Thursday, April 5, 2012

Natural Egg Dye Experiments

All of these eggs used to be white!

I've been wanting to try natural dyes on easter eggs ever since I started experimenting with natural dyes this year.  It was more challenging than I thought it would be.  I thought eggs would be more readily dyed than goat hair because of their porous shells.  I got some wilcox free range vegetarian fed non organic but still too pricey white shelled eggs, hoping for the best.  I think they may come coated with something from the factory farms, or maybe it's the natural egg shell coating.  With the more subtle dyes, the surface of the egg pealed off. I would almost consider washing the eggs in a simple soap solution, or even wiping with a warm washcloth next time in order to ensure colorfastness in those colors.  The three dyestuffs that I knew would work...did.  They are: red onion skins, yellow onion skins and turmeric.  The rest I share for their potential if the surface were better prepared or the proper natural mordants introduced.  Happy experimenting!

Maia still has a bit of a cold in her eyes, but she's smiling
I had the girls gather mint.  When I had been dyeing silk, it had imparted a pretty light green.  
Unfortunately, the light green began to develop, then peel on the eggs.  When they were overdyed with synthetics later, they turned out pretty.  I put a few tablespoons of vinegar in the water with the eggs and mint as they boiled for the prescribed egg cooking time.  I think it may have worked better had I not been under the constraints of egg cooking time with some of these.
everyone has that jar of turmeric that's ten years old, right?


Turmeric made a brilliant yellow.  I put vinegar in the water with the eggs and 2 T turmeric and cooked for egg boiling time.  The orange is from onion skin juice..that would be a cool effect to purposely do...take a toothpick and draw with onion skin liquid...

I've been saving yellow onion skins because I KNOW for a fact they are good dye.  I have more and plan to use with goat fiber or alpaca fiber.  
No mordant needed.  Cook the eggs in the onion skins and they look like brown eggs!

Red onion skins.  I was expecting more from these.  I would experiment with them more on wool where there's more time.
The red onion skins gave a mottled stony brown look to the white egg shells after cooking them in the unmordanted skins.  This would be lovely on already brown eggs!

Red cabbage.  Oh, I had so much hope for you, but I ruined you by mixing mordants!  I ran out of pans and had divided the cabbage into two containers, mordanted with alum and vinegar.  Desperate to finish, I threw the two pans together and lost the really great effect I was getting with the alum mordanted cabbage...a deep blue! 
 I'm definitely trying this again!  It makes a mottled look and is very pretty.  The picture below is really the color of blue.  It was reflecting on the eggs.  Vinegar mordanted eggs are supposed to turn pink or purple, but again, the shell surfaces peeled...
Red currant flowers
We had saved some liquid from the red currant flowers last year, but i forgot that the good mordant for it was alum instead of vinegar.  We ended up with a really pretty gray, but what they actually will give is a beautiful pink if you use alum.  



1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are so much fun. I literally have NEVER EVER thought about natural dyes for Easter eggs. How much fun that looks!!!!!!

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