To Dye For: Herbs, Spices, and Other Food-Based ‘Art Supplies’

Want to skip the store-bought food dyes and powdered pellets for this year’s Easter egg dyeing?

Underneath this big, colorful photo that AllSpicer Anna shot for us, we’ve got the basic Easter egg dye recipe — along with some handy tips on making beautifully-colored eggs, using herbs, spices, and other food-based “art supplies.”


Coloring_Easter_EggsNatural Egg Dye – the basic recipe


1 quart water

2 Tbsp white vinegar (note: go to the grocery store and get cheap distilled vinegar for this project – save the really good vinegars for cooking things other than eggshells)

Dyeing agent (see a list of foods, plants, herbs and spices that make good dyes in this blog post)


Take a 3 quart or bigger pot (that you don’t mind getting “dyed” with your homemade coloring potions), and combine the water, white vinegar, and dyeing agent. Stir to combine – or to dissolve powdered ingredient, if using.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Remove from heat, and (depending on the size of the dyeing agent) strain dye mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into a large, stain-proof, heat-proof bowl.

Allow dye to cool before dipping hard-boiled eggs.  If you are dyeing eggs with a child, allow the dye to fully cool before egg-dipping.

Methods for your madness – handy egg-dyeing tips:

Rub undyed egg with fresh berries before dyeing for a subtly deeper color.

Allow eggs to soak in the colorful dye for 30+ minutes to achieve a richer, more colorful effect.

Gently wrap rubber bands around the egg before soaking / dipping in dye. Allow dye to dry before removing bands for maximum “tie-dye” effect.

pollack-convergenceDrip glue or rubber cement on eggs before dyeing for an “abstract expressionist” effect (like the Jackson Pollock painting at right). Allow dye to dry before rubbing off the adhesive.

You can achieve a “batik” effect by drawing on the egg with a white crayon before dyeing. The wax from the crayon will “resist” the dye and leave a pretty design.

Want to keep your dyed eggs forever? Don’t much like hard-boiled eggs? Go ahead and dip raw (unboiled) eggs. When you’re through dyeing, poke a hole in each end of the egg, and blow out the yolk and whites and discard.