I haven’t dyed Easter eggs since I was a little girl. Since my daughter just turned three and is starting to be more interested in craft projects, I thought this would be a great excuse to mess around with a few different ideas. I hate the smell of vinegar, so I wanted to try something besides the store-bought kits and color tabs. Pinterest to the rescue! I found so many really cool ideas, and decided to try out a few of the easier ones to see how well they work.
First up was what turned out to be Lexie’s favorite because she got to do her own design: Crayon eggs! These were really easy and turned out pretty cute. First, make some hard-boiled eggs, but don’t plunge them into ice water when they’re done cooking since you need them to be hot for the crayons to melt. Set them on a drying rack and carefully pat dry with a paper towel, then color away! I picked up a dollar store egg-dyeing kit for the egg dipper and cardboard rack, but the wet eggs kinda made a mess of the cardboard and when I turned them over to color the bottoms of the eggs they smeared a bit. The tutorial suggested balancing the eggs on bottle caps, but i had just taken out the recycling and didn’t have any at hand; next year I’ll save some. I decided to make a solid colored egg with a stripe around the middle then patted it with a paper towel for a sponge-paint effect, while Lexie just scribbled randomly. Someone with more artistic flair could make these really beautiful, and you could also make these with blown-out eggs to keep them longer (but since those are much more fragile I probably wouldn’t let a toddler do the coloring).
Our next project wasn’t an Easter egg, but could be fun to put inside pastic eggs instead of candy. Using the same crayons and a silicon baking tray, we made crayon flowers. We peeled all the paper off the crayons, sealed them in a plastic sandwich bag, then broke them into smaller pieces by banging on them with a meat tenderizer (and a wooden xylophone hammer for the kiddo, which was much more entertaining than actually helpful). Then we put different colored broken bits into the tray and cooked them at 230° for 15 minutes. After letting them cool for about half an hour I just stretched the silicone pan and they popped loose. She’s been having a blast playing with them, though there is a thin layer of clear wax that floated to the top as they cooked and it annoys her when that part doesn’t make a mark on the paper. It might just be because we used washable crayons; I don’t know if regular ones would have the same issue.
Next, we dyed eggs using Kool-Aid, which was also really easy but had mixed results. Make more hard-boiled eggs, but you do want to cool these off before continuing. Mix one single-serving Kool-Aid packet with 2/3 cup of water, then dip the eggs. They change color pretty quickly, or you can just dump them in longer for a more saturated color. My grocery store had an odd assortment of flavors so I couldn’t do all the same colors as in the original tutorial (and I found a few new colors that she didn’t use that turned out to be my favorites!), but I can confirm that plain Lemonade barely changes the color and Grape turns a really ugly gray. I tried mixing some flavors together to make purple but just made a mess and ran out of eggs before I could experiment further. I also had some Hawaiian Punch and Diet Coke left over from Lexie’s birthday party, so I decided to see how they worked as well. The Hawaiian Punch actually made a very pretty pink, but the Coke was very faint. I also decided to try a few patterned eggs based on another cool blog I found. The rubber bands didn’t want to stay put and bled a little; tape probably would have worked much better and the effect would show up better with more saturated dyes.. I tried making flowers/polka dots using hole reinforcement stickers, but they didn’t stick very well and bled too. The best part is, the flavor doesn’t transfer to the eggs so you can still eat them without worrying about them tasting weird.
For a LOT more ideas, check out my Easter egg board on Pinterest. There are several really elaborate ideas that I was afraid to try (dyeing with silk or onion skins or making egg geodes!), some fun recipes (cake pops and Jello-eggs!), and even a few fun things to do with plain old plastic eggs. What are your favorite egg-dyeing recipes? And if you have any pictures, share them in the comments below!