nav-left cat-right
cat-right

Homemade Easter Egg Dye

Homemade Easter Egg Dye

I’m a geek at heart and this project involves 3 of my favorite things: playing with food, a natural alternative to a commercial product and a fun science experiment!  I used beets, red cabbage and turmeric to make red, blue and yellow dye.  Then I combined these dyes in different proportions to also make green, orange and purple.  Your kids (and/or your inner kid) will feel cool making their own dye and the eggs turn out really beautiful!  So bag the store bought dyes this year, release your inner geek and teach your kiddos to make the most unique Easter eggs on the block!

Homemade Easter Egg Dye – Yields enough to dye 12+ eggs

Making the dye:

IMG_2614

Red Dye

  • Ingredients: 2-3 raw beets, 6 cups water, 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • Directions:
    • Roughly chop the beets into 1-2 inch cubes.
    • Place the beets, water and vinegar into a pot and bring to a boil.
    • Once it boils reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.  At this point the liquid should have reduced down to about 2/3rds the original volume.
    • Then strain the dye and let it cool until it’s cool enough to handle.

 

IMG_2616Blue Dye

  • Ingredients: 1 small head red cabbage, 6 cups water, 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • Directions:
    • Roughly chop the cabbage into chunks.
    • Place the cabbage, water and vinegar into a pot and bring to a boil.
    • Once it boils reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.  At this point the liquid should have reduced to roughly 2/3rds its original volume.
    • Then strain the dye and let it cool until it’s cool enough to handle.

 

IMG_2613

 

Yellow Dye

  • Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons turmeric, 4 cups water, 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • Directions:
    • Place turmeric, water and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil.
    • Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and stir until the turmeric dissolves, about 2 minutes.
    • Then remove from heat and let it cool until it’s cool enough to handle.

 

IMG_2612Orange Dye

  • Ingredients: Red (beet) dye and Yellow (turmeric) dye
  • Directions: Mix red and yellow dye together to create various shades of orange
  • Note: The color of this dye is misleading – I used roughly half red and half yellow and the resulting liquid looked really reddish.  However the egg itself turned out practically yellow and in retrospect I wish I had used more red.

 

 

IMG_2621Green Dye

  • Ingredients: Blue (cabbage) dye and Yellow (turmeric) dye
  • Directions: Mix blue and yellow dye to create various shades of green
  • Note: When I mixed these colors together the resulting liquid was a nasty brown color and I almost dumped it out.  If this happens to you, don’t fear!  The dye looks gross but the eggs somehow turn a really pretty shade of green.

 

 

IMG_2611Purple Dye

  • Ingredients: Red (beet) dye and Blue (cabbage) dye
  • Directions: Mix red and blue dye to create various shades of purple
  • Note: This dye looked overly pink but the eggs themselves turned out almost entirely blue.  To get a true purple I’d recommend using slightly more red than blue dye.

 

 

 

Dying the eggs:

  • Place your dyes into smallish containers.  They need to be large enough to fit the egg(s) but small enough to fully submerge them in dye.  I used half pint mason jars with a single egg in each so I could play around with different color combinations.   Small bowls or tupperware containers would also work.  Lids are helpful but not necessary.
  • Place hardboiled eggs in the dye making sure they’re fully submerged.  Then put the containers in the fridge and let them soak until they’re nice and colorful.  Natural dyes take a while to set.  You can get pale colors in about an hour.  I wanted bold colors so I let my eggs soak overnight.
  • Remove the eggs from the dye and let them air dry.  I put them back in the egg carton for this step.
  • Optional: When your eggs are dry, rub them with a tiny drop of olive or vegetable oil to make them shine!

Notes:

  • Ratios: I didn’t give specific dye ratios for the green, orange and purple dyes because this will depend on the intensity of your primary dyes and on your personal preference.  I started out with 50/50 mixtures and then played around with different ratios.  In my experience the blue dye was the strongest and the red was the weakest so keep this in mind when mixing colors.
  • Turmeric: I had a hard time keeping the turmeric in solution – much of it settled on the bottom of the containers.  Despite this the eggs still turned out well so don’t worry if it happens to you.  Also you can find turmeric in the spice aisle of a normal grocery store but it’ll cost a few bucks for a small container.  If you have ethnic grocers nearby they sell it for much cheaper.  Middle eastern and Indian grocers typically carry it – I got a large bag for just $2 and have a ton left over for cooking (it’s super healthy and adds great color to your dishes).
  • Red dye: My red eggs came out a bold mauve then turned to more of a clay color.  They were also more speckled than my other eggs, not sure why!
  • Fun fact: Vinegar is used in egg dye to rough up the eggshell a bit.  This helps bind the dye to the shell and results in bolder colors.   Plus it wouldn’t smell like Easter without it!

One Response to “Homemade Easter Egg Dye”

  1. Sally Raderer says:

    Welcome back, Young Mother Hubbard. Thanks for the egg dye ideas.

Leave a Reply to Sally Raderer Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>