How to Dye Eggs Using Natural Easter Egg Dye

Naturally dyed Easter eggs

Picture courtesy of the Bloom Blog

When my children were much younger, one of my favorite Easter activities was dying Easter eggs. The fun the kids had experimenting with different decorating techniques and proudly displaying their works of art created many precious memories. We attached a significant event to each color as one way of teaching the wonder of the Easter story.

As the years passed, I began to have concerns about the ingredients used in commercial egg dying kits. Does it really matter that egg dyes contain artificial ingredients since we don’t eat the shells? Yes, as the vinegar added to the egg dye tablets makes the shells more porous, thereby allowing the dye to potentially soak through. On top of that, we all know how common it is for eggs to crack during the boiling stage, and have all eaten brightly colored eggs as a result. My preference is to therefore use natural Easter egg dyes to avoid any exposure to potential toxins. 

Commercial egg dye ingredientsAs can be seen in the graphic at left, the ingredients contained in the most common OTC egg dying kits include artificial dyes and a variety of artificial chemicals and foaming agents. The artificial foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate is a known irritant with suspected mutagenic properties that is known to remain in the body’s tissues for an extended period of time. Since we avoid eating foods or using body products containing these ingredients, it therefore makes sense to avoid them in egg dyes.

Nature provided many wonderful alternatives for making natural Easter egg dyes. The table that follows shows which common kitchen ingredients can easily be used to create beautiful dyes:

Color Products Used
Blue Pureed blueberries; red cabbage; 
Orange (light) Turmeric; carrot tops; 
Yellow Yellow onion skins; chamomile tea; 
Lavender Grape juice; red cabbage; 
Red/Burgundy Red wine; paprika; cherry juice; raspberry juice
Tan/Brown Coffee; tea;
Green Grass (yes, the stuff growing in your yard); spinach; liquid cholorophyll
Pink Hibiscus tea; diluted red wine; beet juice; cranberry juice; 

The most important issue with using botanicals and other natural ingredients for natural Easter egg dyes is to make sure the ingredients are all edible. As I said before, egg shells are somewhat porous, so you want to be sure your dye ingredients are edible. If they are not, please only use the eggs for decoration and do not eat them.

Some people like to hard boil their eggs at the same time they make their dye, while others make their dyes and then color the eggs. I prefer the latter method, as it creates less mess and brighter colors. 

To dye eggs:

  1. Hard boil the number of eggs you wish to dye. Allow to cool and store them in the refrigerator until your dyes are ready.
  2. Choose which colors you wish you make and gather the necessary ingredients. Plan on needing about one cup of plant material for each color; 1-2 tablespoons of powdered spices; or 1/2-1 cup of juices. The more colorant you use, the more vibrant the egg color will be.
  3. Boil each botanical or spice in a separate pot of 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons vinegar for about 20 minutes. A longer boil will create a more vibrant color.
  4. If using juices for colorant, there’s no need to boil them. You can use one cup of straight juice and two tablespoons of white vinegar, or can blend the juice with one cup of water and two tablespoons vinegar. I recommend experimenting with straight juice before adding water so you can find the right blend for the perfect color.
  5. After boiling, strain the plant material or spices out of the liquid and pour the liquid into a ceramic/glass bowl or measuring cup. Be sure to use non-porous bowls that will not be stained by the dyes.
  6. Gently drop the eggs into the containers of prepared dye. They need to sit in the dye for a minimum of 20 minutes, but letting them sit overnight will achieve the brightest hues.
  7. When the eggs reach the color you wish, remove them from the dye and gently blot dry with a paper towel.
  8. The eggs will not be shiny, but you can rub a tiny amount of liquid oil on the eggs to create a shine.

For added fun, make designs on the eggs with a white crayon before putting in the dye solution, or use rubberbands to make wild patterns on the eggs before dying. Both techniques will create white spaces where the dye did not come in contact with the egg shell.

To see how others made natural Easter egg dye, I recommend visiting these sites:

The Bloom Blog, Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Live Science, Coloring Eggs with Natural Dyes

Serious Eats, How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally without Buying a Kit

That’s it! Making and using natural dyes is very simple and easy. Have you tried this before? If so, please share pictures of your creations on the Good Works Wellness Facebook page!

 

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Dr. Pamela Reilly is a Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping people improve their health and eliminate symptoms using natural, integrative methods. She has over 25 years of experience and has helped men, women and children improve their health using a holistic, client-centered focus. She sees clients in Indianapolis, does house calls, and also conducts consultations via Skype or telephone. Please feel free to contact her or visit her Consultations page for more information. Dr. Pamela speaks nationwide on a wide variety of health topics and welcomes speaking invitations.

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4 Responses to How to Dye Eggs Using Natural Easter Egg Dye

  1. Thanks for sharing! We have never dyed eggs before, but I have eaten some and the dyes definitely penetrated the shell. The egg whites were colored as well. Yuck! I will be trying some of your suggestions!Happy Easter!

  2. I have never eaten dyed Easter eggs before, but I like this idea rather than wasting nutritious hard boiled eggs.

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