Who doesn’t love dyeing Easter eggs?
Creating the brightly-colored eggs was always a family affair in my house, and I looked forward to it each season. One thing I’ve only recently stumbled across is “designer” ways of dyeing eggs, like silk and plant dyeing. Dyeing Easter eggs naturally is a way to bring the colors of the earth to your Easter basket.
Using natural dyes is a fun experiment. For most of humanity’s time on earth, garments and textiles were colored with minerals, teas, and plant extracts. These colors are often softer, more variable, and faster to fade than chemical dyes, but they’re more beautiful (in our humble opinion).
Dyeing Easter eggs with plant material will yield surprising results.
Important to note, these eggs aren’t for eating!
Since we’re using plant-based dyes, the color builds up more slowly than synthetic ones. This means that your eggs could be sitting for hours in the dye to achieve a rich color. If you want to hasten the egg dyeing process, you can follow our boiling method.
Either way, some of the plant materials would give the eggs unpleasant flavors, so you wouldn’t want to eat them even if they were dyed quickly. Since you won’t be eating these, peel the shells for in your compost bin. Unfortunately, you can’t compost the inside of an egg, so these eggs must be disposed of.
Dyeing Easter eggs naturally is environmentally
friendly-and the colors are so beautiful.
Dyeing eggs with plants allows for much more creativity and freedom than a standard egg dying kit provides. These colors are much more variable, however, so no two eggs will look the same! Depending on the surface texture and cracks in the egg shells, the colors will adhere differently. Some eggs may have dark blotches, others may have light streaks and natural patterns. When you’re dyeing
Colors from natural dyes are (typically) as follows:
Blues and Purples
- red cabbage
- red onion skins
Yellows and Oranges
- yellow onion skins
- double dipping from yellow to blue
Pinks and Reds
- red onion skins
Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs
- white eggs
- brown eggs
- 1 c yellow or red onion skins (deep coral) per cup of water
- 1 c whole chopped red cabbage (rich red/purple) per cup of water
- 1 c spinach chopped (green) per cup of water
- 1 c swiss chard chopped (brown) per cup of water
- 1 c chopped red beet (reds and pinks) per cup of water
- 1 c blueberries, blackberries, cherries (blues and purples) per cup of water
- 5 bags herbal tea (green, red, grey, brown) per cup of water
- 3 tbsp. tumeric (yellow) per cup of water
- 2 tbsp. white distilled vinegar per cup of water
- 2 tbsp. white distilled vinegar per dye ingredient
- 1 tbsp. baking soda per cup of dye
Hard Boil the desired number of eggs and bring to room temperature.
For each color bring the desired amount of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar per cup of water to a boil, add dye ingredients based on the desired color, and allow to simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
When the dye is a few shades darker than desired, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sieve, strain and remove all plant matter from liquid. One cup of dye per 3-4 eggs
For stabilizing dye you have two options: either add baking soda or vinegar to the plant liquid. Vinegar will lighten the color. Baking soda darkens the color.
Pour dye over eggs, be sure that eggs are submerged in dye and refrigerate.
It’s fun to experiment with colors! Double dip from yellow into blue to make shades of teal and green, or from yellow to red for coral tones. Mixing Green and Red will yield a darker color.
You can use anything in your pantry that creates color. Take a look at your tea collection to add interesting color to the eggs. You may have to soak, dry and soak again in other colors to achieve your desired effect.
To add patterns to your eggs, try decorating the eggs with beeswax in a polka dot pattern or stripe, or whatever you fancy. Try wrapping pieces of twine or rubber bands around them before soaking.