Dyeing Easter Eggs With Natural Dyes

Create Custom, Natural Easter Egg Designs Using Produce & Spices from Your Kitchen

by Patricia Lehnhardt

Dyeing Easter eggs with natural dye sources from the pantry and root cellar results in eggs that are beautiful in their earthiness and charm and peace of mind that the eggs are safe to eat.

The patterns for dyeing Easter eggs presented here were created with natural dyes and using a resist print using herb leaves, rubber bands and wax.

Dyeing Easter Eggs  Materials For Different Colors

  • Red cabbage: blue
  • Onion skins: orange or deep rust
  • Beets: pink
  • Coffee: beige
  • Turmeric: yellow
  • Paprika: muddy rose

Other Materials

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar per dye bath to help set the color
  • soy wax
  • various-sized craft brushes
  • small tin for melting wax
  • rubber bands (various widths)
  • fresh herbs
  • tulle
  • string

Step 1: Cook the Eggs

Place the eggs in a single layer in a large pot. Cover with cool water by 1 inch, and bring to a rolling boil.

Turn off the heat and leave covered for 12 minutes.

Drain the water and fill the pot with cold water to cool the eggs as quickly as possible. When cool, refrigerate until ready to dye.

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Step 2: Make the Dye Baths


Cabbage, Onion Skins & Beets

Thinly slice red cabbage, crush onion skins and grate beets.

Place one cup of your chosen ingredient with one cup of water in a medium saucepan. Do this with each ingredient separately to make three separate natural dyes.

Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pot.

Strain into a glass, pressing on the material to extract as much dye as possible. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to each of your natural dyes. Cover and refrigerate.


Make a very strong cup of coffee. Cool. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar. Cover and refrigerate.

Turmeric & Paprika

Mix one tablespoon of ground turmeric or paprika with one cup of boiling water. Stir to saturate the powder. Let steep for 30 minutes and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to each dye bath. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 3: Gather Resist Materials



Soy wax is available at the craft store. Beeswax is also a good option because it melts at a lower temperature and is easier to remove from the egg.

Melt in a small tin. Aluminum mini pie tins and washed-out tunas are perfect. Set the tin in a skillet of simmering water, creating a double boiler to melt the wax into liquid form. Stay close, as you don’t want to overheat it.

Use small craft brushes to make lines, circles and dots on both white eggs and eggs that have already been dyed. Applying wax will preserve the color you cover.

You can repeat the waxing and coloring to produce several colors on an egg, going from light to dark to make a checkered egg using first white natural egg, then turmeric, then cabbage, then onion skin. (Be careful because the turmeric yellow can get a bit lost in the process.)

When the wax is cool, lower the egg into the dye bath. Cover and refrigerate for two to 24 hours. The longer the soak, the darker the color.

When the egg has achieved the color you desire, chip off as much wax as you can with a fingernail, then rinse under hot tap water, rubbing with your hands to remove the remaining wax.

Rubber Bands

Stretch the rubber bands around the eggs in various positions. Lower them into the dye bath and let them soak, covered and refrigerated, long enough to achieve the desired color. Pat dry on paper towels, then remove the bands to reveal the pattern.


Cut fresh sprigs of herb leaves (parsley, thyme and rosemary were used here) and lay them on an 8-inch square of tulle. Lay the egg on top and gather up the sides so the herbs are in close contact with the egg. Twist until tight, and tie with a string.

Lower into the dye bath and let sit in the refrigerator for several hours to get a rich color. Remove the netting and herbs, pat dry on paper towels and admire.

Step 4: Eat Your Eggs

To eat the resulting eggs, be sure to refrigerate them at all stages and not keep them out for more than a few minutes while making the patterns.

If you are not patterning your eggs, you can cook them directly in the dye bath.

Display your dyed Easter eggs in a basket or wooden bowl on the breakfast table and enjoy with your meal, or use them to make recipes such as deviled eggs.

This article was written for Hobby Farms magazine online. Click here to subscribe.

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