The Easiest Easter Eggs of All

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Last year, when my friend Lea invited me to help make Easter eggs with her daughter, I almost laughed in her face. Everything at Lea's place—from the couch, to the tablecloth, to the cushions on her kitchen chairs—is white; it's about as dye-unfriendly as apartments come. But it turns out that this super-prudent (and creative!) mama wasn't planning on coloring her eggs in spillable pots of neon liquid—instead, she was planning on doing it dye-free, using silk ties she'd picked up for pennies at a stoop sale.

I'd never before heard of the "tie dye" egg method—but after spending an afternoon trying it out, I can vouch that not only is it completely mess- and hassle-free, the results look amazing. In fact, this weekend, I'm planning on hitting the flea market to pick up a few silk neckties for my own eggs. Want to give this technique a try? Here's how:

What you’ll need:
-Silk ties
-Eggs
-White rags (like an old t-shirt or sheet)
-Rubber bands
-Household Vinegar

What to do:
1. Cut silk ties into square pieces of fabric (large enough to cover an egg).
2. Cut even larger squares out of the white rags.
3. Place egg in center of a silk square, with the printed side facing the egg. Wrap fabric around the egg.
4. Place silk-wrapped egg on white square. Gather  edges and secure the "sack" with a rubber band.
5. Place eggs in large non-aluminum pot. Fill with enough water to cover the eggs.
6. Add a few glugs of vinegar to the pot; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat; let simmer 25 minutes.
7. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from water and let cool before removing the fabric.
8. For more vibrantly colored eggs, wipe with a little vegetable oil once dry.

Gorgeous photos via The Little Red Hen.

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  1. by Sarah Hawley

    On April 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I love this idea. I’m surprised that they turn out so vibrant since the printed side of the tie faces the egg. I’ll have to try this with my 3.5 year old. Thanks for the tip.

  2. by kalie glines

    On April 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Wow those look great! i am curious, do you start out with raw eggs or boiled?

  3. by Pauline Cortez

    On April 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I have to try this! They look great.

  4. by cabbagehats

    On April 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

    does the vinegar make the eggs taste different? or do you just not eat them?

  5. by pinheed

    On April 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    vinegar will make the egg taste of vinegar if you leave the egg in the pot to long it would penatrate the shell but it would take a while.

  6. by philly5113

    On April 9, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I love your beautiful eggs. I can mix colors and do some designs but I am no artist but I think I’ll have to try this look. They are grreat!

  7. by Jaclyn

    On April 9, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    My family likes to first remove the contents off the egg by making two small holes and blowing the yolk out so it is hollow. Will this still work if the eggs are empty?

  8. by mini e cigarette

    On April 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    What a creative way to color eggs. We’ll have to try it this year. The old dip and dry method hasn’t worked well the last couple of years.

  9. by Reality TV

    On April 9, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    My family is going to be blown away when I show up with this artistic eggs.

  10. by Bonnie Dee

    On April 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Wait a minute. Are you actually going to EAT (pourous) eggs that have been dyed with FABRIC dyes? Sure they look amazing, but THIS CANNOT BE HEALTHY!

  11. by Lisa

    On April 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Yes, I’m concerned about being able to eat the eggs also.
    But I love this technique for other craft applications. I wonder if it would work on wood or plastic? It would be a cool way to decorate picture frames, fake eggs and other shapes in craft stores, plain boxes made of very thick cardboard, a plain t-shirt.

  12. by Joyce Miller

    On April 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I thought that this was interesting.

  13. by Dawniedoo@talktalk.net

    On April 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

    WHAT!!!!! can you eat the eggs…..are you all mad? They are for decoration, it’s a tradition that goes back a long long time. You know easter, that christian festival grabbed from the old pagan tradition of celebrating the coming of spring. Eggs, bunnys and chicks they arrive for the spring time.

