Curbly Video: How to Make Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

By: Chrisjob Mar 03, 2008

This Easter season, head to the produce aisle and dye your eggs with nature.

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Materials
• Free-range eggs
• Alum powder (available at the supermarket in the spice aisle)
• White Vinegar
• Vegetables and spices, see step one
• Cooktop
• Saucepan
• Measuring spoons
• Wooden spoon and slotted spoon
• Vegetable oil, wax, electrical tape, leaves, stickers, etc (optional)

1). Choose which colors you’d like to dye your eggs.
•  For blue, use red cabbage
•  For red, try whole beets (not canned), cherries, or cranberries
•  For light green, use spinach or fresh green herbs
•  For tan, brew some strong coffee, tea, or a handful of cumin seeds
•  For yellow, try turmeric (a spice) and yellow onion skins
•  For olive green, use red onion skins (the color is produced by a reaction with the vinegar)
•  For purple, grape juice or frozen blueberrie

2). For each color, fill a saucepan with at least three inches of water. Add in your vegetables or spices. It’ll take a lot…around two cups, packed.

3). Bring the water to a boil, and add two teaspoons of alum powder – UNLESS you’re using onion skins, as it creates a funky reaction.

4.) Boil for thirty minutes.

5). Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly. You don’t want to add the eggs to boiling water, because the shells will likely crack.

6). Return to heat, and stir in two tablespoons of white vinegar. Add the eggs, and bring the mixture back to a full boil. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and let the eggs cool in the dye.

7). Remove the eggs from the dye.  If you’re satisfied with the color, then allow them to dry. For deeper, richer colors, strain the liquid, and allow the egg to continue to soak for up to eight hours. (Any longer, and the vinegar will start to disintegrate the shell.) If you plan to eat the eggs, put them into the refrigerator.



Other ideas
8). To add this marbleized effect, stir in a few teaspoons of vegetable oil into the cooled, strained dye. The oil will stick to the shell in certain places, preventing the dye from continuing to color the shell in certain spots.



9). Try dripping wax on the shell, or color them with crayons. Dye as above, and then stick them in a 200° oven for 8-10 minutes to melt the wax.

10). For a relief technique, cover the shell with stickers, tape, stencils, leafs, flowers, etc before dying them. On this egg, I added shards of electrical (PVC) tape.



11). Lastly, if you want your eggs to sparkle, polish them with a bit of vegetable oil.

Happy Easter!

   

 

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23167 views | Comments (11)

Comments

this is amazing. Question, what does the alum powder do? Make the color more vibrant or is it used just to preserve it? thanks!

Love it!!  I posted this video on my website and can't wait to try it this weekend!!

Very nice Chris. I like the facial hair too.

That alum powder really is magic. I spent an entire freakin' DAY doing this last year and my eggs were horrible! It was such a let-down. My kids abandoned me straight off, despite my normally contagious enthusiasm, but I was committed and carried on. At the end of the day I had a LOT of egg shaped things the colour of mud, and not a nice mud.

The one technique that I was happy with were the onione skins. I wrapped the eggs in a couple layers of dry yellow skins, tied them in panty hose and threw them in the pot to boil. They are a lovely earthy colour and the pattern that the onions left on the eggs is all swirly and rich. They sort of look like they'd been tea dyed (which might work as well). I had filed the whole naturally dyed eggs idea in the trash, but I'll give it another go if I can find alum in Canadian grocery stores.

Thanks for a great post and renewing my enthusiasm.

PS I've heard that if you secure an interesting leaf or some grass to the egg with the pantyhose method, the colour will dye the egg around the shape and can lead to some pretty interesting results.

Free press- I support it too.  I found this interesting and the photos BEAUTIFUL. I’ve spent years dyeing eggs both ways and like varying degrees of color that come from natural materials and synthetic dies. What I feel the need to say is.........................GoClick really? So much fuss and info challenging an alternative way to die eggs? die them (or don't ) any way you'd like and spend more time focusing on what makes you happy-unless what makes you happy is debating things like this.  Happy spring!

Thanks so much for this post!!!  My son is allergic to food dyes, so the most we can do with easter eggs is put stickers on them!  This is the greatest thing i've seen in a while!  I only wish i had seen this a week ago.

Your creations are gorgeous!  I love how each egg is unique.  Would have to hard boil the eggs before dying them at my house.  I have a four year old who would be trying to crack them all!

Good idea. I knew that onion skin could be used to dye an eggs. Thanks for advise, will use it this year.

I used to take leaves or flowers and hold them on the eggs using squares cut from pantyhose, or rubber bands.  This makes really pretty resist designs on the eggs.  There are websites for fiber dyeing that list other natural stuff that makes good colors on proteinate materials like egg shells.  Even just tying the pantyhose in a knot makes a cool design!

Wow, awesome job, Chris. Very cool video. I hope there are more to come.

@GoClick: Silicone Dioxide, Zinc Stearate, Red #3, etc. I think the point is on showing off a cool, all-natural way of dying eggs, not on slandering the egg-dye industry.

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