Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs

For years Enviro Girl bought those egg-dye kits with the little colored tablets, but a few Easters ago she decided to skip it and try a more natural approach.  This tip saves money and resources, as you can dye Easter eggs with things you already have in your kitchen.

Egg dyeing is something Enviro Girl’s sons take very seriously — they dye between 3 and 4 dozen eggs each year!  The set up is simple — glass or metal containers for the dye (plastic will absorb the dye and stain), old newspapers to cover the working surface (composted later), metal ladles or wire whisks to hold the eggs.   The boys have used white crayons, rubber bands and tissue paper scraps to design their eggs, but they’re most fond of straight-up rich color on their hard-boiled eggs.

A cup of boiling water and a teaspoon of vinegar will set any dye color into the eggshell’s porous surface.  To this you can add conventional food coloring — about 10-20 drops depending on the intensity of color desired.  But if you’re looking for a more natural approach to dyeing eggs, here are some options:

  • Red/Pink — shredded beets, any red tea (rooibos or zinger will work), cranberries/cranberry juice
  • Blue — grape juice, blueberries, chopped red cabbage
  • Yellow — turmeric, saffron, chamomile tea
  • Green — spinach leaves

Boil the “dye ingredient” with water and vinegar for 15 minutes, then strain.  You can mix batches of dye to create new colors or different shades.  The longer you let an egg rest in the dye, the darker the color.  Enviro Girl’s sons made one egg a deep shade of burgundy by leaving it to sit overnight in a bowl of red dye.

What to do with all those dyed eggs?  Make egg salad and deviled eggs, of course!

If you haven’t tried to dye your eggs naturally, Enviro Girl encourages you to do it — it’s a fun way to teach kids about colors and chemistry at your kitchen table.


3 thoughts on “Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs

  1. I remember doing this years ago, and using onion skins? I think they made a purple or red dye. We will have to do some experimenting, thanks for the idea!

  2. The most beautiful eggs I ever dyed were done with onion skins. It’s a tad more work, but you wrap the raw eggs in the papery outer onion skins, secure with cheesecloth, and boil. When you unwrap them they are a beautiful marbled golden color.

  3. We do this. Since I seemed to have given birth to Martha, Jr, we do all sorts of fancy things to our eggs. She has wrapped them in lace, used wax on them to create pattern and even created her own drying rack out of straight pins and foamcore.
    My favorite is to use berries to make the dye that I then throw in a chocolate cake.

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