Monday, April 2, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

So I've been looking at natural dye recipes on the web and wanted to give it a try...mainly to satisfy my own curiosity. I experimented a bit and followed some actual recipes, and ended up with these four gorgeous eggs made using only two different ingredients!

I didn't want to make a special trip to the grocery store, so I just used a bunch of different ingredients that I already had at home. Frozen blueberries and turmeric made the best dyes. Other ingredients I tried that didn't work: spinach, carrots, paprika, and canned beets. 

For the yellow dye, mix 2 tablespoons turmeric, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 cups water. Add eggs and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and transfer to the refrigerator to cool.

For the purple dye, mix 2 cups frozen blueberries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil. Let mixture cool, then pour through a sieve to strain out the blueberries. Pour the blueberry dye back into a pot, add eggs, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and transfer to the refrigerator to cool. 

The gray egg was actually made using the blueberry dye. Instead of boiling the egg in the dye, I used a pre-boiled egg and let it sit in the warm (not boiling) dye for a few minutes. 

The green egg was made by mixing a little blueberry dye into the turmeric dye (after I was done making yellow eggs), and boiling eggs in the resulting mixture.

I used paprika for the brownish-orange egg. Same method as the turmeric dye, but I wasn't impressed with the result. Maybe my paprika was too old. 

The blue and purple marbled looking egg was made by soaking a hard-boiled egg in the blueberry dye (in the refrigerator) overnight. 

I actually cold-soaked an egg in all of my dyes (except green), but yellow was the only color that really worked. The dye was uneven and blotchy on the others, and rubbed off when I tried to oil them.

After dyeing the eggs, I gave them a nice shiny finish by rubbing them with a little vegetable oil. It really brought out the color on the green eggs, which were pretty but a little bit dull to begin with (see the egg on the right).

Bev at The "Make Your Own" Zone has a really great post on naturally dyeing eggs here. I'm sure I'll revisit this again in a few years when Abe's old enough to appreciate the scientific aspect of it. It really is fun seeing what colors you end up with - I mean honestly, how can purple + yellow = green! I also really want to try out the red and yellow onion skins and red cabbage - get the whole range of colors. 


  1. I've wanted to try the natural dyes for a few years now, but haven't done it yet. Maybe this will be the year! Your favorite ones were my favorites as well.

  2. Wow, those colors are fantastic. Deeper than I would have guessed they would turn out!

  3. Love these, making them now. For the brownish eggs we always just boiled them with red onion skins. It was something my Arabic grandmother always did and they turn out awesome!