All-Natural Easter Egg Dyes make holiday egg-dyeing so much more fun! Enjoy the thrill of waiting 12 hours for your eggs to change colors in dyes made from stuff you probably already have in your kitchen!
Easter egg dyeing is a long-standing tradition in my family.
My parents used to set aside a spring day for us kids — who would grow up to be a physicist, a painter and a designer — to experiment with color and vinegar.
My sister and I would always take our time with our eggs. We would mix colors and try special effects with rubber bands and white crayons, while my brother would wait for us to notice that he had put a purple egg in the yellow dye. (Facepalm.)
It was always part-science project, part-art project and part-sibling rivalry. But, boy, was it fun. I miss that!
Last year, I got to thinking about how people dyed eggs before those mass-produced food coloring tablets.
I read up on it and discovered it was possible to dye eggs with all-natural ingredients, so my mom and I tried out a few of the methods.
Yep, that’s right: We dyed Easter eggs with items already in our kitchen!
The final product was stunning — the eggs were colorful yet muted, with a little texture from the various dyeing agents. Natural Easter egg dyes are officially my new favorite thing.
This method of egg-dyeing is very different from the vinegar tablets of my childhood. It’s still a lot of fun, but it involves a lot of waiting for water to boil. Plus, the eggs have to sit in the dye for several hours, even overnight, making it a much more passive activity.
In many ways, it’s not so different from the raw anticipation of Christmas morning, when you get to see what happened in the night!
Because the dyes are all-natural, the eggs will lose their color in a few days, but they will be safe to eat (as long as you refrigerate them).
No matter what dyes you try, you’re bound to end up with some interesting results. Let me know in the comments what you discover! // susannah
- Egg piercer
- Glass containers, such as jars or glasses
- White crayon, tape and/or rubber bands (to resist dye), if desired
- Paper towels or cloth
- Egg carton, for storing eggs
- 1 dozen white eggs (or desired amount)
- White vinegar
- Dyeing agents
- Olive or vegetable oil, for buffing (optional)
- Dyeing agents (see note)
Hard boil the eggs.
- Fill a pot 2/3 of the way with cold water. Pierce the blunt end of each egg to let any air out and to help prevent the shells from cracking. Gently, place eggs into the water in one layer.
- Bring water to a boil for about 12 minutes, stirring the eggs once in the first few minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and place the pot in the sink. Do not pour out any water. Instead, flood the pot with cold water, so as not to shock the egg shells. Allow the eggs to cool, then remove them from the water and let them dry.
- Optional: If you want any patterns on your eggs, do that now. Drawing patterns on the shells with a white crayon. Stick on tape cut into shapes, like stickers. Gently wrap rubber bands around the eggs. When you remove the egg from the dye later, the original white of the eggshell will show where the crayon/tape/band was.
Create the dyes.
- Place your dyeing agent in pot with 1/2-quart of water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is dark in color. (Keep in mind that spinach will yield a lighter color.) Drain out the solids, unless you want a more textured look. Repeat for each dyeing agent.
Dye the eggs.
- Place eggs in glass containers and pour dye over top. If you’d like texture, spoon any of the remaining solid mixture into each glass. Let the eggs sit in the dye until they achieved the desired color, even overnight. If you are planning to eat the eggs, leave them in the refrigerator.
- Remove eggs from dye and blot with a paper towel or cloth. Remove any skins that form, if desired. If you’d like shiny eggs, buff them with olive oil or vegetable oil. The eggs will lose their color after a couple of days.
Natural dyeing agent colors:
Spinach: Pale green
Red wine: Red-violet
Red cabbage: Blue-gray
Tea: Light brown
Coffee: Deep brown
Note: These articles from Design*Sponge, Martha Stewart and Better Homes and Gardens have tips for other colors. I also found this comprehensive list of ingredients and their corresponding dye colors.