As we’ve been trying to do things more “au natural” around here, I thought that we’d try making naturally dyed Easter eggs this year. I read several posts about it and kind of winged things in regards to making my dyes. I filled large mason jars about 3/4 full with my dyes, added a tablespoon of vinegar to each dye, added our eggs to the jars, and left the eggs sitting in the dyes for about 24 hours.We did run into a couple of obstacles. We did two batches of eggs. For the first batch, we used eggs that I had blown out. These tended to float at the top of the liquid and thereby, only get dyed on one side. I tried holding the eggs under the liquid, so that liquid would fill the empty eggs, but I found that the egg membranes would create a seal over the hole I used to blow out the eggs. I then used a toothpick to try to hold back the membrane so that the egg would fill with the liquid and sink. This worked, but was time-consuming and then the next day, I had to repeat the process in reverse to drain the eggs.
For our second batch of eggs, we used hard boiled eggs. The big challenge with these was that I had to make sure that all of the dyes had cooled to room temperature or else the eggs would often crack. These eggs sunk just fine, obviously, but wherever they pressed against the glass of the jar, the dye color did not take. So, in general, I’d say that whether you use blown eggs or hard boiled eggs, you need to check on them several times and move them around to make sure that they get colored all over.
Overall, I liked the look of the natural dyes. They definitely aren’t as intense as store-bought dyes. They also produce a less consistent look, but I personally liked that. I did have problems with some of the dyes not producing the color that I had read that they would produce. For example, I read that boiling carrots would produce an orange dye, but after several attempts, I never was able to produce more than a pale orange liquid. I also was never able to get a dark green. Next year, I might just make the orange and green by blending the other colors. I did achieve several good colors using these items:
- Yellow – turmeric (add turmeric to boiling hot water until desired color achieved)
- Blue – boiled red cabbage (the liquid looked pink, but turned the eggs a light blue)
- Indigo – grape juice
- Pink – boiled red beets
- Brown – tea, boiled chamomile flowers, and red onion skins all produced different shades of brown
No matter what coloring agent you use, be sure to add a tablespoon of vinegar to the finished dye to help the egg shell absorb the color.