Evelien Crooy produced the ink from cochineals - small insects native to tropical and sub-tropical regions including parts of South America, where they live on cacti.
The bodies of female cochineal have been used for centuries to produce a crimson dye called carmine, which is commonly found in food and cosmetics as a colouring agent.
Having discovered that the colour was also used by Rembrandt in his painting, The Jewish Bride, Crooy set about researching other products containing cochineal and compiled them in a pocket-sized book.
"Because I'm not a painter but a graphic designer I wanted to use the colour to silkscreen and develop an ink," Crooy told Dezeen. "I also think there is a dark side to the whole idea of using an insect but I wanted to show her beauty and all the colours she can produce."
By mixing the colour with salt and natural acids such as lime, Crooy was able to produce different shades and a consistency that is suitable for silkscreen printing.
She used the ink to print a cover for her book and plans to produce further experiments including silkscreened posters.
"Right now it's an expensive material but who knows, maybe it can be used for industry in the future," said Crooy, who recently graduated from Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands.
Yesterday we published a story about a book that's printed in squid ink, while other projects using animal parts in new ways include electronic products made of crab shells and goggles made from fish scales.
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