Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A whole other kind of tie dye...

One of the favorite Easter traditions in my house is dying eggs. Some of my earliest memories are sitting with my mom at the snazzy yellow kitchen table (weren't the 70s great?) with the "stinky water" dying eggs just before Easter. Evidence on my favorite color choices would be carried with me for days as the dyes wore off my skin.

Skip forward a few decades, I carried forth this tradition of putting dyes in little cups of vinegar water with my nieces, nephews, and my eldest daughter. It wasn't until I was faced with the potential mess that placing open cups filled with liquid designed to stain in front of my three 18-month-olds that I decided that *maybe* there was a method that would not give me anxiety just thinking about the potential damage. Let's just say the first year, we only had about 8 eggs that were completed with the traditional method before calling it quits.

Last year, I finally decided to give silk dying a try. Winner! The kids had fun, nothing was destroyed, AND I got to re-purpose some old silk ties and an old sheet! (If you don't have any old silk, you can find ties at goodwill for under $2 or so)

First, find some old 100% silk fabric.

Cut the silk into squares large enough to cover your egg -- 6" x 6" - 8" x 8" or so depending on the size of your egg. Tightly wrap the fabric around an uncooked egg or blown-out eggshell (printed side touching the shell) Secure it using a yarn, string, wire, twist ties -- whatever you have on hand (kick up a Green notch by using ones you've saved from your loaves of bread).

After your eggs are wrapped, you will need to wrap a second layer of white or light-colored fabric around the tie-wrapped egg and secure closed. An old sheet or pillow case works great.

(This is before they were wrapped in the white fabric)

Once covered, place them in a nonreactive pot, cover with cold water and 1/4 C of white vinegar*, and bring to a boil. After boiling for 20 minutes, place in a colander to cool. Once cooled, remove the fabric and see the magic inside!

*If you are using blown eggs, put a steamer basket or metal colander on top of the eggs so that they stay submersed without floating to the top.

If you want them to have a hint of shine, you can rub them lightly with vegetable oil. The above shot is fresh out of the wrapping without oil, but they still look cool. Click the photo to view larger, however, remember they were wrapped by three 3-year-olds and a 7-year-old. Tighter wrapping would have made for better coverage on a couple.

You can reuse the silk and white squares to dye your next batch, 3 or 4 times over!

The girls loved this so much -- and I did too when there wasn't a stain in the place!

I'm thinking of adding Fresh Cut Flower eggs or Earthy Marble Onion Peel Eggs ( to this year's adventure on Saturday. I just need to raid Jen's flower garden!

NOTE: Fabric dyes are not food-safe, eat the silk-dyed eggs at your own risk (Some of ours were eaten, and I know others have eaten them as well, but we do not advise this.)


  1. OMG thats so cool! I am going to try that with my nieces :D Thanks for sharing this.

  2. NEAT! I'm dying (ha, get it?) to try this right away... !!!

  3. wow, i had never heard of this technique before. gotta try it!