Naturally coloring eggs and creating flower and leaf patternsPosted: September 27, 2008
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
- White Vinegar
- Tooth picks
- Random leaves and flowers
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!