Monday, November 12, 2012

DIY Color!

Diana Trout here, with some spiced journaling! Look no further than your kitchen and neighborhood for this journal entry. Based on my experiments with botanical dyes last year, I decided to whip up some DIY stains for this month's theme. This is a great way to explore nature. 
Paprika, Turmeric, Walnut Ink & Pokeberry, Journal Page, Diana Trout

Paprika and turmeric are readily available at your grocery store. Add about 3:1 water to spice and let them sit for a while. You may need to add a bit more water as the spice absorbs and it won't absorb completely. It will be grainy.

Please note, this is just for playing around. The "paint" will be full of undissolved spice. I painted the colors on (see above), let it dry and just brushed off the undissolved spice.

Pokeberries grow wild and are usually in full berry right about now here in the Mid-Atlantic, US. The snowstorm we had last week clobbered our neighborhood bush so I was only able to gather a few. Put the berries in a little bowl and squish them with a fork (or your finger) to release the "ink." I don't mind getting messy, so I pick up one of my berries after squishing and pushed it around on the page. Great fun for adults and kids.

If you have a black walnut tree around, you can find the nuts on the ground in autumn. Smack one with a hammer (if it's not already broken) and then cook the outer hull in about 1/2 cup water. Just bring it up to a boil and simmer a bit. It is very intense! Badda-Bing: home-made walnut ink.

I did the little drawings and writing on this page with the DIY walnut ink and a dip pen.

There is a clip at the end of this video showing me-self making and using pokeberry ink (the above page. The clip begins at 6:32 so skip ahead to that (unless you'd like to see my daughter in action at her post-grad job a couple of years ago :)



  1. Great ideas for making "color inks". One caution: Poke Berries are toxic if ingested (raw).
    On the other end of the spectrum, some literature states that Poke Berries are used for medicinal purposes.

    Either way, don't lick your fingers when you are squashing or cooking them! Monitor children carefully when doint this activity with them.

  2. Good advice, Tricia!. Never eat anything you are uncertain about. It's my understanding that the seeds are poisonous - which translates to: never eat anything you are uncertain about :) Thanks for your comment

  3. I LOVE this Diana! I know that not only do these pieces LOOK fabulous, they also must SMELL wonderful!


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