There are few things worse than getting your kids psyched to dye Easter eggs, only to have the process go horribly awry. While the supplies are all relatively cheap and easy to find, no one wants to dye a second batch of eggs (because, let's face it, by the time the eggs gets plunked into their respective colors the kids have already lost interest).
Avoid these five mistakes to make sure you get egg-cellent results the first time around.
1. Cracking your eggs while you're hard-boiling them.
Adding cold eggs to hot water or overcrowding a pot with eggs will leave you with a higher possibility that they'll end up with cracked shells. While you can still technically dye an egg with a little crack in it, you want your surface to be perfectly smooth right from the start.
Follow this tip: Use a pot that allows all of the eggs to fit comfortably in a single layer on the bottom. Bring the eggs to a boil with the water, so they're all heating up at the same time. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat, and let the eggs sit in the covered pot for between 10 to 15 minutes depending on how hard you like your eggs.
2. You use fresh eggs.
If you're hard-boiling and dyeing your Easter eggs, you're better off using older eggs. Fresh eggs are harder to peel post-dyeing. And that can be incredibly frustrating!
Follow this tip: Buy your eggs at least a week before you plan on dyeing them. Keep them in their carton in your fridge until you're ready to hard-boil. After they're done cooking, placing them in an ice bath will also help with shell removal.
3. You don't prep your surfaces.
Dye is no joke. Add small children to the equation and you've got a recipe for disaster. While most crafts warn about surface prep, this is particularly a warning you won't want to ignore. The dye can stain wood or more expensive surfaces like marble or quartz if you're not careful.
Follow this tip: An old vinyl tablecloth is a great way to cover your surfaces, as it will allow you to clean up spills quickly and easily. Short of that, you can use newspaper or unfolded paper bags — just be sure to double or triple up so the liquid can't bleed through. Also, wear old clothes or an old top that you don't care about.
4. You skip the vinegar.
You're out of vinegar so you just drop your dye tablets into the water and move on. Things will be fine without it, right? Wrong. Even though the dye looks fine, it needs the acidity of the vinegar in order to adhere to the surface of the egg.
Follow this tip: Never skip adding in one teaspoon of vinegar whether you use the dye tabs or food coloring. If you add a little more vinegar, like one tablespoon, the colors will be brighter too.
5. You try mixing dye colors to tie-dye or marbleize the eggs.
From experience I can tell you this ends badly. The liquids will combine and turn an ugly shade of puce. No one wants puce-colored Easter eggs.
Follow this tip: Instead of using liquid, you can roll eggs into a mixture of shaving cream and food coloring or you can sub-in Cool Whip instead. It's really easy!
Read more: How To Make Marbleized Easter Eggs