Mother Nature is marvelous and provides us with incredible gems. Some are very obvious and easy to be found and others are more hidden. Especially when it comes to color, nature is a feast for the eyes.
People have found ways to harvest these colors and turn them into the most stunning paints and inks.
Next time you’re outside, take some time to really look around and let your eyes feast on all the beautiful colors.
An avocado is one of those gems of Mother Nature.
It’s not really a hidden gem anymore. This exotic piece of fruit has found its way into many supermarkets all over the world. And with good reason! They are delicious and versatile.
At the time I discovered avocados could be used for more than just making guacamole, I was used to working with pigments. Most pigments are very straightforward. If I see charred vines I know what the pigment, and thus the paint, is going to look like.
But if you would have asked me six months ago what the color would be if you cook an avocado seed, I would have said:”Can you even turn that into a color??”
Maybe you can imagine I got very curious when I saw a beautiful pink piece of fabric with the description “dyed with avocado”.
Avocado’s are green!! What is this sorcery?
Curious as I am, I wanted to know everything about this strange phenomenon, and started to research it. I found quite some recipes online. From making ink to dyeing fabric. Some only using the stones, others cooking the stones and skins both. I haven’t tried them all to be honest. Although I’m planning on dyeing linen with avocado.
This recipe can be used as a starting point for your own (avocado) ink making journey. Experiment with it; use different kinds of water (tap water, rainwater, sea water), leave out the sodium carbonate or try to incorporate the skins too.
1 avocado stone
200 ml (about 1 cup) of distilled water (or any other water you want to experiment with)
10 g (about 1 tsp) sodium carbonate
a few drops of gum arabic solution or tsp gum arabic powder
stainless steel pot
mesh strainer (a funnel with a coffee filter, a nylon stocking or a cheese cloth will also work)
an amber glass bottle with a dropper
a glass funnel
This recipe will make a small bottle of ink.
Making the ink
Clean the avocado stone with a brush. If you don’t have a brush, you can also use your nails.
Carve the stone with a knife and soak it in hot water for a few minutes. It makes it easier to remove the skin from the stone.
Remove the skin with a knife and cut the stone into small pieces.
In a stainless steel pot bring the (distilled) water to a simmer together with the pieces of avocado stone. If it starts to simmer, add the sodium carbonate.
Simmer this for about 20 or 30 minutes with the lid on the pot.
The water will turn into a beautiful dark red color.
With a small piece of watercolor paper you can check the color of your ink. If you like the color, strain the ink.
You could also reduce the ink by simmering it a bit longer without the lid. The color will get more intense.
If you’re happy with your ink add a bit of gum arabic. You can also use the ink without gum arabic. Experiment with it.
Transfer the ink to the (amber) glass bottle. You could add a clove or thyme oil as a preservative. I keep all my inks in the fridge.
Have fun creating art with your avocado ink!
And if you do, please tag me on Instagram in your pictures, I would love to see what you make!
So what do I do with the rest of that avocado?!
If you want to make this ink and don’t know what to do with the rest of the avocado, turn your avocado into a kickass chocolate pudding.