How to dye easter eggs with eco printing

Hi Creative Mamas! If you are looking for creative ways to decorate your home for Easter you will love this tutorial on how to dye easter eggs with eco printing techniques.

It’s also a fun activity to do with kids in preparation for Easter Sunday! I know my kids have enjoyed printing their own easter eggs in the past and I want to share my favorite way to dye eggs with you!

Note: We don’t eat these eggs since we keep them out of the fridge once they are dyed. We just dye the easter eggs the day before Easter Sunday and we use them to decorate our Easter feast table. After the celebrations are over, we dispose of the eggs in the compost.

2 eggs which have been dyed using flowers and natural dyes

What is the best way to dye an egg?

In my opinion the best way to dye an egg is to use natural materials such as food dye, leaves and flowers.

I have discovered a very efficient way to create beautiful eco prints on easter eggs using flowers and onion skins dye with the assistance of iron water.

How to dye easter eggs easily?

In this tutorial I will show you two different ways of dyeing easter eggs by using coreopsis flowers, dyer’s chamomile flowers, onion skins and iron powder.

2 eggs which have been eco printed using coreopsis flowers and iron water

Equipment & materials:

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  • Fresh eggs, either white eggs or brown eggs (not hard-boiled eggs)
  • Onion skins
  • Any leaves or flowers from the suggested eco printing flower list which you can download below
  • Iron powder
  • Stainless steel pot (please note that all utensils used in natural dyeing and eco printing should not be used for cooking)
  • Cheese cloth or fine muslin (8 inch /20 cm squares)
  • Rubber bands or cotton string
  • Wooden spoons or tongs

Download the FREE list of the best leaves and flowers to use in Eco Printing by completing the form below.

Gather all your materials. Wash the eggs.

eggs, flowers and onion skins ready to be used for dyeing easter eggs

Making a natural dye bath

For this tutorial I will be using onion skins and coreopsis flowers as my base dye color.

Place your natural dyes inside a stainless steel pot and fill with water. To dye four eggs I used 50 grams/1.7 oz of onion skins and 50 grams/1.7 oz of coreopsis flowers.

filling the dye pot with water to make a natural dye solution

Bring to a rapid boil and simmer for 1 hour. Leave the dye liquid to cool.

Dyeing Easter eggs with iron water

This method involves dipping the leaves and flowers in iron to create a dark print.

Let’s get started with this first method.

Once your dye solution is lukewarm, you can start the dye process. For 4 eggs I used 3/4 teaspoon of iron powder.

onion skins dye solution , eggs and iron powder ready to be used for printing easter eggs.

Dissolve the iron powder on clear water.

Note: This iron liquid will stain anything that comes in contact with it, so be careful and wear rubber gloves and place a plastic sheet underneath your working surface.

iron water solution

Dip the leaves or flowers inside the iron liquid. Place the egg in the middle of the cheese cloth.

dipping leaves in iron water

Remove the leaves or flowers from the liquid. Dry excess iron liquid with an absorbent cloth or a paper towel and place on top of the egg as shown in photo below.

printing easter eggs with leaves

With extra care not to move the leaf or flower (otherwise you will create a smudge), wrap the cheese cloth around the egg, securing the leaf/flower in place.

pressing a birch leaf onto an egg for printing easter eggs

You can twist the ends of the cloth to create pressure and tense the cloth. Secure with a string, a rubber band or a clothing peg.

making eco printing bundles with easter eggs

The idea is for the flower or leaf to be pressured in between the cloth and the egg.

making eco printing bundles with easter eggs

Bring the dye liquid to a simmer again and place the eggs inside the dye liquid. Boil for 8 minutes.

immersing easter eggs inside a natural dyeing solution

After 8 minutes you can remove the eggs from the dye pot. The cheese cloth will dye a beautiful yellow (as long as its 100% cotton).

Use tongs or a wooden spoon for this, make sure not to burn yourself!

removing eco printed egg bundle from an onion dye solution

Place eggs inside a pot with cold water.

immersing dyed easter eggs inside a cold bath

Once the eggs are at room temperature, remove muslin/cheese cloth from egg and gently remove the flower from the egg as well.

easter egg printed with coreopsis flower

You will end up with a dark print of the flower or leaf. Just remember that you need to be super careful not to move the flower once its been in contact with the egg otherwise the iron will create a smudge.

easter egg printed with coreopsis flower dipped in iron

Dyeing easter eggs with flowers

The second method is to dye the eggs by using the flowers alone without any assists.

Simply create your dye bath and make your little egg bundles without dipping the flowers inside the iron water. Immerse the eggs inside the dye bath and boil for 8 minutes.

Remove from the dye bath and unwrap the egg bundles.

The photo below shows a beautiful print created from a coreopsis flower.

removing the coreopsis flower from the easter egg printed with coreopsis flower
final results of  easter egg printed with coreopsis flower

The photo below shows a print created from a dyer’s chamomile flower.

printing easter eggs using dyers chamomile
printing easter eggs using dyers chamomile , removing the flower away from the egg

As you can see the petals are so fine that they got twisted a little bit and the print reflects that :).

final result from the eco print of the dyers chamomile onto the easter egg

Here are the 2 different eggs printed with the two different flowers.

final result from the eco print of the dyers chamomile and coreopsis flowers onto the easter eggs
final result from the eco print of the dyers chamomile and coreopsis flowers onto the easter eggs

How to dye eggs without vinegar

As you can see, I haven’t used any vinegar for dyeing my easter eggs. Vinegar is used if you are using food coloring, but in this case we used a process that derives from traditional natural dyeing methodology.

Is it better to dye eggs in hot or cold water?

Since we are working with raw eggs, you really need the boiling water to cook them and you also need the heat to transfer the print onto the egg. 

Also, if you are using white eggs you may be able to get richer color. You can also try using red onions in combination with brown onions.

I hope you have enjoyed this fun way to decorate your Easter table with beautiful eggs for the whole family to enjoy. It’s so much fun to play around with these natural easter egg dyes too create new ways of using what we have around us.

Other things to try for dyeing eggs with solid colors are liquid food coloring, regular food coloring, red cabbage and lime juice to modify the colors created.

More eco printing fun!

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