Longer days are here again and Rowan County citizens are dreaming of blooming flowers, sun kissed skin and the lazy days of summer. Spring signifies a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Then sounds of chirping birds and neighbors cutting their grass fills the air and kids across the county are lacing up their soccer cleats and returning to the field. Spring is also a time to enjoy some arts and crafts using the many natural materials at our fingertips. With Easter right around the corner, I thought I would share one of my favorite traditions. Dyeing Easter eggs! I know, I know, you buy the dye from the store along with the little cardboard drying rack and Voila! But that’s not how we like to do things at our house. Why go out and buy all that dye when you can be an original and make your own? Today I am going to show you how to take regular white eggs and decorate them using all-natural materials.
How to Get Started
To get started, you will need yellow onion skins, beets and red cabbage. You could also use frozen blueberries, turmeric or coffee, to name just a few. For my purposes today, I am going to go one step further and add some designs to my eggs using flowers and leaves from around my yard! If you want to do this, you will need to clip a few flowers or interesting leaves and you will need an old pair of pantyhose or very thin socks. The first thing we are going to do is cut our pantyhose into small segments around four inches in length; this could vary based on the size of your eggs. Always go big if you are unsure and then you can cut off the additional fabric once you have tied it securely.
Next, we will press our clipping onto our eggs very gently and then secure with the pantyhose.
At this point we can move on to making our dyes. For this project I have nine eggs and will be dying them in groups of three. We start by placing three of our eggs into a small quart size pot and cover with water. Next, I am going to add the skins of three yellow onions. Bring this mixture to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for around 15 minutes. Turn off your burner and add a teaspoon of vinegar to your dye. Allow the eggs to sit for a minimum of three to five hours to allow the dye to stick. For the most saturated colors, leave the eggs in the dye overnight.
Repeat this process with all of your dyes. The onion skins will create a rich caramel color. To get a sandy brown, you will use one large beet that has been roughly sliced. Turmeric gives you a mustard-y yellow, and to get a blue color, you will use half a red cabbage that has been roughly sliced. Once we are ready to remove the eggs from the dye and have allowed them to cool, it is time to cut away the pantyhose and remove our flowers. Use a paper towel or your fingers to clean away any debris. To give your eggs a glossy look, apply a small dab of any regular cooking oil, like Canola oil and use it to shine your eggs. Use a paper towel to remove any excess. These beautiful eggs not only look beautiful, but they’re edible and safe to consume.
Just Follow the White Rabbit
To me, the coolest part of this project is that it incorporates art, math, and science in a way that is fun for the whole family. In fact, my oldest child won third place in his school Science Fair by creating his own variation of this project where he tried using his homemade dyes to color papers, fabrics, live flowers and other materials!
More opportunities to dye eggs can be found at the Colonial Spring Frolic which takes place every year at the Old Stone House, located at 770 Stone House Road in Salisbury. The Colonial Spring Frolic will be held this year on April 4, 2020 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Note: This date may change due to the canceling of other events because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
If egg dying isn’t really your thing, check out the crafts station at Ring in the Spring, held in Salisbury’s Gateway Park while you visit with the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.