How To Make Ink from Walnuts
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How To Make Ink from Walnuts


Hey guys, welcome back! Thanks for joining us today on the King of Random. We recently showed you how to make three different types of invisible ink for sending secret messages. Well today, we’re going to try to make regular visible ink using walnuts. The walnuts we’ll be using today don’t look quite like the walnuts you’re used to seeing. The ones you buy in a store have already had the outer husk removed and so you just have the shell with the nut inside. While they’re growing on trees, walnuts have a fruit section that grow around the nut. This is called the husk. I have here a bowl of walnuts that I’ve collected from a tree in my yard with all of the husks still attached. While they’re still growing on the tree, the husk is green smooth and firm but these walnuts have aged quite a bit and the husks have started to degrade and turn brown Normally the first step in making this walnut ink is to take a bunch of walnuts, put them in a pot, add water and boil it for 8 hours. We’re still going to follow that same basic recipe but instead of a pot on the stove, we’re going to be using a slow cooker. There are several advantages to using a slow cooker instead of just boiling it in a pot on the stove. The slow cooker only heats up to barely above the boiling temperature. So you’re less likely to have all the water burn off. If you don’t have any slow cooker at all, that’s fine. You can still do this with a pot on the stove. You just want to make sure that you have it set on low heat and check it about every half hour to make sure your water isn’t boiling off too much. If it is boiled off and the water is getting too low, just add a little bit more. You can see that the walnuts I have are all these old and decayed ones which is actually what we want because the color comes from the old husk. If you want to try this yourself, your best bet is to find someone who has a walnut tree and see if they’ll let you take some of their old ones that have fallen onto the ground. I’m gonna start off by adding about 10 walnuts to the slow cooker. Now lets add enough water that it should cover them completely except they’ll probably float a little bit, so they won’t be submerged 100% Right after adding water. Just by stirring it for a couple seconds, you can already see that the water has started to turn brown. With the walnuts and the water in the pot, It’s time to put on the lid, plug it in and set it on high for eight hours. I like to check on them after about four hours just to make sure that too much water hasn’t managed to escape and if it has I just add a little bit more to bring it back up to the level it started at. Now you probably noticed this video is 9 hours long, So now we’re just going to sit and watch this in real time for 8 hours. Ahh kidding. I’m not gonna do that. That would be terrible for everyone. All right, now we have walnuts that have been cooking in our slow cooker for eight hours. So what we’re gonna do is open it up, pour off the liquid and then we’re going to remove the husk from the shells and then let it sit for another 16 hours. You can see how much darker the liquid is at this point. You can’t see through it anymore before it was sort of a A light tea colored and now it’s more like a dark coffee. Just how much it leaves residue on the side of the container here. Let’s pour this off into a bowl. Let’s look at the difference between one of these walnuts that’s been cooking for eight hours, and one that hasn’t. Before you start cooking, the husks is pretty rigid. It’s a little bit brittle in thin spots for the most part. It kind of just looks like dried bark. And then one that’s been cooking for eight hours. It’s you know it’s very soft, It’s spongy when you squeeze it a lot of that juice comes out of it. So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to peel off the husk from all ten of our walnuts After cooking for eight hours, It’s pretty soft and you can usually just get it off with your fingers. If you want, you can get a tool to help you scrape it. All right, and there you have it a bowl full of walnuts and the water that they cooked in And at this point, the next step is very simple it just takes a while We need to let it sit for another fifteen or sixteen hours. Just to make sure all of the color and juices are soaked out of those husks. There we go, our water and husks have now been sitting for 18 hours. And we have a very dark liquid in here. That’s just full of walnut pieces. At this point, let’s take out the walnut husks, squeeze them pretty hard to try and get any remaining liquid out of them and then we can throw them away. We’ll then run the liquids through a strainer and then put it on a pot on the stove and boil it to get rid of some of the excess water. It really recommend wearing gloves while I do this or it could probably stain your skin. Just a little bit. I think that’s most of the husk pieces removed from our water. So now let’s pour it through a strainer into a pot. The strainer will help remove any small pieces of husk that I wasn’t able get out with my hands. Mmm. Gross. Walnut pumice. Oh, it’s nasty. Now we’re just gonna add some heat and let it boil for a little while