Naturally Dyed Eggs

 In Art From Scrap, Art in Santa Barbara, Family Friendly

Naturally dying eggs is a fun project that utilizes materials that you probably already have at home. Many things that we consider kitchen waste hold great dye potential. I used carrot tops, beet tops, turmeric, and some coreopsis flowers to add color to my eggs. Other great dyes to try that you may have on hand are yellow onion skins, red cabbage, beet juice, black beans, avocado skins and pits, and spinach. Get creative and try things that you would otherwise throw away. There’s no need to buy synthetic dyes! One thing to keep in mind is that the nature of natural dyes are a bit more subdued. You will get beautiful colors, but they may not be as vibrant.

First step is to collect your materials. The amount of materials you need will really depend on what you have and how many eggs you want to dye. Just use what you have on hand. I used around one bunch each of carrot and beet tops, cutting them into roughly 1 inch pieces. Cutting up the dye material increases the surface area  which helps get the color out of the plant matter. I put the beets and carrots into their own pot and poured in water just until the material was almost covered. Less water to plant material will create a more concentrated dye which makes your eggs turn out brighter. Bring the dyes to just simmering and leave them on the heat, simmering for about an hour or so. Each dye is different in how long it takes to get the color out of the plant material, check the color of the water regularly. Once you are happy with the color of your dye it is helpful to strain out the plant matter and put it into a jar or container that will easily fit your eggs.

Turmeric is a bit different from other materials in that it doesn’t need to be boiled for a long time. Just bring some water to a boil in a kettle then put about 1tsp of turmeric to a cup of water. Pour the hot water into a jar with turmeric and mix until dissolved. Now the dye is ready!

Hard boil eggs before putting them into the dye. Once the eggs are boiled carefully scrub the eggs with a little bit of soap to clean the shells so they are ready for the dye. There are lots of fun ways to create patterns on the egg shells. I used rubber bands to create a fun stripe resist on my eggs. Stickers or even white crayons could also be fun things to try. Anywhere that the water won’t touch the egg shell will not get dyed and creates a pattern.

Now for the fun part!  I just plopped my eggs right into the jars full of my dyes. It takes a while for the color to really soak into the shells. I left my eggs soaking in the fridge for about an hour and a half. The longer eggs are left in the dyes, the brighter the colors will be. Just make sure that if you are leaving your eggs for a while, they are being chilled. Test out different lengths of time to see what works best for you. Layering different colors can also add to the rainbow of colors you achieve; try beet and turmeric to get a more orange color. Test things out and get creative.

Naturally dyed eggs are a great way to use things most people already have to create some fun colorful eggs. There are so many options and ways to give your kitchen scraps a second life, like this bundle dye egg technique. Plus, once I exhausted the color from the materials, they were perfect for composting. Reuse and waste-free crafts are the best way to go. Hopefully this inspires you to get creative and try something new!

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