Many plants, vegetables and spices can yield some amazing colours for your Easter Eggs!

Do you have any of the following items in your fridge or pantry?

Red cabbage, blueberry juice, turmeric* powder, onion skins, spinach, avocado pits.

These are a few of the vegetables and spices that you can use to make  your own Easter Egg Dyes!  Experiment with other items too!

Directions:

For vegetables or roughage dye sources (such as red cabbage, spinach, onion skins or avocado pits)

  • Chop your dye source into small to medium pieces.
  • Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of dye source (cabbage, onion skins, avocado pits or spinach) to a large cook pot.
  • Add 2 cups of water.
  • Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes to one hour.
  • Strain mixture through a sieve or cheese cloth to separate liquid from solids.
  • Cool the strained liquid.
  • While your dye liquid is cooling, boil white eggs until hard boiled (depending on the size 7 to 9 minutes should be good).  Do not use boiled eggs that have cracked.
  • Pour your dye liquid into a clear jar or tall glass.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per 1 1/2 cups of liquid, stir, then add a boiled egg.
  • The longer you leave the egg in the dye water, the darker or more vibrant the egg shell will get.
  • Let your coloured eggs dry on a paper towel
  • Rub a bit of vegetable oil on the egg to shine up your colour!

Beets = pink

Red Cabbage = Add vinegar to make pink dye. Add baking soda to make a blue dye.

Brown Onion Skins = rust colour

Avocado Pits = red

Blueberries or Blueberry Juice (blue or greyish blue)

Spinach = Khaki green

Turmeric powder  = Yellow (Add 2 tBsp of turmeric powder to 1 1/2 c boiling water, cool & add 1 tBsp vinegar)


Forest Floor Dye

Photograph by Kathy Schwengler for EPBR Parks Council

Humans have been using items from the forest to dye fibres like wool for thousands of years. We decided to harvest some forest floor bits to make an experimental egg dye. We did not harvest living plants but did remove a few leaves for some of the items used.  The added bonus of creating this forest floor dye was the fun of walking in the forest, looking for possibilities.  Simmering our mixture filled the house with the most amazing potpourri of forest scents too!

Here’s the Forest Floor Mix we used:

  • spruce & pine needles
  • pine cones
  • shelf fungi
  • purple bunchberry leaves
  • brown fern fronds
  • grass
  • cedar twigs
  • Labrador Tea leaves
  • leaf litter
  • moss
  • old man’s beard  (harvested off the ground, not from trees).

We simmered the water/forest floor mix for 1 hour, then strained it, cooled it, poured it into a mason jar and added a tablespoon of vinegar before adding a hard boiled egg.  The resulting colour after letting the egg sit for about 30 minutes was a rusty brown colour!  Very pretty!   One could experiment with only spruce and pine needles or just leaf litter or just cedar boughs to discover other colours!