to reduce the amount of water in it. This will help concentrate the ink and make it a little bit darker and thicker. And there we have it. Our liquid has now boiled down to a much more concentrated form. It’s a little bit thicker and quite a bit darker At this point, I’m just gonna pour it into this other jar and that can be our inkwell. You can see how even when it’s very thin on the sides of the glass it stains it fairly dark. I have here a little souvenir metal nib pen and I’m gonna use this to test out our ink. It’s a good color. It’s not a black ink but it’s a very dark brown.All right that worked pretty well. I’m not very good at writing with this metal nib pen and it was actually a pretty cheap souvenir. So if you had a higher quality one, I’m sure it would write more smoothly. But the ink is working pretty well. It writes. It goes on pretty smoothly, and it’s a very nice rich dark brown color. I’m pretty happy with our ink. If you’re going to be making yourself some ink, it makes sense that you would make yourself a pen as well. So I picked up this pack of feathers at Hobby Lobby for just a couple bucks and I’m going to see if I can carve the feather into a good old-fashioned quill. With our feather, the first step is figuring out what direction we’re gonna want to hold it when we’re writing. This position feels pretty natural to me to hold it, so I want this part to be the top of the feather. Our goal is basically to cut the feather, so it’s the same shape as the metal nib that I was using. To begin we want to use a very sharp razor blade to cut through the feather right where we want the tip of our writing point to be. I’ve found that it often helps to cut a little bit higher up on the feather as the bottom parts tend to be more fragile and break when you try and cut them. If you move up the feather and it still breaks when you cut it, try soaking it in cold water for at least an hour. For the initial cut, we’ll want to cut from the bottom and use one smooth motion to cut up at an angle through the feather. I got most of it in one cut. I’m just gonna clean up and finish cutting off the edge. It wasn’t perfect but that’s the general taper that we’re looking for. You may notice that the inside of the feather has this sort of skeletal structure and we do want to remove that. We now have a hollow feather with a tapered point on it. I’m now going to squeeze the size of the feather and try and get it to crack in a line that lines up with our point. There we go. If the feather doesn’t crack just by squeezing the sides, you can score it gently with a razor blade on the inside and try again. There we go. It’s not perfectly lined up with our point but we’ll carve the tip of our feather to line up better with the crack. There should be two different angles of cuts. One that will be a longer, farther back cut and one shallower cut that leads right up to the point. I’m going to extend our opening to form those two different shapes. Let’s start right here and give it a little bit steeper of a cut that goes down to a point. Just using the razor blade to shape the tip a little bit more to make it match the look of our metal nib. All right, I think we’ve got a fairly good point here. So now I’m just going to press it down on the table and use the razor blade to cut off the very, very tip. I still want a point. That’s maybe a millimeter wide at the top. Well we have our feather quill and we have our ink. Now let’s see if they work well together hmm not bad The ink stays stuck to the feather all the way around where there’s a split in the feather, it works as a sort of channel to guide the ink down to the nib. When you press down, the feather splits apart just slightly and that helps draw the ink down to the bottom of the tip. There you have it. Now you know how to take walnuts and make your very own ink and how to make a functional quill out of a feather. These are tools that have been around for thousands of years and they work pretty well. I’m not very practiced at using a quill yet. My hand is still used to the motions from a ballpoint pen which allows a little bit more variety in which direction your hand is traveling. But with some practice, I’m pretty sure I could get quite good with this feather quill. Whether you’re a fan of old fashioned writing, living like a Harry Potter character, or just learning how to make a new cool stuff. This is a great project. It does take some time for your walnuts to cook and turn into ink but it’s not very difficult and it’s pretty fun to use. With just a little bit of practice, you’ll probably be able to carve your own feather quill in just about a minute’s time. Today was actually my first time ever making a pen out of a feather. This has been a lot of fun. Thanks for joining us today for this video and we’ll see you in the next one. Talk to you then. It exploded. There we go, these pieces of the walnut Tastes like a walnut. Okay. A few random factoids for you, My favorite color is red. My favorite movies are Matrix and Iron Man. And making videos for the last 7 years have been one of the most challenging but most rewarding things I’ve ever done with my life. There are a lot of ups and downs in a Youtuber journey, but YOU! You’ve stuck with me through them all. That’s why you’re the best.

