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Have fun this Easter dyeing Easter eggs with chemical-free dye made from natural ingredients. Kids will love seeing regular eggs transformed into beautiful colours like red, yellow and green.
3 people made this
IngredientsMakes: 1 batch of Easter eggs
- white or brown eggs
- For the natural dyes
- Pink to red: cranberry juice or beetroot
- Maroon: onion skins
- Blue to purple: blueberries
- Blue: red cabbage
- Green: fresh spinach
- Brown: brewed coffee
- Yellow: turmeric
MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:20min ›Extra time:4hr resting › Ready in:4hr25min
- Add your dye ingredient of choice to a saucepan (the size of the saucepan will depend on the number of eggs you want to dye that colour). Add the eggs and cover the contents of the pan with water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, carefully remove the eggs from the pan and place them in a heatproof jug or jar. Cover the eggs with the liquid from the pan. Add a generous splash of vinegar to the liquid, about a tablespoon per 250ml. Allow to cool and sit at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight (the longer you let them sit, the more intense the colour).
- Remove the eggs from the dye and allow to dry. Once dry, you can rub the eggs with a drop of oil to intensify the colour, if desired.
White vs brown eggs
Most eggs found in supermarkets are brown, but you can sometimes find white eggs round Easter time. The colour of the egg you start with will affect the final colour of the egg. Red cabbage will yield blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs. Beetroot results in pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs. Other colours will appear richer and more rustic-looking on brown eggs, such as turmeric, while white eggs will yield a brighter result.
The longer you let the eggs sit in the dye, the more intense the colour. In some cases, the colour will vary based on dyeing time. For example, beetroot and cranberry juice can yield pink eggs if dyed for a short time, while letting the eggs sit longer will result in red eggs. Similarly, spinach can result in eggs ranging from grey to green, so best to let eggs sit longer in the spinach dye for a vibrant green colour.
Natural Easter egg dye
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How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs
Your kitchen is full of natural dyes. Common food items such as red cabbage, onion skins, and coffee can be used to transform plain white eggs into a rainbow of colors. Kids will especially love discovering all the different colors they can create&mdashlet them experiment using hard-boiled eggs and bowls of cold dyes.
Naturally dyeing Easter eggs is an earth-friendly way to celebrate the holiday, and makes for a gorgeous Easter table centerpiece when placed in a teak wood basket ($78, shopterrain.com). This method involves boiling the eggs with the dye the heat allows the dye to saturate the shells, resulting in intense, more uniform color. With the cold-dipping method, the eggs and the ingredients for the dye are boiled separately. That alternative produces subtle, translucent shades, but can result in uneven coloring unless the eggs are rotated vigilantly while in the dye. For hollow eggs that will last indefinitely, cold-dip raw eggs, then blow them out after they are dyed.
To make natural dyes, the materials needed can often be found in your pantry. Red-cabbage dye is made of four cups of chopped cabbage. To make the yellow-turmeric dye, use three tablespoons of turmeric. Meanwhile, the onion-skin dye uses four cups of onion skins&mdashskins from about 12 onions. The beet dye calls for four cups of chopped beets, and the coffee dye uses one quart of strong black coffee, instead of water.
Natural dyes can sometimes produce unexpected results, so don't be surprised if, for example, your red-cabbage dye yields blue eggs. Use the following guide to help you achieve the colors you desire.
Deep Gold: Boil eggs in turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Sienna: Boil eggs in onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Dark Rich Brown: Boil eggs in black coffee, 30 minutes.
Pale Yellow: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Orange: Soak eggs in room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Light Brown: Soak eggs in room-temperature black coffee, 30 minutes.
Light Pink: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes.
Light Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 minutes.
Royal Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution overnight.
Lavender: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 seconds.
Chartreuse: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 5 seconds.
Salmon: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
How to Make Natural Easter Egg Dye
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For a few years now, I’ve found myself lured in by natural Easter egg dye. How cool is it that you can boil vegetables, spices, berries, and more, and get gorgeous, naturally-colored Easter eggs – in every color of a rainbow, and then some – as a result?!
