Dye-ing for nature-based fun? Forgo the food coloring and kits, and go for naturally safe, naturally kid-friendly, and naturally beautiful “homemade” egg dyes instead. Dyes can be used on hard-boiled or fancy blown-out eggs. Most of what you need is probably already in your own kitchen and pantry.
The tools you’ll need to create your own egg dyes
Stainless steel utensils and glass containers won’t stain; always rinse utensils as you go from color to color, so there’s no contamination.
Vegetables, fruits, and spices can all create lovely, earthy colors. For example, beets, green tea bags, and orange peels all make gorgeous natural dyes. We hard-boiled large, white eggs and used plain white vinegar, which helps to set the color. Below are the dozen dyes and “recipes” that we tried, listed in order of color intensity (after about 20 minutes of steeping).
Beets = Purple
1 large beet (cut into chunks) + 4 cups boiling water + 2 tbs. vinegar. Cool and strain.
Yellow onions = Yellow-orange
Skins only of six medium yellow onions + 2 cups water; simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Grape juice = Magenta
1 cup all-natural grape juice + 1 tbs. vinegar.
Coffee = Gold
½ cup ground coffee + 2 cups boiling water. Steep, strain, and add 1 tbs. vinegar.
Red onions = Blue
Skins only of six red onions + 2 cups water; simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add 3 tsp. vinegar.
Green tea = Light green
Six green tea bags + 1 cup boiling water. Steep five minutes and strain.
Red cabbage = Pale blue
½ head red cabbage (cut into chunks) + 4 cups boiling water + 2 tbs. vinegar. Cool and strain.
Turmeric = Yellow
2 tbs. turmeric + 1 cup boiling water + 2 tsp. vinegar.
Paprika = Orange
2 tbs. paprika + 1 cup boiling water + 2 tsp. vinegar.
Blueberries = Blue/Gray
1 cup frozen blueberries + 1 cup water. Let stand to room temperature and strain.
Carrot tops = Pale yellow
2 cups chopped carrot greens + 1½ cups water; simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Orange peels = Palest yellow
Peels of six oranges + 1 ½ cups water; simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Guided by the recipes above, experiment with veggie/spice quantities and steep times. The longer you steep, the deeper the color—steeping eggs can even be left overnight in the refrigerator. Hardboil eggs or blow them out.
Chopped and simmered fresh carrot tops create a pale yellow
We used a straightened paperclip to poke holes in an egg
Blow-out and rinse eggs thoroughly inside and out
To blow out the eggs:
Kids with the urge to decorate can:
Naturally dyed eggs sometimes splotch or dye unevenly—we had great success with beets and green tea, but our paprika-dyed egg looked marbled and our orange peel dye gave up just a tinge of color. Nonetheless, all looked beautiful in white baskets with shredded kraft paper.