If you’re trying to cut back on chemicals, don’t forget arts-and-crafts time! This weekend, skip the pre-packaged egg dying kit and gather some supplies from your vegetable crisper and spice rack instead.
Richly colored fruits, vegetables and spices offer an easy and chemical-free way to make your own vibrantly colored Easter egg dyes. Which foods work best? Here’s a handy list:
- Purple cabbage (blue)
- Grape juice (lavender)
- Blueberries (bluish gray)
- Spinach (light green)
- Turmeric (mustard yellow)
- Yellow onion skins (orange)
- Paprika (orange/red)
- Beets (pink)
- Coffee (brown)
General dye-making instructions:
First, hard-boil your eggs. Place them in a saucepan, fill it with enough water to cover the eggs and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Remove eggs (carefully) with tongs and allow them to cool before handling. (If you’re in a hurry, run the eggs under cool water and place them on a plate in the fridge to speed up this process.)
Next, chop, grate or crush the natural substances you’ll be using to create the colored dyes:
- For veggies, use 2 cups of uncooked, chopped pieces.
- For fruits, use 2 cups, crushed.
- For spices, use 1 teaspoon ground spice.
- For liquids/juices, use 1 cup.
To make each dye, combine the natural material (fruit, veggie, spice or juice) with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, then allow to cool completely. Strain to remove any solid material. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and stir.
Submerge your eggs in the dye mixture(s) – if you’re going for vibrant hues, the longer, the better! Your results may vary based on many different factors, but I’ve found that leaving the eggs submerged in the dye overnight results in richer colors.
You can experiment with these natural substances year-round, as they also work on fabrics and other materials. Be careful, though; some tend to stain!