Ever since I’ve read a Victorian recipe for indelible laundry ink made with sloes, I wanted to try it out. The homemade and natural sloe laundry ink is easy to make, and it actually works! 😀
‘The thickened juice of the […] sloe is used […] for making an ink for marking linen, and its tracings are permanent.’ (The flowering plants and ferns of Great Britain, 1855)
Gather some sloes. Boil the sloes with some water until most of the water is evaporated. The sloe laundry ink should now have thickened, with a beautiful ruby color.
Here you’ll see how the DIY laundry ink looks on unbleached cotton fabric. The fresh sloe dye is ruby, while the dried ink is more bluish. I ironed the ‘ndry’ of ‘Laundry’ before washing the fabric, which made the laundry ink brown. After washing the fabric with soap and hot water, the ironed part is still brown and the not ironed part turned blue (the water is alkaline here). After washing I also ironed the ‘au’ which turned the light blue into purplish brown.
I think the ruby and blue would’ve been very pretty laundy ink colors, but the brown is very durable. So this Victorian homemade laundry ink recipe really works! 😀
Here you’ll find more Victorian laundry recipes, and my tutorial for blackthorn (sloe) writing ink.