Making our own quill and ink- a colonial activity

We are in the midst of studying Colonial America, and we are really enjoying it. Today we decided to get into the act by making our own quill and ink set.

We talked about how colonist would use what was abundant to create their ink. Some colonists used walnuts, which of course we don't have here. So...what would we use? Well blueberries of course!

Here's how we created our ink...

Blueberry ink
1/2 cup blueberries (we thawed ours since they were frozen)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar

Smash blueberries with spoon until they are all crushed and juiced. Stir in the apple cider vinegar  Use cheesecloth to strain juice into a small container.

And here it is....blueberry ink!
 We used scissors to cut one side of the tip of the feather into a point. It worked surprisingly well. A practiced on plain paper for quite a bit and even doodled some pictures...
 but then she got down to business and decided she would write a poem on the scroll parchment paper I had printed out.
 ....and here it is. Written in blueberry ink and ready to be hung in our school room.

A declared this activity a lot of fun, but informed me that writing this way is a lot of work. Constantly dipping the quill into the ink takes a lot more time than she is used to, and she couldn't erase so she had to be very careful. This lead to a discussion on the origins of lead, the history of printing, and the art of penmanship which was so highly regarded in colonial time.

On tomorrows agenda....bread baking, and making our own butter to go with it. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
That really looked like a fun activity. And...another use for blueberries! Tell A that Mrs. Livingston say "Great work!" Love checking out your blog every couple of days.
Amanda said…
Sharon- Thank you. A was so excited when I told her what you said. The she sang me the song you taught them in camp this summer. :)
I know I have said this before but your daughter has lovely hand writing.

Gill in Canada
Amanda said…
Thanks Gill. I love seeing her write and the creative things she comes up with are so fun!