Surprise crossed my face when, several years ago, my daughter informed me that Easter was her favorite holiday. “Really? Not Christmas?” I replied while thinking about all the years I attempted to create wonderful Christmas memories for my children. Holiday season after holiday season, colorful decorations covered every nook and cranny in our home and the scent of fresh pine mingled with the sweet smell of cookies baking. The Christmas holidays always sparkled with good times, love, and laughter. I listened while my daughter explained about her favorite holiday and soon my initial disappointment over perceived Christmas fantasies faded away. I hadn’t failed, after all. The good times, love and laughter I longed for my children to have, were not just restricted to one holiday. For my daughter, Easter brings the promise of spring, with its sense of renewal, fresh colors, and beautiful flowers. But it also brings back fond memories of silly egg dyeing experiments, crazy, competitive Easter egg hunts with her brothers, and much anticipated visits from her grandparents. She’s an adult now and home for only a brief visit, but I can still create good memories for her. She was childishly happy when I asked her, “Would you and your friends like to dye Easter eggs?” After gathering supplies, I let the three creative gals take over. Below are tips and techniques on creative egg dyeing from my daughter and her friends.
Hard boiled eggs
Box of assorted food colors
Electrical tape is great for cutting out shapes and sticking to an egg. Because it is so sticky, it can be used multiple times and is easily repositioned. Remember to gently smooth down all edges of the tape, so that dye does not seep under the tape and clean lines are formed. Plan ahead the sequence of colors you will be dipping – always start with a white egg or dye the egg the lightest color first. Let the egg dry between colors.
Smooth, adhesive, shelf paper, such as Contact Paper, acts like electrical tape by blocking out dye, but the advantage the shelf paper has is that it can be punched out into shapes. Using paper punches, punch out shapes from the adhesive shelf paper. Peel off the paper backing, place shapes on egg, and smooth edges down. Dye egg as desired. Bigger and simpler shapes punch out better than small intricate shapes. Some shapes may require additional trimming with scissors.
Wrap rubber bands tightly and securely around an egg. For more interesting and intricate designs, vary the width and number of rubber bands used. Dye the egg and let it dry. After drying, some of the bands can be removed and the egg can be dipped in another color.
Leaves and Nylons:
Select small leaves that can lie flat against the shell. Herb leaves and carrot leaves work well for this technique. Place leaf on an egg, being careful to spread and flatten all parts of the leaf. Cut out a piece of sheer pantyhose and wrap it around the egg. Twist stocking at the back of the egg and tie it tightly with a small rubber band or a piece of dental floss or string. Dye the egg. Let it dry completely before removing the stocking and the leaf. The nylon wrapped around the egg slows down the drying process.
1. The best way to hard boil eggs is to put eggs in a single layer in a pot and cover them with one to two inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for no more than a minute and then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let the eggs sit for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the number of eggs and the amount of water used. Drain water and run cold water over the eggs in the pot until they have cooled. Blot eggs dry before dyeing them.
2. Don’t rush the dyeing process and be sure to let the eggs dry between colors.
3. To avoid an egg from turning an ugly brown color, it helps to plan out the color sequence before dyeing each egg.
4. Keep hands clean to prevent dye transfer to other parts of the egg.
5. I lined a baking pan with paper towels and placed a cooling rack in it, to provide the eggs a place to dry.
6. Refrigerate completed eggs as soon as possible.
7. For another fun way to dye eggs, check out my post on Tie-Dyed Eggs.