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Natural Dyes For Easter Eggs

Dyeing eggs with vegetable material takes more time than using commercial egg dyes, but it is truly amazing to see the colors hidden in the plants around us.

General directions:

  1. Wash and rinse eggs before dyeing to remove any oil or coating which may prevent the dye from taking.
  2. Boil eggs 3 hours, if you wish to keep them.
    • If the eggs do not crack, over time the contents will dry inside the shell.
  3. Boil the plant material until you have a good rich color.
  4. Strain the dye, discard the plant material, return the dye to the pot.
  5. Use an enamel or teflon-coated pot for dyeing.
    • Metals such as tin, aluminum, and iron will change the color of the dye.
  6. After your eggs dry, use a vegetable oil and soft cloth to polish them.
  7. Remember that natural dyes can also be toxic.
  8. The safety of the following dyes was verified through the Poison Control Center.
  9. The colors:
    1. A soft, robin's egg blue is obtained by boiling red cabbage. SAFE
      • Slice the cabbage.
      • Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes.
      • Let the cabbage dye cool.
      • This dye will look purple, but will dye the eggs blue.
      • Cabbage dye does not work when it is very hot. It will only dye the eggs when it cools.
    2. Orange and a rich, reddish brown are obtained from onion skins. SAFE
      • Gather the dry outer skins of onions. It takes several cups of skins.
      • Cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes.
      • Add the eggs. Watch the color.
      • You can dye various hues of orange to brown depending on length of time in the dye.
    3. A clear, bright yellow is obtained from the inner bark of apple branches. SAFE
      • Prune a few small branches (not limbs) from an apple tree.
      • Scrape the bark into a pot.
      • Cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes.
      • To roughly 3/4 cup of bark and 2 quarts of water, add 1 scant teaspoon of alum.
      • The alum will bring out the yellow dye.
Please remember that some dyes are toxic. If you experiment with other plant material, please do not eat the eggs without verifying the safety of the dye.

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