Friday, March 22, 2013

Eggciting Dyes

With Easter just around the corner, it is time to dye eggs!  It is a great tradition for ushering in the bright colors and warmer weather of spring. 

There are lots of ways to end up with dyed eggs (just start with eggs already hard boiled).  There are easy to use kits you can purchase online or from a local store.  In addition to traditional solid colors, you can buy kits that will do special effects like marble or turn your eggs into cute animals with additional feet and ears.

You can also dye eggs using things around your house!  ¼ cup white vinegar mixed with two cups of water is good general base.  Then experiment with things you have around the house – just make sure everything is safe to eat.  Food coloring is an obvious choice – add drops to your base until you are happy with the color.  Chopped fruits (about 1 cup) like blueberries and strawberries can create some vivid colors.  Grated vegetables (about 1 cup) can give you bold greens and bright orange!  You can also raid the spice cabinet for unique colors (simmer the spice in water for about 15 minutes – then let cool and strain before adding vinegar).  Remember, the longer the egg sits in the dye, the more intense the color.

For very unique eggs, break out the non-toxic paints and markers and decorate each egg by hand.  This is a fun activity for older kids especially.

To dye without vinegar, use powdered drink packets (like lemonade or kool aid).  For each packet of powder you will need about 2/3 cup of water.  Different brands offer many different flavors that will translate to different colors.

For a tie-dye or marble look, use liquid water colors and shaving cream.  It can get pretty messy, so be prepared!  Fill a large container with shaving cream.  Put a few drops of your liquid water colors in different areas.  Then using a utensil or gloved hand to swirl the colors.  Then drop your eggs into the swirled mixture until covered. 

Whichever method you choose you are going to have a fun and colorful egg hunt!