After posting some pictures on Instagram of our adventures in naturally dyeing easter eggs a few of you asked for details on how we did it. I did not in anyway come up with this, and a quick google search will come up with tonnes of options, and ideas! But here is what we did:
** As a safety precaution: I did all of the boiling hot dye stuff. It wasn't until the dyes had cooled down and I put them in jars that my boys (aged 4&6) really did anything. I trust you all know your own kids, and can determine how well they will do with boiling hot liquids**
First we made our dye baths:
For every dye, mix the following in a pot on the stove. (one pot for each DIFFERENT colour/item):
1.5 litres of water
3 Tbls white vinegar
I am not very specific when it comes to how much dye stuff I use for each colour, I pretty much eye-ball it, but here is a bit of a guideline.
1/2 head of red cabbage chopped up - 3 cups (blue)
3 beets chopped (red/pink)
4 Tbls turmeric (yellow)
onion skins from 5 onions (just the papery skin parts) (brown)
1 cup coffee ground (brown)
Turn the stove to medium-high heat and bring items to a boil then simmer. Allow dyes to simmer for at least 20 minutes before dyeing eggs.
You are ready to dye! With my kids we like to dye hard boiled eggs - I find they last longer in our house! You do not need to boil them ahead of time, as they will cook in the dye bath.
Place eggs in the dye of your choice and simmer for at least 20 minutes, the longer they stay in the dye bath the darker the colour.
Once eggs have boiled for a minimum of 20 minutes strain food from the dye pots and pour dyes into glass jars or bowls - my favourite are the wide mouth mason jars because little hands have an easier time manoeuvring spoons in and out!
Mix and Match colours and explore your own combinations. Here are some of our favourites.
Gold - Turmeric dye bath for 30 minutes.
Rust - onion skin dye bath for 20 minutes
Dark Blue - Cabbage dye bath for 30 minutes then soak overnight
Chartreuse - turmeric dye bath for 30 min then cabbage bath for 5 minutes
light pink - beets dye bath for 20 minutes
copper - coffee dye bath for 30 min then soak in turmeric for 10
There are so many options, and the longer you keep eggs in the dye baths the richer the colours!