Natural egg dyeing has many benefits. By using ingredients you may already have on hand or find in the produce aisle, you reduce packaging waste. Also, it uses ingredients that may already be destined for the compost pile creating something out of a waste material. Best of all it’s easy, fun, and adds additional opportunities for learning to the process.
To get started, gather the ingredients for your desired colors, boil each ingredient 20-30 minutes in 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt. If ingredients are not fully submerged, add some extra water. Remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and soak eggs to desired color. I prepared the dyes and the hard-boiled eggs the day before to make things easier. Depending on the color, the eggs soaked from 3 hours to overnight. Be aware that the color of the dye may differ from the finished color of the eggs.
Red- beets will achieve a red/pink color. I had a jar of pickled beets in the refrigerator that was almost gone, so I used the pickled beet juice to color the eggs, as it already contained vinegar. You could use fresh or canned beets and follow the directions above.
Orange- yellow onion skins produce a vibrant shade of orange. I used 2 cups of skins to make the dye and soaked the eggs for 3 hours.
Yellow- to make yellow dye use 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. The eggs needed a longer soak in the yellow dye.
Green- I had trouble producing a shade of green that I was happy with. I experimented with soaking the eggs in the blue cabbage dye and then the yellow turmeric dye. Next year I may try to mix the dyes together instead of soaking separately. If you try this, let us know!
Blue- if you only try one natural dye, use purple cabbage to make a lovely shade of robin’s egg blue. I used 2 cups of cabbage. This shade required the shortest soak time, a deep shade of blue was achieved after 3 hours. You can make a variety of shades of blue by soaking the eggs for different lengths of time.
Purple- I didn’t experiment with a purple dye, but I saw recipes using blueberries or red wine. You could also try soaking the egg in the blue and red dyes.
Other ideas for decorating eggs: a sprinkle of salt on the eggs after you remove them from the dye will create a speckled appearance. You can use white crayon to draw a pattern on the eggs before dyeing. This is called a resist, once you soak the eggs in the dye the pattern will stay white. You can also create a resist using rubber bands. A unique way to create a resist pattern on the eggs is to gather small leaves or flowers and wrap them around the egg using thin cloth. Check your donation pile for something suitable, a pair of stockings with a run is perfect! After the eggs have soaked remove the cloth and leaves for a beautiful natural pattern. The possibilities for color combinations and patterns are endless! A search on Google or Pinterest will have many more recipes and ideas to spark your creativity.
What will you do with your hard-boiled eggs when you are done enjoying their beauty? Some of mine I will make into egg salad, while some will find their way into a jar of pickle juice to be enjoyed as pickled eggs.