Year 9/10 Textiles

Natural Inks

You can make simple, non-toxic inks at home with natural ingredients that you have in the kitchen or garden. Leaves, bark, spices and petals can all be used to make inks. None of these colours will be as bright and saturated as store-bought pigments, but they have a soft beauty all their own.

Flower petal ink- 

Collect petals from your favourite flowers and squash them down into a jam jar. Cover the petals with boiling water- just enough to cover them. Leave this mixture overnight so the colour can leach out of the petals. The next day, strain the petal tea through a cheese cloth or old t-shirt and pour into a clean jar. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of gum Arabic. Shake to mix and leave overnight so the gum Arabic can dissolve.

Tea bag ink- (use ordinary tea or try different herbal tea bags for this recipe)

Put 6 fresh teabags in a mug and half fill the mug with boiling water. Leave to steep until cold. Squeeze the teabags carefully, collecting all the tea and discard the bags. Pour your tea into a clean jar. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of gum Arabic. Shake to mix and leave overnight so the gum Arabic can dissolve.

Vegetable inks (try red cabbage, white or red onion skins or beetroot)

Chop your vegetable parts into small pieces and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. Make sure the pan does not boil dry- add a little more water if necessary. Leave your vegetable tea to cool. Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or old t-shirt. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of gum Arabic. Shake to mix and leave overnight so the gum Arabic can dissolve.

Activity

Why not try reviving an old light coloured t-shirt using the tie dye process and your coloured inks. Alternatively you could create a surface pattern design and add colour using the inks.