For many people, dyeing Easter eggs each spring is a cherished family activity that is enjoyed by all ages. My mom still has some of the eggs I decorated as a young teen (hollowed out by blowing the egg through a pinhole in the shell), and she now enjoys helping her grandkids as they dip-dye their yearly Easter eggs.
Traditionally, these eggs were coloured using natural dyes from flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables. But over time, dyes became commercialized, and little colour pellets were packaged in plastic and sold as a “more convenient” option. However, making your own natural dyes for eggs is really just as easy, economical and effective, and makes a great project for all ages!
Common kitchen ingredients can become vibrant dyes in every colour of the rainbow. Get the whole family involved in foraging through the cupboards and fridge for onion skins, avocado pits, cabbage, turmeric and more. Engage your inner scientist and experiment with ingredients to make new colours while spending quality time with your favourite people.
A good guideline is if an ingredient leaves colour on your hands, it’s also likely to dye eggs. Play around with your dye recipes by adding more or less vinegar, sprinkling with salt or adding a few drops of oil for different effects.
Hard-boiling your eggs in the dye will produce a deep, rich, one-step colour; or, you can hard-boil eggs in water and cool them before decorating. The latter method is safer for small children and allows you to control the amount of colour based on the time the egg spends soaking in the dye.
If you want to make designs on your eggs, try drawing on them with beeswax (or wax crayons). For some natural designs, dab a little softened beeswax on a leaf, apply it to an egg, wrap snugly with cheesecloth to hold in place and then fasten with an elastic band and immerse in dye.
There is a wealth of egg dye recipes on the internet; some recipes work great, and some (looking at you, parsley!) do not work as advertised. But, there are many ingredients that will help you achieve an array of beautiful colours.
- This story comes to us from Edible Vancouver Island.