Make your own non-toxic natural Easter egg dyes!
Easter is probably my favorite holiday! Warm weather is close at hand, the flowers are starting to bloom, and I get to spend lots of precious time with family. Coloring Easter eggs is a fun tradition that my daughter and I look forward to – but ever since I got into health and wellness, I’ve wondered if those commercial egg dyes are really all that great for her. So this year we decided to try making our own non-toxic and natural Easter egg dyes from FOOD!
Why Make Non-toxic Natural Easter Egg Dyes?
From one mom to another, I’m going to level with you: making your own natural Easter egg dyes is a major project. It is NOT convenient or quick, won’t save you any money, and it’s messy. I mean, it’s pretty hard to beat the convenience, cost, and simplicity of a $1 egg coloring kit from the drug store!
Problem is…what you get in return for that convenience is a boatload of chemicals that our kids (and we) probably should not be touching or ingesting. The typical egg coloring kit contains the following artificial dyes:
FD&C Yellow #5 and #6: linked to allergies, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches.
FD&C Blue #1 and #2: linked to hyperactivity, behavior problems in children, headaches, anxiety, and fatigue.
FD&C Red #3: linked to thyroid dysfunction and behavioral problems in children.
Our kids are already being exposed to hundreds of chemicals daily. They’re everywhere – in our skin care products, clothes, furniture, food, water, and air. Toxins affect everyone’s health, but infants and kids are especially vulnerable because their little bodies are still developing and less able to detoxify.
The key is to reduce exposure in any way that you can…and one way is to use natural dyes and colorings in cooking, baking, and craft projects! (For more tips on reducing toxins and chemicals in your home, check out this post.)
On a lighter note, making your own non-toxic natural Easter egg dyes teaches kids a little about nature, a little about history (this is how our great great grandparents dyed everything from Easter eggs to clothing!), and is just plain FUN!
How To Make Non-toxic Natural Easter Egg Dyes
This became a pretty big (but fun) project for us! There are about 3,000 articles online on how to make your own Easter egg dyes. I tested 9 different make-at-home egg dyes. Some of them turned out better than others…and a few were complete duds.
The following instructions will teach you how to make six natural dye colors that we found yielded the prettiest and brightest egg colors. If this is your first time making natural Easter egg dyes, I highly recommend only choosing one or two colors to start. That way you won’t get overwhelmed!
The Natural Easter Egg Dye Color Code
Beets = pink eggs
Turmeric = yellow eggs
Purple cabbage = robin-egg blue eggs (yes, purple cabbage turns eggs blue…who knew?!?)
Blueberries = gorgeous purple/deep blue eggs!
Chili powder = orange eggs
Red wine = deep brown/red eggs
Grape juice = pink/purple eggs – DUD!
Spirulina powder = green eggs – DUD!
Raspberry zinger tea = red eggs – DUD!
Step-by-step instructions for making natural Easter egg dyes
What you’ll need: Stove-safe pots, water, white vinegar, mesh strainer, spoons, bowls or quart-size large-mouth mason jars, old towels, drying rack or extra egg cartons, olive or vegetable oil (optional, for adding shine), white eggs, dye matter (depending on how many colors you plan to make you may need: beets, turmeric, purple cabbage, blueberries, red wine, grape juice, chili powder).
Step 1: Hard boil the eggs (here’s how to hard boil eggs to perfection every time), and then let them cool. Rub them gently with a towel to remove the natural oils from the egg surface so that the colors adhere better.
Step 2: Prep your ingredients.
- For the pink dye, add two cups of grated beets and 2 cups of water to a stove-safe pot.
- For the yellow dye, add 2 tablespoons of turmeric and 2 cups of water to a stove-safe pot.
- For the blue dye, add 2 cups shredded purple cabbage and enough water to cover the cabbage by 1 inch to a stove-safe pot.
- For the purple dye, add 2 cups smashed blueberries and 2 cups water to a stove-safe pot.
- For the orange dye, add 2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder and 2 cups water to a stove-safe pot.
- For the deep brown dye (this is the easy one…if you don’t mind wasting half a bottle of wine), add enough red wine to mason jar to cover the eggs and let them soak overnight – no boiling or vinegar required!
Step 3: Make the dyes.
- Bring each pot to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn all burners off and allow dyes to come to room temperature. (Takes several hours.)
