Homemade Iris Ink

I realized in the middle of summer that it had been a while since I had done any fun projects for no purpose, which was sad. The iris that we had clipped and left on our table was also looking sad. When it dropped some purple water from the wilting flower I got and idea: I should make some ink!

After looking into it, there seemed to be a lot of varied information about how to make ink from plants, but nothing said you could make ink from iris flowers with certainty. Rather than care if it worked, I decided to use science, randomly cluggeded together info from websites, and a variety of flowers to see how it worked out.

The chosen flower, based on what was blooming in the yard. Poppy / Iris / Camilla

The chosen flowers, based on what was blooming in the yard. Poppy / Iris / Camilla

Step 1: Boil white vinegar and salt with the flowers. I put in too much salt, really you just need a pinch as you boil down the ink later.

Step 1: Boil white vinegar and salt with the flowers. I put in too much salt. You really just need a pinch as you boil down the ink later.

Strain (I just used leftover muslin) the peddles after 30 minutes of boiling.

Strain (I just used leftover muslin) the petals after 30 minutes of boiling.

Results! the far right is Iris after boiling down to the consistency of ink.

Results! The far right is iris after boiling down to the consistency of ink.

The top left shows the inks after one boiling and straining. They were much more like watercolors than inks. Middle left, I reduced the inks by half volume and they worked as paint, but were not quite ink. Bottom left, I boiled down until I got the consistency of ink and it worked! The colours were all pretty muted by the end of the boiling and the poppy was especially hard to use as the additional salt started to crystallize the ink, but this is certainly a way to make ink.

I used a piece of ornamental grass cut at the end to a sharp angle as an impromptu quill.

I used a piece of ornamental grass cut at the end to a sharp angle as an impromptu quill.

Overall, I would say this was a great success; I succeeded in making ink. While I just threw these out when we moved, I am certainly going to try this again next year with some measurements and a real quill!