Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Naturally Dyed Eggs

This was my first year to try dyeing eggs with natural materials (except we have dyed red eggs with onion skins and made one attempt with blueberries which resulted in a deep purple color).  I was very pleased with the results I achieved this year.  We used purple (red) cabbage to make blue, beets for pink and turmeric for yellow.  We took eggs which had been dyed yellow in the turmeric and put them in the blue dye for to make green.  I also dyed a few with plants attached to make a print design.  The results were truly lovely!

Here's how to make them:

First hard boil the eggs and include about 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in the water (to remove any residue that might be on the eggs).  Let the eggs cool.

For yellow dye:
Add 3 tablespoons turmeric and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 3 cups hot water.  Stir well until dissolved, then let cool.

For blue dye:
Chop one small head of purple cabbage (or half of a large head) and simmer in 3 cups of water for 25 - 30 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar while it is cooking.  Remove the cabbage and allow the dye to cool.

For pink dye:
Chop 3 beets into approximately one inch chunks.  Simmer in 3 cups of water for 25 - 30 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar while the beets are cooking.  Remove beets and let the dye cool.

For green eggs:
Dye eggs yellow, then place in the blue dye.

Place eggs in the preferred color of dye and let sit for 10 - 30 minutes depending on what color you desire.  The yellow worked the quickest.  The beets and cabbage dyes took longer to reach the desired color.  Gently stir the eggs in the dye occasionally to ensure even color.  I blotted the eggs with a paper towel after taking them out of the dye.
CAUTION:  These natural dyes will stain things other than the eggs (like your counter top!) so I recommend covering your work space with newspaper or a disposable table cloth.

For plant print designs:
Gather leaves or flowers from your yard.  I just used weeds from my yard.  The longer stems with multiple leaves look nice because you can wrap the stem around the egg.  Place the leaf or stem on the eggs then wrap with a mesh type material.  I used some mesh fabric I had on hand.  Pantyhose would probably work well too.  I secured the mesh with a rubber band.  The main objective is to keep the plant tight against the egg while still allowing the dye to get through the mesh to the rest of the egg.  Mine turned out better than I expected!

I really love the delicate earthy colors!

The blue is my favorite.  I love the color and the little heart designs.
I believe the plant I used is called 'spepherd's purse'.
It has little green heart shaped buds that later bloom out into small white flowers.

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