Walnut Ink

Walnut Ink

Walnut ink is another ink that has good archival properties and was used by many old masters of art in their works. It produces a warm brown, sepia toned ink due to the presence of the dye juglone (which contributes to the Latin name of the walnut tree Juglans sp.) and also the presence of tannins.

After finding quite a sizeable collection of immature windfall walnut husks, we decided to take them home and prepare them for dyeing and making ink.

After chopping up the walnuts, we put them in a jar and covered with some distilled water. As the walnuts were immature, the nut itself had not yet grown and the colour remained a beautiful green with a beautiful fresh smell. After a few days the mixture slowly started to turn dark brown with a green tinge, so we strained off the liquid and refilled the jar with fresh water. We were able to collect a good amount of walnut solution this way and could probably have continued on a few times more before we exhausted them of their colour.

At this stage the coloured liquid is very fine so we boiled up the solution to reduce it down by ½ which increased viscosity and then we added gum arabic as a binder, and a few drops of clove essential oil for a fungicide.


Walnut husks, the blacker the better but fresh green husks are also suitable – the wearing of gloves at all stages is advised, walnuts stain hands for days. The Walnut itself is not used.

Rain / Distilled water to full submerge walnut husks

1 Cup of strained solution boiled down to ½ cup

1 tsp Gum Arabic powder

2 drops of Clove Essential oil

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes" Psalm 118:23

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