Inks


Miscellaneous Incense Egyptian Incense Teas Toilletries Ointments Powders Potions Oils



To make inks:
Steep the ground resins in the alcohol until dissolved,
then add the cinnamon oil, indigo, and ground gum Arabic.
Filter and bottle. There are no measurements to some of
these recipes, as they are believed to be from the 1600ís
but it suggests that you add water very very gradually
especially when working with soot, using an eye dropper.

Inks have been around for many years. The earliest known
example is a piece written on Egyptian papyrus nearly 4500
years ago. Carbon, red ochre, and green malachite were all
used to make the earliest inks. These substances would be
ground fine and formed into small cakes. Gum and water were
added to create a liquid that would flow easily through a quill,
reed, or brush, and adhere to the writing surface when dry.




Mundane Inks

Typhonian Ink Vine Black Ink Juice Inks
Besa Ink Hermaic Ink Carbon Inks
Oak Gall Inks Invisible Ink 1805 Homemade Ink
Hawthorn Ink Traditional Ink #1 Traditional Ink #2
Magickal Inks

Typhonian Ink

A fiery red poppy
Juice from an artichoke
An Egyptian acacia seed
Red Typhon's ocher
Unslake quicklime
Wormwood with a single stem
Gum Arabic
Rainwater.

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Vine Black Ink

Known as "onigrum optimum" by the medievals, it was
a highly prized ink. Charcoal made from the young
shoots of grape vines can be used in stick form
for drawing, or ground fine to make ink.

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Juice Inks

Berries or fruit that can be used for ink are
blackberries, boysenberry, and grape juice.
Just add gum arabic if the ink is too thin to write with.

Beetroot juice can also be used to make a red ink,
also by adding the gum arabic to it to thicken.

Essence of saffron is also excellent for ink.

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Besa Ink

Blood of a Crow
Blood of a White Dove
Myrrh
Black Ink
Cinnabar
Mulberry Tree Sap
Rainwater
Wormwood
Vetch

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Hermaic Ink

4 drams of Myrrh
3 Figs
7 Date Pits
7 Small Dried Pinecones
7 Piths of Wormwood
7 Wings of the Hermaic Ibis
Spring Water

Burn ingredients, then mix with spring water and use to write.

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Carbon Inks

In the Middles Ages, most inks were made either from a carbon suspension or
from tannin combined with iron. Carbon particles could come from a number
of sources: charcoal made from plant material, ivory, or bone, or the soot
from candles and oil lamps. This was mixed with gum arabic, and a drop or
two of honey to keep it from becoming brittle. The resulting mixture was a
thick black ink that had an almost oily look to it.

To make carbon-based ink:
Step One: gather charcoal, liquid gum arabic, and a drop or two of honey.
If you want to make your own charcoal, you can do so by wrapping small twigs
or grapevine shoots tightly in tin foil. Charcoal is made by burning wood in
the absence of air, so you want to be sure they are wrapped securely. Wrap
several small bundles all approximately the same size. Place them in the oven
at about 500 degrees F. Pull one bundle out after several hours, unwrap it,
and break open one of the twigs. If it still looks "raw" inside, wait another
hour or two before checking the next bundle. When you finally have twigs that
are a uniform charcoally texture throughout, you've gotten what you were after.

Step two: grind your charcoal. If you're very lucky, you already have a
mortar and pestle you can use for this. If not, even the back of a spoon
and a small bowl will work. Put plenty of elbow grease into it. The
charcoal needs to be ground very fine.

Step Three: start mixing the gum arabic with the charcoal a little bit at a
time. Mix it thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet, add more charcoal. If
it is too dusty, add more liquid. Somewhere in the process, add a drop or
two of honey to make the ink adhere better to the paper. Experiment as you
go along to find the perfect proportions.

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Oak Gall Inks

Tannic acid, when mixed with iron salts, produces a dark dye that becomes
even blacker as it oxidizes on exposure to air. Tannic acid occurs naturally
in oak trees, but large concentrations of it can be found in the "galls" that
are sometimes produced. When an insect bites an oak, the tree reacts by
concentrating tannins in that point. The tannins are poisonous to the insect.
A small swelling in the bark protects the tree from further damage. These galls
were harvested, soaked in water and mixed with iron salts to produce a fine ink.

