Dye Eggs the Natural Way

Posted on April 10, 2017 by


Before egg dye and food coloring existed, people would paint their eggs naturally. They would use materials such as onion skins or peelings from beets and apples. Doing this naturally gives the eggs a more exotic and natural look, rather than dipping them in color or painting them with cotton swabs.

Susan Shelly wrote an article for the Reading Eagle about her grandmother, who used to do this, and she took over the tradition.

“My maternal grandmother, a self-described Pennsylvania German with some Native American added in, cut her own Christmas trees from the woods behind her house and harvested dandelion greens from her yard for salads. Each year she colored Easter eggs by boiling them with the skins from yellow onions,” Shelly said.

You cannot expect the colors to be vibrant because this is meant for the eggs to have a paler, natural look. However, if you are looking for a traditional craft, give this a try!

How to dye natural eggs: Make the dyes listed below and soak the eggs in the dyes in the refrigerator overnight.

For faint red-orange: Stir 4 tablespoons of paprika into 2 cups of boiling water. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

For bluish-gray: Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup of water. Bring to room temperature and remove blueberries from water before immersing the eggs.

For orange: Simmer the skins of six yellow onions in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

For faint green-yellow: Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples and simmer in 1 and a half cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain, and add 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

For jade green eggs: Simmer skins from 6 red onions in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar.

For yellow: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.

For rich yellow: Simmer 2 cups chopped carrot tops in 1 ½ cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and add 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

For brown: Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup of strong coffee.

For lavender: Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.

For pale pink: Mix 1 cup beet juice with 1 tablespoon white vinegar.

For dark pink: Cut 1 beet into chunks and add to 4 cups of boiling water. Stir in 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Cool to room temperature. Remove beets before immersing eggs.

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