Dyeing Easter eggs naturally

Easter is Sunday and, of course, this weekend we have plans to dye eggs for our annual Easter egg hunt. Ava enjoyed it last year, in the snow I might add, but is even more excited about it this year. And I think Julian will enjoy getting in on the action this year too. We might have to dye more than a dozen eggs.

Easter eggs dyed naturallyThis year I’m excited to try dyeing the eggs without artificial colors. I found a couple great web site with tips on “Natural Dyes for Elegant Easter Eggs” and Natural Dye from Organic.org. The natural dyes come from spices like paprika, tumeric and cumin; vegetables like spinach and red cabbage; fruit juices and even coffee. All of your dye ingredients can (and should) be composted after you are done.

The pages have dyeing instructions for a boil method (which produces darker results) and a cold-dip method, which is suggested for children or if you plan to eat the eggs and is the method we will be trying out.

Why dye with natural colors instead of artificial? 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).” I wrote about the drawbacks of artificial colors a while back if you’d like to read more on the topic.

It is more time-consuming than using a store-bought conventional egg dye kit, but it is healthier for your kids and the environment. “Dyeing eggs the natural way gives you the opportunity to spend more time with your family, teaching kids to use alternative project methods that are healthier for them and the environment.” I think it will be a lot of fun and a great family project.

I will report back on Monday (perhaps with my Best Shot Monday post) on how the natural dyeing process went. :) And I’d love to hear from any of you who give it a shot (or have done so in the past) as well.

3/22/08: There’s an UPDATE in the comments with some of our results of what worked well and what didn’t (as well as what other people’s results have been). More to follow with pics of the egg-stravaganza fun on Monday. :)

*Photo credit: Organic.org Natural Dyes

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27 thoughts on “Dyeing Easter eggs naturally

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  2. Thats a great idea, and it also shows kids where some pigments come from. There’s a great book called The History of Color that I read a couple of years ago with tons of fun factoids on pigments.

  3. Great idea. I was getting ready to pick up an egg coloring kit the other day and I just looked at the package contents and all the artificial colorings and just thought yuk, and put it back. This is a great idea though! I might not tackle it this year, but very probably will next year.

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  5. oh this is a great idea… we just finished dying eggs with fabric dyes I had laying around. We drew on the eggs with pastels, then blew them (we are having omelettes for dinner!)then dip dyed them.. worked great but would be much better to use natural dyes and more interesting too!

  6. We aren’t doing eggs this year, but I’ll be interested to hear how this turns out!

  7. Gosh, I knew you could do natural egg dyes, but I didn’t realize someone had had the bright idea of packaging up kits for family use. I may have to run over to Whole Foods tomorrow and see if I can find one of those kits. Thanks for the idea!

    You won’t believe it, but I finally got around to answering your questions on the interview meme from back in October. Time flew and before I knew it, it was Christmas and then New Year’s and almost Easter…

    Bet you thought I forgot! lol

  8. Sorry no luck here. Maybe I did something wrong but the colors were very weak. My son just looked at me. That’s why I’m going organic eggs, regular dye and just doing few. Tried it earlier in the week and we had egg salad sandwhiches!

  9. Can’t wait to try some of these ideas. I so enjoy your blog, its very insightful and thought provoking. Thanks. There is a little something for you over at my place.

  10. I just got into natural dyes because I wanted to dye a dress I bought at the thrift store for Cadence. It was white and had a couple stains, so I thought I could mask the stains if I dyed it. I used blueberries and got a lovely grey-blue color. She’s probably going to wear it for Easter. This gave me the idea of using natural dyes for eggs, and I just happened on your post today. Thanks for the info, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Oh, and you’ve been tagged! No pressure or anything. :-)

  11. Well, we tried spinach and pomegranate/onion skin dyes last night. Cold method. Both ended up, well, brown. Mottled. They look kind of like a wild bird egg of sorts. Underwhelmed… maybe I will try the hot method, but I like to be able to eat the eggs (we are hard boiled lovers). I hear good things about turmeric – will have to check out Julie’s results….

  12. Update: We did some dyeing today. It was a lot of fun. :)

    For those of you who are still experimenting, the colors that turned out best were GREEN made from some spinach leaves (that were wilting) combined with tumeric and blueberries; ORANGE from chili powder; and PURPLE from cherries and blueberries mixed together. The ones that didn’t work as well were the YELLOW from orange peels (I don’t think I used enough) and cumin mixed, RED from cherries, and BLUE from blueberries. I might try a few more things tonight to see what I can come up with. ;)

    I’m glad to read that some of you have had success with this. I think it really is a matter of trial and error, and a lot of fun along the way. :)

    Amy
    Crunchy Domestic Goddess

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  17. Your eggs look beautiful. We used to use onion skins too, once in a while, and the eggs turned shades of dark orange-brown to pale yellow. Just put them in the egg boiling water and you’re all set. Don’t you remember that from when you were a child?

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