07 April 2007

Tips for dyeing Easter eggs with toddlers

We've come to rely on Sara for sharing her best hacks on just about anything -- today, it's dyeing Easter eggs:

I just got finished dyeing Easter eggs with my almost-two-year-old, and we both had a blast! Here are some of my favorite Easter egg hacks:

  1. Instead of dealing with those awful punch-out circles in the dye box, dry your eggs sideways in the egg carton.
  2. Rubber bands around the eggs make nice stripes -- on plain eggs for a white & colored egg; or dye once, rubber band, and then dye again.
  3. Crayons of any sort can make wax resistance for writing names or making decorations.
  4. Buy both white and brown eggs for dyeing -- you'll have bright colors and natural looking colors with no extra work.
  5. Julia Child's recipe for boiling eggs is a lot of work, but they come out very well and are easy to peel.
  6. Don't worry about cracked eggs -- egg dye is food safe, so the worst that will happen is that some of the dye will color the whites. (Do eat the cracked ones first, though.)

Any more egg-dyeing hacks to share?

Use watercolors to decorate easter eggs
Veggie Booty as Easter basket "grass"


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Yes. Don't put the cup of red dye where your 2yr old can reach it and then get up from the table to answer the phone.

Don't ask me how I know that.


(Although I will say that washing and soaking immediately does actually get the stains out. Out of the clothes, out of the child, out of the seat cushions, out of the grout between the tiles of the kitchen floor.....)

Use plain old food dye in white vinegar and water (1:4) and you have an inexpensive and pretty awesome egg coloring mix. No need to get all those expensive dyes and kits.

The other benefit is that we don't have to worry about the red dye spilling -- our two year old spilled the red and we just wiped it up! Stains the eggs great, but comes out of the clothes and off the floor just fine.

We just did a big dyeing party and because we had 8+ preschoolers dyeing at once, I went with 'troughs' of dye instead of individual cups. You can see the idea here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sofoto/449003997/
They're just aluminium loaf pans 1/4 full of water & dye. One dye tablet will be plenty for the pan.

This way you can soak lots of eggs and there's less chance of the pan being spilled. Also, do the dyeing outside if at all possible! Concrete cleans up much easier than tile or wood (or *shudder* carpet).

I remembered another Easter egg hack last night. Growing up, we had friends who would *peel* the hard boiled and and then dye it. It works! They ususally used the dyed eggs for deviled eggs.

In general, I think that regular food coloring works way better than any of the kits. I usually double the dye and we get really vibrant bright colored eggs.

With my almost two year old I held him and then let him put the eggs in the dye. He did throw one into the cup, which made a big splash...thank goodness for the plastic table cloth I had spread and then covered with newspaper. I WISH we could have been outside, but 32 degrees is a little too cold to be dying eggs outside.

Wear a smock!! Okay, that's not really a hack, just common sense.

For lowering and removing the eggs from boiling water, we use a spaghetti server.

See photo here:

Our little geek is still too young for egg dyeing, but I'll definitely be investing in a plastic coated tablecloth for next year's festivities.

When I was a kid, my mother used to blow out the insides of the eggs, and we'd dye just the shells.

She took a wide pin and made a hole in the top of the egg, and a larger hole in the bottom of the egg. Then, she'd stick the pin inside and violently swish it around, to break the yolk.

Then we all blew out the insides of the eggs into a container, which was exciting and very satisfying. Also, sometimes we would get a head rush and fall off our chairs.

She'd use the egg insides to make omlettes, scrambled eggs, french toast, whatever. It's a lot easier to find recipes for a dozen eggs as it is to find recipes for a dozen hardboiled eggs. Looking back, I think we were too poor at the time to waste eggs!

You can dye the empty eggs like normal eggs, they just float for a few minutes until they fill with water and sink. You have to be more careful, of course, because they're more fragile.

But they're wonderful because you can keep them indefinitely, and they never get gross or stinky.

If you can get goose eggs, which are much larger, they can be fun too. I have two that were blown out by an adult and I dyed when I was a kid. They have been protected through the years and are displayed every Easter season. I might wait until next year to do that one with Fuller, because it involves a blown egg, but I want to do it.

does anyone have any suggstions for alternatives for a kid with egg allergy?


You could make felted eggs - you just need wool and a bit of soapy water. Little guys could do it with a bit of help. Do a search for "felted eggs" for directions.

If it is too late to find wool where you are, eggless egg cookies with icing would be a good alternative.

Pasting shaped paper onto plastic eggs would be fun, then hanging them up afterwards.

Making chalk in plastic eggs and drawing with it is cool - we've done that and it is something most toddlers could help with.

If your child can handle (hold) eggs but not eat them, at some point, Pysanky might be rewarding - Ukrainian egg decorating. Those cannot be eaten. I make Pysanky, and I would say that it would be easy to teach to the average 8- year old and up. It looks a lot more complicated than it really is.

My kid has an egg allergy so we got the plastic eggs and some easter stickers and used the stickers to decorate the plastic eggs.

Duane-Thanks for the laugh this morning! I'm going to watch my dye cups very carefully!

We also grew up blowing out the yolks and dying the shells. Scrambled eggs for breakfast and egg sandwich for lunch on those days. We weren't allowed to hide those eggs, they were just for the centerpiece that was placed on the table.

I saw on Pinterest a great idea for transfering eggs into the dye and out- use a whisk! Great idea and I'm going to do it this week.

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