!
- Need stamps to go along with it? Try these.
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.