How to dye Easter eggs naturally – a tutorial

So you want to dye your Easter eggs naturally – without chemicals and artificial colors? While it takes longer than the commercial egg dye kits you buy at the store, dyeing your eggs with natural foods is better for you and your child(ren)’s health, produces much more interesting colors and is, quite arguably, more fun!

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 (and I highly recommend preparing the egg dye baths a few hours before you plan to dye the eggs with the kiddos), 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.

To get started you will need:

  • Hard boiled eggs (preferably white eggs since they take on the dyes better than brown eggs)
  • Ingredients to make your dyes, which I will discuss in more detail below – As a guideline, use up to 4 cups for vegetable solids and 3–4 tablespoons for spices per quart. Mash up fruits.
  • White vinegar (2 Tablespoons for every quart of water)
  • Several pots and bowls
  • Optional: stickers, rubber bands, and crayons for decorating the eggs and making interesting patterns
  • Egg cartons for drying the dyed eggs

Natural egg dyes can be made from a variety of ingredients. Here’s a list of what I used last year along with comments on the colors that resulted.

RED

  • 3 cans of beets in cranberry juice (instead of water) – produced a dark reddish hue

PINK

  • Frozen cherries – made a very light pink

RED-ORANGE

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder produced a nice reddish-orange color

YELLOW

  • 3 Tablespoons of tumeric produced a great yellow

GREEN

  • A mix of spinach leaves, canned blueberries and their juice and a few tablespoons of tumeric produced a gorgeous earthy green color – I think it would work without the spinach leaves, but I happened to have some that were wilting so I threw them in.

BLUE

  • 3/4 of a head of red cabbage (chopped) made a beautiful blue

GREY BLUE

  • 2 cans of blueberries and their juice made a grey-blueish color

GREY

  • Frozen cherries mixed with blueberries yielded a grey color (not the purple I was going for).

Instructions:
Last year I found a couple great web site with tips on “Natural Easter Egg Dyes” 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.

On Organic.org, there is 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, which is the method we used last year.

The two methods are:

Method 1—Hot
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.

Method 2—Cold
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.

Definitely feel free to experiment and try out other foods and spices. For me, that was a big part of what made it so much fun, trying out different things to see what colors would come from them. For example, the dye from the spinach, tumeric, blueberry mix looked orange or brown, but the eggs came out green! And the red cabbage dye was purpley-pink, but the eggs came out blue. It was like a fun science experiment that the whole family could get involved in. Happy egg coloring! :)

Pictures:
The process of making the dyes:

The egg dyes on the stovetop Beets in cranberry juice
Red cabbage Tumeric

And the results:

Red and pink eggsYellow and orange eggs
Green eggsBlue eggs

Links to other people’s natural egg dyeing results:

If you dye your eggs naturally and blog about it, please leave me your link and I’ll add it to the list. :)

Don’t miss a single CDG post, subscribe to my blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

77 thoughts on “How to dye Easter eggs naturally – a tutorial

  1. Thanks for this great post. My family and I are in Bali right now, where Easter isn’t such a big deal. But my kids are dying for Easter eggs and we want to use natural dyes. I am so happy to have found your post.
    Many thanks,
    Erin

  2. Thanks for the different formulas. I always blow my eggs, so I can keep the really great ones from year to year. That and use the contents to make omelets, scrambled eggs or cake. You also don’t have to worry with losing eggs during the hunt.

    Ann

  3. Pingback: cuoredimamma » Com’è andata a finire: Pasqua 2011

  4. Pingback: Natural Easter Egg Dye: Celebrate Easter Naturally Series

  5. Pingback: Easter eggs (fun with food-based dyes!)

  6. Pingback: The Dyeing Egg. A Collection of Eggs Dyeing Well. | Blog con Queso

  7. Pingback: Weekend Links | ecBloom

  8. Pingback: Dying Easter Eggs Naturally without Chemicals | Steve Spangler's Blog

  9. Pingback: dying eggs with food: quick links

  10. Pingback: Dying Easter Eggs; Au Natural + Grandma Rose’s Chopped Egg Salad

  11. Pingback: A Cruelty-Free Easter « FoodiEvangelist

  12. Pingback: All Natural Easter Egg Dyes « Gallantandjones's Blog

  13. Pingback: Have A Colorful Easter Without Artificial Food Dye : Die, Food Dye!

  14. Pingback: How To Dye Easter Eggs Naturally « Those Young Moms

  15. Pingback: Fashion “Friendly” Friday-Happy Easter! – Mommy's Organics

  16. Pingback: Green 101: Natural Easter Egg Dyes « F that S

  17. To do a pretty pale green you leave the eggs in the cold cabbage solution for a half hour followed by a dip in the turmeric solution. Definitely going to keep these ideas! With the exception of red all my eggs turned out great and I am bookmarking your site for next year!!!

  18. Pingback: Camo eggs | saudyssey

  19. Pingback: Easter eggs (fun with food-based dyes!), year 2

  20. Pingback: Greener Easter Eggs | Retro Housewife Goes Green

  21. Pingback: Weekend Links | ecBloom

  22. Pingback: All Things Eggs! Activities, Experiments, Art, & More! | Student Guide

  23. Pingback: Food Colors

  24. Pingback: 10 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Naturally

  25. Pingback: Tips from the Easter Bunny on Natural Egg Dyeing

  26. Pingback: Redeeming Easter Traditions (plus Resurrection Eggs project!) |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>