Coloring hard boiled eggs is an Easter tradition. The fun part is, there are so many ways to do it! You can do single coloured eggs, but an added touch never hurt anyone. You can eat these eggs, give them as gifts, or use them for decoration.
- Organise the supplies needed. There are a few things you need to do before commencing:
- Buy a half dozen to a dozen eggs at the grocery store, or collect them fresh from your hens.
- Hard boil the eggs. Do this by placing the eggs into a saucepan with a pinch of salt and covering with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for at least ten (10) minutes and then lift the eggs out carefully with a spoon or tongs. Place them under cold running water until they are cool enough to handle, at least a minute, and cool completely on a rack in the refrigerator before using.
- Buy an egg decorating kit! These usually consist of several dye pellets, colour coded cups, a special egg spoon, and, of course, directions to make the dye. Or buy a set of little bottles of food colouring, which you can use for all kinds of projects such as tie-dyed cake.
- Follow the directions on the dye packaging carefully and make the dye. In most cases, you drop the pellets into water or vinegar (about 1 tablespoon of vinegar). (Liquid food colouring usually requires vinegar). Make sure to have both nearby. You can use a glass, cup, or a bowl to pour the water into, just make sure the container has enough space for the egg. A disposable plastic cup (suitable for hot liquids, if you’re using them) would be perfect because staining it won’t matter and it may cushion eggs dropped in a little.
- Set the containers of dye in a row. Place the hard boiled eggs in one spot for easy access. It’s also a good idea to set up the work surface by covering it with newspaper (you can then rest the eggs on this as you add more dye effects, and it will also catch dye drips.) And add an egg carton or a wire rack for drying the eggs on after they are dyed.
- Decorate each egg before dyeing if you intend on adding features. If wished, you can draw on the eggs with crayon, or place rubber bands or dot stickers on the egg. Covering parts of the egg with tape, stickers, crayon wax from drawing, or rubber bands will result in the covered parts of the egg not being coated in the dye you are about to dip the egg in but will create their own cool effects.
- You could dye an egg a light colour, mask off parts, and dye the rest a darker colour.
- Naturally, you can add decorative effects after dyeing as well. It’s really up to you and a good way to find out what you prefer is to try decorating both before and after dyeing the eggs.
- Set the egg on the egg spoon, and lower it into the desired colour. You can either lower it in partway to dye only a certain segment of the egg, or lower it in all the way. Leave the egg in for at least 3 minutes before considering removing it.
- The egg will soak up more colour the longer you wait, so if the colour isn’t what you want just yet, leave it a little longer.
- Place the removed egg onto a work surface that has been covered in newspaper. At this point, you can place a different drop of colouring on the egg for added colour effects and then blow through a straw to disperse the drop of dye across the egg. This will make interesting new patterns. You can also use a paintbrush to move the dye around if you like.
- To make an especially beautiful egg, repeat these steps as much as desired. Continuous re-dipping of the eggs will result in colours mixing together, multiple layers of patterns (some coloured), and varicolored stripes. You can take off the bands and stickers in between rinses or not; experiment with different methods, as explained in the next sections.
- Leave the eggs to dry in the egg carton or, better yet, a wire rack which will minimise the marred contact points. Place each egg there as done, and get on with the next egg until you’ve finished with them all.
- Prepare the egg dye according to the package or make your own using natural food colourings. If you plan to eat the eggs, make sure to use food-grade dyes.
- Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each container of dye. Note that if you want to dye some eggs normally or give them a base colour before marbling, do that first. Once the oil is in the dye, you can’t go back! Experiment by adding a bit more oil to the dyes; different amounts create different amounts of marbling.
- Better yet, float droplets of a concentrated food coloring-vinegar (for colorfastness) mixture on a bed of shaving cream or float droplets of an oil-based immiscible food coloring on water, rake the color into a loose pattern, and dip the egg briefly to marble it as one would marble paper. You may need to dip one end or side of the egg at a time. A pair of tongs with loop-ended jaws would hold the egg securely and mask very little of its surface. If you use shaving cream, let the egg dry before rubbing off the excess foam. With either method, be prepared for the possibility that the colour may stick to you or what you’re wearing better than the egg, even after it’s dry.
