Easter is a season of traditions: egg hunts, baskets filled with candy and stuffed animal bunnies. In my house, it wouldn’t be Easter without lots of hard-boiled eggs in a rainbow of colors. Part-science project, part-craft activity, this tutorial gives everyone a reason to start a new spring family tradition!
For a rustic collection of colorful eggs, I love to make homemade Easter egg dye. This is such a fun science project for kids to enjoy throughout the Easter season. It takes longer to dye eggs with natural homemade dye, but it’s a good opportunity for families to slow down and spend time together during this festive time of year.
For a fun, interactive and educational project, here are some questions for parents and children to consider before getting started:
- What color do you think each of these ingredients will make the eggs: red cabbage, red onion, beets, and yellow onion? Even though the cabbage, red onion, and beets are similar in color, they actually yield three different colors when they’re turned into dye.
- Will brown eggs and white eggs yield different results with each dye?
- Why do we need vinegar to make Easter egg dye?
How to Make Homemade Easter Egg Dye
Homemade Easter egg dye is made by boiling vegetables in water and then adding vinegar. The acid in the vinegar helps the dye attach to the eggs. Once the dyes are prepared, hard-boiled eggs are then soaked in the dye for several hours to let the colors become more vibrant.
Each vegetable is placed in a pot with 4 cups of water and boiled for about 15 minutes.
After the vegetables are cooked, some of the natural color in the vegetables seeps into the cooking water.
Beets, red cabbage, red onions, and yellow onions each yield a different color dye. (See above.)
Hard-boiled eggs are soaked overnight in a mixture of dye and vinegar to yield brightly-colored eggs.
Red Cabbage Dye: The red cabbage is responsible for the beautiful blue eggs in the bottom row of the egg crate above. These were white eggs soaked in the cabbage dye. The dark green eggs on the left side were brown eggs soaked in the same dye. As you can see, the original egg color makes a huge difference here!
Yellow Onion Dye: The yellow onion skins yielded the bright orange eggs in the middle of the egg crate. I only used white eggs with this dye because it makes such a pretty shade of orange.
Red Onion Dye: The red onion skins made the maroon eggs in the top row. The white eggs are slightly lighter than the brown one, but both came out looking great.
Beet Dye: The one dye that didn’t work well for me this time around was the beet mixture. My store didn’t have any fresh beets, so I bought packaged salad beets instead. The resulting dye had a tint that was more brown than red, resulting in the tan egg seen in the bottom right corner of the crate above. Lesson learned. Use fresh, uncooked beets for the best pink eggs!
Try this fun science experiment with your family during the Easter season. Every batch comes out a little differently based on the shades of color in each unique vegetable. Who knows? This may become your family’s new favorite Easter tradition!