Natural egg dyeing (using foods & spices) is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. Since we have chickens that lay pretty colored eggs for us (various shades of blues and browns), I thought I’d try using natural dyes with wooden eggs. This way I could have Easter eggs that last from year to year and the boys could also play with them.
I wasn’t super exact with any of the recipes – the dyes all seem to be pretty forgiving and work with minor adjustments. The white vinegar helps set the dyes and bring out the colors nicely. I had the most trouble with the red cabbage for getting blue. I found that the water needs to be boiling before you add the cabbage and do not add vinegar to that mixture – it will turn it purple! (Unless you want to use it for purple…). Also, I left all my eggs in for at least a couple of hours – some longer, just judge it by how your eggs look. These recipes will work on real eggs – and probably give more vibrant results (with less time), especially with white eggs. Wood doesn’t absorb all the colors as well – especially the blue. Also, you’ll need to keep rotating the eggs if they are not all the way submerged.
These would make a sweet gift for little ones at Easter time – and everything used is natural and non-toxic, so if it ends up in baby’s mouth, no worries! (Disclaimer: I haven’t tried gumming any of these eggs, so I’m not sure whether any of the dyes would come off onto hands or clothes once wet – so you may want to test for that before giving to a baby!)
What you need:
- wooden eggs (I found mine at Jo-Ann’s, mine are 2.25″)
- foods/spices for desired colors (some recipes are below)
- white vinegar
- jars or plastic cups
- sand paper
- non-toxic, food-safe wood conditioner– optional
Lavender: ½ cup grape juice + ½ tbsp. white vinegar :: stir together and add egg.
Orange: ½ cup boiling water + ½ tablespoon paprika + 1 tsp white vinegar :: stir together and let cool slightly, add egg.
Yellow: ½ cup boiling water + ½ tablespoon curry powder (or just tumeric) + 1 tsp white vinegar :: stir together, let cool slightly, add egg.
Red/Pink: ½ cup frozen raspberries + ½ cup water + 1 tsp. white vinegar :: stir together, let come to room temperature, add egg.
Blue: boiling water + salt + chopped red cabbage + baking soda :: place water in a saucepan, add a few shakes of salt and bring to a boil. add chopped red cabbage and stir occasionally till water is a deep blue color. add a couple teaspoons of baking soda. remove cabbage. (i didn’t really use any measurements – just kind of threw it in and it came out fine).
Brown: ½ cup boiling water + 1 tablespoon espresso powder + 1 tsp. white vinegar :: stir together and let cool slightly, add egg.
Lightly sand the eggs before placing in dye. If your eggs are not submerged all the way in the dye, rotate the eggs from time to time to get even coloring. Once the eggs are the desired color, remove from the dye and place on a paper towel to dry completely (some dye make leak through – so use a few paper towels or put it on something that it won’t matter if dye gets on it). It will take a couple hours for the wood to dry out. Once completely dry, you can use wood conditioner to seal the eggs and give it a nice sheen. The conditioner can be reapplied from time to time as needed.
For more ideas for foods/spices to try, you can check out these recipes too.
Have you ever tried using natural dyes on eggs? Any favorite recipes I should try??
Enjoy this weekend!