- Dip quickly. Using a spoon or the dipper that comes with a kit, lower the egg completely into the dye and remove it quickly. Because oil and water don’t mix, you’ll get colour on some parts of the egg, and none on others, creating a marbled effect. Keep dipping to get a brighter color.
- Dry the eggs on a paper towel. Lightly pat the just-dipped eggs with a paper towel, or the colour may become muddy. If you want to dip them in another colour, wait until they’re completely dry first.
- Add some shine. Moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil and lightly wipe down the finished eggs with it to add a nice shine.
- Refrigerate. Refrigerate the eggs until you’re ready to display them.
- Wow everyone with your masterpiece!
- Put five drops of food coloring in a cup and add a few drops of water.
- Dip a sponge into the cup and press onto egg.
- Let it dry.
- Do the same with a different color.
- Continue using other sponges with different colors, but let dry in between.
EditPolka Dot Eggs
- Stick dot stickers on the egg.
- Color it with any color or colors.
- Let the egg dry completely.
- Carefully peel off the stickers.
- Alternatively, paint the dots onto each egg as preferred.
- Dye the egg the desired color or colors.
- Add white vinegar to the dye for a deeper color.
- Cover with glitter paint. Or, add glitter to the dye beforehand (this is easier).
- Let dry. You now have a very glam egg for Easter.
- Finished. The glitter egg is now ready for displaying.
- You can combine techniques for an even cooler looking egg.
- If using crayon/candle wax to draw patterns on the egg before dying, the egg needs to be room temperature for the wax to stick to the shell.
- Use natural dyes like crushed blueberry juice or turmeric.
- Try not to make all the eggs too dark or too bright. If they are, they won’t stand out as much.
- Did you know? In 2005, Belgian chocolate maker Guylian created a 27-foot, 3-inch tall, 4,299-pound edible chocolate Easter egg out of 50,000 praline chocolate bars.
- The more vinegar you put in with the dye, the more vibrant the colours will be.
- Why eggs? The egg is a symbol of Christ’s resurrection because the egg represents new life. Various cultures around the world have traditions focused on giving dyed or decorated eggs, with some countries having very distinctive methods for dyeing eggs. It can be a fun thing to do with kids to look up the different styles of egg decorations from around the world; ask them which ones they’d like to try to decorate their eggs.
- The longer you leave an egg in the dye, the darker the colour will be. So, you can do a “quick dunk” for a lighter colour.
- Blow out an egg for a hollow shell to decorate elaborately and keep for a long time. When dyeing a blown egg, it can help to leave the spoon (or whatever else was used to dip the egg in) on top of the egg, because hollow eggs float. After you take them out, make sure to have newspaper or paper towels under the eggs to catch any dye that drips from the holes.
- Hard boiled eggs will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator.
- The glitter egg is for decoration only, so don’t eat it.
- Peel the eggs before eating, and don’t eat the shells!
- Only eat the eggs if you have kept them refrigerated and you have used non-toxic, food-grade dyes and decorations. Egg shells are very porous!
EditThings You’ll Need
- To Set Up:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Egg decorating kit
- Egg carton(s)
- Measuring cup(s)
- For the “Fancy” Eggs:
- Rubber bands
- Dot stickers
- Glitter paint
- Vegetable oil
- Make Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs
- Grow a Spring or Easter Basket
- Celebrate Easter
- Make an Easter Basket
- Blow Out Eggs
- Color Eggs With Food Coloring
- Dye Eggs With Onion Skins
- Make Patterned Easter Eggs
EditSources and Citations
- Marbled eggs method from Howcast, How to Marble Easter Eggs, http://www.howcast.com/videos/328008-How-To-Marble-Easter-Eggs. Shared with permission.
- Fun & Games / Easter / Egg Decorating, http://www.meddybemps.com/easter/eggdeco.html – research source
- Decorate an Easter Egg, http://akidsheart.com/holidays/easter/decoeg.htm – research source