Coloring Easter eggs is a tradition loved by children and adults alike. It’s a great way to get crafty and get in some quality hang time with the family. Sure, it can get a little messy, but that’s part of the excitement! Plus, if you ditch the chemical-laden artificial food coloring in favor of an all-natural method, the mess doesn’t have to equal stress.
If you want a simple, no-fuss alternative to artificial food coloring, plant-based packaged dyes are there for the finding, either online or on the shelves of your favorite health food store (hint hint, wink wink, we have some!)
If you and your kiddo’s want more of a project and want to get experimental, here are some basic instructions on how to make your own dye using things you have on-hand or can easily find for little to no cost. We start with a recipe for DIY dye, and then talk about a couple of techniques that can yield some truly unique and festive results.
Make Your Own Dye Using Food
The packaged, all-natural dyes mentioned above are made from processed plants, so this method goes straight to the source. You know how red your hands and cutting board get when you slice beets? That’s the beauty of mother nature, and we’re going to harness it! Beets are a great choice for the pink hue they lend, but you can play around with any vegetables of your choice. Here’s a basic guide:
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage per cup of water Ñ makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
- 1 cup red onion skins per cup of water Ñ makes lavender or red eggs
- 1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of waterÑ makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
- 1 cup shredded beets per cup of waterÑ makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water Ñ makes yellow eggs
Combine with a cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-30 minutes. Let it simmer until the color is a little deeper than you want it to look on the eggs. Once it’s there, let it cool, strain it, and then add a tablespoon of vinegar. Then it’s time to dip the eggs (hard-boiled ahead of time, and allowed to cool)! Here is where you can let the creativity flow. The longer you let the eggs soak in the dye, the more vibrant the hue will be.
Draw Inspiration From Your Backyard
This is a level of fanciness you can add to the DIY vegetable dyes. All you need is some cheesecloth, or any scrap fabric you have laying around, as long as it’s thin enough to wrap tightly around the egg. Then, collect little leaves and flowers of different shapes and textures from your backyard. This is where the experimentation comes in! Position the leaf/flower on the cloth, then position the egg on top and wrap it up, fastening it with a twist tie or rubber band. Next, dip the wrapped egg into your container of dye that you prepared per the instructions above. The longer it stays in the dye, the more concentrated the color will be.
Reuse Fabric Scraps For Festive Patterns
For this process, you’ll need scraps of 100% silk fabric. If you don’t have any laying around the house, it’s possible to find old silk ties at thrift stores that are usually pretty affordable. Look for patterns containing dark blues, reds, and purples, but any colors that appeal to you will work, and again, this is about experimenting and being surprised by the results!
Note: This method requires the eggs to be raw before dying. The dying and boiling happens simultaneously.
Cut the silk tie into squares big enough to cover the egg, and then gently wrap it. Then, wrap it again in a plain, white or light colored piece of scrap fabric (an old white sheet or pillow case lends itself perfectly to this task!) and fasten with a twist tie. Place the wrapped eggs in a large pot, cover with water, add about 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, and boil for 20 minutes or so. Remove the eggs with tongs, let them cool, and then unwrap them to see your masterpiece! You can rub the eggs with a little vegetable oil so that they are shiny and make a beautiful decorative centerpiece for your Easter table. Note: These eggs are probably best as decoration only, as the dyes from the silk may seep into the egg, making it questionable to eat.
Hopefully these guidelines and instructions inspire you to have some fun this week coloring your own eggs without the use of artificial dyes! We’d love to see the results of your creativity, so tag @TidalCreek on any pictures and posts! Happy Egg Coloring!