Lately my Facebook feed has been cluttered with zoomed-in, high-speed recipe videos. Chester is the cook in our family, and no close-up of raw chicken breast is going to convince this 25-year veteran of vegetarianism to change her ways, so I was excited last week when I started seeing more craft-oriented videos in place of recipes. One timely video I saw was a tutorial for dyeing eggs using flowers and leaves to resist the dye. And since my mom is the master of making vegetable dyes, Opal and I headed to across town to her house to try the technique.
We used inexpensive (and garishly dyed) grocery store flowers and their leaves. To attach them to the eggs, we cut up old nylons, wrapped them around the eggs, and secured them with twist ties. I found it worked best to cut a tube from the leg of the nylons and secure both ends, instead of using a flat square.
My mom made three dye baths, one with onion skins, one with beets, and one with purple cabbage. For the cabbage and beets, she cut them into small pieces, boiled them, and added about a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of dye. She then took them off the stove, and let them sit. Instead of buying a ton of onions, she asked the produce person at her grocery store if she could have the sloughed off skins.
Opal wanted these eggs to go on our Easter tree, so I blew them first using a bulb syringe (which is the nice name for the thing you use to get snot out of a baby’s nose). But because they were hollow, they floated on top of the dye bath instead of being submerged. To fix this I tied metal objects to the nylons to weigh the eggs down, like bottle openers and even a halibut fishing line weight.
For the onion skin bath we added the eggs as it was boiling. We left them in the dye for about 20 minutes or so, checking on them often to make sure they were still submerged. Then we fished each out and let them dry for a few minutes before peeling off the nylons.
For the beet and cabbage dyes, we submerged the eggs and then refrigerated them overnight.
Then came the best part, peeling off the nylons to see how the eggs turned out! I snipped the twist ties off, carefully removed the nylons and botanicals, and then patted the eggs dry with a paper towel. I love the way they turned out! The colors are surprisingly vibrant, and the detail on some of them is really striking.
I especially love the blue from the purple cabbage dye. I think the eggs look like sun prints.
To make them into ornaments for the Easter tree I threaded a long upholstery needle with thin ribbon and tied a knot and then a bow at the bottom.
I’m so glad we’ll get to enjoy these egg ornaments for years to come. Big shout out to my mom for lending us her expertise, and for doing the really messy parts! If you’re interested, the video tutorial that inspired this project is up on our Facebook page.
Have a great week!