Pomegranate ink is a modification of the so-called iron gall ink. This is a document-proof ink that was very common until the middle of the 20th century – and is still used today. The first gall ink recipes existed in ancient times.
To make it yourself you need oak galls- small knobs that are created by gall wasps, when they for example prick the underside of an oak leaf.
The brewed oak galls together with iron vitriol and a little gum arabic make the finished ink. When you write or paint with it, it looks rather pale at first. But oxidation kicks in soon – that means if it is exposed to air it turns black in a few seconds.
Oak galls can be hard to find. But there is an alternative: just use pomegranate peels for a similar ink. Her is how it’s done:
The ink base
The recipe is super simple. Get a pomegranate and do the following:
- Peel the pomegranate
- Eat the delicious pomegranate seeds 🙂
- Cut the peel into small pieces and boil it in a saucepan with approx. 400ml water.
- Let it simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- Then strain and dispose of the peels.
- Catch the liquid and pour it back into the saucepan.
- Let it simmer until it has reduced by about half again.
- Let it cool down and put it in a clean jar. You can keep this base for your ink tightly closed in the refrigerator for a while.
This is your ink base – not the finished ink yet. Another ingredient is missing: the so-called iron vitriol. You can buy iron vitriol / iron (II) sulfate ready-made as a greenish powder. But don’t worry, you can easily make it yourself too.
(PLEASE BE CAREFUL when handling powder. Do not inhale, do not eat, do not smoke! Keep away from children and pets. Please also exercise caution when making the iron vitriol with vinegar essence.)
Recipe for iron vitriol
- Put some rusty iron nails or some other rusty iron in a jar, then pour vinegar essence over it until it’s covered.
- Then wait a few days until the iron parts have turned black.
- Strain the resulting liquid and pour it into a separate screw-top jar.
The finished pomegranate ink
To create ink from these two ingredients, take a bowl or a jar and mix your base from the pomegranate peels with a few drops of iron vitriol and some liquid gum arabic (you can buy this or make it yourself by dissolving gum arabic in a bit of water).
It’s best to make fresh ink every time you want to use it.