But I always went a little crazy. Okay – a lot crazy. I’d raid the produce department, and then I’d get home and no pot or pan would remain unturned. With colorful brews brewing away on every available surface, my kitchen would look like a witch’s coven. And I’d think, okay, so it’s fun in theory to geek out over naturally-dyed eggs, but this is just ridiculous. I don’t have time for this. I’d think, next year, I’ve got to simplify.
So this year, I did it! I simplified. I made exactly three springy, pastel, perfect-for-Easter shades for our eggs – pink, yellow, and pale blue. And it was easy – low-fuss and no-muss.
Making my vegetable-based dyes this year was so simple, I was almost stunned! The day before, I brewed up the dyes, then I sealed them up in mason jars and refrigerated them until the following day, at which point my giddy two-year-old and I happily dyed the eggs.
Hands down, our favorite hue is the gorgeous true blue that, remarkably, is created with red cabbage. The pink eggs are compliments of a beet for yellow, I needn’t look further than my spice cabinet for some ground turmeric (which, actually, is not technically a vegetable – it’s a herbaceous perennial related to ginger, but it’s close enough).
My two-year-old enjoyed dying the eggs more than I expected. It was so fun for her to plop the eggs into the dye and see how they would change color after a minute – or two, or 10, or 30. Yes – I ended up with a few cracked eggs – she is only two, after all. Oh well.
And you know what? My little one didn’t care that we didn’t end up with 24 different shades. Blue, yellow, and pink were plenty exciting – for her, and for me, too.
Would you like to know how to to make natural Easter egg dye yourself? It’s easy – so, so easy. I promise. Especially when you don’t go nuts like I used to do.
Here’s a quick graphic with the ingredients and dye times to achieve the pretty pastel shades I was going for. And below that, I’ve provided more detailed instructions.
Lesson officially learned: All you’ve got to do is keep it simple, and coloring your own Easter eggs with natural vegetable dyes is a piece of cake.
How to color eggs with natural dyes
- Place 2 cups of water into a pan on the stovetop.
- Add 1 tsp of salt.
- Place each ingredient into the pan and bring the water to a boil, and then let it continue to boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the water from the pot and place it in a jar or bowl. Add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, you are ready to use your dye!
- Pour all the dyes into small plastic cups and use plastic spoons to take the eggs in and out of the cups.
- I wrote the name of what each one was on the plastic cups as well as on the table. (You will want to cover your table with plastic and or paper because this can get a bit messy!)
Making your own egg dye from natural foods is simple and fun. You can even use brown-shelled eggs—with their darker base, they enhance the color, creating a range of earthy jewel tones. Just mix up your dyes and let the eggs soak until your desired color is reached. The dye can be used to make more eggs, just be sure to keep it in the refrigerator. And remember that natural dyes stain too, so be sure to protect your egg dyeing area and clothes!
1. Make the dye: Add four cups of water to three separate saucepans add the beets to one saucepan, the cabbage to another, and the turmeric to the third. Bring the mixtures to a boil, partially cover the pans, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Note: Gently stir the turmeric mixture as it comes to a boil to prevent foam from boiling over.
2. Strain the beets and cabbage, one at a time, through a fine mesh strainer into their own glass jars or bowls. Allow the turmeric pan to rest off heat for several minutes for the powder to settle to the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour off the water into its own glass jar or bowl, leaving as much of the wet powder in the pan as possible (but don’t worry if some of the turmeric powder makes it into the dye mixture).
3. Transfer dyes to the refrigerator and allow them to cool for at least two hours.
4. Once the dyes are cool, mix two tablespoons of vinegar into each color. Then make additional colors as desired in separate jars or bowls by combining:
5. If desired, add designs by drawing on the eggs with crayons, wrapping them with tightly fitted rubber bands, or cutting designs out of tape and securely adhering them to the eggs.
