Naturally coloring eggs and creating flower and leaf patterns

I finally got around to collecting the supplies to do this project! It is not quite on the scale that I had hoped for but I was fighting a pretty bad headache, and restricted myself to four colors so I could do everything in one sitting.

There is so much more that I want to try out. Now that Easter is coming around again, I’ll have to give this a second try with more/different organic materials to color the eggs…I wonder what pureed spinach would do?

Basic Ingredients for my colored eggs:

  • White eggs
  • Red onion peels
  • Yellow onion peels
  • Green Tea
  • Beets
  • White Vinegar
  • Tooth picks
  • Random leaves and flowers
  • Pantyhose

If you are willing to look like a dork this should not cost you much.  I simply ignored weird looks as I took all of the fallen onion peels from the bin at the store. I happened to need one onion so I bought one for good measure.  But I could have walked out with their trash with my head high. I had to buy a beet and two dozen eggs – that’s it.  The flowers and leaves were all stuff I collected on the walk home (except the rose which was never used due to its large size, the rose was mine); sorry window boxes I passed.  I never took more than one from a box. Everything else I already had.


I was not sure what would work and what would not as far as objects to imprint, so I grabbed one of everything growing around the house (and a few samples from planters and trees on the way home from the grocery store.)

Overall I found that the thinner leaves made the prettiest transfers, as they left an image of the veining behind; I wish I had done more of those.  Very thin flowers on the other hand, tended to disintegrate and did not leave very clear images behind, but some did stain the egg interesting colors.  So give them a try but I wouldn’t use just thin flowers.

Thicker leaves tended to not lay very flat against the egg and the edges were difficult to see, they just left sort of white blobs behind. But thick, multi-layered flowers made some very neat transfers.

I chopped up the ingredients as best I could (the beets went into the blender) and started cooking them ahead of time.  In each pot I put about three spoons of vinegar to help the color stick to the eggs better.

I hollowed out the eggs (tedious) and cut the pantyhose into sections a few inches long.  I tied off one side and placed the egg and some of the leaves and flowers inside (with flowers or leaves pressed up to the egg), pulled the pantyhose really tight and tied off the other side to make little packets.  Once I had all the eggs prepared and the ingredients had been cooking for a while, I did my best to fill all of the eggs with water so they would not float so much when I put them in the pots, for better coverage. As the water filling process took much longer than I guessed it would some of the eggs were in the pots for much longer than the others.  That is OK, now I have some very dark eggs and some very light eggs.  When everything was done cooking I flipped over the egg carton and put toothpicks in the bottom to make a handy little drying rack.

These eggs are from the yellow onion peel pot.  I would say that this is my favorite color, very deep and rich, even if the eggs were not in the mixture for too long.  Very even coverage of color as well.

These eggs are from the red onion batch, it gave a very earthy brown color and like the yellow onions the color took to the egg very quickly and with very uniform coverage.
If you do not have a lot of time to color eggs, I would use  the onion peels for quick results.


The green tea eggs had an interesting effect, two of the eggs took color from the flowers that were pressed on them. I think that this was due to the flowers that were used, they were the thinner ones…but I can’t say for sure that the green tea didn’t help with the color transfer.  Green tea gave me less even coverage but the color was a pretty buttery gold.

Ah, my beet group.  How I wronged you.  The beet color was what I was most excited about as I was prepping everything and it frustrated me the most.  The eggs never seemed to take the color no matter how long I left them in.  When I took them out they were a pale ugly gray and I was determined not to waste all of the eggs to I took a little bit of broth from all of the mixtures and put it in a bowl with some olive oil and put two of my beet eggs in there to sit (the two pretty speckled ones in the back.)  Little did I know that the beets would work their magic…I would just have to wait overnight to see it.

