Friday, October 7, 2011

Black walnut delight 4

Here's an update on the black walnut projects.

The walnut ink boiled/evaporated down quite a bit.  From a couple of cups of water, I got about a third-cup of ink.

The fabrics are a mixed bag.

This one was made in a jar with one nut and boiling water, and sat for four days. 

This one was made with boiling water and salt; four days later. 

This one lined the sieve when I strained the walnut ink -- you can see the pattern of the screen mesh.  I rinsed it immediately but didn't wash it out for three days.

Finally, after I made my walnut ink, I wrapped the soggy nuts in this fabric and let it sit in a plastic bag for three days.

I was a little disappointed that the samples were all kind of pale, and decided to put some of them back in a tub with some more nuts.  Also decided to leave the one outside cooking in the sun for a while, as the weather is warm again.  I'll keep you posted.


  1. Me again - I think you need alot more husks, a silk or silk mix and the fabric needs boiling for 30 to 45 minutes to get the darker shades.

    I have put some photos on my new blog (not up to your standard, still learning and not sufficiently dedicated!!) -

  2. Being rather new to this whole natural dyeing thing, I would say, use silk or wool. Since they are protein fibers they don't need to be premordanted with anything. If they are cotton or linen, you might try pre soaking them in an alum and water mixture. Or you could try dropping a couple of rusty nails into the bottom of your pan while boiling. As the rust and tannins from the walnuts mingle, it should yield a darker solution. Be careful though, too much and you'll get black.

  3. I did use cotton, but also used lots of leaves, nuts and husks, in all stages of decomposition. While I did not get dark brown, they were certainly darker than your samples.

  4. with your descriptions I have made ink and dyed fabric ( cotton-poplin ) but I used a lot of nuts etc. Perhaps two kilo's.

  5. OK -- I'm taking all this advice and getting a new load of walnuts to re-dye the pale fabric. I'll show you what happens next week.

    thank you all!

  6. Kathy - my bil is a furniture restorer and he had a blogpost about making Van Dyke Stain, which uses walnuts.
    Very interesting.

  7. thanks, Cathy -- I know that walnut crystals are sold for calligraphy in case you want to mix up a batch that's darker than the commercial ink. I hadn't put two and two together on how you can make the crystals at home as well as the ink. My next project??