Old School Cool: How to Dye Easter Eggs With Food Coloring

The Best DIY Egg Coloring Kit You Already Have

If you ask Google how to dye an Easter egg you’re gonna get a lot of weird advice. So if you want to dye your eggs with turnips, silk ties, melted crayons…move along. This isn’t the blog post you’re looking for. But if you want to know the one seriously easy way to dye your kid’s Easter eggs here it is!

Easy Egg Dye for Easter

Yep. It’s the old fashioned way. With food coloring.

High angle view of Dying Easter Eggs. Dyed eggs in a nest with eggs in dye solution and other eggs ready to be dunked. Horizontal format on a rustic farmhouse style kitchen table.

Now, hold on…hear me out. I know there’s a lot of funky ways to color an egg. I know that some moms don’t want their kids to handle hot water or, gasp, artificial food coloring.

If you’re really worried about safety, then just paint fake eggs like we did with these Minecraft eggs. Just promise me you won’t buy that cold water crappy tablet dye from the store–that stuff never works and your eggs will be all spotty. Ick.

Psst: One of the best reasons to use the old fashioned way for dyeing eggs is when you want to color eggs off season. Hey, who said we can only have pretty eggs in the spring??

Tips to Dye an Egg Beautifully

I’ve got two tips that will guarantee your eggs will turn out super nice, no matter what method of dye you use: clean the eggs and make a pin board.

Make a Pin Board to Dry Dyed Eggs

Pin board for drying eggs

My hubby made this drying board for us by sticking a handful of finishing nails into a scrap piece of wood. It can hold six eggs at a time. Note how the nails are clustered in groups of 3 to cradle an egg.

You can also make a pin board by sticking pins into a piece of cardboard or thick Styrofoam. But we like to go overboard sometimes. Either way you do it, a pin board will allow your eggs to dry evenly. Sticking them on paper towels, paper rings or back in the carton will leave marks where the dye pools up or worse…gets absorbed by the paper.

Oh, and in case you’re curious the nails are spaced about an inch apart, in a triangle. If you’re not so worried about straightness, you can let your kids get in on the hammering!

a dozen colorful dyed easter eggs

Second, clean the eggs. Maybe I just have horrible city water, but I get much better results when I use a veggie brush on the eggs after they’re cooked. It must remove the mineral deposits.

Simplest is Best: Egg Dye Recipe

Dye Eggs with Food Coloring

Dye Eggs with Food Coloring

Yield: Dozen Eggs

The best way to dye Easter Eggs is still the simplest!

Materials

  • Food Coloring
  • White Vinegar
  • Hard Cooked Eggs

Tools

  • Cups or Mason Jars
  • Spoon
  • Egg Dipper

Instructions

Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into each jar or cup.

Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to each container.

Add food coloring to each cup: 10 to 20 drops

Add eggs, allow to soak for 5 minutes

Remove with spoon or eggs dipper when desired color is reached.

Dry eggs on a nail board or paper towels.

Notes

You can make an egg dipper by bending a piece wire into a loop and handle. And old coat hanger is a great source of wire.

Make a nail board by driving nails into a scrap piece of 2x4. Cluster the nails in groups of 3, in a triangle, about an inch apart.finished easter eggs

Normally I mix up my ingredients in coffee mugs, but it’s way more fun to watch if you use clear glass mason jars. I raided my kitchen for old jars of dip, mustard and pickles for these photos!

Eggs soaking in jars of vinegar easter egg dye

The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the darker the colors…though we never have that much patience!

Dye Color Recipes

Standard food coloring comes with in the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) plus green. If you need black eggs, you’ll want to buy special Black food color.

Red: 20 drops of Red
Blue: 20 drops of Blue
Yellow: 20 drops of Yellow
Green:20 drops of Green
Pink: use standard red dye, but less time.
Powder Blue: use standard blue dye, but less time.
Orange: 15 drops yellow + 5 drops red.
Teal: 12 drops green + 8 drops blue.
Purple: 12 drops red + 8 drops blue.

a dozen dyed easter eggs in a carton

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.

How to Make an Egg Dipper

make an egg dipper from wire

If you’re dyeing eggs without a kit, you might need an egg dipper. Not for retrieving the eggs from the dye–just use a spoon for that. No, you’ll need a dipper if you want to make two or three tone eggs.

kid double dipping eggs in dye

I made this one from an old wire hanger. Use a pair of pliers to help you bend it into a hook. Then you can double dip your eggs!

Use Crayons for Fun Patterns

finished easter eggs on a board of nails

The wax in crayons make them perfect for adding details like stripes, polka dots or even faces to your eggs. Don’t just use that white crayon either! Use bold colored crayons to add bands of color or patterns. Or maybe make a little Minion face!

Make Stripes with Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are another way to create a resist pattern where the dye color doesn’t stick. Simply wrap the egg in one or more rubber bands and leave it in the dye bath. When you take the egg out remove the rubber bands to reveal the white of the egg will shining through. You can then dunk it in a different color dye or leave it white.

Keep Hard Boiled Eggs in the Fridge

Be sure to store your colored eggs in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them later. 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.

In the old days our parents let us color eggs, use them in an egg hunt and then eat them in our lunch box the next week. Not sure how many kids, if any, got sick from food poisoning, but we really don’t like taking the chance! The FDA says you really shouldn’t keep hard boiled eggs out of the fridge more than 2 hours, unless you plan on displaying them on a tray of ice.

If you want to display your dyed eggs on Easter, either don’t eat them or switch to decorative craft eggs.

Bonus Tip: Here’s the secret to perfect hard cooked eggs that are easy to peel!