Natural Easter Egg Dyes in Mason Jars
We were looking for another way to celebrate Easter in a lovely and natural way. Here’s what we found. Enjoy!
From Tim and Mary. A pair of creatives with really interesting ideas and a great story.
One of our favorite traditions this time of year is decorating Easter eggs. As children, we’d buy the brightly colored cardboard dye kits, but later in life we learned it’s just as easy and magical (not to mention budget-friendly and more sustainable) to use completely natural dyes with ingredients found already in your kitchen, pantry and garden. Plus, natural dyeing agents are a great way to use up food almost at it’s prime and those spices you always seem to have too much of in the cupboard.
This past Saturday afternoon we rolled up our sleeves and had fun experimenting with the following natural ingredients to make dyes from: coffee, beets, blueberries, turmeric and paprika.
We’ve experimented with dyeing eggs naturally before, using the standard method of simmering ingredients on the stovetop with vinegar, mashing and pouring through a fine sieve in order to get the concentrated dyes. This year, Tim came up with a new and simpler method for dyeing the eggs that plays off the same key concept of combining the base ingredient with vinegar and boiling water, but with significantly less mess, kitchen tools and cleanup (all big wins in our book!).
All you will need is hard boiled eggs, natural ingredients for the dye (vegetables, fruits and spices), distilled white vinegar, a tea kettle with boiling water and enough mason jars to pair with each individual dye ingredient. Cook eggs by covering with one inch of cold water in a pot. Bring water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allowing the eggs to sit for another 10 minutes in the water, then rinse with cold water and they’re ready to use!
While eggs are boiling, prepare jars for dyeing by combining the natural base ingredient with a healthy tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in the bottom of the jar. The vinegar helps the dye adhere, bringing out the brightest shades on the eggshells.
Spices like turmeric and paprika can be added in their powder form, coffee in it’s brewed liquid form, and raw food ingredients like beets and blueberries can be juiced into liquids or mashed with a muddler right in the bottom of the jar with the vinegar.
Once eggs have boiled, drain and drop into individual jars using a spoon so they don’t crack. The jelly jars we used were the perfect size to contain a single egg; if you’re dyeing a large batch of eggs, you can get the same results by adding multiple eggs into larger jars. Pour boiling water from a tea kettle into each individual jar.
Give the mixture a gentle stir with a spoon if needed and let eggs sit to dye.
The longer you leave the eggs in each mixture, the more concentrated the color will become. We left our eggs in the dye about one hour.
This is where you can get creative and achieve many different shades with minimal ingredients by leaving some in for longer or shorter periods of time.
If you have just a single dye color, you could create a completely ombre effect to your collection of eggs by incrementally timing the dyeing period.
We just love the rich, rustic shades that can come from using natural dyeing agents. The blueberry dye ended up as a beautiful slate grey, the coffee stained a rich brown, the turmeric and paprika developed into speckled hues of bright yellows and orange, and possibly the most dramatic of all were the bright pink and muted red shades the beet dye produced.
Additional natural dyeing agents you could try include leafy greens, berries, tea, onion skins, cabbage leaves, fruit peels, bright vegetables like carrots and more.
Once the eggs are dyed, there are endless options for decorating. We chose to make a rustic Easter tablescape, pairing the eggs with little nests and spanish moss we’d picked up in the floral section at our local craft store:
Each nested egg went onto a plated napkin to create individual spring themed place settings. They add a little color to each seat and the best part is, the eggs are edible — so they double for festive decor and a fun little brunch starter.
Which dye mixtures will you be trying this year?
Eggstroadinary don’y you think? =)