Looking for a fun activity over the Easter holidays? What could be more entertaining than adding a splash of colour to your otherwise very plain box of eggs!
There are many ways to decorate your Easter eggs, e.g. colouring with markers, adding stickers, or dyeing with Easter colour kits. But a fun and natural way to colour Easter eggs is using vegetables, berries, spices, or a number of other groceries you might have in your kitchen.
Today, we’ll explain which ingredients you need and how to prepare your eggs to make those colours pop when naturally dyeing your Easter eggs.
10 groceries to use for decorating Easter eggs
You can experiment with as many different foods as you want, but here are ten groceries that are proven Easter egg dyeing supremos!
Onion skin. Boil eggs with onion skins for a golden brown finish. Or, bind the skin around the egg before boiling to create a trendy marble-like orangy-yellow look. Try some red onion for an added splash of colour!
Beetroot. You probably know that beetroot can discolour everything it touches with its intense purple pigment. Now it’s time to put that to good use. Beets help you achieve a variety of exciting shades from purple-brown to rusty red.
Blueberries. Blueberries have a deep blueish-purple colour due to the pigment anthocyanin. Use fresh or frozen blueberries or blueberry juice to create a deep-blue shade on your eggs.
Raspberries. Use frozen or fresh raspberries to create a lilac-red colour.
Carrot. Carrot alone isn’t powerful enough to produce an orange dye, but it will give your Easter egg an exotic yellow hue with olive undertones.
Spinach. Who knew? Spinach is not only useful for getting stuck in your teeth, it’ll also give your Easter egg a light green glow.
Red cabbage. You definitely need to try this one! The world of natural colouring is full of surprises. Contrary to its name, red cabbage creates a fuchsia dye that gives you a beautiful turquoise or cobalt blue egg.
Coffee. Coffee sounds like it would be a decent way of achieving a dark brown Easter egg. In reality, the colour is a light or milk chocolate brown.
Tea. Try using black tea to create a brownish egg, hibiscus for a reddish or greenish-blue, chamomile for yellow, and lavender for green.
Spices. These are perfect for colouring Easter eggs naturally. Curry powder gives a light orange tint, paprika gives you a darker orange, and turmeric can leave you with an actual golden egg! Chilli powder can create a reddish-brown tone, but beware of the fumes!
Two ways to dye Easter eggs
There are generally two ways to dye Easter eggs. The first involves boiling or reboiling the eggs within a solution. With this method, the colour adheres to the shell better, but it can cause cracking.
The safer way to dye your Easter eggs is by dipping them into a colourful liquid.
What you need for an all-natural Easter egg dye:
Two cups or 500 ml of water;
Vegetables, berries, or spices for colour;
One tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of vinegar.
All you need to do is raise the liquid to a boil and then simmer for up to 30 minutes.
Make sure the solution is darker than the colour you want before straining the liquid. Then, add boiled eggs and keep them covered for as long as necessary.
If you’re boiling the water, add vinegar and/or salt to the water to prevent the eggs from cracking. And if you wish to eat the leftover groceries, add vinegar to the strained liquid.
Using vinegar is also a great way to help the colours stick and deepen. The more vinegar you use, the more saturated the colours will be. But don’t go overboard — one tablespoon per bowl and per cup should be enough. You can also use other acidic ingredients like lemon juice if needed.
Pro tip! You’ll want the eggs and water to be roughly the same temperature to avoid cracking. But don’t keep the boiled eggs out of the fridge for too long if you’re planning on eating them.
How to achieve your desired Easter egg colour
Depending on what type of saturation you want, you can submerge the eggs in the dye for a couple of minutes for a pastel tone or overnight in the fridge for a deeper colour.
Some pigments may end up bleeding into the egg and discolouring the egg white. But since the ingredients are natural, you can do this to give your Easter dishes some extra flair!
Add the eggs to the dye for up to 30 minutes for intense colour.
Pro tip: Use an empty egg carton to store eggs for up to 30 or 60 minutes while the paint dries. If you dry eggs on a towel, you might be left with white spots or uneven colour distribution.
Mix and match the colours
You can mix your ingredients to deepen colours or create new shades altogether.
For example, add turmeric to orange to get a stronger yellow or orange-yellow colour.
Or add turmeric to red cabbage and create a green dye. Try it!
Decorating Easter eggs with patterns
In addition to colours, mix up your decorating by adding patterns. Create silhouettes by adding flower petals, leaves, herbs, seeds, grains, or pine needles before dyeing the egg. Remember to dampen the egg as the water helps the decorations stick.
Depending on your decorations, use thread, string, or rubber bands with gauze, cheesecloth or pieces of nylon tights to attach and keep decorations in place for a more pronounced pattern.
You can also use rubber bands for creating patterns. Cover areas of the egg with bands before dipping it in the dye. Once dried, carefully remove the bands, and you’ll get a cool web-like pattern! To achieve a multicoloured Easter egg, you can cover other areas and re-dip the egg in another dye.
If you can find some, your grandmother’s old woollen yarn is also an excellent tool for decorating Easter eggs. Old (naturally coloured) yarns tend to bleed colour better and let you create beautiful patterns. Try it on its own, or use brightly coloured yarn to bind other ingredients around the egg.
Butter it up
And one last tip: once cooled and dried, use oil or butter to give your eggs that extra shine!
Dyeing Easter eggs with natural ingredients may take practice, and you may never be sure which colour you’ll get. But the surprise is part of the process!
If you’re missing eggs, spices, or other household essentials, Bolt Market’s got you covered.