If you’re like me, you grew up dyeing Easter eggs every year using a store-bought kit. But you don’t need anything special to create colorful holiday eggs; you can dye them using spices, fruits and vegetables you already have around the house.
Natural egg dyes are a fun project to try on a long holiday weekend. There’s the Mr. Science aspect – you’re never quite sure exactly how a color is going to turn out, and you can create many more hues than you get from a regular kit. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover household goods, especially older spices. (Did you know you’re supposed to replace dried spices at least once a year, to keep them fresh?)
For the most part, coloring eggs naturally is pretty much the same process as you follow using a kit.
- Boil eggs and allow to cool completely before placing in colors.
- If you want designs or names on the eggs, use a wax pencil; the dye won’t adhere to the wax, leaving the design to pop out from the colored egg.
- To help dye adhere to the egg, brush cooked eggs gently with white vinegar before dyeing, or add a few drops of vinegar to the dye water; this helps color adhere to the egg.
- Finally, natural colors don’t work as quickly as chemical dyes; you’ll want to leave the eggs in the dye at least a couple of hours, or, if time permits, in the refrigerator overnight.
What makes a good natural egg dye? That’s up to you – encourage your children to look through the pantry or the fridge to find possible dyes. Let them experiment, and help predict what color will result from a given spice or food.
To get you started, here are a few color suggestions. For spices, combine with water until you have a deep shade of the desired color.
Blue: purple grape juice, canned blueberries
Lavender: Strong red zinger or raspberry tea
Beige or brown: Strong tea
Orange: cooked carrots; paprika
Pink: cooked or pickled beets; cranberry juice.
Red: pomegranate juice; canned cherries
Yellow: chamomile or green tea; ground cumin