With Easter just around the corner, I cringe to think how much waste comes with the holiday. Of course, while we try to keep the waste at a minimum, we don’t let our kids miss out, either. When it comes to Easter, my boy’s favorite activity is dyeing eggs.
But, when you get the kits from the store, there is always so much waste involved. Looking at the popular kits online, they come with paper containers for the eggs, metal dippers, stickers and plastic wraps, a drying tray, and of course, the dyes themselves.
Forgetting about the waste in general, I don’t like adding those dyes to the eggs. Even though it goes on the shell that later gets peeled, it often gets through to the egg. We like to eat the eggs after Easter rather than throwing them out, and I don’t want to eat those dyes. Not to mention, I don’t want the dyed shells going in my compost and getting into my garden.
So, what can we do to avoid the waste and dyes that come with traditional Easter egg dye kits? The answer, as always, is in the kitchen.
Dye-Free Easter Eggs Process
It sounds like a lot to take on, but we had fun making the homemade dyes together. We tried a bunch of different things to use for dyes. Some worked better than others, but we learned from the experience and plan to make it better next time.
Mix one cup of frozen blueberries with one cup of water. Let them sit in the water until the blueberries have been brought to room temperature. Remove the blueberries from the water and use the water to dye the eggs.
Add 1 tbsp of vinegar into a cup of brewed coffee and stir. The darker the coffee you use, the more color the eggs will have.
It seems strange, but red onions make a green dye for Easter eggs. Peel the red onions and place them in 2 cups of water. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add 3 tbsp of vinegar. Take the onion peels out of the water and let it cool before dyeing.
Boil one cup of water and add two tbsp of turmeric plus two tbsp of vinegar. Stir until the turmeric has dissolved.
Orange dye is made in the exact same way as the green, except using yellow onions. The longer the eggs sit in this dye, the more color they will have.
Boil 4 cups of water then remove from the heat and add one chopped medium beet into the water. Stir in 2 tbsp of vinegar and let it cool to room temperature before removing the beets.
Mix one cup of grape juice with one tablespoon of vinegar.
Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add in two tbsp of paprika and two tbsp of vinegar. Stir until the paprika has dissolved.
Simmer 4oz of carrot tops in 1 1/2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain the carrots out.
Other Easter Egg Tools
In addition to the dyes, there are other tools that you will need when dyeing eggs. You’ll need something to place the dyes in and a way to dip the eggs.
We used cups that we’ve had for a few years for the boy’s crafts. They are plastic, which we try not to use, but they have held up well over the years. You could also use cups or bowls from the kitchen, just be aware that the dyes may leave a stain if you use something white.
Instead of the wire dipping sticks that come in a kit, we used spoons for our eggs. The wires are only good for one purpose, and as much as we say we will save them for next year, they end up getting lost or thrown out. Using a regular spoon worked well enough for us. We did find one of the metal sticks from before, but the boys argued over who got it so ended up using spoons for everyone.
As for letting the eggs dry, we were able to use our wire cooling racks. The slots are a perfect size for cradling the eggs and letting any extra dye drip off.
Hard-Boiled Easter Eggs
Don’t forget, before you dye the eggs you need to make sure they are hard-boiled! When little kids are handling the eggs, it’s very possible that an egg or two may get dropped, so you don’t want that mess.
If you are like me, and always had trouble getting your eggs hard-boiled just right, try my recipe for Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs. You can find it on my recipe website here.
- These natural dyes will not have as bright of colors as the dye packets from the store. But, the longer you leave them in the dye, the more color they will have.
- After you make the dyes, the vegetables used can go into the compost so they aren’t wasted.
- Many fruits and vegetables will add color into the water to make a dye, have fun experimenting and let me know if you find other great colors!
Our Final Easter Eggs
- Do you like to dye Easter eggs?
- What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
- Have you tried any natural dyes before?
- What do you think of the idea?