Easter Eggs Dyed Naturally
04.02.14 Easter Eggs Dyed Naturally
If you dye Easter eggs with your family, you may have wondered if there's an alternative (other than a DIY approach) to the ultra bright and toxic colors available via grocery store dye kits. Well, there is! Eco-Kids makes a fabulous natural egg coloring kit. We know there are folks who have great success making their own natural dyes from onion skins, beets, cabbage and blueberries but this kit is a GREAT go-to kit for those who prefer a little convenience while maintaining a safe, dependable and colorful outcome. The kit includes three natural dyes (orange, blue and purple), a color chart for creating 6 colors and instructions for coloring eggs. It's super easy to do with kids -- just involves mixing colors with warm water in separate bowls (we used these Duralex small bowls) and letting your eggs take a bath for either a short amount of time (yellow) or slightly longer for darker colors. And the handy metal egg picker-upper is provided too.
Consistent with all of Eco-Kids products, the dyes are made with natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts. Annatto seed, curcumin, purple sweet potato and red cabbage are used instead of synthetic petroleum based food dyes found in the conventional egg coloring kits. The colors are also gorgeous, just like you'd expect from natural plant and vegetable colors (think beet juice!). And more, you can skip the dizzying vinegar smell and when the natural dye inadvertantly seeps through the eggshells or is absorbed through fingertips, there's no worry! It is advised to avoid synthetic food dyes, most of which are derived from coal tar. This is especially important for kids who may be allergic or adversely affected by artificial food dyes.
There's still room to improvise and experiment with your kids. I wasn't surprised when asked, "What happens if I put the egg in all 3 colors?" It's fun for kids to find out (even though we know, as parents, all 3 colors = brown). We also like using beeswax crayons to create designs through a wax resist. With simple lines or dots, the wax allows the pattern to emerge after taking a natural dye bath.
Another way to make a resist is to use masking tape. Use an x-acto knife to cut out letters from the tape and press firmly against the egg. Make sure there are no air bubbles for the dye to sneak in underneath, if you want a crisp letter/design. When you take the egg out of the bath, gently peel away the letters to reveal a white or yellow letter. Hiding eggs personalized with initials from your kids name(s) could be a fun and festive egg hunt!
The Eco eggs coloring kit also comes with cute cut-outs to create eco-egg creatures. The packaging that surrounds the egg carton has printed drawings that you can cut out and create little creatures like a frog, peacock, bunny, duck and bumblebee. Try using Eco-paste to adhere the cut-outs to the egg. There are additional downloads for decorating creature eggs and a fun "how-to" video found here.
Do you have plans for coloring/decorating Easter Eggs? Or a special tradition you'd like to share?