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  • Making Iron Gall Ink - In pictures!

    Making 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 medieval ink making kit from Scribal Work Shop on Etsy. (shameless marketing)

    The kit also includes your filter cloth, gloves, and spoons, a couple of ink bottles, etc.

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

    (Imagine a picture of water)

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

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

    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.

    Great job following safety protocols!

    Ok, now we can measure the ingredients.

    Measure ¾ cup of vinegar

    ¾ cup of wine (I like red the best)

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

    Mix them all together

    Measure 1 cup of this mixture

    Place it in a pan

    Add the Oak galls to this pan

     Boil it for about 5 minutes

    Measure ½ cup of your remaining liquid

    Pour it into an appropriate container

    Add the Iron(II) Sulfate to this

    And stir to dissolve

    Measure ½ cup of your remaining liquid

    And add it to an appropriate container

    Add gum Arabic to this liquid

    And Stir to dissolve

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

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

    Filter this liquid through the cloth again

    Squeeze out the remaining liquid

    Until the oak galls are dry

    You should have about 1 cup of oak gall extract

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

    This should now form a dark black/grey liquid

    Now add your gum Arabic solution/suspension

    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)