Dyeing Eggs with Plant Materials

Eggs Basket     Dyeing Eggs — Naturally
 Onions, coffee, chili powder  ~ a few of the ingredients to make beautiful, naturally-colored eggs

The earliest dyes came from nature: onion skins or hickory bark for yellow; madder root or brazil wood for red; walnut shells or coffee for brown; barks, berries, and leaves of other plants for varied colors.

Using natural materials to dye Easter Eggs is simply done — interesting, and rewarding with the results in comforting, muted shades of days gone by…

Materials needed:

A dyestuff (choose desired materials from recommended list below)
Cheesecloth or fine sieve
White vinegar
Hard-cooked white eggs (or emptied eggshells)
Crisco (solid) or olive oil, for shinning colored eggs
Saucepan and a glass bowl
Slotted spoon or wire egg holder
Paper towels

Prep flat work surface with an absorbent, protective layer of newspaper with 2-3 layers of dry papertowels on top.

According to the desired color, using your own judgment about quantity, place a handful — or 2 or 3 — of selected dyestuff into saucepan. Add water to cover at least an inch above the materials, about 1 cup water for each handful. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 15 minutes or up to 1 hour, until the color is the shade you desire. Keep in mind the dyed eggs will result in a lighter shade. Remove the pan from the heat.

Using cheesecloth or a fine sieve, strain the dye mixture into a small bowl deep enough to completely cover the eggs. Add 2 – 3 teaspoonfuls of white vinegar per each cup of liquid. With a spoon or wire egg holder, carefully lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Let them stand until they reach desired color. With a slotted spoon or wire egg holder, remove the eggs to a rack or drainer. Allow to dry thoroughly. Refrigerate decorated hard-cooked eggs.

Naturally-dyed eggs tend to have a duller finish than commercially-dyed eggs. For a soft sheen, after eggs have dried rub each with a small amount of Crisco (solid) or olive oil, wiping off residue.

Recommended Natural Dye Ingredients:

Fresh beets, cranberries, radishes, or frozen raspberries (pinkish red)
Yellow onion skins (orange)
Orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, celery seed, or ground cumin (delicate yellow)
Ground turmeric (yellow)
Green spinach leaves (pale green)
Yellow Delicious apple peels (green-gold)
Canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves (blue)
Strong-brewed coffee (beige to brown)
Dill seeds (brown-gold)
Chili powder (brown-orange)
Purple or red grape juice or beet juice (gray)

Naturally Dyed Eggs from the South Texas Unit of the Herb Society of America

Mary Ellen of HGTV demonstrates


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