There are so many ways to color an egg, and more than one kind of egg to color.
Much depends on the decorators’ ages, time constraints and motivation. Do you want to try something new and different this year, or fall back on standard reliable egg-dyeing kits?
Even when using an egg-coloring kit, there are dozens of ways to kick the process up a notch.
Martha Stewart Living provides a phone app for this, promising 101 extraordinary egg-coloring ideas. The same ideas are on the magazine’s website. They primarily involve embellishing white or colored hard-boiled or blown-out eggs.
“I feel there’s always a million things you can use,” says Marcie McGoldrick, editorial director of Holiday &Crafts for Martha Stewart Living, which offers decorating ideas in its April issue.
Egg decorating isn’t only about dye baths and eggs. Papier-mache and wooden craft eggs, found at craftstores, can be decorated more boldly, with full-on glitter, decoupage, spray paint, beads and bling. More care can be taken to decorate these eggs, and they last longer.
H. Camille Smith, decorating and handmade editor at HGTV.com, recommends letting small children use crafteggs “so all of their hard work can be displayed year after year.”
For adults, she recommends decorating eggs with self-adhesive gems, or monogramming them using contemporary colors. She says turquoise and violet are two trendy colors.
(To get those colors in a dye bath, try this: Use four drops of blue food coloring and one drop of green to make turquoise; use equal amounts of blue and red — two drops of each — to get violet. You may have to play with these amounts to get it right.)
Smith still colors eggs with her mother every year, but they don’t get too complicated. They dip hard-boiled eggs in coffee cups filled with dye baths.
“We do ‘em simple; she likes it old-school,” says Smith.
How old-school can you go? Amy Gates forgoes the ubiquitous PAAS dye tablets and store-bought food coloring, and dyes her eggs with foods and spices. It’s healthier, she maintains, and fun, like a science project.
“It’s a time-intensive thing,” says Gates, 35, of Longmont, Colo. “It takes a few hours, but I think it’s worth it.”
A mother of two, Gates has written about her natural egg-dyeing process for several years on her blog, Crunchy Domestic Goddess. In a nutshell, beets boiled in cranberry juice create a rich red; frozen cherries go pink; turmeric equals yellow; chili powder turns out orange; canned blueberries go green; and chopped red cabbage conjures up a rich blue.
The best part? Clean up.
“When you get everything done, you can throw all your dye mixes into the compost bin if you have one,” Gates says.