Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

When it came time to decide on an Easter craft for the March/April issue of Yankee Magazine, I knew exactly what I wanted to try.  Kitchen chemistry is just about the only kind of chemistry I can tolerate (and this coming from a science major, who took some serious chem courses in college- ugh!).  Using all natural ingredients, I wanted to try to achieve the most vibrant and beautiful Easter egg colors possible.

It took some experimenting- I had every pot in the kitchen full of interesting combinations of ingredients- but you know what I discovered?  My very favorite colors were those that required only a single ingredient.  I adore the way natural ingredients create gentle dyes that cover the egg in color, but also let a bit of the eggs speckled beauty show through.  I will never again use any other type of dye- but I definitely look forward to experimenting with other natural ingredients.  I would love any suggestions from those of you that have dyed eggs this way before- and fun ingredients I should try?!

Instructions:
Create the base: Combine 4 cups water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon salt.

You’ll need:
— hard-boiled white eggs in their shells
— water
— white vinegar
— salt
— beets, ground coffee, red cabbage, ground turmeric
— knife, pots, strainer, bowls (metal, ceramic, or plastic)

Notes: Save the egg carton (you’ll use it for drying the dyed eggs). And when you transfer your dyes into bowls, don’t use your good dishes or kitchenware, as the colors may stain.

To dye the eggs: Soak until eggshells reach the desired shade (two to three hours); the longer you soak them, the deeper and richer the color will be. Using a spoon, set the eggs into their carton(s), and let them dry thoroughly. When you’re done, you’ll welcome the new season with a lovely, all-natural addition to your spring decor!

Blue Dye 

Shred half of a large red cabbage and combine with the base. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid for dyeing. Let cool.

Yellow Dye 
Combine 5 tablespoons of ground turmeric with the base and stir well. Simmer just until the turmeric dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl and reserve the liquid for dyeing. Let cool.

Red Dye
Roughly chop 2 beets, and combine with the base. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid for dyeing. Let cool.

Brown Dye
Combine 4 tablespoons of ground coffee with the base and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid for dyeing. Let cool.

For ideas on how to use these gorgeous eggs in your Easter decorations, hop on over to Yankee!

*photos by the amazing Ira Garber, craft and styling by me!

Your thoughts on “Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

  1. These are beautiful! I am a French teacher, and I am thinking of translating your instructions into French, and dyeing eggs as a class project.

  2. I can't wait to try this. I'm also wondering how pomegranate, or blueberries would work (they always stain my hands!)

  3. My daughter just did some peeled hardboiled eggs in food coloring. Really pretty. Do you think doing them in these natural dyes would work?

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