This Easter DIY might take a little more effort, but the result? Is sooo worth it. And I'm not even an Easter egg lover! But these babies are the prettiest ones I ever did see, hands down. Dreamt up by Shannon Von Eschen and Bare Root Flora, they're the perfect addition to a gorgeous Easter tablescape like this spread we featured earlier today. Get the details below!
Hard-boiled (or blown out) eggs
String (6-7” lengths) or rubber bands
Mugs for dye and spoons to retrieve the eggs
Red cabbage (robin-egg blue eggs), blueberries (gray & blue eggs), & grapes (lavender & dark blue eggs)
Herbs, leaves, or flowers for imprinting
Drying rack or cutting board
Prepare the dyes of your choice. Cut up the cabbage into chunks. Rinse the blueberries and pick the grapes from the grape stem. Add the dye matter, (red cabbage, blueberries, grapes, etc.) each type individually, to a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Then, use a slotted spoon to strain out extra pieces of the dye matter so liquid is all that remains. Let it cool to room temperature and pour into mugs or small bowls. (Optional: Add 1 T of vinegar per cup of strained liquid. Occasionally, this will result in more vibrant-colored eggs.)
Cut your cheesecloth (or nylons) into 6”x6” squares. Set aside.
Select your botanical, herb, leafy, or floral imprint clippings. I used thyme, fern leaf, cilantro, and Italian ruscus. Clip small egg-sized sprigs to use as an imprint. Set aside.
One at a time, select a sprig and carefully hold it firmly against the egg. Begin tightly wrapping one of your cheesecloth squares over it, twisting all the ends together to hug the egg firmly (you can also use an old pair of nylons). Secure the cheesecloth tightly with a piece of string or a rubber band. Then, submerge entirely the covered egg into your choice of dye. Repeat with all eggs/sprigs you’d like to try. Note: Be sure your sprig, leaf, or flower looks flat and tight against the egg, as that is the portion of the egg that will not color, thus imprinting the egg after it’s dyed.
Place the mugs of dye (with the submerged eggs inside) into the refrigerator until the desired color is achieved. With the eggs pictured, some of them colored in a few hours; others, I left in the refrigerated dye-matter for 2 days. Note: I found that rotating the eggs between the dyes (especially from the cabbage to the blueberry and then to the grape juice) over the course of a few days usually revealed a darker colored egg.
Once the desired color is achieved, remove the eggs from the dye-matter and let them air dry for a few minutes on a drying rack (or cutting board). Then, carefully cut the string and unwrap the cheesecloth bag to reveal your imprint and your naturally dyed egg.
Use these pretty and edible eggs as place-settings at your Easter brunch table, or fill a bowl with them to use as a centerpiece! I think they’re too pretty to hide!
I used three brands of eggs and they all colored differently. The coating on these eggs, even though they were all organic, must differ because eggs from the same carton would react totally differently even though they were treated the same and dyed in the same dye material. On the eggs with multiple tones of color or markings unrelated to the imprints, this was entirely due to the eggs themselves. This part made the whole project so fascinating because with each egg I unwrapped, I was amazed at the results.
I did try dyeing some brown eggs. Although the imprints didn’t work as well, leaving them in the dye material deepened their color tremendously over the course of a few days, even though at first they didn’t seem to be taking the color. On the brown eggs, the addition of vinegar in their mugs seemed to help.
Grape juice is inherently acidic, so it almost “eats away” at the shell of the egg. I found the best results occurred when I didn’t rinse the egg from its dye material, but rather let it harden and turn almost white as it crusted onto the surface in a marbling of purple color. On the ones I did rinse under water after dying, they turned a very light lavender, but the imprint was still visible.
Photography: Shannon Von Eschen | Assistant + Food Stylist: Kendall Von Eschen | Blue Glassware, Linen Napkins + Porcelain Egg Cups: World Market | Botanical Egg Tutorial Planning: Shannon Von Eschen | Floral Styling, Concept + Design: Bare Root Flora | Porcelain Plates, Egg + Berry Baskets: Crate And Barrel | Rose Gold Flatware: Sur La Table