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Home-made beet ink


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#1 iggers

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 18:47

I just made a small quantity of ink. It seems to work in a cheap piston-filled Chinese fountain pen.

Maybe by this evening, it will have jammed up the feed.

I found the recipe online. Slice a fresh beet in 1/4 inch slices. Simmer covered in 1/2 cup water, until tender. Cool. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar. The only things I did that were not called for in the recipe, were to peel the beet, and to strain the ink through a paper filter.

The result is a pleasing red-violet that flows nicely.

The pen I used has a medium nib with a kangaroo design and the word "Katelina" on the steel nib. At the bottom of the pen, on a silver base cap, is "Katelina 6618". It has been trouble with more conventional ink - a nice fat line, and five or ten minutes later, dry. I expect it may work better with a watery home-made ink.

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Edited by iggers, 13 March 2011 - 18:48.


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#2 zipcodeman

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 18:50

That's a really nice color. What is the drying time like on this ink?
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#3 iggers

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 19:24

I wrote the word "seems" three times and swiped after differing lengths of time. The first time, I swiped it with my finger almost immediately, and the last three letters smeared. The second time, I swiped after a five count, and the "M" streaked in three fairly faint lines. The third time, after counting to ten, I swiped and there was no smear.

#4 WanderingAuthor

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 20:34

A few thoughts. First, this could presumably be varied by soaking the beets in the mixture longer, or by adding more beet to the mixture.

There are probably other pigments you could use in homemade inks; wasn't onion peel or onion used in some sort of dye in the past? And you could try mixing the dyes for your own personal hues. It might be fun to experiment with this. (Don't be surprised if you hear angry shouts from my wife as I fill up her kitchen with little experimental brews. :roflmho: )

But I think your idea of filtering the final result is a very good one. It would eliminate at least one source of problems. Also, although many commercial inks do not have a neutral PH, there is enough danger in using any ink whose qualities are untested and unknown to you that I'd limit my tests to a pen I could bear to use lose, at least until I'd used the ink long enough that I could be more sure of how it behaved. And I don't think I'd want to try handmade inks in any valuable or vintage pens, just in case they turned out to be made of a material that reacted with the ink.

Edited by WanderingAuthor, 13 March 2011 - 20:35.

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#5 KCat

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 21:13

not to derail things but I keep reading the subject as "Home-made beef ink" and thinking "eewwww"

I know it doesn't make sense and after the first time I should get over it but...

oh well.

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#6 OldGriz

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 21:16

Leaving the skins on the beets will give a deeper more saturated color....
I make beet jelly every fall and we boil the beets with the skin on for more color and flavor..
Then remove the skin and use the rest to make pickled beets and canned beets....

I do highly recommend passing through a paper filter before use...
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#7 Lovesink

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 21:28

This color is much stronger than I would expect.

Now I know what to do with a surplus of beets that are still around from last year (I grow them), getting old and wrinkled. I think my nieces will like this color, too, for their fountain pens. We'll just have to be careful choosing the pen (not too expensive).
Thank you for taking the effort to share this.... :thumbup:


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#8 Lovesink

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 21:40

Leaving the skins on the beets will give a deeper more saturated color....

I do highly recommend passing through a paper filter before use...


I agree that filtering must be highly recommended, since leaving the peel on the beet will make the water a lot muddier.... Getting this in your fountain pen would be a nightmare, no doubt.
Before "harvesting" the extract, you could also let the water come to a rest first, so that most of the dirt will sink to the bottom of your pan (when cooling down). Than I would take the extract mainly from the surface, without stirring. (I make pickled beets, too, each year.... Love it.)


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#9 Mickey

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 21:45

not to derail things but I keep reading the subject as "Home-made beef ink" and thinking "eewwww"


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#10 KCat

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 22:41

not to derail things but I keep reading the subject as "Home-made beef ink" and thinking "eewwww"


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Oh, Mickey! Really? You had to go there?

:sick:

HURL!

beets beets beets

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#11 iggers

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 22:56

The ink does not hold onto the vivid red seen in the photo. It dries to a much more subdued color. ( I would post a photo but I've used up my upload quota with one photo, and I need to figure out how to link to a photo that is stored at another site. I tried to link to flickr but was not able to. Maybe I need an upgraded membership?)