  14. by leukothea

    On April 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Eating the Easter eggs is the best part of the holiday! I love how the whites just inside the shell take on a faint shadow of the Paas dye used on the shell… but Paas dyes are OK to eat. Not so sure about silk dyes, so I wouldn’t eat these.

  15. by Leah

    On April 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I would also wonder if these would still work if you hollowed out the eggs first.
    My husband always talks about making confetti eggs when he was little–hollowing out an egg, filling it with confetti and sealing it back up. And then hitting the closest kid to you with them, haha.
    These would make awesome confetti eggs!

  16. by Margaret

    On April 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Beautiful!
    My hubby just got a new job in Hawaii– uniform is Hawaiian shirts– so he’s getting rid of his ties. We’ll have to try this out!

  17. by yvonne

    On April 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    sooooo, is it OK to eat the eggs or not?

  18. by Merna Schneider

    On April 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I couldn’t find any silk ties and since it is so close to Easter I purchased 100% silk material. Half a yard will do at least a dozen eggs. I put an egg on the material and gathered it up over the top of the egg,
    then cut the material off. I didn’t have any white rags so and used a coffee filter, the size for 10-12 cup coffeemaker to cover the silk. I was able to use the silk pieces several times since I did batches of a dozen each time. The first result wasn’t as pronounced as I would have preferred so the next time after the eggs had simmered 25 minutes I took off the coffee filters, secured the rubber bands and let the silk fabric covered eggs sit in the water until it cooled. Fabulous!Everyone who has seen them is enchanted.

  19. by Lisa

    On April 12, 2009 at 3:32 am

    That didn’t work at all. we followed the instructions exactly, wound up with barely any coloring, and two very ripped up silk ties. And three very disappointed people. I’m pretty sure hubby was more disappointed than the kiddo though ;) “you mean i get to use food coloring???” :-D

  20. by Michelle

    On April 13, 2009 at 12:28 am

    This sounds pretty cool! I will have to try it next year!

  21. by gothchiq

    On April 13, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I can’t waste food…so I guess I will blow the eggs out first and make omelettes or something, and then just color the shells with the neckties if dye safety is an issue here. hrrrm I wonder if I could fill up the shells with something to make them heavier for simmering. ideas anyone?

  22. by gothchiq

    On April 13, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Hey Lisa do y’all have super hard water or something like that? Could that be the issue?

  23. by kyle

    On April 14, 2009 at 10:52 am

    would silk scarves work the same or not?

  24. by Jane Nussbaum

    On April 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Wow, I haven’t logged in since I wrote this post, but it certainly has generated a lot of excitement!
    To answer your questions, I wouldn’t attempt to eat any eggs dyed using this method, since you don’t know exactly which chemicals are in the silk (to be honest, I wouldn’t let a little one eat an egg dyed with non-toxic egg-kit dyes either—I’m not a fan of artificial dyes.)
    As for adding vinegar to the pot, it shouldn’t effect the taste of your eggs (although again, I wouldn’t eat these ones.) Adding a few splashes of is a good idea any time you hard-boil eggs, as it helps prevent breaks and keeps the whites from leaking out if an egg does crack.
    Lisa, you mentioned that this process didn’t work for you—I’m sorry to hear it! Were you maybe using lighter colored ties? I found that this was MUCH more effective with darker colored fabrics (crimsons, dark purples, navy blues, etc.).
    Finally, start with raw eggs—sorry I didn’t make this clear in the instructions. I think that this technique should also work just fine with hollowed eggs, if you’re hoping to use them as a decoration year after year—you’ll just have to be a little more careful handling them!
    Hope you all had wonderful Easters!
    -Jane

  25. by Stacey

    On April 22, 2009 at 3:49 am

    this method sounds really cool and looks beautiful. Too bad I’m a few weeks past Easter, well there’s always next year! Keep up the posts, they’re great.

  26. by elaine merrett

    On May 9, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    will be showing my grandchildren this one next easter, its awesome, thanks for sharing

  27. by MaddyLane

    On May 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Very colorful and most creative, great blog and picture, well done, bravo!