Growing up my family didn’t have many Easter traditions. We did the usual go to church, maybe go to the zoo when we were little, but no big huge dinner or anything. Now that I’m not living at home I haven’t adopted any of my own traditions yet either. Unless you count working… (no holidays in a hospital!) The one Easter activity my family did do though, was dye Easter eggs.
I’m a sucker for all those gorgeous Easter egg ideas on Pinterest. A few years ago my mom and I did silk dyed eggs and had a fun afternoon scouring thrift stores for pretty patterned silk ties. The one that caught my eye this year was from Better Homes & Gardens and talked about using natural ingredients to dye your eggs. I checked out the BHG article, a few quick google searches, and headed to the store with a list of ingredients to transform my boring white eggs into Easter masterpieces.
Depending on how many colors/what colors you choose to do, this is a more time-consuming process than the normal egg dyeing kits. Some of the ingredients require you to chop up and simmer on the stove before you can start, and the eggs with the darkest colors sat in the dye overnight. The color on some of my eggs also scratched off easily, so I bumped up the amount of vinegar in the recipe for you guys. This should help the dye adhere better.
My favorite colors came from the red cabbage, beets, and yellow onion. It would be fun to mix some of those ingredients and see what the end color result would be. I was pretty impatient waiting for them, I was just excited to see how the finished products turned out!
As with all experiments, there are some failures. Dyes that did not work:
- Grape juice: For some reason this one kind of made a bubbly texture on the egg that wiped all the color off when the bubbles popped. Maybe with more vinegar it would work? That was the only dye that gave the weird bubbly reaction.
- Carrot tops: I might just be too impatient for this one. I simmered the carrot tops for 3o minutes instead of the suggested 15 to try to get more color out of them. Even after 24 hours the egg was the lightest shade of yellow. It looked more like a dirty egg. I guess if you were wanting really pastel colors it could work (again try more vinegar) but I didn’t like how it turned out and plopped it into a different color.
- Red onion skins: technically this one worked, but it just turned the egg brown. Like…my white egg now just looks like a brown egg you could buy at the store. Seemed kind of silly to spend all that time just to get a brown egg.
I did finally remember one Easter childhood tradition while doing this project. My dad didn’t dye eggs with us, he was letting us have the fun. But he always wanted us to dye at least one for him. We’d ask what color he wanted, and his answer? White. Always white. My sister and I would giggle and say “Dad they’re already white!” But he wanted it “dyed”, we couldn’t just leave it. So, we’d put the egg in a cup of water and let it sit, just like all the others. Here’s one white egg for you Dad, just like old times!
This was a really fun way to dye eggs and I’m sure there are many more variations that could create beautiful designs. I’ve already seen something similar about wrapping the eggs in the onion skin while you dye them to create a pattern…I’m tempted to try some more! I hope you guys have a great Easter!
Tips and Tricks
- I always get nervous hard boiling eggs. I don’t want to overcook them, but undercooking them is my worst nightmare! I followed this article and they turned out perfectly.
- These colors take a lot longer than the dye kits. If letting the eggs sit for an extended period of time, move them into the refrigerator. For the darkest colors I let them sit overnight.
- Don’t be afraid to play around! Mix different colors together or move eggs from one color to another halfway through. Use brown eggs instead of white to change the shade of colors.
- Have fun and let us know how yours turn out!