How to Make Super-Groovy, All-Natural Easter Eggs

Easter eggs 2012(2)

With Easter approaching I thought I’d share this previous post. If you have time, you really must try this, whether you have kids or not. It’s, well, super groovy. (Oh, and you can check out last year’s batch here.)

Last year I was searching for something different than the tired old Easter egg packets with the tablets, something that would get the kids more engaged and that would use only natural dyes. I came across a very cool project, tried it with the kids, and was stunned by how well it came out. Here’s how to do it.

First, prepare your dyes. Fill a number of pots with just enough water to cover an egg, then add your dye ingredients. You have a wide variety of choices.

  • Onion skins will give you a rich rust-brown color, redder if you use a combination of yellow and red onions.
  • Red cabbage produces a blue-gray color.
  • Turmeric powder give a deep orange-yellow. Add about 4 tablespoons per pot.
  • Beets will make your eggs a light red.
  • Spinach, as you may have guessed, produces green eggs. The more spinach the darker the color.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with others – green apple peels, fruit teas, orange or lemon peels, frozen berries, etc.

Boil your ingredients in covered pots for about 30 minutes, set aside and let cool. When cool, strain into a bowl, pressing the liquid out of the solids, then return the liquid to the original, rinsed pots. Discard the solids, or better yet put them in the compost bin.

Next, take the kids outside to gather a variety of leaves and blossoms, ones small enough to fit on an egg. My favorite turned out to be grape hyacinth blossoms, but just about anything will work. The more highly defined the leaf or bloom the better – dandelions, for example, don’t work as well as daisies. forget me nots2

Once you’ve gathered a good selection, bring everything inside and lay it out. Take some old pantyhose and cut them into 4-inch strips.

Place your leaves and flowers one by one on an egg (some things stick better if you dip them in water first). Take a strip of pantyhose, place the egg on it, then pull the hose tightly, making sure everything is still in place, and secure it with a twist tie or a piece of string, trimming off excess hose. Do this for all of the eggs, letting the kids place the vegetation on while you tie up the covered eggs.

Eggs ready to go in the pots of dye

Eggs ready to go in the pots of dye

Bring your dyes to a gentle boil, and add 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar to each one. Then gently lower your eggs into whichever color you want, making sure that the dye covers the eggs completely. If not, add just enough water to do so. Boil eggs for about 30 minutes, then set aside to cool. The longer you leave them in the dyes, the deeper the colors will be, but we were pretty impatient and took them out as soon as we could handle them.

Easter eggs 2012

The finished products

Undo the ties, and let the kids slip the pantyhose, flowers, and leaves off the eggs. Each one is a mini Christmas present, and it’s incredibly cool to see how each came out. If you want the eggs to be shiny, take a paper towel with a bit of oil on it and gently rub each egg. We didn’t bother with this step.

You’re done, and now you’ve got really cool, eco-friendly Easter eggs to put on display. You’ve also taught your kids that you can do amazing projects just by going out and finding things in nature, and that not everything – in this case the dyes – has to come from the store.

39 thoughts on “How to Make Super-Groovy, All-Natural Easter Eggs

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  3. These are beautiful! I am somewhat confused, however… do you boil the eggs before you decorate them with the leaves, flowers, etc.? I couldn’t imagine decorating raw eggs, but then when I saw that you boil them in the dye solutions for 30 minutes, I thought Whoa! that is gonna be one rubbery egg, lol! Your help to un-confuse me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much…

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  5. Wow. These are SO beautiful!!! I’ve never actually dyed eggs for Easter (well, other than as a child in pre-primary… there is photo evidence but I don’t remember it) but you’ve inspired me to do it this year. My husband and I don’t have children yet but I am keen to start the tradition regardless of that fact! Thanks for sharing the method.

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  6. Great activity for kids and to learn to do things simply using what you have at home. Enough of festivals being about buying all the symbolic things. A very good example to your children.

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  9. This really is fantastic. What a unique idea. Did you find it to be very labor intensive? Thanks for including the list of what colors the various ingredients will yield.

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    • It is a bit labor intensive, but most of that is in the preparation and it’s absolutely worth it. We’re planning to do it again this year, but right now all of the leaves and blossoms we need are under several inches of new snow. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for checking us out!

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  11. We’re totally going to try this. Of course, then we’ll have a battle when it comes to throwing them out (thinks of the 4 decorated eggs hanging from the upstairs curtain rail that have been there for 5 years…) but I reckon it’ll be worth it! Thanks for the idea!

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    • It’s a great way to get the kids involved in the whole process, from making the dyes to picking the flowers to peeling them afterwards. And perhaps you could replace your 5 year-old eggs with new ones.

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  12. Do you really have to boil them 30minutes?? I get that they need to sit in the dye that long, but the eggs inside will be soo over cooked!

    This does look super pretty though, I’d love to try it.

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    • Dunno. I cooked them for around 30 minutes, but you could try a shorter time. I just ultimately make egg salad with Easter eggs, so overcooking them is not much of an issue. Try a shorter cooking time and let me know how they come out.

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  13. Wow! These eggs are beautiful. I’m tempted to try this, but we barely have the patience to keep our eggs in the colored dye cups long enough for them to be pale versions of the dye. It’s going to take some willpower, but I think we’ll try a few of these new colors. Thanks for the tip!

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    • You’re welcome! You really should give these a shot – they’re very cool and you actually avoid the whole holding-and-dipping thing that kids find tiresome. The best parts for them are collecting the leaves and blossoms and unwrapping the finished eggs. The rest is up to you.

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