How to Make Green Ink with Grass and Water

How to make green ink with two simple ingredients: grass and water.

I set out to write this blog post before the snow settles on the ground here in Canada. We did experience our first snowflakes of the year last night, so I finally felt “the push” to post this recipe. I first heard about transforming grass into ink when I watched an online Zoom lecture by Marjorie Morgan. Marjorie is a natural ink maker, artist, printmaker and environmentalist. I highly recommend watching this workshop if you are interested in learning more about Natural Inks. Making Ink with Natural Materials Zoom Lecture/Demonstration for Greenfield Community College on 9/23/20!

Making Ink with Natural Materials by Marjorie Morgan

Now let’s talk a bit about what makes grass green. To break it down simply, grass leaves collect energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. The photosynthesizing chlorophyll in the leaf gives grass its green color. The grass ink recipe that I will share with you today creates a vibrant green ink that is such a beautiful and simple way to begin your natural ink journey.

Ingredients and Materials:

fresh grass

water

a blender (I use a Magic Bullet that I keep for ink-making only)

a funnel and coffee filter or a panty hose sock or a piece of cheesecloth/fabric and an elastic

a glass jar with a lid

a spoon or fork

paper (try different types i.e. watercolour paper and/or natural paper)

brush and/or eye dropper

a rag

pencil/pen and label

clove (optional)

Instructions:

-Grab 2 handfuls of fresh grass.

-Put the grass in your blender and add a little bit of water.

-Turn your blender on and blend until you get a rich green liquid. If the grass is struggling to blend, you may need to stir it up and blend more or add a little bit more water (it will smell like a freshly mowed lawn).

-Cover a glass jar with a filter of your choice: a funnel and coffee filter, a panty hose sock or a piece of cheesecloth/fabric secured with an elastic.

-Pour the ink into the glass jar through the filter.

-Using a paint brush, your fingers or an eye dropper, experiment with your new green ink on paper. You may wish to spray water onto your paper and then add drops of the ink and watch the ink travel into and across the water.

-When you are finished painting with the ink, label the glass jar, put the lid on and refrigerate.

The ink makes a rich dark green (that darkens as it dries) and lasts surprisingly long. Keep out of direct sunlight to prolong the colour on paper. You may wish to add a clove to your jar to help preserve the ink.

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