How Is India Ink Made?

India ink is the blackest and most durable ink in the world. The scrolls of Ancient Egypt were made with India ink on papyrus paper, which is why they can still be read and identified today. To make India ink, you need three bowls, a cold slab of porcelain, a gas flame, water, liquid glue, unscented liquid soap, shellac, ammonia, borax and a wooden spoon to stir the ingredients.

  1. Make and collect carbon black

    Place the cold porcelain against the gas flame until black soot appears on the porcelain. Collect the carbon black soot by gently scraping it off the porcelain and into a small bowl.

  2. Create the India ink liquid

    In a new bowl, pour in a small amount of water. Add equal amounts of liquid glue and unscented liquid soap. Add enough of the liquid glue and liquid soap to the water to make an ink liquid that is thick enough to manipulate and thin enough to flow like ink.

  3. Make the India ink waterproof

    To make the India ink waterproof, combine small amounts of shellac, ammonia and borax in a third bowl. Add the waterproof mixture to the India ink liquid. Adjust the liquid as needed to maintain the correct consistency.

  4. Combine the liquid and carbon black

    Scrape the carbon black soot into the India ink liquid, and stir the ingredients together to complete the India ink.