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How to Color Easter Eggs Naturally, with Items from Your Pantry or Fridge

Updated on October 27, 2015
How to naturally dye Easter Eggs instead of using commercial dyes.
How to naturally dye Easter Eggs instead of using commercial dyes. | Source

Easter is often celebrated with the decorating or coloring of hard-boiled chicken eggs. Commercial dyes are sold for this purpose and may be used by mixing water, vinegar and a dye tablet and then submerging the egg in the dye solution. These egg-dyeing kits can be found in most discount stores or supermarkets around Easter time, and are marketed to children with all kinds of features. Kits include stickers, or shrink-wraps or other additives seemingly intended to increase creativity but which really do the work for you.

So this year, why not be really creative and work with natural dyes? The eggs in the image above were dyed using natural colors from items that should be in your fridge or pantry already. While you likely won't produce the same pastel colors that are commonly seen at Easter, vibrant, beautiful natural colors are possible using everyday food items you should have at home.

Some of the colors might surprise you!

Onion peels are one way of coloring Easter eggs, and spices may also be used to produce excellent color results!
Onion peels are one way of coloring Easter eggs, and spices may also be used to produce excellent color results! | Source

Color Easter Eggs with Things from Your Pantry!

It may be less expensive to purchase commercial dyes for your eggs, but you will get better results with natural dyes. The colors you produce will be more vibrant and less "pastel" than what we traditionally associate with Easter, but go on and be a rebel! Natural colorings produce amazing results and you can be very creative in your effects by using etching techniques with your dye.

Common coloring techniques involve such things as coffee, onions, and spices that you should have on hand. In many cases, the items used for coloring are a by-product of another food item which can be consumed either before or after using the dye. For example, onion peels are removed before the onions are eaten, and then used to dye your Easter eggs.

Naturally-dyed Easter eggs with leaf patterns.
Naturally-dyed Easter eggs with leaf patterns. | Source

How do you prefer to dye your Easter eggs?

See results

Why Do We Color Eggs for Easter?

There's some controversy over the origins of Easter and whether it comes from Heathen pagan traditions or whether this is purely a Christian holiday. When it comes to Easter eggs, however, there can be very little doubt about their symbolism: They are a sign of fertility and representative of the new beginnings that come with Spring. Eggs are often used in pagan rituals and spell work to draw fertility to those hoping to become pregnant or for anyone hoping for a plentiful harvest. In paganism, eggs may be an offering to a particular deity in the hopes of gaining favor and a fertile Spring.

The Goddess Ostara (Eostre) is celebrated in the Spring with the Vernal Equinox on or around March 21st every year. This is one of the reasons that we color eggs and have egg hunts at Easter time.

Naturally-dyed Easter eggs, combined with brown eggs with stickers, are adorable for Easter.
Naturally-dyed Easter eggs, combined with brown eggs with stickers, are adorable for Easter. | Source
Eggs can be dyed using onion skins wrapped around the eggs before they are boiled.
Eggs can be dyed using onion skins wrapped around the eggs before they are boiled. | Source

Effects on Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

You'll notice that most of the eggs on this page have some kind of "effect" on them. This happens in a number of ways, and many of these eggs are different from one another. You have several options for putting effects on your eggs, including wax etching, wrapping your eggs with twine before dyeing them, or pasting leaves or other natural patterns to your eggs before dyeing them (use a natural paste, such as flour mixed with water) and then peeling them off afterward.

The eggs shown to the right were produced using onion skins and then boiling the eggs while wrapped in the skins. Their creator put grains of (uncooked) rice between the skin and the eggshell before boiling to produce this effect.

Get creative!

Natural Easter Egg Dye Color Chart

Item
Color Produced
Quantity
Brewed Coffee
Brown
1 Quart Brewed
Blueberries
Lavender
3-4 Cups Berries
Onion Skins
Light Golden Brown
Varied by Method
Beet Juice
Deep Pink
1/4 - 1/2 Quart
Cranberry Juice
Light Pink
1 Quart
Paprika
Brick Red
3-4 tbsp
Tumeric
Yellow-Green
3-4 tbsp
Grape Juice
Slate Blue
1/2 Quart
Red Cabbage
Pale Blue
4-5 Cups, Chopped
Spinach
Light Green
3-4 Cups
Red Wine
Deep Purple
1 Quart
All quantities consider a final 1 quart quantity once water has been added. Amounts showing 1 quart indicate that this item is not mixed before coloring.
Preparing natural Easter egg dyes is relatively easy, using your stove, water, and various pots.
Preparing natural Easter egg dyes is relatively easy, using your stove, water, and various pots. | Source

Some dyes may need to rest overnight in order to reach the point they will color your eggs. This is the case with the red cabbage. Let it sit!

Preparing Your Dyes

The dyes you'll be using must be prepared before they will color your eggs. In most cases, the instructions below should produce your dye. You may need to let your dye rest overnight (as is the case with red cabbage).

  1. Place your dye source in a pot on the stove.
  2. Add water to 1 quart*.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Allow dye to cool before coloring your eggs.

* Your pot should have 1 quart of liquid in it, so in the case of liquid ingredients, add the amount listed in the table above and then water until you have a total of 1 quart of liquid to work with.

Coloring Your Easter Eggs the Natural Way

Once your dye is ready, you should take previously boiled eggs and make sure that their surfaces are clean. If you wish to do any etching, do that prior to coloring your eggs.

Submerge your eggs in water the same way that you would do if you were working with a commercial Easter egg coloring. If you don't like the color, continue soaking the eggs until they've taken the desired color!

Enjoy!

© 2014 Becki Rizzuti

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    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

      I love this. I knew about the onions earlier. I usually boil my eggs wrapped in onion peels and some rice or other stuff to make some pattern. I like natural, I don't want to use other coloring technics. Thank you for sharing!

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      I think they're just so much prettier, wouldn't you agree? The dye kits are fine if that's what you're looking for, but you can get such amazing colors from nature!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      This is great! I often dye Greek eggs with the traditional red dye, but it is expensive here, so your hub is very useful to me. Voted up, useful and bookmarked!

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you so much, Suzanne! Natural food dyes are good for Greek eggs as well because you know what's going into your food. Glad to have been helpful!

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      wonderful ideas! I love the idea of using natural dyes and not adding to pollution inside the world and inside our bodies. Thank you for the informative hub!

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Glad to hear it! They turn out beautifully too, don't they?

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      So much better than using chemical coloring! Voted up, useful and beautiful. Happy Easter and congratulations on Hub of the Day!

    • April Garner profile image

      April Garner 2 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is a great idea! I wish I'd seen it before today, but I'll definitely keep it on file for next year. I much prefer this to buying the commercial dye, like I usually do.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I really like the more subtle colors and effects from using the natural products. Going to pin this. Congrats on getting a Hub of the Day mention!

    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 2 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Congrats on the HOD!! Wow, onion skins - I never would have thought of using onion skins. Very informative, and very natural. Upvoted/useful. Nicely done. Peace. Kawi.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on HOTD! Very interesting, indeed.

      Voted up, interesting, beautiful, and shared on FaceBook!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I love those done with the rice grains. The colors are much more beautiful that those from the commercial dyes.

    • gardener den profile image

      gardener den 2 years ago from Southwestern, Pennsylvania

      I love this hub. Thank You for the great information. Keep up the great work and keep on writing. Gardener Den.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Beautiful work, I love using natural dyes-- particularly those made with things from the garden. Nice hub.

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