If you’ve been to the store lately, you’ve probably seen the aisle dedicated to decorating Easter Eggs. Who needs all that? You’ve got everything you need for perfect eggs right in your kitchen! Here’s a guest post from Jennifer Kyrnin to show you how! Thanks Jennifer! (And be sure to check out her new website, Blogger’s Create!)
How to Dye Easter Eggs (Without a Kit!)
Coloring Easter eggs is a fun spring tradition that you can do even if you don’t want to go out and buy those boxes of dye pellets. In fact, with just a few items you probably already have around the house for crafting and baking, you and your kids can have a lot of fun making interesting and colorful eggs.
- eggs—hard boiled or blown
- white vinegar
- food coloring
- warm water
- small cups or bowls that the eggs will fit in fully submerged
- paper towels and newsprint to protect your surface
You can make some amazing looking eggs with just those elements, but if you have other crafting materials you can use those to make even more interesting eggs. Some of the materials I have used include:
- rubber bands
- olive oil
How to Dye Eggs
The first thing you need to do is hard boil your eggs. You can also blow out the eggs if you want to keep the decorated shells. If you’re going to eat the eggs after you decorate them, then you bring the water to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer and put in the eggs. Leave them in the simmering water for 12-15 minutes (15 minutes if they are right out of the fridge, 12 minutes if they are at room temperature). Once your timer is done, immediately plunge the eggs into a bowl filled with ice water. This will stop them cooking so the yolks will be a bright yellow rather than gray around the edges. It also helps them cool faster so that you can color them sooner.
Once the eggs are hard and cool you can mix up your dye cups. Pour 1/2 to 1/3 cup of hot water (warm enough that a parent should pour, but not boiling) and 1 Tbsp vinegar into a cup. Then add food color. You’ll get the brightest colors by putting in 20 drops of the food color.
I like to create one cup of each color of dye I have (red, blue, yellow, and green) and then make a couple cups of mixed colors. Use color mixing rules to create more than the basic four colors. Aiming for a total of 20 drops in your mixtures. For example:
- red + yellow = orange
A good mix is around 15 drops of yellow and 5 drops of red
- blue + green = teal
12 drops of green with 8 drops of blue gets a nice color
- red + blue = purple
You’ll probably need to play around with this, some food colors have very strong reds, while others have very strong blues. Our mixture of 12 red and 8 blue ended up almost black.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can dip a piece of paper towel into the dye bath to see how it might look on your eggs. It won’t be exact, but it will help you decide that a purple that’s almost black isn’t for you, and you can pour it out and start over. If you don’t like a color all you’re out is a few drops of food coloring and a little vinegar and water.
Dry off the eggs and wipe a little vinegar on them. This will help the dye stick and give you brighter colors. Then, using a spoon, carefully dunk the egg in the dye bath. I recommend using a different spoon for each dye bath, so you don’t contaminate the colors. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye the brighter the colors will be. It can also help to roll the eggs a few times, especially if it wants to float in the bath.
Once you’re happy with how the egg looks, take it out and dry it with a paper towel and put it in the egg carton.
It’s very fun for even little kids (3 year olds, or younger if they can hold a crayon) to draw on the eggs first. This can result in surprising patterns and colors as the crayon colors mix with the dye, but also form a resist where the color doesn’t stick. Just draw on the eggs with the crayon before you dip them in the dye bath. Then follow the instructions above to dye the egg as usual.
If you don’t want to mix separate dye baths, you can still use color theory to create multi colored eggs by dipping. Start with the lightest color first. This is usually yellow. Then dip a part of the egg into the dye bath using tongs or your fingers to hold it partial out of the liquid.
Rubber bands are another way to create a resist. Simply wrap the egg in one or more rubber bands and leave it in the dye bath as above. When you take the egg out, remove it from the dye bath and remove the rubber bands. The white of the egg will shine through. You can then dunk it in a different color dye or leave it white.
My son loves putting stickers on the eggs. He would put stickers on every egg if I let him. You should put the stickers on the eggs after you’ve dyed them and they are thoroughly dry, otherwise they won’t stick.
Another interesting technique is marbling with some oil. The easiest way to do this is to pour some of your favorite dye color into a shallow bowl. Then add 1 Tbsp of oil to the mix and mix it up with a fork. The oil will not integrate with the water and vinegar, but it will make little droplets. Put your egg in this mix and roll it around. It should not be so deep that it’s submerged. The oil acts as a resist so the dye goes on in a marbled pattern. If you use two colors, you should always put the lightest color on first.
Be sure to store your colored eggs in the refrigerator. And remember that even if the egg was cracked all you used was food coloring and vinegar to color them, and you might like the multi-colored eggs that appear when you peel them. Some of mine have appeared almost tie-dyed.
About Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin has been writing about design and creativity on the web since 1997. She uses her site Bloggers Create! to help other bloggers get more creative and find creative ways to use their blog content. She would like to help you convert your blog to an ebook or get your ebook started.