It's that Easter egg-dying time of the year! I grew up using store-bought colored dye pellets that we dropped into bowls of water and vinegar, with wild and lurid results. This mild trauma has lead me down the path of natural dyes, which have come a long way from their murky, muddy hippie days. Read on for a roundup of sources for fun, innovative ways to dye and decorate eggs without all the chemicals.
Last year Sara Kate did a great tutorial here on The Kitchn on how to dye Easter eggs naturally. She's also showed us how to use onion skins as a dye.
• Vibrant Eggs, Dyed Naturally
• How to Make Onion-Skin Easter Eggs
Martha Stewart is always a good source for crafty things, and she does not disappoint in the natural dye department. She gives us several videos and articles, including one she did with actress Olympia Dukakis.
• Martha Stewart's Tips for Dying Eggs Naturally
• Natural Egg-Dying Techniques with Olympia Dukakis
Although not technically a natural dye, Martha also has a tutorial for silk-dyed eggs using scraps of silk from old ties and scarves. The beautiful colors and patterns are transferred when eggs are wrapped in the silk and then boiled in water and vinegar.
• Silk-Dyed Easter Eggs from Martha Stewart
Better Homes and Gardens also has a nice recipe list for using things like apple skins, carrot tops, and coffee.
• All-Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens
Another popular thing to do is to create sunprint-like eggs by affixing botanicals to eggs with nylons and dying the eggs in a red cabbage solution (for the blue look) or onion skins (for a sepia look.) A Wayward Wind, whose eggs are pictured above, has the detailed instructions.
• Sunprint Inspired Easter Eggs from A Wayward Wind
Two Men and a Little Farm have a nice chart listing the many food stuffs you can use to produce natural dye, like Red Zinger tea bags for lavender color, fresh parsley for greenish yellow, and paprika for orange.
• Dying Easter Eggs the Natural Way from Two Men and a Little Farm
And finally, Terrain sells kits with natural dyes included, as well as a kit for making Ukrainian waxed-dyed eggs.
• Natural Egg-Dying Kit, $18 from Terrain
• Ukrainian Egg Decorating Kit, $24 from Terrain
What fun and crafty ways have you found to decorate eggs without using too many chemicals?
Related: Spring Treat: How to Make Golden Chocolate Easter Eggs
(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan and A Wayward Wind)