Ever since I was in Girl Scouts I have wanted to try natural dyes to color Easter eggs.  I can’t remember which handbook had a section about natural dyes but I distinctively remember it.  The years would come and go and I would forget to plan ahead to obtain all the materials I needed or someone would talk me out of it saying the dye kits were just easier.

An article published a couple of weeks ago in our local newspaper sent me to the internet to search for additional ideas and I immediately added the supplies to my grocery list.  I was accompanied on my shopping trip by my husband who several times asked, “Just why are you buying THIS?” when I added items to our cart.  He also was quick to point out that using a dye kit or food coloring would be considerably cheaper but I was determined not to be dissuaded!

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to my egg coloring crew:

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My Darling Son, my Daughter’s Boyfriend, and my Darling Daughter!

My daughter and her boyfriend came to visit for the holiday weekend.  Her boyfriend had previously expressed concern about egg coloring opportunities so I knew he’d be on board with my project.

Except for the yellow dye made with tumeric, the dyes were prepared using much the same process.  The ingredients were placed in a pan, covered, brought to a boil and boiled 15 minutes.  The liquid was strained off and then 2 tablespoons of vinegar were added to the dye liquid.

Orange Dye:
2 cups (or more) packed yellow onion skins
2 cups water

Brown Dye:
2 cups (or more) packed red onion skins
2 cups water

Red Dye:
3 beets, cubed
2 cups water

Blue/Purple Dye:
2 cups blueberries
2 cups water

Teal Dye:
2 cups (or more) packed red cabbage leaves
2 cups water

Green Dye:
3 cups spinach
2 cups water

Yellow Dye:
3 tablespoons tumeric
1-1/2 cups water
Bring to boil.  Remove from heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  Wipe off tumeric residue after dying eggs.

Once the dyes were prepared, my crew set to work.

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Yellow Onion Skins

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Blueberries & Tumeric

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Red Cabbage

We were very excited by the results of the first few dyed eggs!  Some of the dyes worked better than others.  Here are our reviews:

  • Yellow onion skins work great to give a nice shade of orange.
  • Red onion skins were reported to give a brick red color.  However, we found that the eggs turned out to be brown instead.
  • Eggs colored with blueberries were more purple than blue.  The bits of the fruit that didn’t strain out gave the eggs a speckled look.  We also noticed that the eggs had a nice sheen to them.
  • The red cabbage dye looked purple.  We thought we’d been misinformed because originally the eggs came out to be a light shade of purple.  After they had cooled and dried thoroughly we were suprised to discover that they did indeed turn into a teal color!
  • When the eggs came out of the beet dye they looked like they were going to be a bright shade of magenta.  As they cooled and dried they looked more red than magenta.
  • The spinach did not work at all.  I used frozen spinach but I’m now wondering if we might have had more success with fresh spinach.
  • We were warned that tumeric stains quite a bit but didn’t seeem to have a problem with that.  It did give the eggs a pretty bright yellow color.

Of course, after a while, the novelty of the natural dyes wore off and my crew wanted to get creative so I pulled out the food coloring.

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They were having so much fun, the dog was afraid he was missing something and wanted to join in!

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Naturally dyed or artificially dyed, we ended up with some spectacular eggs this year.  My daughter even commented that using the food coloring in combination with the natural dyes produced better results that if we had used the food coloring alone.

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Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

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Food coloring added to the Natural Dyes

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Creations done by my Darling Son…

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… and my Darling Daughter’s Boyfriend …

… which lead us girls to the conclusion that the boy Easter bunnies may deliver the eggs, but it’s the girl Easter bunnies that design them!

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