Charcoal ink

~1 minute


This is a really efficient use for charcoal sticks, from our willow charcoal making project. The resulting ink makes a really nice black ink, perfect for mark making and drawing.


  • 50g crushed charcoal
  • Gum arabic
  • Water


  • Mortar and pestle
  • Old pot
  • Coffee filter
  • Glass jar
  • Sieve


  1. Crush the charcoal to a fine grain, using a pestle and mortar. Or if you have a coffee grinder, this will help the process along even faster!
  2. Transfer the crushed charcoal to a jam jar and add 2 cups of water and shake well to mix.
  3. Pour the mixture through a sieve.
  4. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter, for an extra smooth flow.
  5. Add a few drops of gum arabic to the ink and seal the jar.


Gum arabic is a useful addition to thicken the ink mix, and gives more solid coverage.