A funny thing happened to me the other day. A good friend of mine sent me an email with a link showing me how to dye eggs using natural homemade dye baths. I had to laugh, because I did this last year! But, it did make me think that not everyone had the opportunity to read about this great technique. So here it is again, just in time for Easter!
With all this talk about “Going Green” and keeping things “Organic” I decided to do something different with the kiddos this year for Easter. Why buy these outrageous dyes and why not try making our own dyes using natural items that we have in our pantry and in our refrigerator? All three kids were excited to start this art project, and why not? We were on Day 6 of Spring Break and still have 3 days to fill up with fun before school started on Monday! My 2nd-grader was ready for Mom’s science project and he answered my questions pretty easily: “What color dye will raspberries make? What color dye will spinach make? What color dye will beets make?”
After filling up 5 different pots with home-brew dyes simmering on 5 different burners, I started asking myself, “How many more dishes will I have to wash??” This project took a few hours to complete, so I lost the interest of my 5-year old pretty quickly. He’s more into the instant-gratification kind of art projects, unlike my methodical 8-year old whom we lovingly call, “The Professor.” The 3 year old just wanted to run around and scream with delight for no reason what-so-ever.
After hard-boiling our eggs and our home-brewed dyes, we had some great surprises with our little eggs-periment (sorry, couldn’t help it!):
1. Blueberries turn the water a redish-purple, but turn the eggs blue.
2. Spinach and grass give our water a green tea look, but does nothing for the eggs.
3. Turmeric rocks and gives us beautiful yellow eggs effortlessly.
4. The peels from yellow onions also turn our water yellow, but an egg never made it into this dye bath since it was accidentally spilled by The Professor.
5. For all the color beets leech out into the water, it takes a whole lot of beet to color an egg.
6. Raspberries give a beautiful color to our water, but nothing to our egg.
7. Blueberries & Turmeric make green!
8. Too much vinegar turns the eggshell to BLAH!
9. Mommy’s unfinished morning tea gave our eggs a warm terra-cotta color.
From start to finish, I’d say this project took 3-4 hours. I ended up with a sink full of pots, bowls and soggy and stinky fruits and veggies. But, I must admit that I prefer the colors of our naturally-dyed eggs. But, then again, I’m drawn to rustic colors and the not-so-perfectly dyed eggs. And my kidlets will definitely not forget this boring day at home! Maybe next year we will try red cabbage (for blue) and give our yellow onions a second shot….
For serious instructions, check out Family Spice!