Natural dye is easy to make and you can use anything from fruits and vegetables, to spices and coffee grinds.
Here are some things to keep in mind…
- Boiling the colors with vinegar will result in deeper colors. Vinegar acts as a fixative — without it, the dyes won’t stick to the eggs.
- In most cases, the longer you leave eggs in the dye, the deeper the colors.
- Use stainless steel, glass, or enamel saucepans when creating colors.
- Straining the dye mixture will result in more uniform colors.
- Most natural dyes take longer to work than synthetic dyes (sometimes overnight to get the color intensity you desire).
Prepping the Eggs
Wash eggs with soapy water to remove any oils on the surface that may prevent the dyes from adhering.
Make the Dye
For each dye, combine 4 cups of chopped produce (or 4 Tbsp of spice), and bring to a boil with 4 cups of water. Add 2 Tbsp white vinegar, 2 Tbsp salt (these will help ‘set’ the dye), and simmer for 30 minutes.
Pour mixture through strainer, discard the solids, and allow to cool.
- Robin’s Egg Blue – red cabbage
- Green – spinach (use only 2 cups water)
- Orange – skins from 6 yellow onions (use only 2 cups water)
- Rust – paprika
- Yellow – turmeric
- Brown – 1 cup strong coffee
- Pink/Red/Purple – beets
Use a white crayon or candle to make designs on the eggs before you dye them. Any area that has wax will not be colored.
Rubber bands works in a similar way. Randomly place thin rubber bands around eggs, and place in dye. After remove bands, areas where the bands were should be uncolored.
A final polish with a bit of oil will give a nice sheen, or leave as is for a matte finish.
Want a Less Messy Way to Color Easter Eggs?
Wrapped Onion Skin-Dyed Eggs – Creates a beautiful amber colored marbled effect.
- Onion skins (pieces as large as possible, need about 1 onions’ skin per egg)
- 8” squares cheesecloth
- Rubber bands
- Soak onions skins in water for about 10 minutes before starting.
- Dip egg in water, then wrap egg in skins. Overlap where necessary to get the entire surface covered.
- Place covered egg in center of cloth square and wrap snugly around, securing the end with a rubber band.
- In a large pot of water, add wrapped eggs, cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat off and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Remove eggs, rinse under cold water and cut off rubber bands. Dry eggs.
- If desired, rub with some oil to give them a shiny appearance.
[hr]Why are some hard-boiled eggs easy to peel and some are impossible?
You need to know if they are store bought, or farm fresh…eggs purchased at a store are ready to hard-boil as soon as you buy them. But farm fresh eggs need to sit for at least a week, since they haven’t absorbed enough air to make an air pocket inside – which is what makes them easy to peel.[hr]