Design by the dozen: The art of dyeing Easter eggs

By martha stewart,
Posted April 18, 2011, at 1:48 p.m.

Easter eggs have always been a vibrant bunch, thanks to good old food coloring and a little imagination. This year’s batch takes palette and pattern a step further.

Inspired by mid-20th century graphic design, these projects bring the era’s bright hues, geometric forms and sense of whimsy to the eggshell. The technique used gives impressive results but is fun and easy enough to do with children, who are sure to love the eye-popping patterns.

The trick? Stickers and stencils that you make from adhesive vinyl and electrical tape. After you apply stick-on shapes to the egg, dip it into dye or dab color right onto the shell. Then repeat, layering on more colors and designs. You can’t make a mistake — all your creations will be charming and surprising. Fresh eggs, indeed.

Egg dyeing how-two

This is a great project to do with children. Experiment, improvise and have a good time. You need just a few materials. The first is adhesive vinyl. These designs call for three types: plain sheets, shaped with craft punches to make stickers and stencils; preformed letters; and electrical tape, cut using a craft knife and a cutting mat. The vinyl works beautifully: It adheres well and doesn’t let dye seep through, so you can make crisp, clear designs.

The second component is dye. Food coloring — the classic four-pack and a neon variation — works well. When stenciling eggs, you’ll use undiluted food coloring; mix hues together for custom blends. For dip-dyeing eggs, make a dye bath: Add one teaspoon of white vinegar and five to 20 drops of food coloring to one cup of hot water; stir it regularly to keep the color even.

Applying shapes

When you stick vinyl cutouts, strips or letters onto an egg and dip it into dye, the areas underneath remain uncolored. Remove the stickers to reveal the shapes.

• Position a vinyl cutout on an egg.

• With your fingernail, rub gently around the entire outline of cutout, sealing it fully. This will help ensure crisp edges on the finished design.

• Use each cutout only one time.

Making stencils

When you use a craft punch on vinyl, the shape’s border becomes a stencil. Position it on the egg, and dab color inside.

• Make a vinyl stencil using a craft punch.

• Apply it to the egg, rubbing the inside edge for a good seal.

• Using a cotton swab, dab undiluted food coloring inside the stencil; let dry before removing the stencil.

Three designs, step by step

Use this technique with punched shapes and vinyl letters:

• Apply vinyl leaf cutouts (made with a craft punch) to an egg.

• Submerge egg in a red dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry egg with a paper towel.

• Peel off leaf cutouts. Apply flower cutouts.

• Submerge egg in a green dye bath until the desired shade is reached. Dry egg again.

• Peel off flower cutouts to reveal the finished egg.

To make spirals and square cutouts, use electrical tape, trimmed on a cutting mat if necessary:

• Wrap a strip of ¼-inch-wide electrical tape around an egg.

• Submerge egg in a yellow dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry with a paper towel.

• Peel off tape. Apply a second, same-size piece of tape, wrapping it in the opposite direction.

• Submerge egg in a blue dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry egg again.

• Peel off tape to reveal the finished egg.

Animals and dots are fashioned from stencils made with vinyl sheets and circle punches:

• Apply vinyl stencils to an egg dyed a pale shade (to create a bunny’s body, use a 1-inch circle punch; for the ears, use a ¾-inch punch and a strip of vinyl).

• Dab undiluted dye inside the stencils.

• Peel off stencils. Apply two more stencils (for the face, use ¾-inch punch; for the tail, use a ½-inch punch). Dab dye.

• Peel off stencils to reveal the bunny shape.

• Make eye stencils using a ?-inch hole punch. Dab dye. Cut triangle stencil for nose using a craft knife. Dab dye.

• Draw a curved mouth using a fine-tipped permanent-ink marker.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/04/18/living/design-by-the-dozen-the-art-of-dyeing-easter-eggs/ printed on November 23, 2014