Last year I decided that I wanted to try to dye all my Easter Eggs with natural dyes and so I thought that I’d republish this post again this year so you can try too if you’re interested. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the natural dyes actually worked and I would recommend trying this at least once in your life.
This past weekend was Easter and I was lucky to spend it with my immediate family, my dad’s grandparents couldn’t make it up from SC though. But Conor came home with me so it was extra special! It was more quiet than normal and we didn’t do anything too big since it was only the handful of us. I got to leave work early on Friday since it was Good Friday and made it to dinner on time. 🙂 Saturday we spent the day hanging out and chatting about politics (like always in my house, everyone has an opinion) and then we had Easter dinner. Yeah I know, a day early but Conor and I couldn’t spend Easter Sunday home unfortunately. After our small Easter dinner we started coloring eggs. Every year we do a theme and this year I decided to do all natural coloring.(Last year was minions!) I’ve seen it on pinterest and I wanted to know if it really works and what tips could I give others if they wanted to try.
While out grocery shopping the week before Easter I saw this coloring kit: Eco-Eggs by eco-kids. eco-kids is a family run business that creates all natural, eco friendly art supplies and toys for children. Since I really thought my all natural egg coloring with veggies was going to fail I decided to buy this as well. It was $14.00 at Whole Foods, I don’t know if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. I’ll explain this kit more after I share my experence with creating my own dyes with veggies, recipes courtesy of pinterest.
I found recipes on pinterest to create my own all natural egg dye and my ingredients were ones that I already had at home which was fantastic! I really thought that I would have to go out and find obscure things and stuff that I wouldn’t use again so it would end up as waste. That thankfully was not the case.
All I needed was one red cabbage, at least seven yellow onion skins, a beet and blueberry juice. There are other veggies, food and spices that you can use but these were the ones that I already had at home and the color dyes I wanted.
Yellow Dye // Onion Skins
Blue Dye // Red Cabbage
Red Dye // Beets
Purple or Blue // Blueberry Juice
Prep Your Ingredients //Take out a cheese grater or anything you use to ground food. You need to grind up a 2 cups of red cabbage and 2 cups of beets. Remember that each item is for a different color so don’t mix your piles and be sure to use different spoons for mixing. Your onion skins just need to be removed from the onion and the blueberry juice is actually all ready to go. The blueberry juice just pour into a mason jar with a few eggs and leave them over night!
Boil Water // Put about 4 cups of water into each pot (remember one pot for each color dye) , add your ingredients and let it reach a boil. I kept mixing my ingredients because I liked watching the water change colors but I don’t really know if you’re supposed to or not. The key here is to make sure you have enough water because you don’t want it to boil away
Simmer // Once your mixture reaches a boil have it simmer for 30 minutes. So this was the part that I messed up, apparently my simmer wasn’t really a simmer and I had boiled away most of the water. Key is 4 cups water and simmer or you won’t have enough dye to cover your eggs! The picture above is the red beets, you can already see the dye coming out in the bubbles!
Strain // After your dyes have been simmering for 30 minutes you need to strain it into a mason jar or other container. If you leave the cabbage or skins in the dye you might get marks on your eggs which might look nice but I decided that I wanted plain old colored eggs. If you don’t have a fine strainer you can put a paper towel (might want to double up) into a pasta strainer, put the strainer over your jar and then pour your dye gently. This is super hot and the steam can burn so be careful, you might want to have someone offer extra hands for this! In the above picture you can see the red cabbage boiling.
Vinegar // So the recipe I found on pinterest told me I should add 2tbs of vinegar to my 2 cups of dye. I don’t suggest this at all. The vinegar makes the dye darker but because the eggs will be in the dye over night the vinegar will eat away at the shell making the dye rub off. I tried both ways and I promise that vinegar for natural dyes is just not helpful.
Dye the Eggs // After you have strained your dye, let the dye cool down outside for an hour or so, it’ll be just a little too hot for the eggs. After the dye is cooled, add your eggs to the jars and let them sit over night. I forgot to take photos the following morning but my eggs came out comparable to the ones below. They were a little bit lighter but I successfully created my own dye and had the eggs colored. This was a great educational opportunity for my 10 year old brother to learn about where dyes originally came from and how versatile our food truly is. This isn’t a project that kids can actively take part in other than showing them that the dye or colored water came from the veggies and that they colored the eggs. It’s a long process and gets dull very quick for kids especially if they’re so used to traditional egg coloring.
Because I knew that making my own dye was going to be time consuming I picked up the eco-kids coloring kit. Everything in the kit is all natural and the dyes are actually a concentrated powder of the same ingredients I used for my home made dye. It came with an “egg wand” as I like to call it, three packets of dye and a coloring card that explains how to make different colors out of the 3 colors you have in the packets.
The instructions tell you to add about a cup and a half of water to each color packet, I decided that it wasn’t enough water and used about 2.5 cups for each color(prior to testing it out, so this could have been a disaster).
After you fill up your jars with water you add your packets of dye and mix until dissolved. I found that using a wire whisk instead of a spoon helped to break up all the little clumps and picked up the powder that stuck to the bottom of the jar.
After dissolving the packets of dye you can begin coloring your eggs! I would really recommend fitting as many eggs as possible into the dye because it takes about 15 minutes of soaking according to the coloring card to get the proper colors. Conor and I set up a timer on our phones to keep track. After the time is up you have to pat the eggs dry and you’re done! Unless you want to make a new color by adding the egg to a different colored dye. We did this for green eggs; it took 15 minutes in the blue dye then 5 seconds in the yellow/orange dye.
Everyone was so surprised with the colors that the dyes produced. They were pastel colors but they were so bright and beautiful. I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing it again next year because the colors were really something. I also didn’t feel limited at all with my colors. I thought I would only have the three colors to work with but I was able to make a total of 6 different colors and if I wanted to I could have made them lighter. Leaving the eggs in the dye didn’t really make them any darker so that’s something to keep in mind.
I really enjoyed creating my own dye but I probably will not be doing that again. I will most likely purchase this egg coloring kit again though. If you’re interested the kit can be found here. This is a project I would recommend for families and children. There are no artificial dyes or toxins used. Its all made from food. I really appreciated that all the packaging was recycled materials unlike a lot of conventional egg dyeing kits that come with an incredible amount of waste. This is a great opportunity to discuss recycling and using resources wisely. The process of coloring isn’t so long that the kids will lose interest which is a plus. You wouldn’t believe how quick 15 minutes goes by and if you print out Easter coloring pages I’m sure the kids would be more than occupied while waiting for the eggs.
So tell me, did you try all natural egg coloring? If you did how did it work out for you? If not, let me know what you used to decorate! My sister got this really cute safari kit this year that turned all her eggs into crazy safari animals.