If I do start a series called hodgepodge homeschooling it would include how to make an easy ink pot and quill pen with berry ink that Tiny did today. This is such an easy and fun hands-on activity that can go along with any topic on westward expansion, Lewis & Clark or just the life of a pioneer.
While I worked in the kitchen pricing my items for the moving sale this weekend, Tiny could do most of this on his own. Plus, this easy activity went along with the Free Westward Ho History cards he is memorizing right now.
How to Make an Easy Ink pot
The first thing we did was to make an easy ink pot so that the paint could dry while we made the berry ink.
Here is the list of what we ended up needing:
- 1 empty plastic bottle.
- sharp craft knife.
- 1 small piece of cardboard.
- masking tape.
- black acrylic paint/paintbrush.
- one sharpie.
Cut the top off the plastic bottle because the top is the perfect size for an ink pot. I actually did the cutting because the knife was just too sharp to let Tiny do it by himself.
Then place the cut lid on the cardboard and trace a circle or template out of the cardboard with the sharpie. The cardboard circle is the bottom of the ink pot. Using the craft knife, cut the circle out. Then start wrapping masking tape around the ink pot and taping the bottom round cardboard piece to the ink pot. We ended up not using the cap that is for the lid.
Then Tiny painted the ink pot with the black acrylic paint and set it aside to dry. How easy was that?
Easy Berry Ink and Quill Pen
The next thing Tiny did was grab some ingredients he thought he would need for the berry ink and quill pen. He was pretty close.
Look at this list for making the berry ink and quill pen.
- 1/2 to 1 cup berries. We actually had mixed blackberries, blueberries and some raspberries that were overripe in the refrigerator.
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt depending on how much ink you make. We used a full one teaspoon because he used a whole cup of berries. So about 1/2 teaspoon of salt for 1/2 cup of berries is the measurement.
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of vinegar depending too on how much ink you make. Again, we used a full one teaspoon because we used a full cup of berries.
- 1 feather. A contour feather is better. We had feathers laying around the house from some Native American head dress we had, but you could easily buy one or better yet, send your kids outside to find a couple of feathers.
- 1 small bowl for mixing.
First, he tried to smash the berries because I knew they needed to be strained and the pulp taken out. It wasn’t too easy and that seemed like too much work to me.
So I pulled out the hand held lemon squeezer and it worked much better. No need to mash, then strain because it’s all done at one time in the hand held lemon squeezer. So we added berries, squeezed and out came the juice and we threw away the pulp. The squeezer took a little bit more time, but I think that process helped Tiny to understand the effort the early pioneers had to put forth to produce ink.
Add the salt and vinegar and stir. That’s it. If it’s too thick, add a wee bit more vinegar. Our concoction came out just right the first time.
The feather required some kitchen shears to cut it to a point.
You probably have most of this stuff laying around your house like we did. It was a fun way for Tiny to spend the morning learning about the early pioneers and Lewis and Clark. He had to try his hand at writing a bit more like Lewis and Clark did. It makes you appreciate how fond Lewis and Clark must have been of journaling because of the sheer effort it took to make ink and then to preserve their writings for generations to come.
GRAB THESE OTHER RESOURCES AND HANDS-ON IDEAS
If hodgepodge homeschooling tastes like this today, we might add it a bit more. No complaints from Tiny or his mom on the fun we had today.
Hugs and love ya,
If you want some other activities to go with an early American history unit study, then grab these other ones too. Free Printable History Board Game – Learning American History Through the Life of Wyatt Earp, make soap and make hardtack.
Check out some other fun resources for studying about Westward Ho, Lewis & Clark and Pioneer Life