How to Make Ink From Charcoal? [Easy Guide]

how to make ink from charcoal

Has your curious mind ever asked you to make ink at home? Although the ink is very cheap at the market, people can easily afford it, but curiosity is still a curiosity. And curiosity is a kind of go science. So, what can be the ink recipes-this question came across my mind a thousand times. In high school and college life, I always wondered how to make ink from charcoal.

Finally, I started research by reading so many articles and posts. Then I found that I can easily make ink with charcoal. After taking the decision of making ink at home, I was looking for the answer that can I make charcoal at home. Well, that is possible too. Finally I decided, let’s experiment both and I did.

So today, in my article, I’ll share with you people how I did this by being a science writer. And you know what? I was really successful in making ink.

History of charcoal

history of charcoal

History is maybe quite boring for you and probably you’re not much interested in physics, chemistry and mathematics. However, ink recipes are also like chemistry. But as a history student, I am bound to love it, and I love telling history.

Don’t worry. I will describe just a few lines of information. Charcoal was used by cavemen probably at 30000 BC as the medium of their cave art. In France, the Niaux cave still holds the painting by charcoal. People started making charcoal probably since 4000BC.

In the renaissance period, from the time of the 15th century, charcoal was widely used by people for writing and painting. Egyptians used charcoals in many ways, including writing.

Many great art masters also used charcoal. Like Michelangelo Buonarroti, German artist Albrecht Dürer, Pablo Picasso- all used charcoal for drawing. But then charcoal was used for just primary sketches.

As I said, I’ll not elaborate; I end my history telling here. Now let’s move to the main science courses. First, let’s learn how to make ink at home. I’ll try providing some useful information too.

How to Make Charcoal at Home

how to make charcoal at home

One piece of information we must need to know is that industrial charcoal has 82% carbon. As we’re making it at home, we’ll not be able to make such good quality ink and pigments. But we can at least try.

For making charcoal, you can use wood or bamboo. Start burning the wood or bamboo. You will have to burn the wood for at least 3 hours for this recipe. To make charcoal, we need 300-700 degrees Celsius temperature.

You can use your fireplace for making charcoal. In the fireplace, the fire will reach every corner. Sometimes just rotate the wood or bamboo. Believe me; this will work like tech. All water from the wood or bamboo will be vanished by then, and the color will turn completely black.

After three hours, your homemade charcoal will be completely ready. If you think more heat then burn more time, more colors will come. Now you can start the procedure of the ink recipe.

How to Make Ink From Charcoal in Details

how to make ink from charcoal info

After homemade charcoal is ready, or if you want good quality charcoal, we are now ready to make the ink recipe. There is various category of making ink. If you’re going to make good quality ink, you can. And if you want simple ink, that is possible too. I’ll share all my experiences and information.

Let’s know what ingredients we need to run the project. In the list, you’ll find many materials. But in the description, you’ll get what the exact ingredients are.

  1. Grinder to grind the charcoal in a most nice way or charcoal powder
  2. Water
  3. Egg (white portion + yolk)
  4. Honey
  5. Vodka
  6. Spoon, brush, or whisk
  7. Vinegar
  8. A glass jar or pot or a baby food jar
  9. Paper (to see how the ink works)
  10. Calligraphy pen

Now we’re ready to start the procedure of making black ink from charcoal powder.

1. Charcoal + water

charcoal and water

This is the easiest way. Take half spoon of finely grounded charcoal powder and take enough amount of water in the glass jar. Do not make the paste or mixture too thick or thin. The mixing should be average thick. This ink is not of significantly better quality, but not too bad too.

2. Charcoal + water + honey

charcoal and honey

After mixing water and charcoal, add a little bit of honey. Then mix nicely. The color will be like berry ink, but it will take more time to dry because of honey. People will find only water and charcoal paste much better than that.

3. Charcoal + egg yolk

With half tea-spoon charcoal, mix one and a half to two tea-spoon egg yolk. This ink works better as the yolk is more sticky and dries quickly too.

4. Charcoal + egg yolk + honey

In the mixing of charcoal and yolk, you can put some honey too. Honey adds shine to ink but takes much time to get dry.

5. Charcoal + vinegar

charcoal and vinegar

Take half tea-spoon charcoal and enough amount of vinegar and mix finely. This mixture will give you better quality ink. This ink performs very well.

6. Charcoal + vinegar + honey

Add a bit amount of honey in charcoal and vinegar mixture. This mixture is really praiseworthy and gives nice writing. You can have good quality ink by this process.

7. Charcoal + vodka

Take one and half tea-spoon vodka with half tea-spoon charcoal and mix well. This mixture also provides better quality ink.

8. Charcoal + egg white

Don’t even try it. This is so bad because egg white does not want to mix.

In all those processes, you’ll find black ink, but the better black ink you’ll find by vinegar and egg yolk. Those are ok just for writing.

Make painting ink from charcoal

ink and charcoal drawing

If you want to make ink for painting, then I will suggest you another type. You can also write with that ink. The specialty is just boiling.

Boiling charcoal and water:

boiling charcoal
  1. As earlier, grind the charcoal finely.
  2. Take a portion which you’ll boil.
  3. Take a fair amount of grounded charcoal and mix enough water.

The mixing is now ready for boiling. In this process, the measurement of water is essential and equally not important. Because in the boiling part, water will evaporate.

So now start boiling for 4 minutes. The consistency will be a little thicker. You can boil more times as per the consistency you want. After the boiling is done, wait until the mixture gets cold.

After cooling is done, use a strainer or something to strain the mixture to get the ink’s raw. For a better quality, add one or two drops of vinegar.

So your better quality black watercolor ink is ready. You can use this for both writing and painting. Isn’t it funny that you’ll upload a picture of your homemade ink drawing?

Check all of those inks writing by a calligraphy pen on papers. Then you’ll understand which one is really better.

Note: User experience says all those ink you’ll make is not really of so good-quality. Those are perfect for just experiment, not for regular writing.

Tips: As I am a consultant here, I’ll give you a few tips or information that you need to follow to make a good ink.

1. You’ll have to grind the charcoal in the best way. The more your grind will be well, the better ink you’ll find. If the grind is very well, you may find industrial ink.
2. Do not make ink with egg whites.
3. You can use honey if you want, but this ink will take much time to dry.
4. While you’ll make ink, wear an apron or dirty clothes.


1. How do you make homemade black ink?

From charcoal, you can easily do this. Just make a good powder of charcoal, then mix with some ingredients like-water, vinegar, egg yolk, honey, vodka et.

2. Can you use charcoal to make tattoo ink?

Yes, you can do this. With charcoal, you’ll require baby oil and water. Often vodka is also used. Although this ink is not long-lasting but safe for skin and budget-friendly.

3. How do you make ash ink?

This is so simple. Grinding charcoal or making powder, you can easily make ash. Then only using ingredients are left.


Now I am at the ending of my article. I wish you the best of luck. May your curious and science experimental mind be satisfied with your try of making black ink? I hope I have given you all the necessary information for “how to make ink from charcoal”.

We all know that science is magic. This ink making experiment will be one of the best science courses in your life. But those ink will not be of such dark and high-quality pigments. Don’t keep much hope in this. But you’ll undoubtedly get fun.

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Expertise: Content writer

My goal in life is to always be learning. I've spent 25+ years working with my hands and have found the art of building something new to be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. Through my writing I aim to share some of what I've stumbled upon with the world in hopes others can benefit from my own experiences!