Easter egg dyeing was one of my favorite holiday activities with my mom. The smell of hard-boiled eggs and vinegar wafting through the house just screams childhood. So since I had some extra time this year, I decided to resurrect the tradition and go beyond the standard dyeing. I sifted through a bunch of ideas on Martha Stewart, Real Simple, and craft blogs to pick out things I could realistically do as a craft-impaired moron.
A few quick notes before we get started:
1.) This entry encompasses all of our forays into egg dyeing, so it’s a long one. If you only want to try certain projects, you can skip down to that particular section.
2.) Invite friends over to keep it fun and do it when you have an full afternoon to devote. Banish kids and pets from the room or disaster shall inevitably follow.
3.) Some of the instructions are for projects which aren’t pictured here.
4.) Food coloring and custom mixing can go very wrong if you’re not careful, so if you’re a beginner stick to a pre-packaged kit like PAAS. If you’re a little more advanced, buy a few dye kits and some food coloring and mix up colors, experiment with water and vinegar levels, mix food coloring into the packaged dye – go nuts. Just be aware that the more you mess with it, the greater chance you have of ending up with a muddy color or just plain shit brown (classy, I know).
5.) For the lace eggs and the marbelized eggs, you’ll need to use special dyeing techniques. For everything else, you can dye your eggs, let them dry, and add special decoration afterward.
What you’ll need:
(For the dying process)
Food coloring or packaged dye kits
Distilled white vinegar
Disposable mixing bowls
Disposable dyeing cups (like PAAS or generic plastic cups)
1 cup measure
(For the drying rack)
Sharpie or marker with a thick tip
(For the threaded eggs)
Poly-vinyl neon thread (or brightly colored regular thread)
Small paint brushes
Glue sealant like Mod Podge in matte finish
(For the neon glitter eggs)
Glitter (we love Martha Stewart’s neon colors 12-pack)
Small paint brushes
Clear-drying liquid glue like tacky glue
(For the stenciled eggs)
Small paint brushes
(For the grass eggs – not shown)
Flat grass like wheat grass
Small paint brushes
(For the marbleing)
(For lace eggs – not shown)
All of the dyeing ingredients
What to do:
1.) Prep. Assemble all of your materials. Lay down newspaper over your work surface and have a lot of paper towels handy. Wear gloves if you don’t want to get your hands dirty or mess up your manicure. Wear clothes you won’t cry over if there’s a spill.
2.) Make a custom drying rack. The ones that come with the dye kits will leave rings or smudges. Take your Styrofoam board and draw lines horizontally and vertically every inch to make a grid of 1-inch squares. Where each line intersects, push in a pin. (See below.)
3.) Hard boil your eggs. You can blow them out if you want to save them for next year, but it’s a difficult process and it’ll make the eggs much more delicate to work with. Get more eggs than you think you’ll need since some will break. Let them cool completely and dry them off before dyeing. It might be a good idea to do this the day before.
4.) Prepare your dyes. The instructions will vary according to the mix and your desired level of intensity, but traditionally you’ll mix 1 color tablet with 3 tablespoons of vinegar in a shallow bowl until the tablet is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix gently with a plastic spoon. Transfer the color to one of the dyeing cups. For more pastel colors, use warm water instead of vinegar.
5.) Dye your eggs! Dip eggs in until you reach your desired color. The longer you leave it in, the more vivid your colors will be. Remember that they dry slightly darker. When you’ve reached a color you like, remove the egg and transfer it to the drying rack. Turn it every once in a while to remove drips and prevent color imperfections. Wait until it’s completely dry before you begin decorating.
6.) Decorate. Use any of the instructions below to decorate your eggs after they’ve dried.
IMPORTANT!: Set aside some eggs for the lace and marbelized effects. The instructions for those are further down on the page.
Threaded Easter Eggs
7.) Cut off a long length of neon thread (in a contrasting color that will pop). Use a paint brush to apply a small amount of Mod Podge and hold down the end of the strand of thread until it’s secure.
8.) Wrap the thread around the egg, securing with Mod Podge as you go. Don’t wipe off the ahdesive because it will take the dye color with it and you’ll be left with a white blotch. Mod Podge is a glue sealant so it will dry clear and can go over and underneath the thread.
9.) When you’ve reached the end of your thread, seal the other end with Mod Podge and let the egg dry.
Neon Glitter Easter Eggs
7.) Using a small paint brush and a clear-drying liquid glue, paint half of your egg with a very thin layer of glue.
8.) Immediately sprinkle your glitter over the wet glue and shake off the excess onto a plastic plate or bowl. Provided the excess glitter doesn’t get dirty, you can funnel it back into the container. (Tip: For best results, pick a glitter color that’s close to the color of the dyed egg.)
9.) Place the egg on the drying rack so that the glittered side is facing up and none of it is touching the pins.
10.) Once the glitter is dry, repeat steps 7 and 8 on the remaining unglittered half of the egg. Place it on the drying rack so the wet glitter is face-up. Let the egg dry completely.
7.) There are two ways to do this: use a vinyl, water-proof adhesive stencil before the eggs are dyed and remove it after they’ve dried. Or you can do what we did (which was easier but probably less impressive) and let the eggs dry completely, then paint on designs with stencils and acrylic paint.
8.) Pick a color which will show up against the color of the egg. Dip the brush in the paint and get rid of all the excess or it will glob onto the egg and become a mess.
9.) Hold the stencil securely in place over the egg and gingerly dab on the paint (don’t drag the brush across the surface). Quickly and carefully remove the stencil and let the egg dry on the rack.
7.) Take individual blades of wheat grass or flat grass and, using a small paint brush and either clear glue or Mod Podge, paint a thin coat on the side you’ll adhere to the egg.
8.) Place the base of the blade toward the bottom of the egg with the tip traveling up vertically. Paint over the blade with a thin coating of Mod Podge and hold in place for a few seconds until it adheres.
9.) Repeat these steps, moving around the egg until you’ve achieved your desired look. Place it on the rack to dry.
7.) Mix a custom color or use an existing dye to completely dye an egg and let it dry.
8.) While the egg is drying, mix a new batch of dye in a contrasting color that will show up well against the base color. Pour it into a wide, shallow bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it with a fork to make swirls in the oil.
9.) Immediately dip the egg into the mixture and slowly roll it around the bowl to pick up the streaks. Once you’ve achieved your desired level of color and streaking, remove the egg.
10.) Pat the egg dry with a paper towel and let it dry on the rack.
7.) Before dipping your egg into a dye, wrap it tightly in a scrap of lace and secure it with rubber bands. Leave a small scrap free so you can pull the egg out when it’s done.
8.) Dye as usual in any color, though darker colors seem to work better.
9.) Remove the lace by cutting the rubber bands and let the egg dry.