Adventures in Dyeing Brown Eggs

March 31, 2017

Have you ever wondered about whether or not it's possible to dye brown eggs? We certainly have been! We don't have any small children around the farm, so our egg-dyeing careers have been a little stunted. As a result, we haven't tried dyeing eggs in the couple of years even though we've had chickens of our own. We decided to try a few different methods of dyeing- read on to find out more about how they went!


Before we got started with any of our dye options, we hard boiled our eggs. We put them in a pot then covered them with cold water (the water was about an inch over the tops of the eggs). Then we put them on the stove until the water started fully boiling, then turned down the heat and cooked them for about 10 minutes. If you are planning to eat your eggs, make sure you have eggs that are at least two weeks old to make for the easiest peeling.


If you are using fresher eggs, here is a tip from the lovely Jenny Bennett Herring (we haven't tried it ourselves, but we've heard it works well!): Steam them in a strainer over 1-2 inches of boiling water in a single layer for 15 minutes. Don't let the water boil over the eggs. Then either place in an ice bath if peeling immediately, or place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes if peeling later.


We tried two different types of dye: natural (made from spinach, beets, blueberries, and yellow onion skins) and artificial food coloring (what comes in most "normal" egg dye kits). We had success with each with the brown eggs!


Natural Dyes


The amount of success we had with these varied based on the main ingredient, but they were fun to try and we're definitely going to experiment more with them in the future!


What you will need:

  • Spinach

  • Beets

  • Blueberries

  • Yellow onion skins

  • Vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Various plants

  • Pantyhose 

  • Twist ties or rubber bands

For these eggs, we chose to decorate them using various plants from outside.

We used pantyhose to hold the plants in place on the eggs, and it ended up making some pretty cool designs! The plants that were most form fitting to the eggs made the best imprints. Here is a picture of them before we put them in the dye:

Spinach dye:


1. Put together a 6 ounce package of spinach, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 1/4 cup of water.

2. Boil for 5 minutes.

3. Simmer for 60 minutes.


We didn't have much luck with this one at all. By the time it was done on the stove, there was hardly any liquid left to dye even one egg in. We decided to just put an egg in the entire mixture, and this is what we got:

 In other words, not much of anything. Maybe one of you will have more luck with spinach! This was our alternative attempt to red cabbage or radicchio, which is supposed to make a beautiful blue color when made into a natural dye. We couldn't find it anywhere, unfortunately. 


Beet dye:


1. Put together 1 cup of cut up beets and the red parts of their stems with 1 cup of water.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Strain the mixture, then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of water.


This one turned out really well! It probably would've made an even prettier deep pink color if we'd left the eggs in the dye longer- Aaron was just too excited to see how they were turning out.



Blueberry dye:


1. Mix together 1 1/2 cups of blueberries, 2 1/4 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil. 

3. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Strain the mixture.


This one was also interesting. It made a neat color that wasn't quite what we expected:



Onion dye:


1. Mixed 1 cup of packed yellow onion skins (the flaky parts on the outside of the onion) with 1 cup of water.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4. Strain the mixture, then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.


This one might've actually turned out to be our favorite! It made a neat rust color.


Our review of the natural dyes:

Overall, this was a really fun experiment and it made some beautiful colors! We're looking forward to trying other fun dye ingredients. If you're planning to dye more than 4 or 5 eggs, you'll need to make a lot more of each type of dye. Each mixture only made enough to dye 1 egg.

Food Coloring


We tried two different methods with the food coloring- one was just the standard dye made from the directions on the box (boiled water and vinegar mixed with drops of food coloring then used to dip the eggs into) and the other was using the food coloring directly on the eggs without putting it into a mixture first. 


What you will need:

  • A box of standard food coloring

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Dropper (can usually be found in the medicine aisle near/in the eye and ear section)

  • Some form of paintbrush

For the first type, we just mixed the dye according to the directions on the food coloring box, then soaked the eggs in it for a minute or two. This went pretty well, and we didn't see any major differences between these eggs and any time we've used this method to dye white eggs. We were pretty happy with how they turned out!



For the second type, we used food coloring directly on the eggs. Here is the process we followed:


1. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to make it a pasty consistency. Paint that paste onto the eggs.













2. Drop food coloring directly onto the eggs.


3. Put a dropper full of vinegar over the food coloring on the egg. Watch it fizz! Repeat for more color.


4. Pat the egg dry with a paper towel.

5. Let it dry then display it or put it in the fridge (if you're planning to eat them).


That's it! Everything was pretty simple and made some fun and different designs! We definitely found that dyeing brown eggs works pretty well. What do you all do to decorate eggs? Have you ever tried dying brown eggs? Do you have any tips or tricks for us? We'd love to hear from you!




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