I’m not usually one to care much about what color Pantone decrees to be color of the year. But when they announced the double whammy favorites of rose quartz and a pale periwinkle blue they’ve dubbed serenity, well, they made my head turn.
To celebrate the season of eggs and make at least a cursory nod to the rest of the design world, I thought I’d make a dozen eggs in those favored Pantone shades using humble vegetables to create the shades: beets for the rose quartz and red cabbage for the serenity.
Happily, making natural Easter egg dye doesn’t take much more skill than being able to chop up some colorful veg and boil it in water. When opting toward subtle pastel colors like these ones, the process is especially quick.
Here are my basic notes, in case you’d like to make a dozen of your own.
+ To make one cup of dye, you’ll need approximately one cup of chopped vegetable and one cup of water.
+ I find two cups of dye works well for 6 or so eggs, so I made two batches—one for each color—each with two cups of water and two cups of vegetable. (I mostly eyeballed my vegetable measurements. For reference: 1/4 large red cabbage yielded me ~two cups of chopped cabbage. One whole beet plus the peelings and scraps from two beets I used for dinner earlier in the week yielded ~two cups of beets.)
+ In this ratio of two cups vegetable matter to two cups water, bring your vegetable-filled water to boil and then simmer, covered, for ~15 minutes. The water should be richly colored by the time you’re done simmering.
+ Strain the dye from the sodden vegetables and allow time for it to cool. (I strained mine into mason jars and popped the jars onto the window ledge to speed up the cooling process.)
+ Once cooled, stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar to help the dye set.
+ Submerge hard-boiled eggs into your dye mixture. I found that six eggs perfectly displace two cups of dye in a quart-sized mason jar.
+ You’ll note that I used white eggs here to achieve the light shades that I was after; brown eggs work too, but the pink will be more maroon and the blue a shade or two muddier.
+ To achieve the pasted-colored eggs you see here, I submerged my beet-colored eggs for only ten minutes. I allowed my cabbage-colored eggs to sit for ~three hours. Once they’d reached a color I like, I removed each egg from the dye and dried it off with a bit of cotton rag. (If you’d likely deeply colored eggs, you’ll need to leave your eggs submerged over night. But the wait is worth is: you’ll get a deep red and cobalt (see also!)!
+ I love the dusty natural look of eggs without a sheen, but if you want to shine ’em up, a little rub with vegetable oil will give your eggs a glossy shine!
Dyes, cooling on the ledge.
Hard-boiled eggs waiting to go into their dye baths.
My pink eggs were a dusty rose after just ten minutes in the beet dye.
To achieve the light blue that I wanted, I allowed my eggs to sit in the red cabbage dye for a long time after I’d taken out my pinks! The blues stayed in the fridge for approximately three hours. (Don’t be shy about checking on your eggs to get the color that you’re hoping for.)
Pale blue eggs, dried.
The end results were exactly the subtle shades I’d hoped for.
What about you guys? Onion skin-dyers out there? Turmeric? Other egg dying traditions I should know about?