wikiHow to Grind Ink

To do Chinese or Japanese calligraphy, traditionally, the first step is to grind the ink.


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    Gather your supplies. A good ink stone will have a hard, polished surface. You don't want it too rough because a rough surface can damage the brush.
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    Fill the water pot, or well, with water.
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    Place a little water in the grinding stone.
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    Select the color of ink stick you will use.
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    Grasp the ink stick between your thumb and your index and middle fingers. Place the end of the ink stick into the water and pull some water up onto the plain of the grinding stone.
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    Rub the stick on the stone in a circular motion until you have the color of ink you need. If the ink is too thick, it will not flow easily off the brush. If the ink is too thin, the color will be light. Practice getting the right consistency.
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    Grind only the ink that you need for that day, and do not permit ink to dry in your ink stone. Clean the ink stone with water and a soft sponge or cloth. Never use anything that could damage the stone. Cover the stone to prevent the ink from drying if you will take a break.


  • Store your ink stick correctly. Wrap it in a cloth or absorbent paper and store it in a box between uses.
  • If you don't have the ink stick that is the right color, mix up your ink to make different colors.


  • This takes a while if you need a really dark color.

Things You'll Need

  • An ink stone, also known as a grinding stone.
  • A water pot, or any container that can hold water.
  • Water dipper (optional}
  • Ink stick(s)
  • Brush or dip pen.

Article Info

Categories: Writing Implements