Magical Ink Making

Astros stave“Astros” – Icelandic runestave which protects from all staves

I came up with some recipes for magical inks and then got together with my apprentice to make a test batch to see if the method would work.  We started with the recipe for black ink as my other recipes had more expensive ingredients. I boiled Alder bark for about 5 hours to get a very dark brown. You’d need to boil it forever for the dye from the bark to turn black. Local natives used to use this simple dye to stain their fishing nets black so the fish couldn’t see them. Once we had a concentrated dye from the bark I added it to my smaller dye pot and my apprentice and I added gum arabic and myrrh resins along with crushed dried spiders and lampblack.
Magical Ink Making

Alder bark Adding the resins to the dye

You can make your own lampblack by collecting it from candle or oil lanterns or buy holding a spoon over a candle and scraping off the black residue (lampblack) that forms on the metal. This takes forever to accumulate enough lampblack for an ink — especially if you are making a large batch. If you’re only making enough for a small vial for yourself, then this method is viable.  One way to cheat is to purchase a high quality tube of black watercolour that is purely lampblack and gum arabic — two ingredients you’re going to need anyway. You still need other bases for the colour however (like the Alder bark) or you’ll just be writing with diluted watercolours and it’s not the same as an ink nor is it as strong. I would only recommend this cheat for a black ink though.

Straining the ink

Once the ink was blended and the writing tests showed the right consistency and darkness of colour, we allowed the ink to cool and then strained it through a very fine sieve (handcrafted inks can be pretty gritty). I had to add a little more alcohol at this point to thin it as the ink thickened when cooling. Then I poured the ink in pretty wide-mouthed bottles and had a bit of fun testing it out. And voilà, lovely handmade magical ink!

Black Magical Ink


No Responses to “Magical Ink Making”

  1. Melissa says:

    I just made walnut husk ink, it’s a nice dark brown color. I hadn’t thought of adding resin to it though. I bet that makes it smell really nice. I’m fascinated by the idea of colored inks, I’m trying to figure out what might work for a permanent ink.

    • Pam says:

      I make pokeberry ink and it’s comes out a lovely reddish purple and is very permanent – be careful not to get it on your hands. I’ve gathered butterfly wings I found so I will be adding those to the ink also.

      Love using magical inks – great blog as usual!

  2. Anathemum says:

    How wonderful! Making my own ink was one of the first recipes I ever tried. I’m glad you’ve had such great results!

  3. Anthony says:

    hey Sarah…i ponder….they say when an idea is shared it is strengthened…

    Does the fact that you have many people following your blog (your very cool blog), celebrating your works of art and enjoying your many informative articles…help to build and strengthen your personal confidence and “power” or psychic strength as a witch?

    Obviously your “ability” and “power” so to speak, come first and foremost from your own devotion, dedication and hard work, and some would say, from the spirits you work with. But i wonder what effect the on-line following you have has on your “mana”(a Maori term for personal power/respect/awesomeness etc), and thus on your ability to work as you do?

    I am not suggesting that you are somehow “using” your readers’ energy like some vampire, but just wondering how, if at all, it effects your “mana”, and if you are somehow enhanced or empowered by this.

    Many witches would insist on absolute secrecy for their working (lest others’ skepticism or contrary thoughts interfere with their magic), and no doubt you don’t divulge everything you do or experience either….but can this principle work in favor for you when your practices are observed with applause?

    hope this isn’t too abstract to make sense…


    • I’m definitely not a psychic vampire, but I do believe there is no way to interact with other human beings without affecting each other. For my own part the commenters mostly give me confidence that I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. For many it must be the same. I think that’s called community building, lol.

      I do hold back a lot of what I share either because some practices might sound too crazy or are just too personal, but mostly I’m silent on my tradition training and my spirit work. So while from reading my blog it looks like I’m an open book, there much more I’m not telling you ;)

  4. saphira trilena says:

    Hi Sara, I translated the text of the Portuguese, I’m from Brazil and I apologize if it are not sure. I love your blog and whenever I visit.
    If I could visit you and there would be his student. Kisses and many blessings to you of Iemanjá.And of course I buy everything in your store … rsrsrsr

    Oi, Sara, eu traduzi este texto do português,sou do Brazil e peço desculpa se não ficar certo. Eu amo seu blog e o visito sempre.
    Se eu pudesse iria aí te visitar e ser sua aluna. Beijos e muitas benções de Iemanjá pra você.E claro compraria tudo na sua loja…rsrsrsr