By Erin Huffstetler | 03/14/2018 | 3 Comments
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If you’ve never dyed Easter eggs naturally, you have to try it at least once. It’s great fun for kids, and you’ll end up with the most amazing colors. Here’s how to use foods like cabbage, beets and onion skins to create your own egg dyes.
How to Make Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Red cabbage, chopped
Red onion skins
Yellow onion skins
Use all of these ingredients to create a rainbow of colors, or choose your favorite colors from the chart below, and just whip up the dye for those.
Natural Egg Dye Color Cheatsheet
Yellow – soak a white egg in tumeric for three hours
Gold – soak a brown egg in tumeric for three hours, or a white or brown egg in tumeric overnight
Pale blue – soak a white egg in cabbage for three hours
Grey – soak a brown egg in cabbage for three hours
Bright blue – soak a white egg in cabbage overnight
Teale– soak a brown egg in cabbage overnight
Orange – soak a white egg in onion skins for three hours
Burnt orange – soak a brown egg in onion skins for three hours, or a white or brown egg in onion skins overnight
Light brown – soak a white egg in coffee for three hours
Dark brown – soak a white or brown egg in coffee overnight
Pink – soak a white egg in beets for three hours
Bright pink – soak a white or brown egg in beets overnight
Reddish brown – soak a white or brown egg in red onion skins
What You Do:
To make dye from beets, cabbage or onion skins …
Place the prepared ingredient in a large pot, and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer; cover; and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until you’re satisfied with the color. Your eggs will usually turn out a couple shades lighter than the dye bath.
I used three beets, a quarter of a cabbage and the peel of four onions to make my dyes. This gave me around four cups of each dye color. Adjust your quantities up or down to make as much or as little as you’d like.
To make dye from tumeric …
Decide how many cups of dye you want to make, and place that amount of water in a large pot. Add one tablespoon of tumeric per cup of water. Heat as described above.
To make dye from coffee …
Simply brew a strong pot of coffee.
When your dyes are done, strain out the solids. Then, add one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of dye. This will help to set the colors.
Allow the dyes to cool. Then, start dipping eggs.
Since it takes longer to get vibrant colors from natural dyes, I recommend storing them in the fridge while they soak. This will ensure that they’ll be safe to eat later.
Here are the eggs that we soaked for three hours. Those are white eggs on the left and brown eggs on the right. I love the color variations that you get by using both.
And here are the eggs that we soaked overnight. Truth be told, these were actually soaked overnight and all the next day. That’s what happens when you get busy. Unfortunately, I don’t have samples of eggs that were soaked in red onion skins overnight. Somehow we missed those.
Don’t be surprised if your colors turn out a bit different than mine. The unpredictable nature of natural dyes is part of what makes them so fun.
Wrap some of your eggs with bits of lace or wild flowers before you dip them in the dye to create fun patterns.
Just lay a rectangle of pantyhose down on your work surface. Place your lace or flowers on top of it. Then, gather the whole thing around an egg, and secure it with a bit of string. Eggs that are dyed this way end up having a sun print look.
- Red cabbage, chopped (for blues and greens)
- Beets, chopped (for pinks)
- Tumeric (for yellows and golds)
- Coffee (for browns)
- Red onion skins (for reddish browns)
- Yellow onion skins (for oranges)
- White vinegar
For Beet, Cabbage or Onion Dye
Place prepared ingredient in bottom of large pot. Cover with one inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then, cover; reduce to a simmer; and cook for 30 minutes, or until you’re happy with the color.
For Tumeric Dye
Decide how much dye you want to make. Add that many cups of water to a pot. Then, add one tablespoon of tumeric per cup. Heat the same way as above.
For Coffee Dye
Brew a pot of strong coffee.
Before You Use Your Natural Dyes
Strain out the solids. Then, add one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of dye to set the color. Allow the dyes to cool, before you use them.
Experiment with dying white and brown eggs. Soak for three hours to achieve lighter colors; overnight for brighter colors.
Three beets, a quarter of a cabbage or the peel of four onions will give you around four cups of dye.
Another Way to Dye Easter Eggs