6. Dye the eggs: Gently add the eggs to prepared dyes using a slotted spoon. You can add several eggs to each dye at once, just make sure the eggs are completely submerged. Allow eggs to remain in the dye for two hours, up to 24 hours (in the refrigerator), check the color occasionally. The longer they stay in the dye, the darker the final color will be. Gently remove the eggs from the dye with a slotted spoon once your desired color is reached.
7. Allow dyed eggs to air dry completely in an empty egg carton. If you used rubber bands or tape, allow eggs to dry completely before removing. Be sure to store your dyed eggs in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.
How to make patterned dyed eggs
Before you get creative with patterns and colors, you'll need to hard-boil your eggs. Use your Instant Pot or our tried and true steaming method for perfect hard-boiled eggs every time! Once they're cooked, let your eggs rest in an ice bath for no less than 15 minutes. This will help the dye stick to the shells and ensure that they peel like a dream if you decide to make deviled eggs or enjoy a snack later.
Tools for pattern-making
- Nellie's Free Range Butter, softened or melted (see steps below)
- Craft sponge, kitchen sponge, or paper towel
- Small paint brush
- Rubber bands
- Natural dyes (note: we found the blueberry and yellow onion dyes worked best for patterns)
Instructions for pattern-making
- Dry eggs off once they have cooled completely in the ice bath.
- To create a speckled pattern, dip a craft sponge, kitchen sponge, or crumpled up paper towel into a small amount of softened butter and gently "splotch" the butter onto the undyed eggshell. Any part of the eggshell with butter on it will resist the dye and remain brown, while the areas around it will turn the color of your dye. You can also smear butter on half the egg for a half-and-half look, or drag the sponge around the circumference of the egg to create stripes.
- To create speckles with a paint brush, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a small dish. Dip your paint brush into the melted butter and gently tap the brush against your finger above the undyed egg, splattering the butter onto the shell. This technique works best with cold eggs, which helps the butter set right when it touches the shell.
- To create patterns with rubber bands, gently stretch rubber bands around cooled and dried undyed eggs.
- To create patterns with stickers, gently press stickers on to the cooled and dried eggs.
- Once your eggs have been decorated with butter, rubber bands, or stickers, dye them according to the instructions below.
- Once eggs have fully dried after dyeing, gently rinse off any remaining butter under warm running water. Once you've adorned your hard-boiled eggs with butter, rubber bands, and stickers, it's time to add some color and watch your patterns come to life!
Tools for egg dyeing
- Nellie's Free Range Eggs, hard-boiled and chilled in an ice bath
- Chilled natural egg dyes (prepared ahead of time)
- Tall, skinny containers (we found pint-sized Mason jars work well)
- Large spoon, preferably slotted
- Paper towels or dish rags
- Wire cooling rack
Instructions for egg dyeing
- Line your dye containers up on the counter with paper towels or dish rags underneath them to catch any drips when removing the eggs.
- Using a large spoon, gently lower your desired number of eggs into the dye, ensuring that the whole shell is fully submerged.
- Allow the eggs to remain in the dye until your desired color level is achieved
- When your eggs have reached the desired color, use the spoon to remove the eggs from the dye containers. Gently blot the eggs dry with paper towels, and set on the cooling rack to dry completely.
- To store finished eggs, place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Eggs should be consumed within one week (please just be aware that natural dyes have a tendency to peel or change color over time).
How long does it take to dye eggs?
The dyeing process can range from 30 minutes to overnight, but we found that the following times worked best. Please note: if dyeing any eggs for more than 2 hours or overnight, store them in the dye in the refrigerator rather at room temperature.
- Red or pink (beet juice): 1 hour 30 minutes
- Deep orange (yellow onion skins): 2 hours
- Golden yellow (turmeric): 1 hour 30 minutes
- Teal (red cabbage): 2 hours (note: this dye tends to change color after drying for a bit)
- Dark brown (red onion skins): 2 hours
- Plum or navy blue (frozen blueberries): 15-30 minutes for violet blue, overnight for deep navy blue
- Shimmery grey blue (100% Concord grape juice): 1 hour 30 minutes
Nellie’s tips for best results
- It’s helpful to check your eggs every 30 minutes or so to see how they're progressing in the dye to make sure you catch them when they’re at your favorite tone of each color.
