Easter egg dying is a spring time given in our home. Like pumpkin carving or gingerbread houses, it’s a tradition that has passed down through the generations. Growing up – and then when my kids were younger – dying eggs meant purchasing a PAAS kit and getting down to business.
As time progressed, and kids got older, we itched to do something different and new. That urge spawned all kinds of experimentation and research so we could create eggs that went beyond the water, vinegar and food coloring.
Beyond Food Coloring and Into the Eggs-Traodrinary
Here are some of our favorite techniques for creating dyed eggs that can become serious works of art.
Blown or hardboiled?
For years and years, I followed in the footsteps of my mother, hard-boiling dozens of eggs for egg dying day. This yields dozens of hardboiled eggs that are eventually eaten as snacks, in salads, and as egg salad sandwiches.
Then, I wised up. Blowing eggs yields permanent fixtures that can be boxed up carefully and displayed year after year. So, I highly recommend blowing a good third or half of your eggs (using the blown contents for scrambled eggs, frittatas and quiches. If sealed well, they will remain fresh in the fridge for up to a week or more) and then hard-boiling the others.
Use Colorful Permanent Markers
If you want to keep things simple, but different, start with permanent markers. Our favorites are Sharpie because you can get lots of them for a reasonable price (don’t forget the gold and silver) and they come in both medium, fine and ultra-fine points so artists can get as intricate as they want to.
We also have a tradition of personalizing dyed eggs for each member of the family, and the extended family if we’re going to see them for Easter brunch or a household egg hunt, and this is much easier with Sharpies than with clear wax crayons! To make it more artistic, we’ll cleverly weave their names into our artwork.
Glue and glitter or confetti
Some kids (and adults) are crazy for glitter and eggs are a perfect medium for it. While you can dye eggs first if you want, this is also a simple way to skip all that and use your white (or brown, or Arcana green) eggs au naturel. With a little glue stick or glue tape (traditional craft glue can be too messy if you’re trying to glitter designs, rather than the entire egg), and baggies of different colored glitter (confetti creates a fun effect too), you can make beautiful eggs with all kinds of different looks.
Have tweens? Purchase sheets of temporary tattoos and let them go to town (plan on having a temporary tattooed child after this one since it’s hard to resist). The eggs look fantastic and the motifs can vary from princess to hardcore rocker, which lends itself to all kinds of personal expression. If the tattoos don’t adhere perfectly, that’s just fine – it adds a retro, distressed look.
Twine or colored string
You can use hemp or natural fiber twine for a country or rustic look, or you can purchase baker’s twine in all kinds of colors or striped patterns. Use craft glue on a third of the egg at a time (I have found it best to move from the wide end to the narrow end of the egg), and carefully wind the twine around the egg. If you want to switch colors, simply cut the end of the twine you’re using and press it down into the glue, then start the new color by overlapping the end just a bit over the finished one. When you get to the top of the egg, dab another dot of glue at the tip of the string end and press gently to prevent the string from fraying or unraveling.
You can use colored or patterned washi tape by the strip, or you can cut them into geometric pieces to create a mosaic. You can even cut out hearts, stars, flowers and other shapes and mix washi tape décor with the marker, dye or other decorating methods for a mixed-media effect.
Modge Podge and anything
Modge Podge and anything (rhinestones, glitter, magazine cutouts, pressed flowers, etc.) will result in awesome eggs. If you’re going to go through all the trouble, use this idea on your blown eggs so the results are permanent and you can put them on display in your home next year, and the next.
Egg decorating is a wonderful bonding ritual and a fun way to get the creative juices flowing no matter what age you are. Have you and your family come up with eggs-traordinary designs?