Beauty in Discovery: An Easter Egg-speriment

This blog post was excerpted from Kathy Huston’s blog Krafty Kathy. Kathy is a member of the Education Team and is providing fun and educational content for children to enjoy at home. Enjoy the original blog post that includes scientific experimentation and a worksheet to log data..

Make naturally dyed eggs at home!

Sometimes we have to find a new way,
which may really be an old way,
to do something that’s been done for many centuries,
something that has been done in many, many different ways
to celebrate new life and new hope,
oh! the fun springtime activity of dying Easter eggs!

Meet my chickens: Joe, Morgee, Moe, and Jenner.

My hens lay brown eggs in so many beautiful shades, and one is speckled.

Did you know that many of the plants we eat and that grow around us can be transformed into natural dyes? Spices like turmeric, drinks like teas and coffee, juice from berries, and boiled vegetables can all be used to dye eggs, paper, cloth, and more.

I decided to use roselle tea leftover from the Fall, purple cabbage currently growing in my garden, Spanish needle flowers- sometimes referred to as weeds, and brown onion skins from my pantry to dye my brown eggs.

First, simmer the plant material in water on the stove. The more plant material in the water, the more color the dye will have. Observe the dye to decide when it has simmered long enough. Some plant dye will go from purple or green to brown if over boiled.

1. For roselle, I used frozen peels from seed pods. Zinger Tea can also be used.
2. For purple cabbage, I only used the tough stems and insect nibbled leaves, so I could add the rest to my stew.
3. For onion, I only used the brown papery skins, so the onion can still be used for food.
4. For Spanish Needle, I used the flowers and was sure to leave plenty of flowers for the bees.

Second, after straining the plant material from the colored water, add vinegar to the dye. The dye adheres better to eggs in a solution that is acidic. Let cool.

Third, You can use crayons to draw designs on the hard-boiled eggs. We tied a couple of eggs in the mesh bag the onions came in, adding leaves to one- hoping for a cool design.

Fourth, place hard-boiled eggs in cooled natural dye. We let ours soak for more than an hour, which caused some color to flake off the eggs that were in the very acidic roselle dye.
See how my brown eggs turned out.

What a fun Easter “Eggsperiment!”
See what cool dyes you can create from plants.

This blog was created and photographed by Kathy Huston, Children’s Garden Coordinator.