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Naturally Dyed Eggs

by Karyn Maier

Coloring eggs this weekend? Reach into your herb cupboard, spice cabinet and veggie bin for sources of beautiful, natural dyes.

For an extra special touch, give your dyes eggs patterns designed by nature (see photo). There are two easy ways to do this. You can attach a leaf or flower to the egg with a bit of melted wax from a small candle (like a birthday cake candle) before placing in the dye bath. Or, you can position a flower, a sprig of fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley, etc., on the egg and then wrap it with old (but clean) pantyhose and tie off at the end, and then place the egg in the dye bath.

Keep in mind that coloring eggs this way is a project that takes time and requires a tolerance for making a mess -- but it’s also a study in itself and plain fun, so get the kids involved! Also, the color results are more subdued than what artificial dyes render. So plan to let the eggs rest in their respective dye baths for several hours or overnight if more intense color is desired.

For each dye color, combine 2 cups boiling water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 4-5 tablespoons of spice, herb or veggie. See below for a list of possible colors.

Dye Colors from Nature

Brown/Rust – Cinnamon, Coffee Grounds, Black Tea

Gold/Yellow – Turmeric, Curry Powder, Yellow Onion Skins, Chamomile Flowers, Carrot Tops

Green – Spinach Powder, Spirulina, Coltsfoot

Blue – Woad, Chopped Red Cabbage

Pink/Red – Beetroot Powder, Rosehips Powder, Alkanet Root Powder, Chopped Beets, Madder

Orange – Chili Powder, Annatto Powder

Purple/Lavender – Blueberries, Hibiscus Flowers

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