OK, so the kids noticed on the calendar that Easter is approaching and they want to make a huge production of dying eggs. In the past, the little stickers you bought at the store sufficed, but now they want the real thing. Here are some old standards with a few new ideas for you.
One important note: When the kids get really excited about egg dying, don't feel sorry for them and pour the leftover egg dye in their bath water so they can have more fun (no matter how much they beg and plead – especially if it's food coloring). Someone might panic and declare a citywide medical quarantine if they see your kids dyed all sorts of strange colors in their Easter finery.
Before you decorate Easter eggs, cover the entire table with newspaper. Keep a huge roll of paper towels or rags handy for messes. Have each kid wear one of dad's old (now disposable) T-shirts.
Making Easter Egg Stands
Cut toilet paper roll cores into 1-inch cylinders and use for egg stands. Decorate with stickers or paint.
Decorating Eggs: The Traditional Method
- Hard boil eggs.
- Fill several mugs with boiling water and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vinegar.
- Place a few drops of desired food coloring in each mug.
- Place eggs in mugs for several minutes until eggs reach desired shades.
- Remove with a spoon. Place on paper towel to dry.
- When dry, polish with a small amount of shortening on a paper towel. Buff until glossy.
- You can draw or write on the eggs with a light-colored or white crayon before dipping. The drawing will remain white after the egg is dipped.
Note: To clean mugs, put a little bleach water in the cups and soak for a few minutes.
Natural Easter Egg Dyes
If you would like to try dying eggs naturally, try the following:
Yellow – yellow onion skins, turmeric (1/2 teaspoon per cup water), celery leaves
Orange – any yellow dye plus beet juice
Red – beets, paprika, red onion skins
Pink – cranberry juice
Blue – blackberries, grape juice concentrate, red cabbage
Brown – black tea, white oak, juniper berry, coffee, barberry
Light purple – blackberries, grapes, violets
Green – alfalfa, spinach, kale, violet blossom plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, tansy, nettle, chervil, sorrel, parsley, carrot tops, beet tops or dip yellow egg in blue dye
Hard boil eggs with 1 teaspoon vinegar in the water. Place dying ingredients in non-aluminum pans, cover with water and boil five minutes to one hour or until desired color is achieved. Use enough material to make at least 1 cup dye. Crush ingredients as they boil to extract as much dye as possible. Strain the dye. Most dyes should be used hot. Let each egg sit in the dye until it reaches the desired color. Some dyes will take longer than others to make the desired color on the egg. Remove the egg and let dry.
Place 1 tablespoon each of glue and water in a cup. Stir the mixture and then paint the eggs with it. Sprinkle with glitter. This can also add sparkle to already dyed eggs!
Crepe Paper Eggs
Wet a white or dyed egg. Dab torn pieces of colored tissue paper or pieces of pretty colored napkins on the eggs. When the paper dries, the paper falls off and leaves the color behind on the egg.
Tear small pieces of wrapping paper, napkins, stickers or clip art. Mix equal amounts of glue and water. Paint egg with glue mixture. Place paper on top and then cover with more glue mixture. Let dry.
Place 1 teaspooon of cooking oil in dye. Dip the egg. The oil will cause the dye to make an irregular pattern on the egg.
Dip a portion of the eggs in melted paraffin or candle wax. Then dip them in the dye. Remove from dye. Dry and peel off the wax. The egg will be white on one half and colored on the other half. You can also dip in dye before waxing to get two colors.
Poke a hole in one end of an egg with a very small needle. Poke another slightly larger hole in the other end. Then blow on the small end and the egg will come out the other side. Decorate as desired.