As of tomorrow you have four delicious days to relax with your kids in the warm spring sun. Yes, four whole days of children, snoozing, eating and relaxing. Or is it relaxing? One thing many parents (and kids!) struggle with is finding things to do so that parents don’t have to do too much and kids don’t get bored.
How about creating your very own egg dyes using ingredients from your home, inventing brand new colours and learning something at the same time? These dyes can also be used for boiled eggs that you have made for salads or Easter snacks as they are entirely natural.
Boiling, blowing, sucking, dying, painting and decorating eggs is a huge part of the Easter feast and tradition. Emptying out the contents of eggs and then rinsing and painting them is a great way of keeping busy and having fun. Plus you can either use eggs past their sell-by date (there are always some lurking in the fridge) or keep the yolks of your eggs to make delicious Easter recipes.
If you need advice on how to blow out an egg visit this WikiHow page which details everything you need to know.
Once you’ve emptied your eggs it is time to create your very own natural Easter egg dyes using items from your kitchen and your garden. This is a project that should fascinate both you and the kids, and it will save money.
Ok, so different plants and foods will produce different colours and canned goods will deliver paler colours than fresh ones. Here are some of my favourite recipes for creating your own dyes.
You’ll need vinegar as a basic ingredient as this helps to catalyse the whole thing, you will also need a deep container, water, and the ingredients listed below. Once you have added your eggs to your dye, the length of time you leave them in the fridge will determine the depth of their colour. If you want a light colour, leave them for less time, for a richer colour, leave them in overnight.
To get a light purple colour you will need some purple grape juice or red wine. Pop your eggs into the container and fill it with water until three quarters of the way up the egg. Add in the red wine or grape juice to make up the difference and then one teaspoon of vinegar per cup of liquid added.
For a deep, rich purple don’t add any water at all, just pop the eggs into the red wine, ensure they are covered and that you have added the requisite amount of vinegar, and then leave in the fridge until you are happy.
This one is fabulously easy. Just nab the coffee grains from that mouldering tin of coffee that fell down the back of the shelf and you have yourself a brown dye that will look utterly fabulous. Oh, and another great idea is to draw on the eggs with crayons before you dye them! This results in some rather spectacular designs once they have been soaked in the dye.
Other colours include:
Blue: Blueberries (canned or fresh), boiled red cabbage leaves
Green: Boiled spinach leaves
Pink: Red grape juice, cranberry juice (or fresh cranberries), beets (canned or juiced)
Red: Boiled red onion skins, raspberries (juiced or fresh)
Yellow: Boil some ground cumin in water, strain it, pour over the eggs. Do the same with turmeric, chamomile tea or green tea.
None of these colours are set in stone, of course. You can experiment with all sorts of different household items that you happen to have on hand. Try out other spices with strong colours and vary the amounts of water you use to boil them in. It can be quite a lot of fun inventing your own palette at home.
You don’t necessarily have to put your egg and dye mixtures into the fridge to soak, you can easily leave them on a sideboard so everyone can peek at them and see how the colours are changing. If you want to add some textures or dots, simply take a sponge and rub it on the egg before setting it aside to dry. Egg cartons are ideal drying places as they absorb excess moisture and hold the eggs perfectly (as they should!).
Naturally dyed eggs are not shiny and sparkly so if you want to add some shine to your finished products, then you can use sunflower oil once they have dried. Just rub it on and leave it to absorb for a while. Ta da!