In a Pinch? Make Your Own Easter Egg Dyes!

Even if you don’t have any food coloring aboard, let alone a kit, you can still have brightly-colored Easter eggs with this “recipe.”  From the bright red egg on the left, going clockwise, these were dyed using:

  • Extremely concentrated cherry-flavored Crystal Lite
  • Yellow onion skins (also used for the egg in the center)
  • Blueberries
  • Beet juice
  • Coffee

The Method

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to work with.  Since each egg took at least two hours in the color bath, being able to put the egg and dye in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) is helpful.  And since the best colors came from really concentrated dyes, small leakproof containers that are just big enough for one egg are very helpful.  (NOTE:  “leakproof” is critical, as all of these dyes will make a big mess if they spill!)

With all the dyes, it’s important to lift the eggs very carefully out of the dye and set them on rags or paper towels to dry.  Don’t rub them or rinse them off – you’ll remove the color!  Even after they are dry, handle them carefully as it’s easy to remove the dye.

Except for the drink-mix dye, it’s hard to get totally even color as you can see in the photo at the top of this page.  You can use crayons to draw designs or write on the eggs before dyeing them or even use a Sharpie permanent marker if you’re not planning to eat the egg.

Drink Mix

A highly-colored drink mix produced great results, with the red being outstanding.  While the red came from cherry Crystal Lite, a package of Kool-Aid (without sugar) would probably work just as well.

To make such a bright color, combine one package of powder with just one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Leave the egg in the color for about two hours.  Be VERY careful handling the wet egg, as the dye rubs off easily.

Yellow onion skins

Combine the skins from two yellow onions with one cup of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Leave the skins in as the egg soaks for about 2 hours.  Of the natural dyes, this produced the best color in the least time.

Blueberries

Mash up 1/4 cup of blueberries  really well.  Add one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  The egg will come out of the dye looking purple and dry to blue; it had to soak 4 hours to get the color pictured.

Beet juice

Use the juice from a can of beets, undiluted, with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  It took 16 hours of soaking!

Coffee

Use one cup of leftover coffee (the stronger the better) with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  You could probably get a deeper color by adding some instant coffee to make a more concentrated mix.  This color came from soaking 3 three hours.

Courtesy of TheBoatGalley.com – this is a condensed version of the full article on Easter Eggs without Food Coloring, which also contains information on those that didn’t work.

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