Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How to Color Easter Eggs

Coloring Easter eggs is fun. The last few years my work schedule has been such that my wife and kids usually color eggs without me, though. Mostly they just get out crayons, paints, or magic markers or something.

I'm not going to let that happen this year. I'm going to make sure I sit down with my kids and color these Easter eggs properly. Getting messy with your kids is fun, even if it does mean having multi-colored fingers for a week.

Start with cold, hard boiled eggs. You don't want to get burned trying to dye a hot egg. It can be a good idea to wash the eggs before you boil them, too. Some commercial egg sources will coat the egg with an oil to help protect them, and it can interfere with the dye.

I prefer using white eggs, not brown, when coloring Easter eggs. The white shell gives brighter results.

Also make sure the eggs you choose are free from cracks. Nothing says "yuck" like a boiled egg with its whites hanging out.

Egg Coloring Dye

For each color combine:
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Food coloring (prefer the concentrated pastes)
Use old newspapers to cover your table, and old shirts or smocks to cover your kids. This can get messy.

Pour the hot water and vinegar into small cups. Make sure the cups are deep enough to hold both the water and the egg without overflowing. Add enough food coloring to get a very dark color. The dye needs to be several shades darker than the color you're going for.

Using your fingers, and a spoon, gently set the egg into the colored water mixture until it's the shade you want. The longer it sits, the darker it will get. Don't worry. If you take the egg out early, you can always put it back in the dye a little longer. I've heard you can leave them in the dye for as long as two hours, if you really want to.

Put the dyed eggs back into the boxes you bought them in and let them dry. It just occurred to me that a cooling rack, over the newspaper, might work better. Refrigerate the eggs if you want to eat them later.

If you want to get fancy, try holding in half of the egg at a time, in different colors of dye to create "bands" of color.

Another cool trick is to write messages or draw pictures on the eggs with different colored crayons before dying them. The wax in the crayon repels the dye and you can get some pretty cool effects.

The point of coloring Easter eggs is to have fun. Experiment! Who cares if they look awful later? You can always peel off the shell and devour the evidence.


Mark Hansen LDS music said...

Are the eggs in your pictures from a stock photo or from your own coloring. We used PAAS egg dyes, and they never turn out that vivid even if you leave them in for a long time.

I like to use the clear wax crayon that comes with the kits in a kind of "ukranian" approach. Clearly, I'm overthinking this. But, anyway...

I color a stripe on the white egg and dip it in the lightest color (usually yellow). Dry it off, and color another ring or pattern. Dip it into the next darkest dye. Keep doing that process of crayon and dye, getting progressively darker until your egg is done. It really looks cool!

John Newman said...

Oh, Mark, I wish those were mine. It's a stock photo, I must confess. ;^)

Actually I've gotten really good results, even with the PAAS dyes, just by leaving them in the dye for several minutes.