It is a mast year, when woodland trees such as oak and beech produce substantially more fruit than usual.  

Acorns are in abundance this year – we collected our bounty on Hampstead Heath and decided to try making acorn ink.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 handfuls of acorns ( brown ones are preferrable)
  • potato masher
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • Rusty nails
  • Glass jar for storage
  • Feather and / or paintbrush
  • Watercolour paper

How to make it:

  1. Boil acorns in 1/2 litre of water, then bring to a simmer and mash with a potato masher to draw out the colour.

  2. Add the malt vinegar and some rusty nails. As we couldn’t find any rusty nails we used a piece of an iron railing which seemed to do the trick. Reduce down to increase the intensity of the colour, strain and store in a glass jar.

  3. You can make a quill from a feather, by cutting a nib on a diagonal. This also gives a little chamber to suck the ink into. Or try experimenting with a regular paint brush. You could explain to your child that before pens were invented ink making was a common way to write and mark make. Using ink and quills takes longer than writing with a pen as you have to keep dipping the quill into the ink! Demonstrate by writing your child’s name and enjoy creating acorn ink art together.

Reggio Emilia inspires our creativity and helps us to give your child rich experiences. We offer both a child-led and a Parent and Child creative project in each of our boxes. Once you’ve helped to set up the child activity, stand back and let them explore – remember it’s about the process, not just the end result.

– Paula Woodman

About the Author: Paula Woodman

Paula is a Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader who has run the much loved Woodentots Montessori nurseries in North London for over 30 years. Recently recognised as Montessorian of the Year, Paula’s schools offer a unique and rich mix of Montessori, Steiner and Forest School, with child-led creativity at their core.