Ink making is one of those things that seems removed from Wicca. But it can be a highly rewarding addition to your practice. Magic often involves writing, and if you make your own ink, you can infuse it with natural elements to enhance the spell.
This article will go into the basics of how to scrap together your own inks from natural sources. This means you won’t need to go spend tons of money on fancy calligraphy equipment!
I’ll keep this short since it’s the same answer to any “why” question: customization!
Why make incense? You can perfectly craft something for whatever purpose you have in mind instead of being stuck with what the store had in stock.
Why make ink? Because who knows what’s in the ink of a random pen? There are tons of chemicals and impurities that can interact with your magic.
- If you want to put allspice in green ink for a luck spell, you can do it!
- If you want to make an ink from charcoal for an Earth protection spell, you can do it!
- If you want to use water that bathed under a full blood moon for a night, you can do it!
All you need to know are the basic principles and you’ll be on your way to developing your own natural inks.
Properties of Ink
Let’s get into how easy this can be.
Ink essentially consists of:
- The dye that gives it the color.
- Something to thicken it so it doesn’t fall off the pen (like water would).
- Something to bind the dye.
This can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. For example, you could use a “brush” instead of a “pen,” and then you wouldn’t need to worry about binding or thickening. It would be more like a watercolor than an ink, though.
Experiment! I’m going to remind right now that you’ll need to experiment. First, I can’t give you every recipe ever.
But most importantly, there are too many factors to take into account. Climate, temperature, humidity, and elevation all affect ink thickness. Your exact writing utensil will affect how thick you want it.
Colors are also a nightmare to predict without being able to see what you’re doing. The time of year you harvest certain plants and botanicals will greatly affect how vibrant the colors turn out.
But this is great!
Do your own experiments and find out what works. Then record it in your Book of Shadows. That’s basically the whole point of keeping a Book of Shadows! It’s a log of what works for you.
Making the Ink
The first listed ingredient to ink is the dye/coloring. This is going to be the easiest step.
The dye creates the base for the color. You’ll need to gather this from wherever you like. It could come from flower petals in your Wiccan garden or wander the woods and look for anything that strikes your fancy.
You could also choose this step based entirely on the magical property of the plant.
Blueberries are a great source of the color blue, but they also work in spells about protection.
Get creative here.
Making the Dye
To make the dye start with a 1:1 ratio of the solid to water. I usually do 1 cup of the plant (or charcoal or whatever) and 1 cup of water.
Bring this to a boil. If the color isn’t showing after a few minutes, add a tiny amount of vinegar and salt to help break it down. This isn’t necessary depending on the plant, so it’s good to try without it first.
Depending on the material, it often helps to mash it while it simmers to help release the color.
Test the color by dipping paper in until it looks how you want.
This step can take up to an hour sometimes to get a nice deep color, but other times it only takes 10 minutes. Use your judgment.
Once it’s done, strain the liquid into whatever glass jar you’ll use for storage.
I use a coffee filter to make sure only liquid gets through. Even the finest wire mesh strainers tend to miss things, and you don’t want chunks in the ink.
Thickening the Ink
This is the trickiest part. If you’re into arts and have some gum arabic lying about, go ahead and use that.
I want this to be more DIY like my making incense article. So, let’s go with stuff you can find around the house.
In olden days people used maple syrup or honey, and both of these work great! But, I’ll warn you that it makes the ink a bit sticky, so if you’re planning on writing something permanent, things can go wrong storing it.
For writing that happens just for the spell, I wouldn’t try to do anything more complicated. For longer-term use, you can use flour or corn starch.
There are two things to remember with these. First, dissolve it in a small amount of cold water first or it will clump in the hot dye. Second, the white from these substances will change the color of the ink.
Once you put a small amount of the thickener in, shake it well and let it rest. It will thicken as it cools, and you’ll want to check if it’s the right consistency for your purposes.
Herbal infusions are a great way to take ink to the next level. You can put a few sprigs of a fresh herb into the dyeing stage of the process to make the ink aromatic and take on magical properties of the herb.
There isn’t too much more to say here if you’ve been following the rest of this.
Practically anything can be a writing tool with this type of ink.
I’ll first give a warning. If you have a fancy, expensive fountain pen, do NOT use this homemade ink with it unless you’re sure it is fine. Fountain pens require a very precise consistency or they will clog.
Trust me. I found out the hard way.
But I recommend your own DIY writing tool anyway. It transports you to a different time for your magic.
If you make the ink really thick, you can just use a thin stick. I used this once to write a rune on a large stone during a moon ritual.
You can also make a feather pen if you have a way to get a feather. Simply cut the end of the feather at an angle. When you dip the end into the ink, it will catch in the end, and you can write with it.
For thinner inks, you can use a brush of any sort you have, like an old paintbrush. The easiest DIY “brush” is to just use the end of a Q-tip!
I’ll just end with some thoughts on this process.
It’s truly surprising what you can get out of things you think have no color. Don’t go overboard at first. Whatever ingredient you want to use will probably have enough in there without needing to add something else.
Thyme works on its own. So does rosemary. So does avocado pit. You shouldn’t feel the need to find “deep” colors in nature if your spell already has any sort of plant in it.
These colors won’t be super strong, but the ink will be visible.
Have fun with this! Making your own ink to enhance your craft is a deeply rewarding practice. It gets you right back to nature. It puts you in touch with Mother Earth in new, exciting ways.
If you decide to go down this path, there are tons of great resources for it. I highly recommend the following two books (click on them for more information):