Ink Recipes in Period

A collaborative effort:

Secretus Securitas – A Downloadable .pdf

Another resource:
A Booke of Secrets showing diverse ways to make ink – 1596

To make Inke to write vpon paper.

Take halfe a pint of water, a pint wanting a quarter of wine, and as much vineger, which being mixed together make a quart & a quarter of a pint more, then take six ounces of gauls beaten into small pouder, and sifted through a siue, put this pouder into a pot by it selfe, and poure halfe the water, wine, and vineger into it, take likewise foure ounces of victriall, and beat it into pouder, and put it also in a pot by it selfe, whereinto put a quarter of the wine, water, & vineger that remaineth, and to the other quarter, put foure ounces of gum Arabike beaten to pouder, that done, couer the three pots close, and let them stand three or foure daies together, stirring them euery day three or foure times, on the first day set the pot with gaules on the fire, and when it begins to seeth, stir it about till it be throughly warme, then straine it through a cloath into another pot, and mixe it with the other two pots, stirring them well together, and being couered, then let it stand three daies, till thou meanest to vse it, on the fourth day, when it is setled, poure it out, and it wil be good inke. If there remaine any dregs behind, poure some raine water (that hath stand long in a tub or vessell) into it, for the older the water is, the better it is, and keepe that vntill you make more inke, so it is better then clean water.To make Inke for parchment. Make it in all points like to the inke aforesaid, only take a pint of water, & of vineger and wine a pint more, that is of each halfe a pint.

Another sort of Inke.

Take a quart of cleare water, and put it in a glasse, put into it thirteene ounces beaten victriall, let it stand three daies, and stir it three or foure times euery day, then take thirteene ounces of beaten gaules, and put them into a new earthen pot that is wel leaded, poure into them a quart of cleane water, that done, set it on the fire, and let it seeth till it consumeth about a finger deepe, but suffer it not to seeth so fast that it seeth ouer the pots brim, then strain it through a wollen cloath, into another pot, that is leaded, poure into the cloath a cup full of good vineger, and strain it through likewise, that done, if there remaineth any thing in the cloath, cast it away, then put into the matter, foure or fiue ounces of beaten gum and stir them well together, then againe straine them through a cleane wollen cloath, and poure into it a cup full of good vineger, and straine it through the cloath, and let it stand till it be coole, then put it into a straightnecked glasse, stop both the glasses well, till you haue occasion to vse them, then take of each water a little quantitie, and mix them together, so haue you good inke.Another of the same sort, but easie to make.

Take the beaten gauls, and put them in the water doe the like with the victriall in a pot by it self let those two waters stand, and when you haue cause to vse inke, poure out of each pot a like quantitie, and it will be blacke, then put into it a little beaten gum, & it will bee good inke.


Take a quart of strong wine, put it into a new pot, and set it on a soft fire till it be hote, but let it not seeth, then put into it foure ounces of gauls, two ounces and a halfe of gum Arabike, and two ounces of victriall, al beaten into smal pouder, and sifted through a siue, stirre it with a wooden sticke, and it will be good inke.Another.

Take an ounce of beaten gaule, three or foure ounces of gum Arabicke, put them together in a pot with raine water, and when the gum is almost consumed, strain it through a cloath, and put into it almost halfe a cup of victriall beaten to pouder.


Take a pint of beere, put into it an ounce of gaules beaten to pouder, let it seeth till it seeme somewhat red, then put to it three quarters of an ounce of greene victriall, in small pouder, and let it seeth againe, when you take it off the fire, cast into it three quarters of an ounce of gum, and a small peece of alum, both in pouder, and stir them all together till it be cold.


Take two handfulls of gauls, cut each gaule either into three or four peeces, poure into them a pint of beere or wine, (which you wil) then let it stand eight houres, straine it from the gaules, and put victriall therein, and to the victriall a third part of gum, set it on the fire to warm, but let it not seeth, and it will bee good inke: and of those gaules you may make inke foure or fiue times more.

To seeth Brasill another way (Makes Red Ink)

To an ounce of Brasill, take the third part of a quart of beere, wine, or vineger, put it in a new pot, let it stand a night, in the morning set it on the fire and let it seeth till it be halfe consumed, then for every ounce of Brasill, take two pennyworth of alum, beaten to pouder, and as much beaten gum Arabike, stir them wel together, and let them seeth againe but if you desire to have it somewhat darke, then scrape a little chalke into it: when it seeteth, let it not seeth over the pot, and being cold, strain it through a cloath, and put it into a glasse well stopped.

A Book Containing Divers Sorts of Hands, by
John de Beau Chesne and M. John Baildon, and published in 1571.

“To make common yncke of Wyne take a quart,
Two ounces of gomme, let that be a parte,
Five ounces of galles, of copres take three,
Long standing dooth make it better to be;
If wyne ye do want, rayne water is best,
And as much stuffe as above at the least:
If yncke be to thick, put vinegar in,
For water dooth make the colour more dimme.
In hast for a shift when ye have a great nead,
Take woll, or wollen to stand you in steede;
which burnt in the fire the powder bette small
With vinegre, or water make yncke with all.
If yncke ye desire to keep long in store
Put bay salte therein, and it will not hoare.
Of that common yncke be not to your minde
Some lampblack thereto with gomme water grinde”

3 responses to “Ink Recipes in Period

  1. Pingback: Ink and Embroidery – The Inevitable Scadian·

  2. Pingback: Basic Ink Making – A guide | scribescribbling·

  3. Pingback: Ink Recipe Analysis – Book of Secrets Diverse Ways of Making Ink 1596 | scribescribbling·

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