- If you see any bubbling on the surface of the eggs as they’re sitting in the dye, don't worry! This just means that the acidity of your dye is beginning to break down the eggshell, which is common when using these types of dyes. Just remove the egg from the dye to keep the shell’s surface from peeling.
- If you find your eggshells have already started to peel, it’s no big deal! Simply rinse it off in cold water, then re-dye the egg (you’ll actually find with a lighter starting base your final color will be more vibrant). This may occur for certain colors more than others, depending on the acidity of your particular fruit, vegetables, or juices.
- If possible, do all your egg preparation (hard-boiling and cooling) and dyeing on the same day for the best results. To help move things along, you can prepare the dyes ahead of time according to the timelines suggested above.
- Natural egg dyes do tend to fade quickly, especially when the finished eggs are kept in the refrigerator so they’re still safe to eat. To ensure they maintain their vibrant color, we recommend dyeing them the day before, or the day of Easter Sunday.
- If you aren’t interested in eating your dyed eggs, you can seal the colors in by spraying the finished eggs with a glossy or matte acrylic craft varnish.
Photo Credit: Five Marigolds
How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally:
- Heat. Bring the pot with water and onion skins back to a boil over medium heat.
- Prep Eggs. Wrap parsley or other herbs around the egg. Place a cut piece of stocking on one hand and place the egg over it, grab a hold of the egg with your stocking hand and wrap your fingers around it being careful to keep the herbs from wrinkling or folding. Wrap the egg into stocking, then tighten by connecting the ends of cut stocking together and tie with thread to secure the stocking.
- Boil Eggs. Add 6-7 eggs at a time, making sure eggs are fully submerged in water. Give few seconds for water to start boiling again and set a timer. Boil eggs for 7-8 minutes or to desired color and texture.
- Ice Water. Once the timer is up, transfer eggs immediately into a bowl with ice water. Leave eggs in cold water until cooled to room temperature, for about 10-15 minutes. Then use scissors to cut away the stocking, rinse off herb remains and wipe eggs with paper towel to dry.
1. Heat 1 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, and 1 cup water with desired coloring ingredient (2 small red beets, shredded on a box grater, 2 tablespoons ground turmeric, 1 cup blueberries, or 1 cup blackberries) in a small saucepan over medium until hot. Remove brine from heat. This will be the same for all the ingredients above.
2. Gently tap eggs to crack shell all over, but make sure to keep the shell intact. This cracked shell lets the brine penetrate and concentrate in certain areas, making a unique tie-dye pattern on the egg. Carefully add eggs to brine and chill the pot for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The longer you leave them in, the stronger the flavor of the brine will shine.
3. Once the egg craving kicks in and you're ready to eat them, remove the eggs from your brine and peel them, discarding the shells to reveal trippy colored patterns the brine left behind. This is where the ooo's and ahhh's come in.
How We Use Them: You can use a pickled egg the same way youɽ use a hard-boiled egg for a bit more flavor. Slice and layer on a sandwich, throw them in a salad, make some egg salad, or devil them.
How to Make Natural Egg Dye For Easter
With coronavirus quarantines and social distancing impacting all aspects of life, Easter celebrations are going to look at least somewhat different this year—online masses and Skype sessions with far-flung family, for instance—but we know a lot of people will still be enjoying traditions like giving Easter baskets , enjoying ham dinners, and decorating Easter eggs. So we’re sharing ideas we hope will help bring happiness to you and yours. Here, how to make natural egg dye from things already in your kitchen.
Hard-boiled eggs aren’t just one of the most nutritious foods around, but they also have the potential to be some of the most gorgeous. With a multitude of dyes, stickers, and patterns on the market, their decorative potential is endless. However, if you’ve outgrown those basic PAAS kits and are craving something a little more sophisticated this Easter season, why not try a more natural approach?