How to Make Alcohol Ink

DIY Black Walnut Alcohol Ink

Everybody is all crazy about alcohol inks. The fact is they are really easy to make. For a basic recipe all you have to do is check out YouTube and you’ll be on your way. I used this video to make the inks for my business cards and tags. Check it out here.. .

Homemade Alcohol Ink

As you can see, it might be a bit messy, but it’s not rocket science.

BUT……I had to take it a step further, I decided to see if I could make walnut hull alcohol ink. Guess what? It’s working out.

First I gathered up 10 black walnut hulls from my yard. If you don’t happen to live in God’s country, where the black walnut trees grow, you might just be SOL on this project. (Hint: talk nice to me and I just might send you some, email me).

Anyway…wear gloves with this project. Walnut hulls aren’t actually a dye, they are a stain. A stain that’s as permanent as dye. I’ve been working with these things for years on fiber. They give a beautiful mellow brown that just can’t be duplicated.

So, wearing gloves (OK, I just used a ziploc bag around my hand. Do as I say, not as I do.) I crunched up the hulls into a 16 oz. glass container. In this case a reallybadforyoubuttastydip jar, and added 70% isopropyl alcohol to cover. Then I let it sit for a while. And by a while I mean until I got around to writing this post, think a couple of hours or two glasses of wine, however time is measured in your Universe.

Next strain the contents of the jar through some preferably used cheesecloth and your crappiest colander. This stuff’s not toxic, but it is vicious and could (will) stain.

Seriously, your crappiest colander

Let walnut gunk stain for a while.

and you end up with this.

Treat what is t in the cheesecloth like toxic waste.Throw the gunk and cheesecloth away. Head out to the outdoor trash can with it immediately. It will mess up your trash can. After walnuts fall, they exist only to strain things. Black walnuts are not happy little trees.

Now lay down your craft sheet, or as we refer to it in this house, the freezer paper. And see what you’ve got.

I'm not kidding, people, this is nasty stuff. Freezer paper.

Yeah, I know it's still wet. But cool, huh?

This gives an aged effect that just can’t be beat. I’m putting this one in the win column.

Give it a try It’s quick, messy, and easy. Three of my favorite thing You are going to need stuff to use with all the cool dyes you just made.

Happy crafting and don’t tip over.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode when we will do something with our nifty new inked cards. I just haven’t decide quite what.


  1. So, do you think this would work on, say, white painted wood to make it look like old white painted wood?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I think it would. I’d mix up quite a bit and plan to apply several coats to get to just the color you want. Also, if you let the hulls soak longer, the dye will be stronger. I always try to err on the side of too weak versus too strong though. You can always apply more, but you cannot take it off.

  3. Anonymous says:

    the longer you let the black walnut hulls soak the darker the “ink” You can even let it sit for months. and you get a very very dark color.

  4. Cool project! I just pinned it!
    Then I happened to see your link to my blog in the sidebar — many thanks for the cool idea and for the blogroll link!


  1. […] finally got around to doing something with that black walnut alcohol ink that I made a while […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 439 other followers

%d bloggers like this: