Herbal Interests // Herb Dyed Easter Eggs
I was a little hesitant to post this tutorial because I know so many others will be blogging about the same thing. There are so many other wonderful DIY naturally dyed easter eggs out there, as well as adorably creative ones that are wrapped in nylon and printed with flowers or herbs. So cute! So, while I gathered supplies for dying eggs just like I had done last year, I tried to really find out why I couldn't get mine to work and look like the pictures. It was frustrating!
Last year, I made two attempts at dying eggs, the first time pickling mine. It was disgusting! Haha! I had stirred in the vinegar while the water was still hot, adding the hot eggs soon after. After letting them sit in the fridge, cooking, when we pulled the eggs out in the morning the shells had completely dissolved or softened or whatever they did resulting in pickled eggs. Seriously, so gross. It took another go around to get the eggs to dye without softening the shell, and those turned out pretty decent. But I hated that the color was this soft, easily rubbed off, coating. Because of that, I think I figured out how to fix it and get some pretty eggs that aren't messy on your fingers or easily ruined, but they also aren't incredibly bright colored. As I was working on them this morning, I was a little disappointed that their colors were dull and subtle. But then I remembered, they aren't supposed to be like chemically dyed eggs. The colors are just not going to be the same, and this subtlety is actually quite beautiful. They look natural, and that's the entire point! The colors began to grow on me, and I hope you like them, too.
- brown eggs (white will result in brighter colors!) ; I used about 2 dozen
- herbs and vegetables (red cabbage, red onion, fresh parsley, beets, turmeric, hibiscus, chamomile, spinach)
- carrier oil, like grapeseed or coconut
- Hard boil your eggs. I used about two dozen and made two batches of eggs. If you don't know how to hard boil eggs, here's how:
- In a large pot, cover the eggs with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover the eggs and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes and leave the eggs covered. After 10 minutes, run the eggs under cold water in a strainer for 1 minute.
- While the eggs are boiling, boil your herbs and/or veggies. I used all of the vegetables listed above. There are many other options you can try. You can see which vegetables/herbs result in which colors below. Boil the vegetables for 15-30 minutes, covered partially, until the desired color is reached. Here's the thing you'll want to remember: measure the amount of water you use. When you add the vinegar, you'll need to have an exact measurement. Use about 1 cup of water per 1 cup of vegetable matter to get a really concentrated color.
- Red Cabbage - Blue
- Red Onion - Maroon
- Beets - Pink
- Parsley - Green/Yellow
- Spinach - Green (did not work well for me!)
- Hibiscus - Dark Green
- Turmeric + Chamomile - Yellow
- Strain your dye matter into mason jars. Let it arrive to room temperature, about 20 minutes, along with the eggs. Once the dye has cooled, stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar + 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 cup of dye liquid. Mix until dissolved.
- Carefully set the eggs in the dye, making sure they're covered. I did have a few eggs that had parts sticking out of the dye. The egg pictured above was soaked in red cabbage dye, and you can see the color difference, which is really fun! .
- Let the eggs soak overnight in the refrigerator. If you're using white eggs, the colors will begin to show up a lot faster, and you can experiment with the times that they soak. The important thing to remember is to put them in the fridge. This is what really makes the dye set! I let them sit on the counter for about 2 hours before putting them in the fridge and found the color did not set at all.
- Once the eggs are a color you are satisfied with, pull them out of the dye carefully, and dry them with a gentle hand. I used an old cheesecloth, but paper towels work, too. With your hands, cover them with a carrier oil like grapeseed oil. Carefully polish them with your cloth to rub off the soft dye layer. There will be a subtle dyed color underneath that should not move.
- Once they are polished, let them rest in the fridge until it's time to decorate, egg hunt, or eat!
Now that our eggs are finished and dyed, I actually really love them! They have so many unique discolorations and speckles to them. I was afraid going in with only brown eggs because white eggs definitely dye much brighter, but I think they suit our decor just perfectly! However you celebrate Easter, these eggs make such a fun, natural decor piece; I would even try blowing the eggs next time so that they last longer out of the fridge. I don't know if I would recommend this activity for young children to enjoy. These take so long to make, you don't get those quick results like you do with dyes from the store. Still, it was fun for me, and I know I'll love the photos of these pretty eggs for a long time. It's the thought of this new season that gets me excited about using plants to dye things.