March 30, 2013

Easter Egg Natural Dye

easter, easter egg, egg, natural dye, flower pattern, homemade

Here's something fun and natural for Easter.  My little girl and I had made Easter Eggs for the first time last year when she was almost 3 years old.  It was really fun and we did a post about our tiny Easter Eggs, but in my heart I was a bit horrified by the obnoxiously bright fakeness of the food coloring dyes that we used and that were eventually eaten into our systems along with the eggs.  (No, we didn't eat the shells but the coloring kinda soaks in quite a bit, doesn't it?)  

So I was really interested when, this year, as I was mentally preparing for Easter Egg making, to see a blog article on using natural dyes to make really beautiful natural Easter Eggs.  We tried it and as you can see the result is quite a looker and very very safe to eat for your little ones. It takes a bit more time and effort but we definitely thought the results were gorgeously worth it.

easter, easter egg, egg, natural dye, flower pattern, homemade

There are two types of natural easter eggs that we made, one is shell on with a flower pattern imprinted onto the shell of the egg.  The other is shell off, a "dinosaur" egg, that is basically a chinese tea egg substituting natural dye for the traditional tea dye.

easter, easter egg, egg, natural dye, flower pattern, homemade
Looks renaissance, does it not?
Flower Easter Egg Natural Dye Recipe
(Makes 12 eggs. Adapted from here)  Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 1 hour


    For the Dyes
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • skins from 3-4 yellow onions
  • 12 white eggs (or 6 eggs for this recipe and 6 eggs for the Dinosaur Egg recipe below)
  • 7 tbsp white vinegar

    For the Flower Patterns
  • Flowers or leaves or anything natural you think will produce an interesting pattern
  • pantyhose (we used a pair of  knee highs for 6 eggs)
  • twisty ties


Chop up cabbage and put in one pot with water to cover.  Put four cups water into another pot and peel off onion skins and toss them in.  Bring to boil and then simmer covered for 1/2 hour.  Check water occasionally and add as needed.

In the meanwhile prepare the eggs.  We bought a spray of daisy like flower (see photo above) and were very happy with the results.  You could get really creative here.  Cut the pantyhose into lengths that will allow you to tightly wrap the eggs, including room enough to tie both ends with twisty ties.  Put the flower or leaves or whatever onto the egg with pattern side against the egg and slide the panty hose over everything smoothly and tie.  The pantyhose should be tight against the egg.

The end level of liquid in pots should be able to cover eggs.  Strain out cabbage and onions skins from pots.  Add 4 tbsp vinegar to cabbage dye and 3 tbsp to onions skin dye.  Add in eggs (including dinosaur eggs, see recipe below) gently and then bring back to boil and cook 1/2 hour.  Turn off heat and let sit in dye liquid for an hour or however long it takes to achieve your desired dye saturation.

Note: We removed the eggs from onion skin dye almost at once because the color was really good already.  Who would have thought that onion skin could produce such a color?!  I have tried other food dyes before in my other dye experiments (beets, plum skins, etc) but none had this immediate intensity.  The cabbage dyed eggs came out after an hour of soaking.  Joy, joy, joy, these natural dye easter eggs were so beautiful!!

Dinosaur Easter Egg Natural Dye Recipe
(adapted from here.  What a cool shift of perspective!)


  • 6 white eggs
  • Natural dye as per recipe above


Put eggs in pan with cold water to cover and heat over medium heat until boil.  Turn down heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove and refresh in cold water.  When cool enough to touch, gently tap the eggs to crack the shells all over taking care not to crack through the egg shell membrane.

Put cracked eggs into a pan with your desired dye color, bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes, turning carefully occasionally.  Turn off heat and let eggs cool in the liquid.  To serve, peel and reveal the "dinosaur" easter egg!  My girl loves dinosaurs right now and all her lil' dinosaurs got a bite of this treat!