Color Me Rad: DIY Easter Egg Dye

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Sure, you can pick up synthetic dye at the store, but why not take matters into your own hands? Make Easter egg dye at home with everyday items found in your kitchen — especially good for little ones who may be sensitive to artificial dyes.

We may never know if the chicken came before the egg. But it’s believed that decorating eggs dates back as far back as the 13th century.

According to religious custom, eating eggs was forbidden during Holy Week — the week leading up to Easter. Eggs were, instead, painted and eaten on Easter to celebrate the end of penance and fasting.

These days we dye eggs with our kids for no other reason than fun. And given that some children are sensitive to synthetic dyes, many are opting to color eggs naturally with items found in their very own kitchens — fruits, vegetables, spices, and even tea.

 

With a little planning, you can create your own dyes, too. Made-from-scratch dyes are more subdued in color and require more soaking time — at least 30 minutes, several hours or even all night depending on the depth of color you’re going for. Pigment will vary depending on the original color of the egg, soaking time and how the concentration of the dye.

Natural Twist on Dyed Eggs

Here we offer a quick guide to making a handful of colors, naturally, starting with the basic ingredients.

Blue

  • 4 cups chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 quart of water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Lavender

  • 4 bags Red Zinger tea
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Lavender/Red

  • 4 cups red onion skins
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Orange

  • 4 cups yellow onion skins
  • 1 quart water

Green

  • 6 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Pink/Red

  • 4 cups shredded beets
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Yellow

  • 8 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Get Cooking!

For each color (see instructions below for pink/red), combine water, vinegar and dye ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 15-60 minutes, covered, until you reach the desired hue. Test the dye on a white paper towel or dish until you reach desired color. The dye should be a few shades darker than you want your colored eggs. Remove from heat and let cool at least 20 minutes, then strain and transfer dye to mason jars.

Dip eggs for desired length of time. They will turn a light hue very quickly that will intensify if soaked for several minutes or overnight. For those you plan soak several hours or more, transfer jars to refrigerator.

For pink/red eggs, you’ll start with raw eggs. Strain liquid in a small saucepan, add the desired number of raw eggs and return liquid to a boil. Cook for 12 minutes and then turn off heat and steep the eggs for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally for more even color.

For all colors: When eggs reach the desired color, remove from liquid and allow to air dry. Once dry, rub with a little olive, coconut or grapeseed oil to give the eggs a shine. Store in refrigerator until their debut Easter morning!

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