About Roger Trantham

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100 thoughts on “How To Make Ink from Walnuts

  1. I'm pretty sure that what you're removing is called the shell.
    Most people refer to the husk as the thing that has already been removed before you got those walnuts. Walnuts when they are hanging from a tree actually look more like a lime.. they are green and big and that husk is very thick… when the husk is split open the Walnut and shell is in it.

  2. Normal walnut juice will stain your hands, I can only imagine concentrated juice would do it more xD after all we are made of leather and that is a very basic leather dye

  3. I had a giant blue bucket outside and walnuts kept falling into it and it started to rain at least once a week and when it wasn’t raining the sun was beaming us does that mean I made maybe 6 gallons of walnut ink

  4. To King of Random
    Do you know cursive writing? I'm asking because I've recently heard that young people aren't taught cursive writing anymore. When testing the ink and the pen you printed everything, I was just curious?

  5. I can confirm, this stuff REALLY stains your skin!! My friend has tons of walnut trees in his yard, and whenever we throw the walnuts or smash them against something, our hands get stained for a few days.

  6. Are they black walnut?

    Get a fresh ripe black walnut and mush it with your hands, your hands will turn blackish.

  7. I have some trees in my yard and they're annoying af cuz they break the lawnmower so i have to pick up thousands of walnuts lmao someone take them all

  8. I think the medieval monks use this process to make ink for their manuscripts? Edit: Tip: after you soak the feathers in water, put them in heated sand to harden it. It’ll make the feather more easier to cut and write with.

  9. I've been making quill pens for years, and this fall I collected a big load of walnuts to eat, but many of them still have their husks. I need to try this. What about setting the husks aside when you're removing them at harvest? Would adding iron sulfate make it black?
    That's a huge knife to carve quills with! I've never tried making the slit by squeezing it to crack, I make a cut up from the end. The challenge is getting the slit to be smooth and clean and straight, so you can carve a fine tip. Hardening the feather before carving helps, as long as you don't make it brittle.

  10. He: We will watch it in real time… Kidding it would be terrible for everyone

    Me: We can skip a part of the Video. You can't do that! Muahahahhahahahah

  11. The hole entire time I was like, “Harry Potter. HaRrY PoTtEr” and at 10:04 he finally said, “living like a Harry Potter character” I’m so glad he knows Harry Potter ⚡️🦁❤️

  12. I know I am very late, but you are writing with the quills wrong. The nibs should be at a 45/30 degree angle (Depending on the style) to have those nice thin lines (Think Times New Roman style).

  13. I'm allergic to nuts and all I can think is a walnut ink pen would be a cool assassination method… Go to write a note on your hand and boom anaphylaxis hide the epipen. job done

  14. While waiting the 9 hours you could have shown us how to make parchment paper. Or maybe how to take some wood and use that to make paper. I just sat here for 9 hours and learned nothing.

  15. So now I know how I will draft a Multi-Community Charter of Rights and Freedoms after the zombie apocalypse.

  16. The walnut water is used more commonly as a staining than ink I think because it's a little runny for ink and dark enough to color the wood

  17. That's not how this works! You just made a staining sludge. You need at least a binder and a conservant if you don't want it to go rancid in a week.

  18. Those walnuts aren’t big at all where I live they are bigger than baseballs and when they rot all you have to do is squeeze them to get that black dye substance without any boiling

  19. cool
    I really enjoyed this video, and I checked when he said " 9 hrs long "…Then I started thing the minutes on the time was hours…H e l p

  20. It will. When I was younger I played with some walnuts from our backyard and my hands were black and brown. They stayed that way for a week or two.

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