When I got up this morning the beet eggs had dried into a very pretty speckled pink.  I think that the residue had to fully dry for the color to come out.  The bottom left egg is what happens if you wash the egg before it is dry (there was a lot of beet residue on the egg and I got lazy and just ran it under water to clean it off)…DON”T WASH THESE! Just flick the beet bits off and put them aside.  The beets produced my favorite egg of the whole bunch, the center egg in this image.  Just look at the delicate transfer with all of the pale pretty colors. Neat!

If you are looking for any more one day projects check out my other posts for turning old jeans into a skirt or knitting a super easy neck sock.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

About these ads

12 Comments on “Naturally coloring eggs and creating flower and leaf patterns”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Ok so how do you get the insides of the egg out??

  2. Nikki Wright says:

    You will find out why I called this tedious once you have done a few…

    I have an a tool for boring holes in leather but you could also use a thick yarn needle or nail (I have used those in the past) and you carefully twist the point against the egg until you have made a hole at each end of the egg. I tend to make the hole that I am going to attach ribbon to a little bit bigger (if I am making the eggs into ornaments) so it is easier to bow the egg out.

    Once you have two holes you blow, blow, blow until you have pushed everything out. If the yoke is giving you a hard time you can poke the needle in and swish it around.

    To make sure everything is gone I sink the egg into a cup of water and fill it up a little and then shake the egg, then I blow the water out. This helps to keep it from smelling if you are only hollowing out the eggs as you are using them and need them to last a while before your project.

    Hope that helps :)

  3. Stephanie says:

    Interesting and yes it does sound tedious, but the end product is awesome.

  4. wow, they are beuatiful. i don’t even know if i want my kid to play with those, they look more like works of art rather than easter eggs:)
    thanks for the great article
    The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

  5. CathyG says:

    These are gorgeous – do you think you could NOT blow the eggs out, and just hard-boil them in the dye mixtures? How long do they need to boil? It would be quite a tragedy to crack these open to eat, but as they wouldn’t be such a mission to make, you could do more next year!?

  6. Nikki Wright says:

    The onion peels worked VERY quickly. The Onion and Tea based colors could easily do their jobs in the time it took for eggs to cook. i would just cut out the beets. That was the only color that I really had to let soak. I don’t boil eggs often, I think 5 – 10 minutes is normal, but I would check online to make sure.

  7. CathyG says:

    Great, thanks Nikki – hard-boiled takes about 10 minutes where I live (less at lower altitude). Thanks for visiting my blog too – and for the reassurance about the state of my studio!

  8. Hi Nikki,

    I found you through Alyson Stanfield, and I just wanted to say that your Easter eggs are really gorgeous! I love to dye Easter Eggs, but I think you have taken it to the next level here. Glad I stopped by!

  9. [...] Make your Easter Eggs a little more artistic and a little less artificial this year by coloring the eggs with homemade natural dyes and patterns. [...]

  10. [...] If you like to dye Easter eggs, why not try natural dyes this year? A traditional method involves gathering interesting leaves and flowers, fastening them to the eggs, then dying with a broth of onion skins. The eggs, such as those pictured above, range in color from golden to reddish to brown. Nikki Wright’s blog explains this process in detail. [...]

  11. Nicole says:

    Hi!

    I just stumbled upon your blog when looking for how to make a purse out of a skirt! I’m hoping to turn a leather skirt into a purse/diaper bag…We’ll see if I ever get it done! I always have wayy too many projects on the go!

    Anyway, these eggs are gorgeous! I think that I am going to try it for just plain old hard boiled eggs. It would really dress up a breakfast table for guests! So to get things straight, you just use the crispy brownish layer on the outside of the onion? I wonder if the taste of the onion would go into the egg at all?? I will try to update you if I give it a try!

  12. Nikki says:

    That would be a very cool thing to serve to guests :) I have never had any egg cooked this way, but the onion skins colored the egg so quickly that I can’t imagine any flavor getting though. And, yes, I just used the dry outer layer of the onion…in truth, I just grabbed the bits that had fallen off and were sitting around in the bin at the grocery store.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.