How To Make Printing Ink


Printer with printing ink


Printing ink is so much more than just the black stuff that you put on a page. It has been around for thousands of years, and it's been used in everything from newspaper presses to digital printers. As you can see, we're not talking about offset printing ink which is oil based. I want to have a little fun and talk about how you can make your own ink for your printer.  At home! Ready?


You will need the following ingredients:

  • Soot (5 tbsp): This is as purest as it gets. You can make the soot yourself by holding a glass up to a flame. This will allow you to slowly accumulate the soot.

  • Water (2 tbsp): For the base of your ink, use distilled water so that you don't introduce any impurities into the mix. Distilled water is also easier to clean up than tap water because there are no minerals or residue left behind from tap water.

  • Alcohol (2 tbsp) (grain alcohol): This ingredient works as a preservative for your ink and allows it to last for several months without spoiling. It will also help keep bacteria out of your ink when storing it in an open container.* Glycerin: Glycerin is used as an emollient in this recipe because it makes the finished product smoother when used on printmaking paper.* Fragrance oil(s): The fragrance oils give off aromas when heated during printing processes such as screen printing or stenciling.


  • Add all ingredients to the pot and mix slowly.

  • After mixing throughly, allow the mixture to sit for about 1 hour.

  • Add a few drops of food colouring if desired before pouring into bottles and storing in a cool place

Takeaway Text

The takeaway from this article is that you can indeed make your own printing ink. Get the right equipment and experiment with different ingredients, then look for opportunities to use your homemade inks in creative ways. You may need to tweak this recipe to get a similar consistency to your printing ink.

Having said all of this, pH, speed or drying, and particle size are very important factors in being able to work in your printer properly. I do not take any responsibility if you destroy your printer since these are very important parameters. But I would recommend it if you have an old printer and just want to give it a try. 


Printing is a great way to add color and beauty to your home or office. The process itself can be complicated, but there are some simple ways that anyone can do it in their own home. Try different pigments and have fun!


  1. Anonymous6:01 PM

    I work on a newspaper press. A couple of issues have arisen recently. The main issue if that whenever we do a straight run, one of the papers comes out with a good offset lip, and the other one comes out either with no lip or a very tiny one. The problem is exacerbated because the supervisor doesn't want to admit he doesn't know how to fix it. This lip is need in order for the other department to be able to insert advertising into the paper. Without a lip the inserter won't be able to open every other pape. Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. This is caused by a tucker blade, moveable or stationary jaw. You need to look for a pattern. İs it ever second copy, or third, for example. This will tell you which jaw in the folder is causing it.


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