For thousands of years decorating eggs has been a beloved rite of spring. This Easter maybe give a nod to Mother Nature and ditch the dye pellets for natural, plant-based dyes. It’s a great way to use up kitchen scraps and a wonderful experiment to do with the kids!
Here’s what you’ll need
- purple cabbage (blue eggs)
- red and yellow onion skins (red & rusty brown eggs)
- shredded beets (pink)
- turmeric (yellow)
- white vinegar
- vegetable/coconut oil
- dye cups/bowls/mason jars
- empty egg cartons for drying and storing
Prep your eggs.
Start with hard-boiled eggs at room temperature. It’s a good idea to gently was the eggs with a natural soap to help the plant dyes to adhere more easily. A mix of white eggs and brown eggs makes for some wonderful colour varieties.
Bring the water and dye matter for each colour to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 15-30 minutes. You can play with times and intensities here. Basically, the dye is steeped enough once you’ve hit a colour that’s several shades darker than you want your finished egg to be.
Blue (white eggs) / Green (brown eggs):
Boil two cups of shredded purple cabbage with enough water to cover cabbage by a couple of inches.
Pink (white eggs) / Maroon (brown eggs):
Boil two cups of water with two cups of grated beets.
Orange (white eggs) / Rust (brown eggs):
Boil two cups of yellow onion peels with enough water to cover skins by an inch or so.
Yellow (white eggs) / Deep Gold (brown eggs):
Boil two cups of water with 1 tablespoon of turmeric & two tablespoons of vinegar.
Once you’ve reached the desired shade, remove the dye from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Next, pour the dye through a sieve or strainer into bowls or mason jars and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for each cup of dye.
Add hardboiled eggs to the dye (make sure they’re completely submerged) and leave them in the fridge until the desired colours are reached. If you’re feel extra crafty, you can make prints on your eggs using leaves and flowers and some pantyhose. Simply, position the leaf or flower on the egg and wrap snugly in a piece of pantyhose before submerging in the dye.
Remove the dyed eggs with a large spoon and dry on upside down egg cartons. To add shine to your eggs, gently massage in a bit of vegetable or coconut oil and buff with a soft cloth or paper towel. Store your masterpieces in the fridge.