Is India Ink Waterproof – Our Breakdown!

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There has been a huge surge in the number of questions related to India ink recently so we have decided to start publishing more and more content based around the questions that we have noticed people asking more frequently. We already have a few articles online going over India ink but we noticed more and more people specifically reaching out to ask if India ink is waterproof or not.

Due to the sheer volume of people asking if India ink is waterproof or water-resistant, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over the subject. We will also be covering a few variants of the question that we see asked on a regular basis as we have noticed a few brand specific requests too.

Our hope is that our article will be able to help any of our readers who are looking to use India ink with their artwork and need a waterproof ink. Due to the versatility of India ink and the huge number of things that you are able to use it for when it comes to different types of artwork, we feel that our article will be a good help to our readers.

Is India Ink Waterproof?

As with the vast majority of questions that we see asked regarding the different types of ink on the market, the answer usually comes down to the specific formula of the ink rather than the actual type of ink. There are a number of slightly different India ink formulas on the market these days as well as homemade India ink recipes becoming more and more popular with each passing month too.

Although the vast majority of commercial India ink formulas currently on the market are both water-resistant as well as waterproof, there are a small number that actually are not. A similar thing goes for the homemade India ink recipes too with the ones that follow the traditional water and soot recipe usually being waterproof yet some of the more modern ones that have additional ingredients usually having issues.

This is usually the same when it comes to if India ink is permanent as well as if India ink will expire or not. So much of it comes down to the specific formula rather than the ink type, especially for the newer ink formulas that have a number of ingredients for specific effects and traits out of the ink that can counter the original benefits of India ink.

Is Winsor And Newton India Ink Waterproof?

Our regular readers will probably be aware that we are huge fans of Winsor And Newton India Ink and it is usually our go-to recommendation when it comes to anything related to India ink. Not only is it cheap and easy to use but it has an excellent reputation amongst the community due to its great performance too.

When it comes to Winsor And Newton India Ink, we are happy to confirm that it is fully waterproof once it has dried and it has the ability to stand the test of time with ease. Please keep in mind that the waterproof nature of any waterproof India ink does only come into effect once the ink has had time to dry!

Depending on what you are planning to do with your India ink based artwork, this may be a problem in some very specific situations. For example, say you are outdoors painting a landscape and it starts to rain while you are using India ink, for the minute or so between you applying the ink to the canvas or paper it is not actually waterproof. During this time it can run if the raindrops hit the India ink and potentially spoil your artwork so please keep this in mind.

Can India Ink Be Diluted With Water?

Although you can dilute your India ink with water if needed, we would not recommend that you do it. If you are making your own India ink or using a commercially available India ink formula then they have been specifically designed to be used with that consistency. If you do choose to dilute your India ink formula then this can throw the formula off and drastically change the way the ink performs.

When it comes to keeping your India ink waterproof or water-resistent then this can cause problems as it will take longer for your India ink to dry onto your paper or canvas. In addition to this, if you are using your India ink for painting on a vertical canvas, diluting it may cause it to run once applied to the paper and cause you issues.

How Do You Seal Indian Ink?

One of the most popular ways to seal India ink is to use a gloss lacquer spray after use and once the ink has dried. That said though, many of the commercially available India ink formulas currently on the market already have a binding or sealing agent in the ink formula and don’t need any additional sealing protection against the elements unless your artwork is going to be left outdoors.

For the most part, we would imagine that the vast majority of our readers will not need to buy a sealing agent for their India ink and its natural waterproof properties will be enough for your needs. If you are one of the few that require an additional sealing agent for your India ink then you are probably already at a level where you know that you need the agent anyway. We just see a few people each month on forums and social media purchasing sealing agents for their artwork when they have no need for them and it is simply a waste of money.


That brings our article going over if India ink is waterproof or not to a close. Although the majority of India ink formulas on the market as well as the majority of the popular homemade India ink recipes are waterproof, always check the label prior to use if you are working on some artwork that does need to be waterproof once complete.