Note: I DID NOT do the lovely eggs you see above. Go to Craftastica to read their blog entry on natural egg dyes and interesting techniques of patterning and see some GREAT eggs! WOW!!
(Article from Mom Spa Newsletter last year:)
When it comes to coloring our eggs for Easter, we usually use the Easter egg dying kits you get at the store. Then there are the times we get the hankering to try dying our eggs with natural dyes found in our own kitchen. It’s fun and easy to make your own egg dyes. It is a really fun experiment activity to do with the kids.
The two main ways to use your own dyes are to add dyes to the eggs when boiling them or to dye the eggs after they have been hardboiled. It is a lot faster to boil the dyes and eggs together, however you will use several pans if you want to make multiple colors. Dyeing the eggs after they have been cooked takes as many dishes and more time, but we have found this to be more practical for us (after all, most stoves only have four burners!).
For your ingredients you can try both fresh and frozen produce. We found canned goods make much paler colors. Boiling the colors with vinegar will result in deeper colors. Some materials need to be boiled to impart their color (name followed by ‘boiled’ in the table). Some of the fruits, vegetables, and spices can be used cold. To use a cold material, cover the boiled eggs with water, add dyeing materials, a teaspoon or less of vinegar, and let the eggs remain in the refrigerator until the desired color is achieved.
Here is the method for using natural dyes:
Wash eggs in warm soapy water to remove any oily residue that may stop the color from coloring the eggs. Let eggs cool before attempting to dye.
To color and boil your eggs all at once:
•Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered.
•Add about 1 tsp of vinegar to the water in the pan.
•Add the natural dye. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color. You need to use your own judgment about exactly how much of each dyestuff to use. Except for spices, place a handful (or two or three handfuls) of a dyestuff in a saucepan.
•Bring water to a boil.
•Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
•If you want more intensely colored eggs, temporarily remove the eggs from the liquid. Strain the dye through a coffee filter (unless you want speckled eggs). Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them remain in the refrigerator overnight.
To make your dye first, then add a hardboiled egg:
•Add tap water to come at least one inch above the dye material. This will be about 1 cup of water for each handful of dye material. Bring the water just to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Let simmer about 15 minutes or up to an hour until you like the color obtained. Keep in mind that dyed eggs will not get as dark as the color in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and strain.
•Pour mixture into a liquid measuring cup. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of vinegar for each cup of strained dye liquid. Pour the mixture into a bowl or jar that is deep enough to completely cover the eggs you want to dye. If you have them, a canning jar would work great for this. Use a spoon to lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Leave the eggs in the water until you like the color, several hours to overnight. The longer the egg soaks, the deeper the final color will be. If you plan to eat the eggs be sure to do this step in the refrigerator.
•When eggs are dyed to the color you desire, lift the eggs out with the slotted spoon. Let them dry on a rack or drainer. An egg carton works nicely as a drying rack. Be careful to handle the eggs gently and minimally as some of the colors can easily be rubbed off before the egg has dried.
For a textured look, dab the still wet egg with a sponge.
Eggs colored with natural dyes have a dull finish and are not glossy. After they are dry, you can rub the eggs with cooking oil to give them a nice gloss.
Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cranberries or Juice
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
You can use fresh and frozen berries as ‘paints’, too. Simply crush the berries against dry boiled eggs or dip a Q-tip into the juice to use as a paint brush
Try coloring on the eggs with crayons or wax pencils before boiling and dyeing them. You can also wrap your eggs with several rubber bands before dying your eggs for a striped effect.
Another fun way to get some interesting dye effects is to use the dry outer layers of onion skins. I like to get a wide variety of colors. I found that most grocery stores will let you snag a variety out of their onion bins for free if you ask them ahead of time. Carefully wrap the onion skins around a raw eggs and hold them in place with string or rubber bands. Boil your eggs as you normally would. Unwrap and polish with vegetable oil.
Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Tuesday, March 18, 2008