Natural Egg Dye from Vegetables
Pile up carrots, artichokes, beets, red cabbage, and onions on your counter— but not for dinner—for dyeing eggs! Working with vegetable dyes is an easy and natural way to dye Easter eggs this year, and it doesn’t take more than an hour!
- Cooking pot, 1 for each color
- Plant materials 1–2 cups chopped or peeled
- White vinegar
- Large bowl
- Raw eggs
- Plate with towels to rest dyed eggs on
Basic dye bath principles:
A dye bath is a pot of liquid, mainly water, that contains a mixture of coloring materials (plants in our case) mixed with a fixative. Use a salt fixative when using berries with a ratio of 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups of cold water. Use a vinegar fixative when using plants with a ratio of 4 cups cold water to 1 cup white vinegar. Without these fixatives, there is less color intensity and staining effect on the eggs. Below is a list of plants you can use to get your desired color.
- Orange: Yellow Onions (dry skins), Carrots (orange roots), Butternut Squash (interior pulp)
- Pink: lavender (flowers)
- Blue/purple: violas (flower), cabbage (leaves), beets (roots)
- Green shades: artichokes (buds), spinach (leaves), black-eyed susan (flowers), broom corn (stems), red onion (dry skins), coneflower (flower), snapdragon (flowers)
- Yellow: sunflower (flowers), yellow onion (dry skins), marigolds (flowers), yellow coneflower (flowers)
- Brown: broom corn (seeds), hollyhock (petals)
- Gather the plant materials you need for the desired color. Use your judgement on quantities; the more you add, the more intense the color.
- Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil; continue boiling until you are happy with the intensity of the color.
- Strain the contents of the bath into a separate bowl to remove the solids.
- Return liquid to pot and bring to a boil.
- Boil eggs in color bath until fully cooked, about 10–15 minutes.
- Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place onto a towel-lined plate.
We’d love to see how creative you get with your vegetable dyed eggs! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.