With springtime springing, we know that Easter is right around the corner, and it’s time to dye some eggs in our house. This year, we decided to venture into natural dying and thought we’d share our experience making naturally dyed Easter eggs with you.
Using natural dyes was a lot of fun, and at times we felt like mad scientists experimenting with mixing final colors for extra special eggs. We raise chickens so we did both farm-fresh multi-colored eggs and plain white eggs from the grocery store. I will share a side-by-side picture below to show the color difference of the eggs we used. We also dyed two turkey eggs because we have two pet turkeys, so why not?! They came out spectacular!
What You Need to make naturally dyed Easter eggs:
- Eggs, hard-boiled or raw if you plan on blowing them.
- 1 cup natural ingredient for the color you choose (see below).
- White distilled vinegar
- Saucepan with lid
- Mesh strainer
- Large bowl or container
- Paper towels
- Cups or other vessels to keep eggs in while dying
Before you get started, here are some tips and tricks that we learned along the way:
It takes A LOT of spinach to try to make green, and we didn’t have a lot of luck with it. We ended up with more of a yellow color.
Removing the eggs from the dye every half hour/hour, drying them, then returning them to the dye will help you achieve a deeper color.
Naturally dyed Easter eggs take a long time to dye.
When you remove the egg from the dye, it will look dark but if you clean away the built-up dye layer, the egg underneath will be much lighter. We left the build-up on some eggs and wiped it away on others.
If you want to preserve your eggs, dye them raw and blow out the white and yolk after dying. If you blow out the white and yolk before dying, your eggs will float on the liquid and will be challenging to dye. You can hang these beautiful, fragile eggshells as an Easter decoration!
Be sure to cover the area you are using the dyes on since they can stain.
You may already have some of these items in your fridge or pantry. Keep in mind that the color you get will depend on how concentrated your dye is and how long you keep the egg immersed in it. A good rule of thumb is 1 cup of preferred natural ingredient to 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (added after cooling).
Natural Dye Color Chart (Add one cup of water to one cup of the following natural ingredients, plus one tablespoon of white vinegar):
- Chopped purple cabbage = Bluish color on white eggs, deeper blue on blue farm eggs
- Chopped spinach = very light green on white eggs and greenish on blue farm eggs
- Red onion skins = brownish on white eggs, dark red on brown eggs
- Frozen blueberries = pale blue on white eggs and dark blue on blue farm eggs
- Golden beets plus 1 TBSP turmeric = yellow on white eggs and dark yellow on pale brown farm eggs.
- Red beets = light reddish pink on white eggs and a darker reddish brown on brown farm eggs.
This is not an exact science. If you want a deeper or darker color, try adding more vegetable matter to the water. If you want more dye, feel free to double (or triple) the recipe.
For my naturally dyed Easter eggs, I used one cup of vegetables and one cup of water. Bring this mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain your colored liquid, and allow it to cool. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to every cup of strained dye liquid. Again, this is no exact science.
- Gather your ingredients. You can make one big batch of dye or make smaller batches depending on how many saucepans you have and how many colors you would like.
- Add your water and your natural ingredient to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 mins. Or you can check the color of the liquid along the way by moving a spoonful to a white mug or bowl. When the dye is the color you want, you can remove it from the stove.
- Let the dye cool to room temperature. I put mine outside on my deck. It took about an hour.
- Strain the dye into a bowl or container.
- Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per 1 cup of strained dye liquid.
- Place your eggs in cups or bowls and pour the cool, strained dye over them. Be sure they are completely submerged.
- Put the eggs into the refrigerator until they reach your desired color.
- Dry eggs completely. Add a little neutral oil (peanut, canola, or corn oil, for example) to the outside of the shell with a paper towel after drying for an extra shine.
- Store eggs in the refrigerator until ready to eat, or blow raw eggs.