For a full-on natural Easter egg hunt this year, decorate your eggs with plant shapes collected in your backyard and plant-based dyes cooked up in your own kitchen.
Homemade natural inks
Non-toxic leaves, twigs, grasses, flowers
6 to 8-inch tube segments of pantyhose or knee-his (great use for torn pantyhose)
1. Apply the Plant Material
Start with boiled and cooled eggs. Take plant pieces and affix them to an egg with a touch of glue stick (if needed) so they won’t slip as you go to the second step. (If you can get the eggs into the pantyhose without having to use glue to keep the natural material in place, all the better).
2. Wrap Eggs in Nylon
Insert one egg with attached shape in each pantyhose “sleeve,” carefully pulling the end of the stocking into a knot at a single point. Make sure the nylon is tight around the egg, so the plant pieces don’t slip during the dying process. Repeat for all eggs.
3. Place the Eggs in Dye
If you intend to eat the eggs later be sure to use a dye made from natural, edible ingredients. You can follow the same instructions found in our article, “Make Natural Ink from Plants”, to make egg dye. Just omit the final step (step 6). There is no need to add wintergreen oil and gum Arabic as these are only needed when using a plant dye for ink or artwork. Place wrapped eggs in a pot with enough cooled dye to cover the eggs.
4. Dye the Eggs
Let the eggs sit for at least twenty minutes and up to several hours. Check the eggs periodically to turn gently so they dye evenly and to check the depth of the color.
5. Let the Eggs Dry
When you’re satisfied with the color of your eggs, remove them gently from the dye with a slotted spoon. Leave them to dry, still wrapped in the pantyhose, on a plate or tray lined with paper towel.
6. Reveal the Decoration
When fully dry, carefully remove the pantyhose and pull off the natural material.
Once all the eggs are found and admired, why not make some delicious deviled eggs to go with your Easter dinner? Remember, the USDA warns against eating hard-boiled eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.