- Pour your dye through a mesh strainer (to strain out the food solids) into the bowls or mason jars.
- Add roughly 1 tablespoon of vinegar for each cup of dye liquid.
- At this point you can refrigerate and save the dye for later use, or you can go ahead and move onto Step 4!
Step 4: Dye the eggs
- Add hard boiled eggs to the cooled natural Easter egg dyes and place in the fridge until desired color is reached.
- I have found that the eggs are best left in the dyes for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can also dip them in the dyes, leave them for a few minutes, take them out, let them dry, and then dunk them again. Do this as many times as you wish until the desired color is reached.
- For deeper hues, you can leave the eggs in the colors (in the fridge), and let them infuse overnight.
Step 5: Get them ready for display!
- When the eggs reach the desired color, use a spoon to gently remove them from the dye and place on a drying rack or upside-down egg carton.
- Once dry you can take the optional step of adding shine by rubbing them with the oil.
Step 6: Just buy one of the natural Easter egg dye kits
Testing all these egg colors was really fun for my daughter and I, but would we do it again? I think we would…if it weren’t for my master-procrastinator habits (when I don’t have a blog post to write, I usually wait until the night before Easter to color eggs).
As I mentioned above, making natural Easter egg dyes is not the easy way to do things and it’s a process that takes quite a bit of time and planning! It’s a great project for older kids who have a longer attention span. But the younger set – ones, twos, and threes – may lose interest because they don’t get the instant gratification of eggs that are ready to color right now.
But don’t despair if you’re short on time or if your kids are just too young to appreciate the process…you can still protect your kiddos from the chemicals by purchasing a natural egg coloring kit like this one, and be done with it!
Non-toxic natural Easter egg dyes yield eggs that are safer to handle and eat!
If you’ve ever dyed eggs or peeled and eaten one, you know the dye ends up all over your fingers and sometimes is even inside the egg. That means you may be eating the dye and absorbing it through the skin! At least with these natural dyes, you don’t have to worry about toxins!
And what to do with all those leftover hard boiled eggs after Easter? If you don’t love eating hard boiled eggs straight up, head over to Kelly Bailey’s wellness blog for a healthy egg salad on cucumber rounds recipe!
Natural Easter Egg Dyes FAQ
Can I use brown eggs? Yes! But be aware that the colors may come out different! For example, the red cabbage will turn white eggs blue, but will turn brown eggs green. Have fun experimenting!
Are the eggs safe to eat? Yes…much safer than the ones colored with the synthetic chemical-filled dyes sold in most drug stores! Just make sure you store the eggs properly (in the fridge), and use them within a week or so.
Will they taste weird? No. They’ll taste like normal hardboiled eggs. If you need a recipe for using all these eggs after Easter, check out this one!
Will these natural Easter egg dyes stain my clothes? Yes, they will! Don’t wear your Sunday best while making these dyes and coloring eggs!
Do any of the natural dyes NOT require stove time? The red wine required no white vinegar or stove time. Just add the eggs directly to the liquid and let them sit!
Which dyes were easiest to make? The turmeric and chili powder were probably the easiest because there was no initial prep involved (i.e. cutting/grating vegetables).
Which dyes created the brightest colors? The turmeric, beets, and blueberries were hands down the best and brightest colors. The eggs also needed less time sitting in these dyes to get nice color. The red cabbage also produced wonderful color, but the eggs had to sit in the dye for a significantly longer period of time.
How long should the eggs sit in the dye? It seemed to depend on the dye. As mentioned above, the beet, blueberry, and turmeric dyes were very strong and yielded nice color in as little as 10 minutes. We had to leave the eggs overnight in most of the other dyes.
Can any of the steps be done ahead of time? Yes! Steps 1-3 can be done ahead. Once the dyes are made and cooled, you can store them in the fridge for a week or more and color eggs to your heart’s content!
Will the eggs from natural dyes look the same as the ones from a standard egg coloring kit? No. We found that the eggs that came out of the natural dyes had a much more matte finish and “rustic” color, and tended to have more variations and “blemishes”…which we actually loved! Every egg was a little different!
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to post them below. And if you decide to make your own natural Easter egg dyes, please share your experience with AkronOhioMoms.com and tag us @akronohiomoms on Facebook and Instagram!
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