How to Make Permanent Marker Ink (DIY)

Permanent markers are a versatile tool that can be used for drawing, labeling, decorating, and so many other activities. You can use it almost on all porous and non-porous surfaces. And it dries to form a long-lasting permanent mark on the area.

But have you ever wondered how permanent marker ink is made? If so, you are in luck today. Besides explaining the actual marker ink theory, I will show you how to make the permanent ink at home that will work just like store-bought ones.

This DIY project is easy and cheap. You can make the permanent ink only by using some common items – lamp black, egg yolk, gum arabic powder, and honey.

In this article, I’ll show you the step-by-step process of making ink. So, it’s time for you to get started on this creative project and enjoy the benefits.

Important

Since I’m not going to use any chemical like the ingredients you find in Sharpie markers, it may not be that strong.

But it works in the same way, and if you can take care of the marks like – not frequently rub or scratch it, you will get a long-lasting service. It’s needless to say that this homemade ink is completely safe and free from toxicity. So, without any further issues, let’s get into the business!

What Makes Ink Permanent?

Among most permanent marker ingredients, you’ll find five basic components – chemicals, solvents, pigments, dyes, and resin. However, some other materials are also included.

That’s why permanent ink is also called pigment or dye-based inks. But the permanence of these pigments depends on their chemical composition. This makes it difficult to remove with water as it’s water-resistant. But some strong chemicals can break down these molecules.

However, some additives and binders are added in making commercial inks which allow faster drying time than normal marker inks.

But the formulation of homemade permanent ink is different from the commercial ones as I’m not going to use any chemicals. Though there’s no chemical in it, still it’ll be permanent in the same way and tough to remove.

How to Make Permanent Marker Ink (Step by Step)

Making ink at home is just a piece of cake for you. It’s a simple ink recipe that anyone can make. Even you can use this ink for different types of activities, just like how you use permanent markers for drawing, decorating, coloring, etc. 

The ingredients I’m going to use in this process are also widely available and budget-friendly. So, before going to the main procedure, let’s have a look at the ingredients first.

  • Lampblack Powder
  • Egg Yolk
  • Gum Arabic Powder
  • Honey
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Hand Gloves
  • Brush

Here I’ve given the quantity that you can use a few times. But if you need more, you can add the things and make them according to your need. Now, look at the step-by-step process of making ink at home.

Step – 1: Mix the Ingredients

First of all, you have to mix the ingredients together. But not all of them. Take a bowl and the other three elements – egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey.

Now, put one egg yolk, one tbs. gum arabic powder and 1/2 cup honey into the bowl. After that, using the spoon, mix all these things. While doing this process, you can wear hand gloves to stay away from any dirt or ink.

In this first mixing, you shouldn’t add the lampblack. You have to just properly mix the three others so that there remain no bubbles in them.

Step – 2: Add Lampblack Powder

In this step, you have to mix lampblack powder into the mixture. You will find it online or in super shops. You can also use carbon black instead.

However, if you can’t find any of them, you can make it at home. For making the lampblack powder, you have to burn regular paper or wood properly. Then you can use that black ash instead of it.

You can also flame a metal surface with an oil lamp or candle to produce carbon. Then you can easily brush off the carbon soots from the surface to use here. Both of the processes are pretty easy, but you need to have some patience while doing so.

So, you just need to stir 1/2 tbsp. of this lampblack powder into the mixture. It’ll help you to produce a thick paste of permanent ink.

Step – 3: Create Proper Consistency

It’s time to check the consistency of the ink. Since you’ve got a thick paste, you have to make it perfect for use with markers. So, add one tbs. of acetone-based nail polish remover to the paste and stir it thoroughly. It’ll work as paint thinner.

Remember that adding more acetone means the ink will become sloppy, and less will make it hard to use with markers. So, you have to add a proper amount to keep balance in the consistency. That’s why I recommend adding the liquid slowly rather than using a cup just at once.

By using a brush and paper, check the quality and consistency of the ink.

Step – 4: Refill Your Marker

So, now your homemade permanent ink is ready to pour into the marker. You’ll find some permanent markers that are refillable. This type of ink is best for those types.

First, you have to open the ink reservoir of the marker that has run out of ink. Then clean it with acetone so that there doesn’t remain any old ink. Now, pour the new ink into the reservoir using a funnel. Be careful that you don’t overfill the marker.

Then put the cap on and shake the marker a few times. After that, use a paper and write on it to make sure the marker tip is thoroughly soaked with the ink or not. When it fully absorbs the ink, it’ll provide vibrant colors like the store-bought ones. 

You can store the leftover ink in a sealed container to use afterward. However, here I’ve shown you the black ink method, but you can create other bold ink colors by using tempera paints.

Additionally, you can use this ink to create a tattoo on your body. It’s totally safe to use and also stays like permanent tattoo ink.

Warning

Actually, I don’t recommend using any of the chemicals you found in original permanent markers. The reason behind it is, you need a laboratory to use some of the chemicals. So, when you use it at home, it can be dangerous. And also, for using some components, you need some preparation that is impossible to do at home.

So, it’s better to follow the method mentioned above when preparing permanent ink at home. And you can always use hand gloves while doing this process. 

Another thing is that you should use the ink as soon as possible. Since there is no chemical in it or any other preservatives, you won’t be able to use it later if you plan to store it for months after months.

Be careful while making it so that there will not be any ink splits on your skin or clothes. As it’s permanent ink, removing it from clothes may be difficult for you.

Final Words

So, this is how you can make permanent marker ink at home with easily available ingredients. The method I’ve mentioned here is pretty easy and also a cheaper way to get permanent ink.

Just follow these simple steps and feel free to experiment. Hopefully, you won’t disappoint. Instead, it’ll be a fun activity to do this DIY project.

Good luck and happy making your own ink!

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Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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