How to decorate eggs using plant-based dyes
Half hour to make, with additional time to dry
• White eggs
• White vinegar
• Awl (available at local hardware/supply shops); a needle or nail will work as well
• Small bowl
• Homemade dyes (see below)
• Empty glass containers, one for each egg
• Large metal spoon
• Optional: Alum (明矾) to make colors brighter – available at local vegetable markets
• Deep yellow: Turmeric powder<
• Yellow/orange: Onion skins
• Red/brown: Red onion skins or beets
• Brown: Tea bags or coffee grounds
• Blue: Red cabbage
(Note: Other colors can be obtained by dyeing eggs first in one color and then in another.)
1. After washing eggs in warm water and soap, then disinfecting with vinegar, blow out the egg yolks. Start by poking a small hole in one end of the egg and a slightly larger hole in the other with an awl. Place the small bowl under your egg and gently blow through the smaller hole until the yolk comes out through the other end.
2. Though optional, you can wrap your eggshells with string to create a batik effect on the eggs.
3. Prepare your dyes by boiling dye material in water. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then pour into glass containers. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to make dyes lighter; adding alum will make colors brighter.
4. Place each eggshell in a container. Because the hollow eggshells will float, use a piece of skewer or a toothpick to pin your eggs down so that they are completely submerged in the dye. Let your eggshells sit overnight.
5. Using a spoon, lift each egg out of its container. Remove the string (if necessary) and dry the eggshells on skewers. You can re-dye your eggs in the same color to create a deeper hue, or use another colored dye to create different colors.
6. Once the eggs are completely dry, string each eggshell on a ribbon and hang, or arrange in a bowl or basket. Rub your dried eggshells with vegetable oil (optional) for a shiny effect.