In ancient times, eggs were an important symbol of rebirth during the spring equinox festival and were dyed in the petals and leaves of colorful flowers.
Today, you can purchase a variety of Easter egg dye kits, such as pastel, neon, marble and glitter.
But for a more natural look to Easter eggs that is reminiscent of days gone by, consider dyeing them with everyday kitchen ingredients.
For the eggs pictured here, we made three dyes—one from yellow onion skins, one from fresh cranberries and one from strong brewed coffee. (See the directions for making these natural egg dyes on the opposite page.)
Before you begin, you'll need hard-cooked eggs that are completely dry and room temperature.
For each color of dye, find a container that won't get stained or that you can discard when finished. Make sure it is big enough to completely submerge an egg or several eggs.
Place an egg in the container. Pour dye over the egg, covering completely. Refrigerate until the desired color is achieved. (The longer the egg sits in the dye, the darker the color.) Remove the egg and let dry; refrigerate.
Decorated eggs can be displayed in egg cups or simply set on the table. You can also make a nest egg centerpiece (as in the photo above) by placing the dyed eggs on an excelsior-lined grapevine wreath.
Don't eat hard-cooked eggs that have stood at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you plan on displaying eggs, it's best to cook extra eggs for eating.
Making Natural Egg Dyes
Onion Skin Dye
To make dye from yellow onion skins, place several skins in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil; let cool and discard skins. Based on the number of onion skins used and the amount of time the eggs soak, you'll get warm tones that can range from gold to a rich terra cotta.
Brewed Coffee Dye
Simply brew a pot of strong coffee and cool. The color can range from a light speckled tan to a more solid dark tan depending on how strong the coffee is and how long the egg soaks.
To make a dye from fresh cranberries, boil 4 cups cranberries in 2 cups cold water until the berries burst. Let cool. Drain the mixture, saving the liquid and discarding the cranberries. To create a light blue-toned egg, soak for only a short time. We found that soaking an egg longer results in a dark gray color.