Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

My son had his first Easter when he was 9 months old. I loved dying Easter eggs and was excited to do it again now that I had a child to share the experience with. However, I did not want to use the Paas egg dyes, which are made with food coloring, which is poison, basically. I knew my son was going to want to mouth those eggs and would therefore be putting dye straight into his mouth. I also didn’t want to be eating food coloring, and eggs shells are porous–the dye gets through. But if the dyes were made from safe, natural substances…

So thus began the tradition of naturally dyed eggs. That first year I went solo, but in the three subsequent years my friend Cassie has joined me, and together we’ve gotten pretty good at it! This year, I’m particularly proud of our eggs.

Look at those gorgeous colors!

Close up shot of a rainbow of colors. I love when the eggs get splotchy. The one in the middle looks like a dinosaur egg, it’s so cool! (Cassie made that one.)
This is my purple before it faded to purpley grey.
They look lighter in this light.

The color intensity was pretty good this year, though there were some paler ones in the bunch. I forgot to look at my notes from last year, so I forgot how to make green until we were almost done, and I forgot to try a new idea for purple. But I’ll share all my tips with you.

RED Red onion skins make a rusty red. Boil egg with a bunch of red onion skins.

ORANGE Yellow onion skins (from “yellow” onions that actually look more orange, not sweet onions that are actually yellow) make a rusty orange. Combine with yellow turmeric for a bright orange. Boil egg in the dyed water.

YELLOW Turmeric. Boil egg in water with turmeric.

GREEN Red cabbage plus turmeric. Some of Cassie’s red cabbage eggs (which are supposed to be blue) actually turned dark green for some reason. If you add turmeric dye to the cabbage dye you should get a bright green. Soak in dyed water until desired result (a couple hours to overnight).

BLUE Red cabbage. It might be robin’s egg blue like we got this year, or a deeper blue like we got last year, or even green like we also got this year. Do NOT add vinegar to the cabbage dye, it will ruin it. Soak in dyed water until desired result.

PURPLE I got my best result three years ago with huckleberries but it doesn’t always work, so don’t waste your berries. Next year I’m going to try mixing the red dye with the blue dye. In theory, that should work.

You can try adding salt (for berries) or vinegar (for other plant matter) to improve color absorption, but sometimes it backfires. Just so you know. Also, nature is weird and doesn’t produce consistent results. Which is kind of fun, actually–every year it’s a surprise! Okay, it can be annoying, too. I’ve found the warmer colors to be really easy to get, but the cooler colors are more challenging.

Happy egg dying!

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4 thoughts on “Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

  1. Your eggs are gorgeous! I dyed eggs naturally this year. I am happy with how they turned out. I did mine a little different. First I cooked my eggs in the oven in a mini cupcake pan on 325 degrees. Then I followed the directions for all the dyes and let the eggs sit in the dyes after the eggs and the dyes cooled. We did:
    Grape juice with white vinegar= purple
    Red cabbage with white vinegar= blue
    Red onions (the whole onion) with white vinegar= brown
    Carrot tops with white vinegar= light yellow
    Orange peels with white vinegar= light orange
    I will have to try what you did so our colors turn out brighter! The kids love the eggs and liked watching them turn colors.
    I liked the fact that they could pick up the eggs while they were in the dye and not have to worry about the dye hurting them. πŸ™‚

    1. Awesome Kristie!

      I did mine a little different this year, too. I boiled them all beforehand and then soaked them. I only put vinegar in some of them. There is definitely a learning curve with natural dyes! How did your purple turn out?? I used garden huckleberries from our garden that I had frozen and it worked really well–best purple I have gotten since my first year doing this.

      I love how safe the dyes are, too! Some of my eggs cracked and totally got dyed on the inside but they were still safe to eat! Love it.

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