How to Dye Eggs Naturally

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I have don’t many “natural egg dying posts”, simply because, here in the UK, most eggs we get are brown (a bit like dying your white eggs with coffee granules or onion skins!). Which makes them hard to dye naturally (well hard to dye at all to be honest, painting is usually the option). BUT.. we do occassionally get white eggs, plus I get many readers who have asked for information about how to dye eggs naturally.. so with Orthodox Easter coming up, I thouhgt I would share this simple and gorgeous technique with you! These are a perfect way to decorate hardboiled Easter Eggs as they are of safe to eat!

natural egg dying

What can I use to Dye Eggs Naturally?

how to dye eggs naturally

Firstly.. you will need to decide what natural resources you would like to use to dye your eggs naturally. The most common and most effective natural dyes are. Quantities are to be used with 2 cups of water

  • Beetroot (pinky/ red) – 1½ cup shredded red beets
  • Onion skins (brown/ orange) – 7-8 yellow onion skins
  • Red Onion skins (darker brown) – 7-8 red onion skins
  • Red cabbage (light blue) –  1½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • Dried hibiscus flowers (lavender or indigo) – 1-2 cups
  • Ground Tumeric (a strong yellow) – 3 table spoons
  • Mixing cabbage & tumeric to give green (I haven’t tested this!)

People also rave about using

  • spinach for green
  • blueberries for blue
  • chilli powder for orange.

But I confess – blueberries are precious in my house, I am “sorry not sorry” to say, that I would rather eat them than use them as a natural dye.. yes, even if the blue is gorgeously blue! And spinach always is quite a week green.. so again, I wouldn’t necessarily try too hard with this.

Note on time – how long does this method need

Most people recommend leaving your naturally dyed eggs in their colour solution overnight! So take this into account when planning your natural egg decorating!

Supplies needed to dye eggs naturally

  • White eggs (hard boiled eggs are better, as they have a natural weight – you can actually hard boil them during the dying process)
  • Your natural material (dyeing agent) of choice – onion skins are great
  • Some pretty leaves – e.g. coriander
  • Old stockings
  • Water (2 cups)
  • White vinegar (2 table spoons)
  • Kitchen towel to gently pat dry
  • Slotted spoon (ladle with holes)

How to dye eggs naturally

Dying eggs naturally, is very similar to dying eggs with food coloring, save for that you will need to heat your natural dyeing agent first to “extract” the colour. But both methods require white vinegar in order to help bind the color to your eggs. And both methods require you to handle your eggs carefully afterwards and gently pad them dry with kitchen towel to help avoid rubbing off any of the dyes. The other key difference, is that food colouring eggs, tend to take the colour more quickly, so doesn’t take as long!

Our Food Colouring Egg Dye post, shows you how to create patterns with rubber bands and tape. This post, shows you how to create lovely leaf patterns on your eggs!

Prepare your dyeing mixture

This is not an exact science – but roughly use 2 cups of water to your dyeing agents amounts shared above. You can use the same solution a few times in not all your eggs fit and you want to be eco friendly and reuse the same solution/ less dying agents!

  1. Bring your water to the boil
  2. Add your dyeing agent (cabbage, tumeric, onions skins etc)
  3. Simmer for around 30 minutes. You can experiment at this stage and boil for longer to see if you can more colour!
  4. Let the liquid cool and strain into a bowl or jar.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  6. Add your hard boiled eggs (that you have prepped as per the below), or your blown out eggs to the mixture. Remember, as per our food dye colouring process, you will have to weigh down blown out eggs as they like to float up!
  7. Now refrigerate over night or until the eggs have the colour you are aiming for!
  8. Carefully remove your eggs and pat dry with some kitchen towel.

Trouble shooting – Not 100% happy with the colour of your eggs?

To get the best results, you can dip your eggs in the solution multiple times. Obviously.. leaving them over night.. more than once takes a LOT of time. So you can experiment with leaving them in the solution 2-3 hours. Patting dry. And then submerging again.

Alternatively – you may need to add more colouring agent next time. But usually re-submerging works well too!

It also allows you to have a go at playing with TWO colors (as per the eggs below – see info in the last section)…

How to Dye Eggs with Lead Patterns

Prepare your eggs with leaf pattern

Whilst your dyeing solution is boiling away or cooling down, you can move on to prepping your eggs with some leaves to create pretty patterns (as mentioned, rubberbands work really well too and you can even use some tape as well).

You can use a plain white egg, or you can use a light brown egg, and then add an extra colour dimension.. OR you can use a previously dyed egg (e.g. light blue or or light yellow) to get a two tone effect.

Add leaves

Selected the nicest leaves for your egg dyeing. Coriander leaves, parsely leaves or fennel leaves etc are popular! Pick the prettiest specimens.

Wet them a little with water and carefully spread them onto your egg face down.

secure with stockings

Now pop the egg into an old pair of stockings/ tights and knot tightly/ secure with an elastic band. If you don’t have old tights, an old muslin will work well too. Be sure that these are secured really tight, else you won’t get a neat leaf print.

pat dry

Put into your solution and leaf overnight!

Remove the egg from the dye solution. And pat dry on some kitchen paper towel.

Once dry, carefully remove the stockings (and keep for reuse), pat the egg dry again. Then carefully peel off the leaf! Done.

You can gently rub the egg in a little vegetable oil for that shiny effect!

Experiment with colors and designs

dye your eggs twice

Here are examples of where the egg has been naturalley dyed with tumeric and red cabbage first. Then carefully dried.

The fennel leaf/ coriander leaf or parsely leaf have then been applied and the egg steeped in an onion skin solution a second time.

Need extra info or a how to dye eggs naturally video tutorial?

Here is a great video tutorial on Youtube to check out for extra info and examples (including flower prints on eggs, so pretty!).

Hope you enjoyed this lovely natural way to decorate Hard Boiled eggs for the Easter table. I think they would be especially lovely for an Orthodox Easter Breakfast table.

More Orthodox Easter Ideas coming soon. But in the meantime your kids may enjoy these simple Bunny Crafts for Kids:

Easter Bunny Crafts