12 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Without Dye
No dye? No issue here. Instead, reach for household items like silk ties, napkins and doilies, fabric scraps, and even pantry staples. All of them can be used to hatch a fresh dozen into decorations.
Sunday morning—which, for Easter, falls on April 12 this year—is always celebrated with a basket of beautiful eggs. But when food dyes are not readily available in store or at home, it's time to get resourceful. Do you have onions in the pantry? What about turmeric, a packet of napkins, washi tape, or coloring crayons? If you do, then you're in luck, because you have everything that you need to craft your own decorated Easter eggs.
Take a good look around the kitchen: Natural dye can be made from your own cooking scraps. It all starts with a concentrated dye that's made by boiling your chosen ingredient (be it a vegetable or coffee grounds) with water and vinegar. We've colored eggs in all kinds of hues with beets, onion skins, turmeric, red cabbage, and coffee. Not finding what you need in the kitchen? Reach into your wardrobe for unworn accessories like silk ties and scarves; this material can result in rich patterns on eggshells. And, of course, there's a wealth of inspiration to be found in the stash of supplies from your craft room.
In your day to day, you may look at these household items and think nothing of them, but with a few craft supplies and a spare minutes of time, you can color eggs without buying a box of dyes from the supermarket. The best part about this project is that it's fun to do, especially when you get the kids involved—helping color the eggs under your watchful eye, of course. (They make great non-candy basket fillers.) See what you find and let it inspire a new kind of tradition.
Beans, Rice, and Nuts
What do you get when you mix kidney beans, popcorn kernels, barley, and chickpeas with a pop of color? Egg dye! Pour leftovers of these grains, beans, or nuts into a paper, add your egg, and give it a gentle shake and swirl. (Just swap food dye for craft paint in this project.)
Silk Ties and Scarves
If your closet would benefit from an organizing, put those unused accessories to good use. Our easy method transfers the bright colors and patterns found in pure-silk fabric onto eggshells—it works like magic by dipping into a boiling vinegar bath.
Vegetables and Kitchen Scraps
Your kitchen is full of natural dyes. Common food items such as red cabbage, onion skins, and coffee can be used to transform plain white eggs into a rainbow of colors.
Bubble Wrap and Cardboard
Take a look at the spotted and striated patterns on these eggs, and you might believe that they're stenciled. But you can make stencils of your own using the most unlikely of materials: bubble wrap and cardboard. These mail packaging supplies are used in combination with craft paint to surprisingly beautiful results.
Gift-Wrapping Paper and Stationery
Wrapping paper, lightweight card stock, stationery—all of it can be shredded and gently decoupaged onto eggs for a bowl of patterned beauties. Mix and match prints and colors, or match them to your home décor if they are part of a seasonal tableau.
Recreate the delicate look of eyelet fabric with an inexpensive lookalike: paper doilies. Stacked and cut with their scalloped edges, they give ruffles to eggs of all sizes—adhered to larger duck eggs with glue dots and smaller quail eggs with a dab of glue.
Gingham, checks, and stripes—all of them are perfectly fitting for springtime. And they're perfect for decorating Easter eggs, too. Salvage the trim from scraps of tablecloth, linens, and men's shirting to decoupage the strips onto shells. It gives each one a homespun charm.
There's a reason why washi tape is in everyone's crafts supply. With a single roll, you can come up with your own creative and fun designs—use the colorful adhesive strips to make stripes, spots, or seasonal shapes in combination with a craft punch. Simply line up strips of tape on waxed paper, overlapping them slightly, punch out the shape, and peel the tape off waxed paper to re-adhere onto the egg's shell.
Paper napkins—in florals, leafy cutouts, and botanical prints—brighten a clutch of undyed eggs. All it takes is some pretty patterned papers, sharp scissors, glue, and a few whimsical printed napkins; loosely trim around the design and adhere the cutouts with decoupage glue (the white edges will blend into eggshell).
Colored Thread and Yarn
One simple way to give Easter eggs a crafty, homespun look: Add a bold stripe to dyed eggs with neon thread. Hold the loose end of a spool of thread against the egg with your finger, and wrap the spool around the egg, securing the loose end with the loops as you work; tack periodically with Mod Podge. Once you've achieved the desired coverage, snip the thread from the spool; tuck the end under, and glue in place.
Glitter and Foil
Besides color, there's a whole spectrum of finishes that can be achieved: silver, copper, gold, et cetera. To glitter, brush craft glue onto an egg, gently set in a bowl of glitter, and spoon glitter over it, covering entire surface. To foil, brush an egg with copper or gold leaf.
Family snapshots hatch a new holiday tradition in this decorating project. Take ones of your grandmother, parents, and children to decoupage onto eggs, thread with ribbon, and each one is personalized to be just as unique as every relative in your family tree.