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Making Iron Gall Ink - In Pictures!

SWS Blog

The Scribal Workshop Blog

 

Making Iron Gall Ink - In Pictures!

Lucas Tucker

How to Make Iron Gall Ink

First you need a recipe, conveniently we sell a kit that includes the following recipe

  • 40 g of powdered Aleppo oak galls

  • 25 g of iron (II) sulfate (with three drops of clove oil added to it)

  • 25 g of gum Arabic

  • A pair of gloves

  • 2 storage bottles

  • Coffee Filter/filter cloth

  • Plastic Spoon(s)

  • 1 cup (120 mL) of water (distilled, or reverse osmosis filtered preferred)

  • ¾ cup (180 mL) vinegar (white, cider, or wine)

  • ¾ cup (180 mL) of wine (old is fine)

Note: Mix all ingredients with a plastic or stainless steel utensil (wooden utensils will be ruined). Wear Gloves through this entire process as the ink will stain your hands, clothes, etc.

Well, let’s go through this a step at a time.

You need to gather all of your materials, to get oak galls, iron(II) sulfate, and gum Arabic, I recommend buying the iron gall ink making kit from us.

The kit also includes your filter cloth, gloves, and spoon, etc.

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You also need water, ideally, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water, though you can use tap water in a pinch.

Next you need vinegar: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, just grab some vinegar

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And next you need some wine: White wine, red wine, old wine, new wine…

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All-righty, now that we have all of the ingredients, lets measure…wait…PUT YOUR GLOVES ON!! This stuff can stain your skin and is slightly toxic.

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Great job following safety protocols!

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Ok, now we can measure the ingredients.

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Measure ¾ cup of vinegar

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¾ cup of wine (I like red the best)

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And 1 cup of water (Double what is in the picture)

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Mix them all together

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Measure 1 cup of this mixture

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Place it in a pan

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Add the Oak galls to this pan

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Boil it for about 5 minutes (make sure it doesn’t boil over!)

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Measure ½ cup of your remaining liquid

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Pour it into an appropriate container

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Add the Iron(II) Sulfate to this

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And stir to dissolve

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Measure another ½ cup of your remaining liquid

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And add it to an appropriate container

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Add gum Arabic to this liquid

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And Stir to dissolve

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Allow the oak galls to cool, and filter the liquid through a cloth into a jar

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Add the final ½ cup of liquid to the oak gall mush

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Filter this liquid through the cloth again

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Squeeze out the remaining liquid

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Until the oak galls are dry-ish

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You should have about 1 cup of oak gall extract

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Add the iron(II) Sulfate solution to this extract (don’t forget your gloves like I did!!)

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This should now form a dark black/grey liquid

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Now add your gum Arabic solution/suspension

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Stir this all together thoroughly and you have made ink. I like to filter it once more through the filter cloth after I have made the ink to get any large clumps out. (this part is extremely messy and not entirely necessary, but it helps smooth out the ink concistency)