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Make your own plant-based egg dyes

Egg dyeing is a tradition that has been passed down through the ages from all corners of the world. The tradition continues today with one major difference: the widespread use of synthetic rather than natural dyes. But it’s fairly easy to make natural, plant-based dyes from scratch. They can be excellent alternatives to store-bought dyes and make use of vegetables and other products you may already have in your kitchen.

Below are simple instructions—in text and in a colorful Prezi presentation—for making dyes that will turn eggs pink, orange, yellow, blue and purple using only spices, fruits and vegetables, plus some vinegar and water.

Prepare the eggs: Start with hard-boiled eggs washed with warm soapy water to remove any residue. Let the eggs cool.

COLD DYES

Pink dye: Mix 1 cup strained juice from canned beets, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for 1/2 hour.

Purple dye: Mix 1 cup purple grape juice, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for 1/2 hour.

BOILED DYES

Orange dye: Mix 1 cup yellow onion skin, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature and strain out the onion skins. Then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

Yellow dye: Mix 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature and strain out stray turmeric grains. Add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

Blue dye: Mix 1 cup red cabbage leaves, torn and loosely packed, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature and strain out the cabbage leaves. Add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of these instructions.

If you were able to use these technique to dye your eggs, we hope you will let us know! Please post photos to the CALS Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/UWMadisonCALS.

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