Becki has been an online writer for over five years. Her articles often focus on holidays and DIY holiday festivities.
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 they are marketed to children with all kinds of features. Kits include stickers, shrink-wraps, or other additives that are seemingly intended to increase creativity but really do the work for you.
Try Natural Dyes This Year
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, these vibrant, beautiful natural colors are possible using everyday food items you should have at home.
Some of the colors might surprise you!
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 that 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.
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 the following:
- Wax etching
- Wrapping your eggs with twine before dyeing them
- 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 above 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.
Natural Easter Egg Dye Color Chart
1 Quart Brewed
3-4 Cups Berries
Light Golden Brown
Varied by Method
1/4 - 1/2 Quart
4-5 Cups, Chopped
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).
- Place your dye source in a pot on the stove.
- Add water to 1 quart*.
- Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
- Bring to a boil.
- 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 Eggs
- 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!
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.
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti
Anonymous User on April 08, 2020:
Mackenzie Sage Wright on April 25, 2014:
Beautiful work, I love using natural dyes-- particularly those made with things from the garden. Nice hub.
Dennis Hoyman from Southwestern, Pennsylvania on April 20, 2014:
I love this hub. Thank You for the great information. Keep up the great work and keep on writing. Gardener Den.
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 20, 2014:
I love those done with the rice grains. The colors are much more beautiful that those from the commercial dyes.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 20, 2014:
Congratulations on HOTD! Very interesting, indeed.
Voted up, interesting, beautiful, and shared on FaceBook!
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on April 20, 2014:
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.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 20, 2014:
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!
April Garner from Austin, Texas on April 20, 2014:
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.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 20, 2014:
So much better than using chemical coloring! Voted up, useful and beautiful. Happy Easter and congratulations on Hub of the Day!
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Indianapolis, Indiana on April 08, 2014:
Glad to hear it! They turn out beautifully too, don't they?
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on April 08, 2014:
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!
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Indianapolis, Indiana on February 23, 2014:
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!
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 23, 2014:
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!
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Indianapolis, Indiana on February 23, 2014:
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!
kerlund74 from Sweden on February 23, 2014:
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!