Colorful Easter Eggs – No Kit Required
You don’t need an Easter egg coloring kit to decorate eggs. I haven’t bought a kit in ages. Of course, if you have young children, you may wish to pick up one of the popular egg coloring kits. They are generally inexpensive and brightly colored. There are kits for glittery, metallic, marbled or tie-dyed eggs, with stickers and a crayon included for more decorating effects. Of course, kids enjoy picking out kits and I purchased them for my son when he was young. Our family had fun decorating eggs this way for quite a few years.
However, these days I enjoy a more do-it-yourself approach to pretty much everything. Here are some ways to color your Easter eggs without a kit this year.
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Color Easter Eggs With Natural Dyes
You can use natural dyes from fruits, vegetables, and spices to dye your Easter eggs. Here are some foods containing pigments that work well for coloring eggs:
- Spinach – light green (dried powdered spinach works well)
- Beets – pink
- Onion skins – tan to orange
- Turmeric – yellow
- Red cabbage – blue
- Concord grape juice – pale purple
- Chili powder – orange
- Tea or Coffee – brown
Experiment with Different Colors…
It is fun to experiment with different foods and spices! Try brightly colored foods and combinations of different foods to see what you like best. When you are done you can compost the leftovers or feed them to your chickens.
To make your dye, use 4 – 6 cups of water with an equal amount of chopped or mashed vegetables or fruits, or 1 tablespoon of spices per cup of water. (You may need to use more fresh spinach than water.) Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every 2 cups of water. Simmer for about half an hour. You can strain the juice off or put eggs directly into pan with mashed veggies, fruit, and spices…this may cause a mottled effect, which can be very interesting!
Boil Easter Eggs Right in the ‘Dye’
You can also dye your eggs as you boil them. Carefully place raw eggs in pan of uncooked fruits, vegetables, or spice with water and vinegar, as above. Bring pan to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer for 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Lift eggs with tongs or slotted spoon to check color. If eggs are not dyed as much as you’d like, place pans in refrigerator and allow eggs to sit in dye overnight. Remove Easter eggs from dye and allow to dry.
Each batch of naturally dyed Easter eggs will vary in color.
Dye Easter Eggs With Food Coloring
If you would like to attain a more brightly colored basket of Easter eggs with less time and effort, try using food coloring for your dye. I keep a little box of food coloring in my baking cupboard for making Christmas cookie icing or coloring cake frosting. These dyes work really well for coloring your Easter eggs too.
Boil eggs ahead of time and cool. For each color of dye you’d like to use, you will need a heat proof bowl that will not be ruined by the dye. Cover table with an old vinyl tablecloth or a thick layer of newspapers to protect from dye.
To Make Dye with Food Coloring:
- Boil a pot of water
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water in each bowl
- Add 20 to 30 drops of food color
- Add 1 Tbs of vinegar
Carefully place boiled egg into hot dye solution and allow to steep for 5 minutes or more, depending on the color desired. You can make other colors by mixing red and yellow for orange, or red and blue for purple. Be creative! (Note: mixing all of the colors tends to make a weird shade of brown – I discovered that as a kid.)
Remove eggs from dye with tongs or a slotted spoon and allow to dry on a wire rack.
Add Some Decorative Designs
- Use a yellow or white crayon to draw designs on eggs before dying. The crayon will repel the dye and leave a light colored drawing on the Easter egg. Kids can write their names or draw Easter bunnies or chicks on their eggs.
- Tie Dye your eggs – wrap eggs in a piece of cheesecloth, twist small bunches of the cloth and secure with rubber bands. Place in the dye and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Botanical designs – using ferns or small leaves, place the leaves on the eggs and wrap with cheesecloth or netting. Tie cloth securely and place egg in dye for 10 to 15 minutes.
Raise Hens That Lay Easter Eggs!
Forget about all that dye and raise a variety of chickens that lay colorful eggs. Here are some of the breeds that lay different colored eggs for Easter eggs every day:
- White to Cream – Leghorn, Andalusian, Dorking, Minorca
- Light Brown or Tan – Cochin, Turken, Russian Orloff, Plymouth Rock, Sussex
- Medium Brown – New Hampshire Red, Rhode Island Red, Orpington
- Rich Brown – Welsummer, Black Copper Maran, Penedesenca, Barnevelder
- Green, Blue – Araucana, Ameraucana or Easter Egger
Although you won’t find the vibrant shades of red, purple, and orange in your nest boxes, you will have fun hunting for naturally colored Easter eggs every day! You can still dye these eggs for a wider range of color, with natural dyes or food coloring.
More Ideas for Unusual Easter Eggs
You may also like using eggs from other poultry for unusual Easter eggs. Try raising these birds for their beautiful eggs:
- Guinea fowl
Different breeds lay eggs with a wide variety of sizes, colors, and markings. There may be a specialty market in your area where you may purchase or sell unusual Easter eggs.
So You Still Want A Kit?
Maybe you’re not convinced and you would still like to use a kit. No problem! Kits are fun and I’m certainly not a purist. You can find kits for dying your Easter eggs at almost any grocery store or big box store, or you can find a wide variety of kits and coloring products online.
Have a Happy Easter!
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.