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Easter Eggs Au Naturel

egg agents

Happy Monday everyone… and I hope you’re ready to spend a whole week hopping to it with me and getting crafty for Easter!

Today I figured we’d start at the very beginning,  a very good place to start… Gosh, I love The Sound of Music. Don’t worry though, I won’t sing my way through this project. I’ll try to stop while I’m ahead.

Okay, so where were we? Ah yes, the very beginning…  the fundamental basics of Easter decorations. Dyeing eggs.

I’m going to walk you guys through three variations on the same theme- dyeing Easter eggs using various edible garden goodies… all of your favorite foods that leave behind killer stains! While you can choose from a plethora of colorful fruits and veggies, I decided to stick to a blue-ish and gold color scheme. The edibles that best ticked these boxes were blueberries, red cabbage, beets, and curry powder. Red cabbage will produce a soft teal color, while the beets lend themselves to subtle pinks. Blueberries give  you a grey-blue hue, and curry produces the most wonderful muted mustard yellow.

To prepare your dyes, you should bring about one cup of your fruits and/or veggies (feel free to mix it up, too!), 3/4 liters of water, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a boil. For spices (curry, cumin, turmeric  chili powder, paprika, etc) you only need several tablespoons. Once the concoction is boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about half an hour. You may choose to strain out the edible matter and use only the liquid, but this will usually result in a more subtle color.

Variation One: Full Blown

Some crafts, like using empty eggs as ornaments, require blowing out the insides of an egg. To do this, you simply poke a hole in both ends of your egg (I used a metal skewer). At the widest end of your egg, the “bottom”, you’ll want to make your whole a bit bigger than the “top”. Continuously poke the insides of the egg with the skewer in order to break up the yolk and allow for an easy exit. Finally, give the egg a few shakes in order to keep the insides flowing out. Once the egg is empty, give it a rinse with water, and you’re ready to go!

After your egg is rinsed and patted dry, dip the egg into a jar full of your dye. It might take a while for the air to fully exit the egg, and you just might have to weigh it down with a spoon (or some other heavy object). Let the egg sit in the jar for anywhere between 20 minutes to overnight. The longer you leave your egg in the dye, the more saturated your final color will be. Just to give you an idea, I let this egg sit in a dye bath of red cabbage for about 20 minutes, and it turned out the most beautiful shade of robin’s egg blue.

Just so you know, the color of the water doesn’t necessarily translate to the final color of your egg. As you can see below, the red cabbage liquid was a vivid indigo, but the eggs turned out a very light turquoise blue.

Which brings us to Variation Number Two: Cooking in Color.

For this variation, you will cook your raw eggs in a bath of color. You should follow the same directions for making the dye, adding the raw eggs after the edibles have simmered for about 30 minutes. After plopping your eggs in the colorful water, let them cook for 30 minutes over a low heat.

The curry bath (picture above on the right) produced this gorgeous muted mustard egg. I think this is probably one of my favorites!

The blueberry, however, was incredibly underwhelming. The charcoal grey (pictured below on the right) wasn’t exactly what I was imagining for a fun and springy get-together.

Finally, we arrive at Variation Number Three: Stocking Stuffers.

For this variation, you will follow the previous directions for the methods of creating the dye and cooking the eggs, but with a twist. Literally. You’ll twist your egg into a square of cut up nylons and secure it with a twisty-tie. This method allows you to incorporate any fun shapes, plants, or stickers into your dyeing design.

I chose a small parsley leaf for my trial run.

After you’ve tied the stocking tightly, use scissors to trim off any excess material.

Like before, let the egg simmer in the dye bath for about 30 minutes before removing it from its wrapping.

The parsley leaf and a dye bath of red cabbage produced a rich, blue egg and a perfect botanical imprint.

With natural dyes, you’re not likely to achieve the vivid, neon colors of artificial dye kits… but that’s fine by me. I find the muted shades of blues, purples, pinks, and yellows to be soothing and simple.

If you’re looking for other colors, then I would suggest spinach and parsley for pale green. Raspberries, pomegranates, and beets for pink. Cooked carrots, chili powder, and paprika for orange. Grape juice for purple. For other yellow agents, you can also choose ground tumeric or cumin.

Go ahead and rummage through your cupboards, dig through your fridge, and take a tour around your garden to see what creative combinations you can come up with… as long as you stick with edibles, a little experimentation never hurt! ;)

Edit: I let a few eggs “bathe” overnight in the red cabbage dye and they came out the most wonderful deep, dark navy blue. I think if you’re going for richer shades and more dramatic colors, leaving them overnight is the key.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. These are so pretty! When I was I kid I used to dye eggs in onion skins. I seem to remember wrapping the onion skins around the eggs and securing with rubber bands, then boiling in water. Unwrapped, the eggs were imprinted with beautiful rusty-yellow-goldy shades.

    xxV

    March 25, 2013
    • Emily #

      Thanks Virginia!
      That sounds so lovely! Maybe I’ll give that a try in the next few days. My only issue so far is… finding white eggs. Grrrr.

      March 25, 2013
      • Hahaha! I used to blow and paint eggs loads when I was a kid, inspired by the Faberge’ ones, and it was always a delight to find white one! The brown ones seem to be stronger, though.

        March 28, 2013
        • Emily #

          Hah! How cool! You’re a woman of many talents ;) Btw, I totally agree with the brown eggs being stronger.

          March 28, 2013
  2. Love them Emily! I love natural dyes,such beautifully soft colours.I never heard of the technique using the stocking and the parsley and the result is stunning:)xx

    March 25, 2013
    • Emily #

      Thanks Cassandra! The stocking technique was a pleasant surprise to me as well :D

      March 25, 2013
  3. Kate #

    These are awesome, Em! My mom wants to decorate easter eggs on Saturday and volunteered me to host Easter dinner. I think I might use some of these ideas to be crafty with her and decorate my dinner table…
    Have you found any other way to hold the parsley leaf on without using a stocking?? I really like that natural leaf imprint!

    My “creative” idea is to have egg fortunes (stuff little easter themed puns into blown eggs), so people smash the egg and get the fortune! =P I’ll let you know how that works. hehe

    March 26, 2013
    • Emily #

      Awww, thanks Kate! How much fun for you and your mom!! :)
      I’m not sure about keeping the parsley on without a stocking… I just got some super cheap ones from the local discount store and cut them up :P
      I’ve heard of people tying onion skins around the eggs and sticking the botanical elements (leaves, flowers, what-not) in between the eggshells and the onion skins. That might be a good alternative? For really intense colors, I’d definitely suggest letting the eggs “bathe” overnight in the dye.
      I totally love your idea of egg fortunes!! How clever! :D
      Please give your mom and dad a big hug from me, and I hope you guys have a blast!

      March 26, 2013
  4. ssoooooo cute n clever! i love this! i feel bad that ours were quite simply,”out of the box” and even THAT was difficult for me. HAR HAR.
    I love you my sweet angel!
    mammma

    March 27, 2013
    • Emily #

      Haha, awww Mom, don’t feel bad at all! Those were some of my best memories! :) I always loved the smell of vinegar…

      March 27, 2013
    • Emily #

      Haha, awww Mom, don’t feel bad at all! Those were some of my best memories! :) I always did love the smell of vinegar…

      March 27, 2013

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