Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs


Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs in Shades of Blue, Grey, Yellow and Maroon by The Lesser Bear

Easter Eggs

I have been meaning to do a post on naturally dyed Easter eggs for a few years now. This is a project that you can easily do at home, even without experience with natural dyes. To be honest, I tried it with my kids a couple of years ago, and didn't have much luck, but that is mainly due to my lack of patience. The process isn't complicated and with more patience than I had the first time, you should get lots of great colors.
This time I dyed eggs with red cabbage, turmeric, and yellow onions skins. I tried each dye on both white and brown eggs, and played with the amount of time that I let each egg sit in the dye.
I have to say, that my favorites are the eggs dyed with red cabbage, which makes a lovely blue, or even shades of purple with depending on the pH of the dye.
4 Blue Easter Eggs in Salt Cellars Naturally Dyed by The Lesser Bear Blue Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs in an Egg Carton, by The Lesser Bear

How to Dye Eggs

The supplies and ingredients that you will need are pretty basic. Choose your food stuff or plant material, depending on the colors you want to achieve. A quick Pinterest search will give you lots of ideas, but you could use:

Onion Skins (red and yellow)

Avocado Pits and Skins

Turmeric

Beets

Red Cabbage

Tea

Coffee

Black Beans

and many, many more options as well

You will also need a pot to cook the dye material, and jars or bowls in which to let the eggs steep. You may also need vinegar.

(just as an aside, dyeing fabric is a similar process, but there are more steps to prepare the fabric and ensure that the color will last. I will cover some of these in a future blog post.)

Process for Egg Dyeing

Chop your dye materials roughly and cover with water in a non-reactive pot.

Sliced Red Cabbage for use in naturally dyeing easter eggs 

Simmer for 1-2 hours depending on the strength of the dye that you would like to achieve. Be careful not to boil, as some colors can be effected by boiling.

Strain the liquid out of the dye material and compost the solids. The next step is up to you, but I have the most luck with gently placing the eggs in the hot dye, and leaving the heat on low for approx. an hour.  

You can either put the raw egg in the pot and let it hard boil, though I don't suggest eating them later, as they may be soaking for days. Or, you can blow out your eggs and just dye the shell.

 

Note: some dyes, like Black Bean, are simply soaked overnight without heat. You can then check the color of your eggs and decide if you want to leave them in the pot for a longer time. I loved the look of the white eggs left in the red cabbage dye pot for 2-3 days after it cooled.

Two Brown/Maroon Naturally Dyed Eggs by The Lesser Bear

These eggs were dyed with yellow onion skins on white eggs

 

Yellow and Brown/Maroon Naturally Dyed Eggs by The Lesser Bear

White eggs dyed with approx. 1/2 cup of Turmeric and White and Brown eggs dyed with yellow onion skins.

 

Decorating your Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

There are endless possibilities for how to further decorate your eggs, once they are dyed. I am a big fan of working with what you have to make decorations for holidays, so rather than run out to my local craft store for more supplies, I decided to just use a chalk pen and a fine point Sharpie, that I happened to have on hand.

Naturally Dyed Blue Easter Eggs with black botanical drawings

For the blue eggs I wanted to show off the color as much as possible, so I decided on simple illustrations of botanicals on one side of the egg only. I am really pleased with how these turned out.

Grey and blue naturally dyed Easter eggs with white and black botanical illustrations by The Lesser Bear

The red cabbage dye on the brown eggs came out a bit of a muddy grey with hints of blue. On these, I used a chalk pen and covered more of the eggs, as I did not want to highlight the color as much. The blue actually shows through the chalk pen drawings, so that they are a soft blue/white.

 

Yellow Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs with black and white botanical illustrations and decorative dots by The Lesser Bear

I loved how the yellow eggs turnout, with a painterly like mottled surface, making the perfect backdrop for a more complicated pattern. I found this pattern on a photo of Russian Easter Eggs (via Pinterest), which is a beautiful Pussy Willow pattern with a frame of decorative dots. It was the perfect motif to create with both the Sharpie and the chalk pen.

Brown and beige naturally dyed easter eggs with Scandinavian patterns in white by The Lesser Bear

For the brown eggs, I decided to use Scandinavian inspired motifs, created with the chalk pen. These bold patterns worked really well with the deep color of the eggs.

A word of advice: use a soft touch when drawing on the eggs, even with the soft tip of the chalk pen, I managed to puncture the shells of a couple of eggs.

How will you dye your eggs?

I'd love to see what colors you make with your Easter Eggs and how/if you decide to decorate them further!

Handmade Silk Bird's Nest

Last but not least, is the silk bird's nest that I made. It was a fun little project. I am always looking for ways to use up the waste from making ribbons or repurpose materials. In the ribbon making process, I end up with piles of loose silk threads. I have been saving these threads for years, and each year my daughter and I scatter some around our yard, hoping to catch them in an abandoned nest at the end of the year. That would be so cool! But since we have established that I am not always patient, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I used a small bowl in which to layer silk strings, which I lightly then sprayed lightly with spray adhesive and then repeated the process until I had a nest like structure.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs and Handmade silk bird's nest by The Lesser Bear

 

I hope you have fun exploring your own ideas for dyeing and decorating Easter eggs!