For those of you planning to dye Easter eggs this weekend, you may be concerned about what kind of dye to use. While most conventional dyes are labeled non-toxic, many FDA-approved dyes are made with toxins like coal, tar, and other petroleum-based products. This can be an issue for those of us with sensitivities or parents who prefer to raise their children in an eco-friendly home.
Instead of buying store-bought chemical dyes this year, make your own Easter egg dyes using fresh produce. This natural dyeing method protects your children from chemical exposure, and you probably have many of these ingredients lying around your house.
First, hard boil your eggs and add a dash of white vinegar. The vinegar will keep the eggs from spilling out if they crack while boiling. When your eggs have cooled, you’re ready to start dyeing!
Start by making the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. For each color, simply take the main ingredient and add it to a pot of boiling water (about 2 cups) and stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar.
There are many ingredients out there that will create these colors! Here are just a few that we’ve found to work pretty well.
Red beets (light red, almost pink)
Instant coffee (deep, rich mahogany)
Yellow onion skins (darker yellow, almost orange)
Turmeric (vibrant, sunny yellow)
Frozen blueberries (light, pale blue)
Red cabbage leaves (dark, almost navy blue)
After you’ve concocted these 3 dyes, have a blast combining them into other cool colors like green, orange, and violet. This is also a great way to start teaching kids about colors!
(For more dye color ideas, check out the blog where this post’s photo originates, radmegan.)
It’s best to use the dyes when they are hot. Let the eggs soak longer to allow them to absorb more of the colors for a more vibrant hue. As is common when working with all-natural ingredients, patience is key.
Using these homemade dyes, your Easter eggs will turn a pretty, muted shade of each color. They have a natural, organic feel to them and look great as home decor!
This departure from the stereotypical neon pinks and greens that usually dot so many Easter baskets is a unique, creative expression of your attention to health and safety.
Have you made your own natural dyes? Do you have recipes that worked or didn’t work?