Whipping up a custom dye from plants or common vegetables is an easy task. These homemade dyes aren't always as brilliant as those created from artificial ingredients but their deep earthy tones are unique and delightfully eye catching. Plus they're a great activity to keep your stay at home Easter fun and colorful without a trip to the store. Dipping the eggs in one color, letting it dry and then adding a second color often creates unique and fascinating patterns.
Using these methods will get you a wide variety of colors.
Dark Dyes of Purple and Indigo
Certain richer tones like reds, deep blues, and especially darker shades of indigo or getting purple in the garden can be more challenging. Concentrating or increasing the amount of material you use as well as increasing steeping and boiling times can give you different hues.
How to Get the Best Yellow
Onions: Pull off the outer brown skin of an onion and rip the skin in to smaller pieces. Add these pieces to a pan of water and bring to a boil. Check the water for the color and strength you want. Onion skins tend to make for an earthen yellow color which can become more of an orange shade color if you leave the skins in longer.
Chamomile: This common herb is useful for dyeing as well as in teas and sleep aids. In fact, if you don’t have access to fresh flowers, chamomile tea bags work well also. The more bags that are steeped in hot water, the deeper the yellow produced.
Fennel: All parts of the fennel plant may be used to create this earthy yellow dye. The flower tops are the best for color but experiment with other parts to see a variation in color.
Rudbeckia: Commonly known as Black-eyed Susans, the heads of this flower are a perfect natural dye for yellow and if you don't want to be wasteful in the garden and reuse all your garden scraps, the outer leaves of the plant will work to make a natural green dye. Rudbeckias like this are even helpful when they're not fresh, as using dried flowers will give you color as well.
Yellow marigold petals: Remove the petals from a yellow marigold flower. Place these in a pan with cool water. Bring the water to a boil to produce a lime yellow color. Watch the pot and notice how the color changes. Pull the water when you have the color that excites you.
Orange marigold petals: These petals will produce yellow dye.
Shades of Blue in Natural Dyes
Bachelor buttons: These common garden flowers produce a perfect cobalt blue dye. Collect and dry the flowers for use at Easter for later use. These flowers create a stunning blue for your eggs.
Blueberries : These berries produce a blue purple color. Rounding out the color wheel options available for your Easter egg choices.
Red cabbage: This cabbage commonly grown in the garden produces a blue purple color. Chop up the cabbage, add it to water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Boil it until you have the color you desire. Add on tablespoon of alum to help set the dye.
Raspberries: For a variation in the blues spectrum, add raspberries to hot water to create a pale lavender color. To create a deeper, darker color, keep the eggs in the dyed water longer.
Black Beans: Take black beans and soak them in water before you cook them. This water is your dye bath for your eggs. This light blue or light bluish purple color offers an option for your color wheel eggs choices.
Cranberries: This berry offers a surprise as it boils, creating a pale grey purple color. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the bath to help the color set to the eggs.
Easy Green Egg Dyes from Container Gardens
Mint: Mint has a very uplifting aroma which is delightful for your Easter decorations. Overwintering mint in pots allows for an early spring start. Chop the greens, and boil until you have the color you desire.
Spinach : A common salad green pulled from your early growing garden or acquired at the store is another idea for a green dye bath for your eggs. Chop a handful of greens, put them in a pot and boil.
Both spinach and mint are hardy plants that can grow indoors or in cold weather many areas are experiencing this Easter.
Beets: If your beets have overwintered, these are perfect for a dye bath. Add chopped beets to a pot, bring the water to boil, remove the beets and dye your eggs. These will be so dark, it is hard to dye other colors over them. Another option is to color your eggs with oil pastels and then dye them in the red water. Stenciling the eggs and dyeing them, leaves a beautiful imprint among a luscious deep color.
Red onion skins: These skins produce a gentler, and lighter red color. Remove the outer skins on the onion and chop it into small pieces. Put these chopped skins in cool water and bring the water to a boil. This rusty red color is a great earthy addition to the egg dyeing palette.
Berries: If you want to use fruits, crushed and boiled cranberries and raspberries make shades of red and pink.
Carrots: Overwintered carrots from your garden or use store bought ones. Add them to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Remove the carrots and add the eggs to the bath for a nice orange color.
Turmeric root or powder: For a strong golden orange, chop up turmeric root or add some turmeric powder to water. Boil, then add your eggs. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to help the color stay on the egg shells.
Mordants are substances that help a dye stay on the fabric or in this case eggs, longer. Easter egg dye kits often recommend you add apple cider vinegar to your color bath . The cider is not a mordant but it does change the pH of the water and helps the egg hold the color better. Some recommend before you dye the egg, wipe the egg with apple cider vinegar to remove the wax found on commercial eggs.
Enjoy dyeing eggs with your new earth colors this Easter!
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