DIY Natural Easter Eggs Dyes

DIY Natural Easter Eggs Dyes

Depending on the plant, some of the natural dye colors extracted are referred to as “fugitive,” (fades or disappears quickly), “substantive” (going to stick pretty well or even forever), and somewhere in between these two. Fugitive means to you and whatever you’re dying is that the colors won’t hold up well (or at all) when washed or exposed to prolonged sunlight. Many fugitive dyes are extracted from vegetable plants and prefer to skip fugitive colors all together.

That said, I can think of several situations where a “permanent” dye is truly unnecessary.  Fun water paints for kids, playdough, and Easter eggs are some great examples. Plants that produce fugitive colors are perfect for dyeing Easter eggs considering we’re going to shell and eat them soon afterwards anyway.

Easter eggs can be dyed using a hot bath, which means that the eggs are colored at the same time they're being hard-boiled.  Or you can dye them in a cold bath, in which the eggs are dyed after they have been hard-boiled and cooled. The hot bath works faster, but the cold process may be easier if you are dyeing with more colors, because you can make a bunch of dyes up in advance.

Photo by Flowers

Photo by Flowers

Before We Begin, I have Two Words of Caution:

#1. Remember to only use plant materials that you know to be safe for consumption.  Only safe, edible foods should be used for dying eggs, as the assumption is that the eggs will be eaten.

 #2. If your hard-boiled eggs are going to sit in the dye for longer than 2 hours, they need to be refrigerated for health safety. Don't leave them sitting in the dye container on the counter for hours.

What you’ll need:

  • Non-reactive dyepots (such as stainless steel, enamel, or glass).

  • Water

  • Stove

  • Glass jars or bowls (for cold method)

  • Eggs – Don’t stop at white! Beautiful colors show up when brown, blue, and green eggs are dyed.

  • White vinegar

  • Dye plants such as onion skins, berries, turmeric, beets, red cabbage, blueberries, red cabbage, turmeric, marigolds, coffee, and calendula.

Hot Natural Egg Dye Method

Before adding the eggs, I place about 1 cup of the pant materials into a simmering pan of water for about 15 minutes or so. Then strain the plant materials from the hot water, so that only the liquid remains in the pot. I then place my eggs into the pot and add just enough water so the eggs are covered by about 2" of water. Add 1/8 cup of vinegar, then bring the pot to a boil for 17 - 20 minutes. This method dyes and hard-boils the eggs all at the same time.

Cold Natural Egg Dye Method

Hard boil the eggs in a separate pot.

Make up the dyes by simmering plant materials in a pot of water for 20 - 25 minutes. Strain off the dyestuff, add then add 1/8 cup of vinegar. Place the dye into wide-mouthed jars and let them cool.  Once the dye is cool, add an already hard-boiled egg to each dye color and leave them there for at least an hour. For the most impressive colors, leave them in the dye for up to 10 hours. 

Photo by  Anthony Deffina
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