It’s the time of year when we love to decorate eggs. The bright colors of those store-bought Easter egg dye kits are pretty to look at, but may be packed with unnatural colorants. If you're looking for a more natural option, here’s an easy recipe for a natural egg dye that is free from any synthetic colors and totally safe to eat!
Best of all, it is a perfect project for you and the kids to do together!
One thing to remember, there is no real wrong way to dye the eggs. As long as you have the salt and the vinegar, you can pick and choose the color you want based on the available materials.
- Yellow onion skins are good for making an orange-ochre color.
- Tumeric makes for a beautiful golden yellow.
- Purple onions, purple cabbage and blueberries can make anywhere from rich purple to blue and even turquoise eggs.
- Try beets for a reddish, light pink hue.
Use your imagination! To keep things simple, we're going to stick with yellow onions (with a touch of Tumeric ) for this how-to.
What you Need
NOTE: Whole, raw eggs are easier to work with, but this technique can also be used on hollowed out egg shells to make cascarones.
- 3 pounds of yellow onion skins
- 1 Cup white vinegar
- ½ Cup salt
- Measuring cup
- Large sauce pan
- Stove or heat source
- Rubber bands
- Pair of pantyhose
- Oil (coconut, olive, doesn’t matter what kind)
- Clippings from leaves, plants or flowers for decoration of eggs
Prepping the Eggs
- Cut pantyhose into approximately 2-inch strips starting at the toes. (You will use these to encase the eggs, by tying the ends together with a rubber band.)
- Pour about 2 Tablespoons of oil into a small dish.
- Dip the botanical plant clippings in the oil. Remove excess oil and position the clippings on the egg in a decorative pattern. The oil will keep the dye from adhering to the egg, so be careful not to add too much!
TIP: We got creative and used Nori (seaweed) to cut out shapes like hearts and stars, dipped the shape in the oil and applied it to the eggs. This is a great way to get a bit more creative with the patterns on the eggs.
- Use the pantyhose to cover the egg and hold the clippings in place. Secure each end with rubber bands. Make sure the pantyhose fits snugly on the egg.
- Do this to all the eggs you want to decorate.
- Set eggs aside while you prep the dye.
Making the Natural Dye
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add in ½ Cup of salt & 1 Cup of white vinegar.
- NATURAL DYE COLOR: The onion skins provided the color for these eggs. NOTE: If you use brown eggs, the coloring will not be as intense.
- Let this mixture come to a boil for about 20 minutes. You want to steep as much color as possible out of the onion skins or other botanical material.
Coloring the Eggs
- Lower the heat of your dye mixture and add in the eggs.
TIMING: If you are using whole raw eggs, let them boil/simmer in the hot dye mixture for at least 15 minutes, or take out whenever the color is to your liking.
You may also strain the dye mixture into small dishes, deep enough to completely submerge the eggs. This works well for the hollowed-out egg shells are eggs that are already hard boiled.
- Strain eggs out of the dye and let cool.
TIP: Dry eggs on a wire baking rack or gently place in an empty egg carton.
- Once cool to the touch, rinse eggs under cool running water. Remove the pantyhose and any remaining plant clippings.
We hope you enjoy this natural way to color your Easter eggs. If you do it at home, send us some photos and we will feature them on our social media channels.