With Easter just around the corner, department stores, dollar stores, and even specialty shops are restocking shelves with familiar packages of egg coloring kits. PAAS may be the most familiar name associated with egg dyeing. A typical kit includes six dye tablets, a dipper, and accessories such as glitter or stickers. Both pastel and bold neon egg dye colors are available.
Colors Galore offers vinegar-free dyes and a process that might be a little less messy. Two or three drops of dye are squirted in a plastic bag and then the egg is simply rolled around in the bag until a marbleized effect is created. For those looking for something a little more sophisticated, Eastern Unlimited sells the 24 Karat Easter Egg Kit, which contains two packets of gold glaze and three dyes: red, blue and yellow.
Health conscious folks may prefer organic egg dyes and natural food colors. For example, simmering an egg in a water-vinegar bath with cranberries or raw beets produces varying intensities of pink. Blueberries create blue eggs, the most popular of the egg dye colors. Yellow onion skins will give a yellow hue; coffee or tea dyes eggs brown or beige; and red onions can create a jade green dye. While all of the colors appear somewhat muted, the egg shells are totally harmless to those who may be allergic to commercial dyes.
Tie-dyed eggs are a fun and easy option for the 60’s crowd. By simply wrapping rubber bands around the eggs before dipping and then rearranging the bands to repeat the process, unique and colorful tie-designs will be decorative and appealing. Instead of rubber bands, parents can add variety by adding a little vegetable oil to the dye mix. A lovely swirled effect is created when the eggs are dipped, patted dry, and then dipped again as many times as desired.
Glitter for egg dyeing can be purchased in egg dye kits or at a craft store. Cooked eggs are dyed a solid color, allowed to dry, coated in craft glue and then rolled in glitter. Children love this process and the results, but parents can expect to find glitter everywhere before the activity is complete. For a little more sparkle or bling, try gluing on flat-sided “jewels” and outlining with silver or gold glitter glue.
Young children will also enjoy coloring their eggs with crayons, but for this to work well, the boiled eggs should be still slightly warm so that the crayon wax melts slightly. A technique called reverse crayons involves coloring warm eggs with just white crayons. It might not look like much to start with, but when the colored egg is dipped in a dye mix, the resulting pattern is unique and colorful.
Dyeing Easter eggs together can be a great, affordable family tradition. It encourages creativity and team work, and if cared for properly, the eggs may still be edible. However, if this seems like too much work and mess, you can always purchase plastic eggs and stuff them with special treats.
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