To make Oak Gall Ink:
Gather oak galls. Not always as easy as it sounds. Look for small knobs
(about 1/2" or so) on branches. They may be easier to find in late summer
or autumn. A scant handful is all you'll need.

Put your galls and a rusty nail into a small glass jar (a baby food jar is
perfect) and cover them with water. Let your ink sit in a sunny windowsill
and shake it whenever you happen to think about it. The timing isn't critical.

The mixture has a tendency to separate out, leaving almost pure water at the
top. Syphon this off with an eye-dropper. Also, the ink may have a thin oily
film on the surface. Strain the final product through a kitchen strainer to
remove what is left of the galls and nails. Add a bit of ground charcoal or
soot to the end product, or leave it as is.

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Invisible Ink

1. To write on paper a letter that no one will see unless the paper is heated:
Take sal ammoniac and melt it by moistening it with water. Then write with
this and let it dry. This will last about eight days.

Sal ammoniac is used to clean tin soldering irons. It can be found at stained
glass supply houses. Using hot water makes it easier to dissolve more of the
sal ammoniac. To make the writing appear, the paper must be held face down
very close to the candle flame.

2. To write Letters of Secrets, that no one will see unless the paper is wetted:
Take fine Allum, beat it small, and put a reasonable quantity of it into water,
then write with said water.

The work cannot be read, but by steeping your paper in fair running water.

You may likewise write with Vinegar, or the juice of Lemon or Onion; if you would read the same, you must hold it before the fire.

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1805 Homemade Ink

Brown: boiled-down walnut or butternut hulls that have been mashed first.
Add vinegar and salt to boiling water to 'set'. Black: add indigo or
lampblack (soot) to Brown. Blue: 2 parts powdered Indigo, 1 part madder,
1 part bran. Mix with water, let stand then strain it well.

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Hawthorn Ink

"Cut some pieces of hawthorn wood in either April or May, before they
grow blossoms or leaves. Make little bundles of them and let them lie
in the shade for two, three, or four weeks, until they are dried out a
little. Then you should have wooden mallets with which you should pound
the thorn on another hard piece of wood, until you have completely
removed the bark. Put this immediately into a barrel full of water.
Fill two, three, four or five barrels with bark and water and so let
them stand for eight days, until the water absorbs all the sap of the bark
into itself. Next, pour this water into a very clean pan or cauldron, put
fire under it and boil it. From time to time also put some of the bark
itself into the pan, so that if any of the sap has remained in it, it
will be boiled out. After boiling it a little, take out the bark and again
put some more in. After this is done, boil the remaining water down to a
third, take it out of that pan and put it into a smaller one. Boil it until
it grows black and is beginning to thicken, being absolutely careful not to
add any water except that which is mixed with the sap. When you see it
begin to thicken, add a third part of pure wine, put it into two or three
new pots, and continue boili! ng until you see that it forms a sort of skin
on top.

Then take the pots off the fire and put them in the sun until the black
ink purges itself from the red dregs. Next, take some small, carefully sewn
parchment bags with bladders inside, pour the pure ink into them, and hang
them in the sun until [the ink] is completely dry. Whenever you want, take
some of the dry material, temper it with wine over the fire, add a little
green vitriol [iron sulphate] and write. If it happens through carelessness
that the ink is not black enough, take a piece of iron a finger thick, put
it into the fire, let it get red-hot, and immediately throw it into the ink."

- From the twelfth century manual 'On Divers Arts' by Theophilus

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Traditional Ink #1

Take a quantity of albumen [egg white]
and mix thoroughly with soot. Then add
honey and mix into a smooth paste. The ink
is then ready to use.

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Traditional Ink #2

Gather some 'lawyer's wig' mushrooms (Corprinus comatus) or some fungus
known as 'Shaggy Ink Caps' and place in a glazed pot or small cauldron.
Leave somewhere warm for several days to allow the mushrooms to deliquess.
Pour off the liquid and either use it as it is or boil until it is about
half its original volume for a blacker. (Note: this ink is less permanent
than some of the others, but is easy to produce.)

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Celtic Gods, Goddesses, Kings and Queens



Hafapea's Universe
Lisa's Planet







I collected these recipes over the course of 10 years
and they come from many sources, including
Scott Cunningham's The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews.
Unfortunately, I have forgotten where most of the others came from.
If you know of the origins for any of them, please let me know so that I can credit the source. Thank you.