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Saturday, April 16, 2011


Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs

Easter eggs don't need to be run of the mill colors. Dyes to color eggs were not always purchased in a box on the shelf of your local store. The dye was not in pill form, and did not sizzle as it dissolved. Colored Easter eggs of yesterday were created by using natural foods and flowers.
Many foods, vegetable shells, berries, and flowers secrete colors that permanently stain things they come into contact with, such as, materials, skin, and egg shells.
Dying Easter Eggs with natural living foods and flowers can produce bright, vivid, and pastel colors.  Hues you don't get from any prepackaged, store bought box of egg dyes.
Eggs colored with natural dyes have a matte finish instead of a glossy or shiny look. If a speckled or textured look is wanted, dab eggs with a sponge dipped in the dye can create designs and increase color depth on the egg shell.
Egg Preparation and Dyeing Tips:
  • Begin with hard-cooked (boiled) eggs. Refrigerated until ready to use.
  • If you want shapes, words, or pictures on the eggs, use a wax crayon (or a piece of wax) to draw them on the egg shell before dyeing. Wax doesn't absorb colors, and the designs will not be colored.
  • Tie-dyed eggs can be created by using rubber bands. Different sizes of rubber bands, wrapped around the eggs, can give a tie-died look. When the egg shell is the color you want, remove from the dye. When the color has dried, pull off the rubber bands.
  • The longer an egg is allowed to soak in the dye, the darker and more intense the color will be.
  • When the egg shells are the color you want them to be, remove them from the solution and let dry.
Making Natural Egg Dye:
  • Wash the hard-cooked (boiled) eggs in warm soapy water to remove any oil residues before dyeing.
  • Use a handful (or two or three handfuls) of the dyestuff you're using in a saucepan.
  • Add tap water to about one inch above the dye stuff. (About 1 cup of water for each handful of dyestuff.)
  • Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour, or until you like the color. Remember, dyed eggs will not get as dark as the color of the liquid in the pan. When the desired color is achieved, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour only the liquid into a glass measuring cup, and add 2-3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of dye liquid. Pour the dye into a bowl deep enough to cover the eggs to be dyed.
  • Use a slotted spoon to place the eggs into the hot liquid, and let the eggs soak in the dye bath until you get the desired color. Let the egg sit in the liquid for several hours or overnight. The longer the egg soaks, the darker the color will be. Note: If you plan to eat the eggs, do this step in the refrigerator.
  • Once the eggs are colored as desired, remove the eggs from the dye with a slotted spoon. Let them dry on a rack or drainer. Handle the eggs gently and minimally because some of the colors can rub off before the egg has dried.
What Foods To Use To Get The Colors You Want:
To get BLUE: Use canned blueberries, red cabbage leaves (boiled), or purple grape juice.
To get BROWN or BEIGE: Use strong coffee, instant coffee, black tea, or black walnut shells (boiled).
To get GREEN: Use spinach leaves (boiled)
To get GREENISH YELLOW: Use Delicious Apple Peels (boiled).
To get GREY: Add purple or red grape juice to red beat juice.
To get LAVENDER: Violet blossoms plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
To get ORANGE / RUST: Use yellow onion skins (boiled).
To get PINK: Use cranberry juice, red beet juice, or raspberries (boiled).
To get RED: Use lots of red onion skins (boiled), or pomegranate juice.
To get YELLOW: Use orange or lemon peels (boiled), carrot tops (boiled), or Chamomile tea leaves (boiled).
Using natural dyestuff will get colors that you can't get using the prepackaged dye stuff. Rubbing the eggs with liquid oil and a paper towel will give the eggs a bit of sheen. Each egg will be slightly different because of the oils in the egg shells. You won't have glitzy eggs, but, you will get beautiful, unique Easter Eggs!