How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally (Using Food Ingredients As Natural Dyes)
Learn how to dye Easter eggs naturally using food ingredients as natural, plant-based dyes. Plus unique Easter egg design ideas using foraged botanicals or store bought herbs.
When I was a little girl I would dye Easter eggs with my mother every spring. My mom would hard boil eggs and buy my brother and I an Easter egg decorating kit she’d picked up from the grocery store. We’d dye our Easter eggs a rainbow of colors and patterns. Using things like stickers,rubber bands and white crayons to create our own Easter egg designs. The one thing we never did, however, was dye our Easter eggs using natural dye.
As it turns out, it’s rather easy to learn how to dye Easter eggs naturally. You can still achieve a rainbow of colors based on the foods you choose. Or experiment with natural plant dyes such as indigo powder or turmeric. Just because you aren’t using commercial food dyes, doesn’t mean you can’t create a multitude of Easter egg designs and patterns. You can still do all the same things you did with traditional dyes. Methods such as wax resist or using stickers to create shapes work beautifully with natural Easter egg dyes too!
For the purpose of this tutorial however, I’ll teach you how to use plants, leaves and other foraged botanicals or herbs to create beautiful Easter egg designs. While also using common foods and herbs from the grocery store to create a rainbow of Easter egg colors. If you’re a soapmaker, like me, then I also encourage you to pull out your stash of all the natural dyes you’ve hoarded – er, collected – for naturally coloring cold process soap.
Ready to get your craft on? Keep reading to learn how to dye Easter eggs naturally using common vegetables and plant materials.
How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally
Choose and prepare your eggs.
When buying your eggs, you should choose white eggs for bright colors. Or give brown eggs a go for more muted tones. Once you have your eggs in hand, hard boil them prior to dyeing. Alternately, you can also blow out the eggs for decorative home decor you can use through the entirety of spring. Or keep your eggs in storage to reuse the following year.
Decide on the colors you’d like to use.
I used onion skins and red cabbage to naturally dye my Easter eggs. Yellow onion peels impart an orange hue on eggs while red cabbage will turn your eggs blue. You can also use coffee for brown colored eggs. Or try one of these other color ideas:
- Blueberries = Blue-Gray
- Red Onion Skins = Green
- Red Cabbage = Blue
- Yellow Onion Skins = Orange
- Coffee Grounds = Brown
- Paprika = Light Red-Orange
- Dill Seed = Brown-Gold
- Grape Juice = Lavender
- Violet Flowers = Green
- Lavender Flowers = Blue Green & Brown
- Beets = Light Pink
- Beet Root Powder = Red
- Spirulina Powder = Green
- Turmeric = Yellow (Beware. This will stain everything!)
- Hibiscus Tea = Black
- Spinach = Yellow-Green
Make your natural Easter egg dye.
You should follow these guidelines for the amount of plant material to use when making your natural Easter egg dye. Adjust the recipe as needed to accommodate the number of eggs you’ll be making.
- For spices and powders, use two Tablespoons per 1 1/2 cups water.
- When using dried flowers or other botanicals, use four Tablespoons per 1 1/2 cups of water.
- Combine one cup of cut fruits or vegetables with 1 1/2 cups of water.
Dye your Easter eggs.
Once you’ve prepared and measured out the plant material for your egg dye, you’ll need to combine the dye material with 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then remove from heat.
Allow the natural dye to cool. Then strain out the plant material. Add dye to a bowl or a large mason. For every cup of water left (after the process) add one Tablespoon of white distilled vinegar to the dye.
Now add your eggs to the container of dye. Leave the eggs in the dye until they’ve reached the desired color. For deeper colors, place the container of eggs in the dye in your refrigerator and leave overnight.
Once the dyeing process is complete, remove the eggs from the dye. Place on a cooling rack or paper towel to dry. Then rub with olive oil, if desired, to add shine.
How to add designs to naturally dyed Easter eggs.
Leaf & flower prints.
It’s easy to use leaves or flowers, like parsley or four leaf clovers, to create leaf or flower shaped designs on your Easter eggs. To do this, simply place the plant matter onto your egg. Then wrap the egg tightly in either pantyhose or cheesecloth to hold the leaf or flower in place. Next, simply follow the above tutorial on how to dye Easter eggs naturally. Your final eggs with come away with a beautiful design. If desired, you can go back and dye your eggs again with an alternate color.
Wax resist method.
Simply use a wax crayon or beeswax to draw a design onto your eggs. Then dye your eggs per the above instructions. (Be sure your dye is cool so as not to melt off the wax.) Once you’ve dyed and dried you naturally dyed Easter eggs, simply rub off the wax with a soft cloth.
Rubber bands are an easy way to add random stripes to your Easter eggs. Just wrap rubber bands around your eggs, then dye as usual. Once the eggs are dry, remove the rubber bands to reveal your unique Easter egg designs.