Several years ago we started making our own homemade natural easter egg dyes and it has quickly became one of our favorite Easter traditions! It’s definitely more time consuming than using a conventional egg dye kit, but when you consider the additives used in traditional Easter egg dyes I think you’ll agree it’s time well spent.
According to Organic.org, “Many food colorings contain color additives such as Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 5, which, according to a 1983 study by the FDA, were found to cause tumors (Red No. 3) and hives (Yellow No. 5).” In addition, food dyes have also been linked to causing issues like hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and allergic reactions.
By making your own Easter egg dye you never have to worry about harmful ingredients, and we think it’s a whole lot of fun too! Gathering, mashing and boiling plant-based ingredients is far more exciting to children than simply dropping a tablet in a cup. The process also provides a great opportunity to teach kidlets about being cautious of what they put into their bodies, and teach them how the earth offers many wonderful alternatives to synthetic store-bought products.
A Rainbow Of Recipes For Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Please note: You do not need to use all of the ingredients listed under each color. Each ingredient listed will produce the same color hue, so you can choose just one, or try a combination of two or more- it’s up to you! As a guideline, use up to 4 cups for vegetable solids and 3–4 tablespoons for spices per quart. Mash up fruits.
Red: Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Orange: Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Yellow: Chamomile Tea
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Green: Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Fresh Basil (boiled)
Blue: Canned Blueberries
Large Amount of Purple Grape Juice
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Violet Blue: Violet Flowers (no lemon juice)
Red Onion Skins (boiled)
Lavender: Small Amount of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Flowers + 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea bags (Celestial Seasoning brand)
*When you see the word ”boiled”, it just means that the ingredient MUST be boiled in order to extract the color.
- About one dozen whitish eggs (depending on how many you want to dye—be sure to include extra for experimentation purposes!)
- Dye ingredients (see above)
- Large, nonaluminum pan for boiling ingredients and eggs
- Wax crayons and rubber bands & stickers for designs prior to dyeing
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar per quart of water
- Rubber gloves to avoid having Easter egg-colored hands!
- Slotted spoon for handling the eggs in hot water
- Egg carton(s) for drying
- Recycled paper towels or cloth towels
- Vegetable oil (optional)
Place eggs in a single layer in a large, nonaluminum pan. Add the dyeing ingredient of your choice—it’s best not to mix until you are comfortable with experimenting. Cover the eggs and other dyeing “agent(s)” with one inch of water. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart to help the color adhere to the egg, and bring to a boil. Next, simmer for 20–30 minutes or until the desired shade is achieved. If you cook the eggs longer than 15 minutes, they will become rather tough.
The cold method is the same as the hot method with the following exception. Once ingredients have simmered 20–30 minutes (depending on desired shade), lift or strain the ingredients out of the water and allow the water to cool to room temperature though you may wish to try keeping the ingredients in the colored water to give the egg more texture as the dye will become concentrated in areas where the vegetable touches the egg. Submerge the eggs until the desired color is achieved. You may keep the eggs in the solution overnight as long as it is refrigerated.The longer the egg stays in the dye, hot or cold, the deeper the hue will be. Using vinegar will also help the color deepen. (If time is short, you can use fresh and frozen berries as “paints,” too—simply crush the berries against dry, boiled eggs!) Once satisfied with your creation, place the eggs in an egg carton to dry. If you like, rub vegetable or mineral oil onto the dried egg to create an attractive sheen.
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