These are simple but effective methods for dyeing eggs using alternative natural materials as dyes. Natural egg dyes are fun to experiment with and non-toxic.
It’s best to begin by making sure that the outsides of the eggs are thoroughly clean prior to attempting to color them so that the dye adheres properly. As opposed to many other dyeing methods, you start here with raw eggs as they will be boiled as part of the dyeing process.
Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Fill a plastic sandwich baggie with one of the following materials: some type of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries are all possibilities), a dark leafy vegetable like spinach, or tea bags; a little bit of water, and the egg.
Close the baggie tightly using a twist tie, rubber band, or some string. Place the baggie in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, but leave the egg in the pot until cool.
Place a piece of cloth (or even a piece cut from a nylon stocking) on a table and layer pieces of onion skin on top of it. You want quite a few layers in order to get a good color. Different types of onions will yield different color results.
Put the egg on top of the onion skins and top with more skins. Wrap the cloth around the egg and secure with several rubber bands to hold the cloth securely against the egg.
Put the wrapped egg in a pot of boiling water and boil for a minimum of 15 minutes – you might want to check it after this time to see if it has achieved a color that you desire; if not, put back in for up to another 15 minutes. Allow the egg to cool off and dry before handling.
Cold Dye Method
Some people like to use these dyes, especially with children involved, without having to boil them. It is possible to hard boil the eggs first and then dye the eggs using natural dyes in cold water.
Unfortunately, the dyes don’t usually turn out as intense. Adding vinegar to the water/dye mixture can help the dye to “take” and set better but it can still be tricky to achieve really vibrant results without boiling the dye.
Ideas for Natural Dyes
When I did some research, I found the following suggestions for more ideas to use as egg dyes: grape or pomegranate juice, beets, violet blossoms, red cabbage leaves (best done with boiling method), orange or lemon peels (best done with the boiling method), coffee, carrot tops or yellow delicious apple peels (both best done with boiling method), spices such as mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, dill seed (all of the spices work best with the boiling method), or black walnut shells (must be done with boiling method).
Make Them Shine!
When I was a kid, once our eggs had been dyed and they were completely dry, we rubbed them with butter. This gives such a nice sheen to them. Rub the butter on and the buff them using a paper towel. It helps absorb some of the excess grease too. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
I have recently heard of using shortening or cooking oil in place of the butter as well.