Yesterday was the first day of summer vacation for my daughters, and it’s already off to a promising start. My rising 2nd-grader slept in until just after 11 am, then promptly announced that she was “so, so bored.” I love boredom as a motivating force – Left to her own devices, she ended up collecting flower petals from around our garden with a plan to turn them into ink for a summer’s worth of art.
Since neither of us knew exactly how to make ink from flower petals, preferably in the most immediately gratifying way, we did a quick Google search and found these simple directions from GardenGuides.com that called for petals, boiling water, an overnight wait, and a few drops of rubbing alcohol.
Voila, this afternoon my daughter has her flower petal ink. Painting the test squiggle of each ink was great fun – Many of the petals turned out a color very different from what she predicted she’d get, and each of the inks darkened and changed as it dried. The white clover ink, for instance, started out as almost invisible and then dried to a pale and pretty yellow, not unlike white clover petals when they catch the sunlight. Red and purple poppy petals made for a lovely red and green ink, while the rose ink that appeared to be a completely washed out disaster when it was wet on the paper dried to a pink with darker edges.
None of these colors are as bright and saturated as store-bought pigments, but they have a soft beauty all their own. Better yet, my daughter has a personal connection to each color, and she’s set for many afternoons of painting and writing.
Want to make your own? Give it a try – It’s easy and rewarding.
- Collect petals from your favorite flowers. More petals will give you more ink, but you can work with just a few.
- Set each type of petal into its own jar.
- Cover petals with boiling water, just barely enough to cover the petals when they’ve been smashed down with a wooden chopstick or other tool.
- Set aside to brew overnight.
- The next day, strain each batch of petal tea through cheesecloth to separate the petals from the liquid. Pour each batch of ink back into its clean jar.
- Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to each jar of ink and shake well.
- Store well covered when not in use. My daughter uses a small watercolor brush to paint with hers, but these should also work in an old-fashioned fill-it-yourself fountain pen. Or in a DIY feather quill…Maybe that will have to be our next project.
If you give this a try, please let us know how your colors turn out!