I’ll share my method for creating beautiful natural dyed Easter eggs with botanical prints below:
1 small purple cabbage
2-3 tablespoons of turmeric powder
a few handfuls of red onion skins
fress leaves and flower heads (if you want to eat the dyed eggs only use edible plants like daisy and dandelion fowers, nettle leaves and other herb leaves such as dill, parsley, yarrow)
2-3 spoons of vinegar
1 pair of thights, cut into smaller pieces
Dyeing the eggs
First i make hard boiled eggs by cooking them for 10-12 minutes. I put the eggs in a pot, cover them with cold water and add the vinegar to the cooking water. This will make the surface of the eggs porous and if you like, you can actually scrub them to a lighter colour after cooking.
While the eggs are cooking you can start preparing the dyes: cook the shredded cabbage in a pot with enough water to create the dye liquid but be careful not to boil it. Do the same for the onion skins but it is enough to just pour hot water on the turmeric powder, it doesn’t need to be boiled to yield an intense dye. When the dyes are ready, strain out the parts and keep just the clear liquid in the pots.
While the dye liquids are cooling a little you can prepare the botanical prints. This is the trickiest part of the process, it helps if you dampen the plant parts before smoothing them onto the eggs. After you’ve arranged the plants, tightly wrap the tights onto the egg, smoothing out any creases.
Before you tie, knot or bind the tights, make sure the plants haven’t moved from where you’d like them, it’s still possible to make corrections at this stage. Also make sure that the knot is not on the printed side of the egg to keep the surface nice and even.
When you have your eggs ready carefully place them in the still warm, strained dyes. The red cabbage will give blue, the turmeric yellow and the red onion skins a rust colour and the pattern under the plant parts will stay undyed. If you would like to mix colours to get green for example, leave the eggs in the blue dye for a few hours and then place it in the yellow for a little longer. I like to keep the eggs in the liquid overnight, carefully moving them occasionally so that the colouring is even. Make sure that the liquid completely covers the eggs.
When you are done with the colouring comes the best part: taking off the tights, peeling off the plants and revealing the pattern underneath! As a finishing touch it’s worth smoothing over the eggs with a little oil or grease to make the surface shiny and more vibrant.
My favourite pattern from this year’s dyeing came from a curry plant sprig (Helichrysum italicum) it is almost like a feather against the blue red cabbage background:
Have fun creating your own botanical eggs and I wish you a Happy Easter!