Easter Eggs

So, this year we dyed Easter Eggs.  It’s been one of our favorite family holiday activities over the years.  Now, being the artsy-crafty sorts, we can’t just do the dip the eggs in food coloring thing; we have to do it over the top.  So, we dye our eggs with ties.  Yep.  Men’s ties.  Silk ties, specifically; if they aren’t silk it won’t work.

So to do this, you need the following:

  • White eggs
  • Silk ties
  • Cotton fabric scraps
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or cord
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Large pan

When choosing ties (which I got at the local thrift store) there are several things to keep in mind.  First, they MUST be 100% silk – check the labels if you’re not sure.  Polyester will not transfer dye.  Also, dark colors work better than light, and ideally, several dark but contrasting colors.  Wide ties fit better than thin. 

To begin, prepare the fabrics. I did this the night before, while watching  TV.  Turn the ties over to the back, and using a seam ripper or scissors, open the back seams.  Remove any tags and the lining. You can save the lining to use as the fabric wrap, but it’s a lot more unwieldy than cotton strips.   For  the cotton strips, I used old tee shirts; cut off the seams and ribbing, and then cut the fabric into strips, wide enough and long enough to wrap around an egg, leaving room for ties on each end.  The good news is that all of this fabric can be used again the next year.  Cotton, being a cellulose fiber, will not absorb the dyes from the silk, which is a protein fiber.  If you use the lining from the ties, they are generally polyester and will not absorb dyes.

So the next day, gather the family around the dining room table and start wrapping!  Remember, the eggs are NOT cooked at this point, so they will be fragile and handled carefully. We did have one casualty each year we’ve done it.

Choose your tie and your egg. Right side of fabric should be against the egg shell. Start wrapping the egg from the wide end towards the narrow. Wrap once around, then cut any excess. Generally, you only need a big chunk of the bottom of the tie; you don’t need the extra bulk of using the entire tie.

Carefully tie yarn or string at either end of the egg to hold the fabric in place.  You want the fabric snug around the egg, to have as much contact as possible, but not so tight as to crack the egg.  Honestly, tying the yarn is the hardest part, especially for kids.

Now wrap the egg in a layer of cotton.  This cushions the egg to protect it, but also helps hold the silk close to the egg for good dye transfer.  Tie as you did previously.

Once all the eggs are wrapped, place them in your pot and cover with water.  Add a good slug of vinegar, maybe a half a cup for a 5 or 6 qt pot.  The vinegar helps the dye set.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Carefully unwrap your eggs, and be amazed at the gorgeous textures and colors!  To me, they seem almost marble. You can make them shiny by rubbing them with a bit of oil on a paper towel.

They’re almost too pretty to eat!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kimberly Smith
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 13:02:28

    This is so neat! I would never have thought of that. Thanks. I have saved it to try next year.

    Reply

  2. asbestos
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 15:08:08

    Amazing! They really do look stunning 🙂
    ~ asbestos

    Reply

  3. Jessica
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 13:20:23

    Wow, I ‘ve never heard of this method. Very cool!

    Reply

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