Egg Dyeing 101

Photos by Kimberly Sentner; styling by Ma'ayan Rosenzweig and Sara BonisteelPhotos by Kimberly Sentner; styling by Ma'ayan Rosenzweig and Sara Bonisteel
by Tracey Seaman
, Epicurious.com

Prepare the Eggs
You can take one of two approaches to preparing your eggs for decoration: hard-boiling or draining the egg shells. We give you tips for both.

To hard-cook eggs: Use a pot that's large enough to accommodate the eggs in a single, uncrowded layer-this will prevent cracking. Add cold water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let stand for 18 minutes. Drain the water from the pot, cover the eggs with cold water, and drain again. Then cover with ice water and let stand until cold, about 3 minutes. Return eggs to cartons to dry or transfer them to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. If there are any cracked eggs, separate those and save them for eating instead.

Related: Chocolate Easter Bunny Taste Test

To empty a raw egg: Wash an egg in warm water and dry. With a sterilized long needle or slender metal skewer, prick a small hole in the pointy end of the egg and a larger hole in the fat end. Carefully chip away bits of shell around the large hole until it's big enough to accommodate the tip of a bulb baster. Stick the needle or skewer into the yolk to break it. Hold baster to small hole and press the bulb to push air into the egg; this will force the contents out through the larger hole. Catch the egg's scrambled contents in a cup and save for cooking. Rinse the empty shell under cool running water. Stand it on end to drain and dry. Once decorated, empty eggshells prepared this way will last indefinitely.

Set Up Your Egg-Dyeing Area
Cover your table with a few layers of newspaper. Get out a cake cooling rack or make a drying rack with a piece of foam board (from a craft store) and straight pins. For each dye color, you will need a 2-inch-wide, 10- to 12-ounce cup or jar. Place the jars on a baking sheet. Have ready some tongs, a bowl of water for rinsing them, and some paper towels.

Make the Dye
We like nontoxic, natural vegetable-colored dyes, such as India Tree Natural Decorating Colors, available at stores and online at Amazon and Nature's Flavors. Popular seasonal egg dyes will work, too. Fill each jar with 1 cup of boiling water, one teaspoon white vinegar, and 15 or more drops of coloring. Stir to combine.

More Egg-Dyeing Basics
Blown Eggs
To Dye Easter Eggs
Robin's-Egg Place Card

Take a Dip
Place prepared eggs in the jars of warm dye, and let them stand 10 to 15 minutes or longer. Or, for a two-tone egg, dip eggs halfway in one color for 10 minutes. Let dry completely in an egg cup, with the colored half facing up, and then dip halfway in another color.

Related: Easter Baskets for Food Lovers

For a lacy look, dress up your egg before dyeing it. Wrap a 4-inch-long, 2-inch-wide strip of lace ribbon around the egg, twist excess ribbon snugly around the egg, and secure with a rubber band. Dip into dye and let dry as directed below. When the egg is dry, snip the rubber band to remove the lace.

Using tongs or a wire egg holder, transfer eggs carefully to racks to dry. Refrigerate dyed eggs in their cartons or a bowl until ready to decorate further or use for Easter.

Get Crafty
After tinting your eggs with dye, make them extra special with these tricks from the pros:
• Use a decorating sponge to apply a contrasting color by dabbing on concentrated dye.
• Dot nondiluted dye on eggs with cotton swabs.
• Using a fine brush, paint the egg with nontoxic glue. Sprinkle with white, coarse sanding sugar and let dry.

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