No need to fool with food coloring if you have certain ingredients around the house – the items below work as natural egg dyes and create lovely colors.
To create the dye baths, boil the ingredients in a quart of water in a stainless or glass pot and strain; stir in 2 tablespoons vinegar to the dye bath to set the dyes.
Notes: If you use brown eggs instead of white ones, they’ll produce totally different colors. Don’t add salt or baking soda to the water when you boil the eggs to be dyed – these can cause egg shells to resist the dye.
Go for these ingredients to dye your eggs with these colors:
- Yellow = Chopped green carrot tops
- Purple = Red wine
- Pink = Beet juice (or red beets, cut up)
- Red = Red onion skins. (Yellow onion skins make brown eggs red.) Also, marachino cherry juice.
- Rusty orange = Chili powder
- Dark orange = Turmeric powder
- Green = 1 cup cooked spinach
- Lavender/blue = Crushed blueberries
- Blue = Red cabbage
- Pale lavender = 1 Red Zinger tea bag
As with all dyes, the longer the eggs are in the bath, the deeper the colors.
To marble the eggs, dye them one color first, then add more of the same color, or a different one, to a bowl with warm water and a tablespoon of olive oil to a depth of 1 inch. Swirl with a fork or whisk lightly. Roll the pastel egg into the deeper color and coat completely; pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside to dry completely. (Line an empty egg carton with paper towels as a drying rack.)
To create patterns on the eggs, use rubber bands on the eggs before dyeing, remove and dye a second color if desired. Using tape or stickers on the eggs also will create patterns, or you can write your name with sticker-letters before setting into the dyepot. A pale crayon will become dye-resistant – an easy way for kids to write their names on their eggs or draw on them.
For tips on boiling and peeling hard-boiled eggs, go here.