This week’s Thursday craft was on Saturday. For the past few years, just by chance, we have painted Easter Eggs on the Saturday of Easter weekend. Unplanned, it has kind of become a tradition. This year the change was that I was determined to use natural dyes. It took a lot more prep work on Mommy’s part but I think the eggs look much better, and there was a much bigger sense of achievement – well at least on my part.
The first thing I did was blow out all the eggs. Many people just use hard-boiled eggs but we like to keep ours. Every year I let the girls pick their favourite couple of eggs and we add them to our basket. Every year our basket grows a bit bigger and they can see how they progress throughout the years. It takes a little time, and a long of breath, to blow out the eggs but I feel it is definitely worth the effort. To blow out Easter eggs use a straight pin to make a hole in both ends of each egg. The bigger the holes the easier they are to blow out but you will then have bigger holes in your eggs. I like to save all the egg that I blew out and then we have omelets for lunch.
After you blow them out make sure to rinse them and let them dry overnight. Be careful when putting them back in to the egg carton. If there is residual egg they can stick to the carton and ruin all your hard work.
Next I had to prepare the dyes. Gord’s Grandmother use to dye Easter eggs all the time so I called her and asked her what she used. She told me to use onion skins, and she even helped by saving her’s for me for a week (she goes through a lot of onions). I also found a Martha Stewart website that outlines what to use for a variety of colours. We used onion skins for a browny/red, turmeric for yellow, beets for pink and red cabbage for purply/blue. I followed most of the direction on the website but modified slightly as I was using blown eggs and not hard-boiled eggs. All worked pretty well but I had trouble getting the turmeric to dissolve. Next year I am going to try boiling the turmeric in the water to see if it helps.
After everything was made up I assembled all our supplies on the table, which was covered in our craft drop sheet and place mats. We had our dyes, our eggs, spoons, pens, white crayons, and white vinegar with old baby face cloths.
Every child had to wear their paint shirt. Friends who live in Ottawa were in town so their daughter Anika joined us for egg decorating. The more the merrier – there was lots of dye to go around.
The first thing the kids had to do was clean their eggs. They used white vinegar and an old baby face cloth to gently wipe off the eggs. This creates a clean surface and allows the eggs to dye evenly. I put their first initial on the bottom of each of their eggs so they would know which ones were theirs. Then they each had a white crayon and they gently created any pattern they wanted on their egg. They key to this is being gentle enough not to break the egg but pushing hard enough to leave the wax pattern on the egg. Eileen needed some help from Mommy and Daddy and hers ended up being the clearest pattern once they were dyed.
Finally they dyed the eggs. I had four colours and they each had four eggs so they put one in each colour. We covered them with object to keep them submersed in the dye. If you do hard-boiled eggs you don’t have to worry about that because they easily sink. We left the eggs in the dye for approximately 20 minutes. Then we used the spoons to take them out and carefully place them on the egg carton.
Anika’s mom, Michelle, gave us a great suggestion to make marbled appearances on our eggs. We took a bit of each dye and put it in a jelly jar and added a small amount of vegetable oil. The girls also added a few more crayon marking to their dried eggs. We then added some of the eggs to the jelly jars. This created a cool marble effect. The best was the blue added to already yellow eggs. A cool appearance we will definitely play around with more next year.
Our final step was to add our eggs to our basket with the eggs from past years. It is really neat to see the progression year to year!
If anyone has any other suggestion on how to get great natural colours on your Easter eggs, comments are very much welcome! Also what are your suggestions for us to add to the designs of our eggs?