Dyeing and decorating eggs is everyone's favorite Easter tradition. With these tips and techniques, your eggs will turn out great every time.
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Consider an egg your blank canvas: It can be dyed and decorated to any color of the rainbow with natural simplicity or striking detail, and embellished with everything from glitter and stencils to découpage and appliqué. The important thing to remember is that this Easter tradition is meant to be fun for the whole family, and Martha's step-by-step guide to decorating eggs is an exclusive resource for your entire brood to find tutorials, tips, and decorating ideas.
The eggs that are currently in your fridge or sold at the local supermarket will make for great dyed Easter eggs, but if you're hoping to create Easter decorations that are a little more unique, think about the other kinds of eggs you can use. As it turns out, basic white chicken eggs aren't the only variety you can successfully dye and decorate for the holiday. If you can get your hands on them, ostrich, emu, duck, or quail eggs all make for unique decorations in a variety of sizes and shapes.
There's also a way to preserve your creations in order to reuse them year after year—rather than dyeing hard-boiled eggs, you can blow out the egg's contents before dyeing its shell. You can easily do so using two common household tools and one office staple that you probably already have at home.
You'll enjoy picking the perfect design to use on your Easter egg, as there are endless options from you to choose from. Whether you use traditional dyes or make your own eco-friendly options using kitchen staples, you'll watch with delight as your egg takes on different colors and patterns. The last step in the egg dyeing process is to properly dry your creation, which can be tricky if you're not prepared. We'll walk you through the best way to dry your dyed eggs, and a simple craft for a handmade tool that's perfect for drying eggs of any size or shape.
Get Martha's Guide to Easter Eggs—it's the exclusive resource for tutorials, tips and decorating ideas.
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Think beyond chicken eggs. Consider different types of eggs that vary in size, shape, or natural color. For instance, quail eggs are ideal for smaller designs while goose and ostrich are larger options. Also consider dyeing brown eggs in order to alter the range of colors you can produce.
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Blowing Out Eggs
To empty a raw egg, begin by using the tip of a sharp utility knife to pierce both ends of the egg; turn the knife in one of the holes to widen it slightly. Then, poke a straightened paper clip through the larger hole to pierce and "stir" the yolk. Hold the egg, larger hole down, over a bowl, and then blow the contents out with a rubber ear syringe.
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Before you begin, protect your work area with paper towels or newspaper. Mix one teaspoon of vinegar and 20 drops of food coloring (use more to intensify color) in one cup of hot water in a heatproof bowl, cup, or jar deep enough to let you submerge an egg completely. To create different tints, vary the dipping time. Using tongs makes handling the eggs easy.
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The kitchen is full of natural dyes that you can use to decorate eggs. Grocery staples including red cabbage, onion skins, and coffee can be used to transform eggs into a rainbow of colors. Kids will especially love discovering all the different colors they can create using natural dyes—let them experiment using hard-boiled eggs and full bowls of cold dyes.
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A drying rack made with pins and foam board keeps things neat. For best results, set the egg on your pin-board for at least one hour. This will prevent the color from pooling and drying in an uneven fashion. This board can be crafted with two materials in just three steps, and can be saved and reused year after year.
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To make a tritoned dipped egg, dye the whole egg first in a light color, let dry for 15 minutes, and then submerge both top and bottom into a darker color (leaving the center exposed).
Then, submerge egg halfway horizontally in a different shade before repeatating with the opposite side, again leaving a portion of the center uncolored.
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Masking Eggs with Rubber Bands
You can also mask your eggs with lace, ribbons, rubber bands, and other materials—when you remove them, you'll reveal the unique pattern you've created. Try stacking layers of bands around the egg and removing them between layers of new dye to create a multi-faceted look. This technique is particularly effective for creating plaid Easter eggs.
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Masking Eggs with Tape and Leaves
Did you know you can use stickers to create striking designs? The masking technique—which can also be used with leaves, masking tape, or anything that can be adhered to the surface of the egg—could help you differentiate your eggs before applying dye. Simply remove the "masks" after applying dye, and you'll find the design is all that's left behind.
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In addition to dyeing your egg, embossing powder can be used to make intricate embellishments and bring an extra layer of detail to your egg's design. Try adding a touch of glitter to your egg when designing monogram features or even sparingly across the surface of your egg. Be sure to wait to apply glitter until after the dye has completely dried, however.
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Using wax, you can create custom designs on the shell of your egg before dunking it into the dye bowl. The color of the dye won't penetrate the wax, meaning your design will simply appear. A quick way to apply wax is to use a crayon, which will help you create elegant monograms or colorful doodles.
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There are even more designs to choose from—we have 63 ways to easily decorate your Easter eggs beyond traditional dyes, including decoupaged eggs, foiled designs, marbled and speckled how-to's, and paint-splattered eggs. Most of these designs don't require you to blow out the egg, meaning you can simply hard-boil them and get cracking on your Easter egg.