It’s Easter time already and this year I decided to do a little experimenting with my Easter egg coloring! Dyeing Easter eggs has always been fun, but that harsh vinegar and chemical smell of the colored dyes is kind of a turn off for me. I took a textiles class in my days at the University of Kansas and learned a lot about naturally dyeing fabric. I figured the same principles apply to dyeing eggs and gave it a try!
After going through a few boxes of my art supplies and old projects from school I found all the test swatches from my textiles class and made a list of dyes I wanted to try with the eggs. I also did a little research online and found a couple new ones I thought would be fun too.
beets / cilantro / black berries / spinach / coffee / yellow & red onion skins / hibiscus / elder berries
I saw some examples of elder berry natural dyes online, but had never even heard of them before so I didn’t consider it as an option. But to my surprise I happened to spot them at the market! Dried elder berries — I had to try!
turmeric / paprika / matcha
I used exactly the same process dyeing the eggs as I did using natural dyes with fabric.
boil water + natural dye
add a splash or two of white vinegar and a sprinkle of salt — these things help make the color stick
I chose to boil the eggs in the dye itself, although you could boil the color, wait for it to cool and dip/soak the eggs in the natural dye afterwards. But the eggs needed to be hard boiled anyway so I figured I could save myself a step by doing it this way.
I was really happy with how most of them turned out! I soaked a few of them for about 8 hours longer than others just to see what the color potential was for these wonderful natural dyes. The rusty colored eggs came from the yellow onion skins — definitely one of my favorites. The speckled pink/reddish one is from the beets, pale green — matcha <3
^ ELDER BERRY — all time fav
The deep blue egg in the back as well as the pale blue in the front both came from the hibiscus. The darker one was soaked where as the lighter one only had a few minutes in the dye. Although the soaked egg is a more full color I really appreciate the imperfections and texture of the other. Very different effects, both equally attractive in my book.
Next to the dark hibiscus egg is the coffee – beet – yellow onion. The egg just behind the pale blue one is from the red onion skins. I’m always amazed at how much color comes out of those onion skins!
That perfect yellow is from the turmeric dye — also one of my favs. This one will stain your fingers!
** fun fact from a family friend : in Indian turmeric is used in wedding rituals. Friends and family members rub turmeric paste on bride a few days before the ceremony — On the day of the wedding her hands and feet are often still stained yellow **
so in my head… turmeric = indian wedding ;)
The black berry didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but I won’t consider it a loss. It’s a pale color, but it’s there.
failed dyes included : spinach & cilantro
I need to find something that will give me a strong green color! If any of you have suggestions, sending them my way would be greatly appreciated :)
I’ll be making a list of more natural dyes to try for next year! Hope you enjoyed
Oh, and here’s a few of my chaotic work space — I’ll be finding shredded newspaper for days ;)