I peeled the beet as I worried the skin would release larger, gritty particles. I'll try skin-on for my second batch.


I just made a small quantity of ink. It seems to work in a cheap piston-filled Chinese fountain pen.

Maybe by this evening, it will have jammed up the feed.

I found the recipe online. Slice a fresh beet in 1/4 inch slices. Simmer covered in 1/2 cup water, until tender. Cool. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar. The only things I did that were not called for in the recipe, were to peel the beet, and to strain the ink through a paper filter.

The result is a pleasing red-violet that flows nicely.

The pen I used has a medium nib with a kangaroo design and the word "Katelina" on the steel nib. At the bottom of the pen, on a silver base cap, is "Katelina 6618". It has been trouble with more conventional ink - a nice fat line, and five or ten minutes later, dry. I expect it may work better with a watery home-made ink.



#12 wallylynn

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 23:08

A few thoughts. First, this could presumably be varied by soaking the beets in the mixture longer, or by adding more beet to the mixture.

Or you can simmer longer to evaporate the water and concentrate it more.

There are probably other pigments you could use in homemade inks; wasn't onion peel or onion used in some sort of dye in the past? And you could try mixing the dyes for your own personal hues. It might be fun to experiment with this. (Don't be surprised if you hear angry shouts from my wife as I fill up her kitchen with little experimental brews. :roflmho: )

I don't remember about beets, but you could try baking soda instead of vinegar. The color could be pH dependent like cabbage.

But I think your idea of filtering the final result is a very good one. It would eliminate at least one source of problems. Also, although many commercial inks do not have a neutral PH, there is enough danger in using any ink whose qualities are untested and unknown to you that I'd limit my tests to a pen I could bear to use lose, at least until I'd used the ink long enough that I could be more sure of how it behaved. And I don't think I'd want to try handmade inks in any valuable or vintage pens, just in case they turned out to be made of a material that reacted with the ink.

pH is overblown. Your biggest concern should be that the ink was made from food. You basically put soup inside your pen. Don't keep it there too long or it'll spoil and stuff will grow. Be sure to flush thoroughly. Homemade inks are best restricted to dip pens. If you're after the entire "old school feel" you can collect some feathers (or reeds) and make some quills for your homemade ink.

#13 iggers

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 23:27

I think the vinegar in the recipe is meant to retard spoilage. (?)

[/quote]
pH is overblown. Your biggest concern should be that the ink was made from food. You basically put soup inside your pen. Don't keep it there too long or it'll spoil and stuff will grow. Be sure to flush thoroughly. Homemade inks are best restricted to dip pens. If you're after the entire "old school feel" you can collect some feathers (or reeds) and make some quills for your homemade ink.
[/quote]

#14 Jared

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 00:51

In addition to Beets, maybe Lima Beans or Brussel Sprouts would make a lovely green shade of ink. I may have found a use for the vegetables that my kids won't eat...

#15 nightwing

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 03:16

This is really neat! I would so use that for my dip pens... I'm not willing to risk any of my precious FPs, no matter how tempting the colour is! :P

#16 SamCapote

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 03:50

This is something that Dwight Schrute would make. Personally, I hate beets.

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#17 iggers

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 09:40

Made me laugh. :happyberet:

This is something that Dwight Schrute would make. Personally, I hate beets.

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#18 iggers

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 18:16

This morning I loaded a Hero 266 with the beet juice, and managed to produce a violetty stain on my shirt pocket. :embarrassed_smile:

#19 ClassicHippie

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:23

I love beets and I think they're a beautiful color! Is there any conventional ink that comes close to the color of beets?

#20 TMA

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:22

not to derail things but I keep reading the subject as "Home-made beef ink" and thinking "eewwww"

I know it doesn't make sense and after the first time I should get over it but...

oh well.


Ink made from home-made beef rather than store-bought beef? How big is your back yard?

On a more serious note, acetic acid (vinegar) is quite a powerful antiseptic. That's why it is used in ear drops.

Edited by TMA, 15 March 2011 - 10:24.







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