Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Making Botanical Dyes

I finally got to a project I've been wanting to try for about fifteen years!

I created home-made botanical dyes for my Easter eggs.

I used a cold dye process (hard boil eggs first, make dyes and cool them, then add eggs to dye jars with a bit of vinegar, soak for an hour).

Hard boil 3 dozen eggs

Assemble materials, including white vinegar, frozen blueberries, paprika, turmeric, grape juice, cabbage, beets, parsley, onions...and I added spinach and coffee at the last minute.

Start cooking! Throw chopped materials into a pot with 4 cups water. I used 3 tablespoons of the spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Yellow onion, paprika, grape juice, blueberries.

Cabbage, beets, turmeric, parsley.

After simmering for 30 minutes, allow the dyes to cool, and then strain them into mason jars. When you're ready to dye the eggs, add a couple teaspoons of white vinegar to the dye cups/jars.

Mad Scientists!

I let the eggs soak for 30-60 minutes, and then spread them out on a paper towel to dry. They dried overnight, and some of the colors faded a bit. The cold dye process gets some cool speckled textures and variations in color.

The only failure was green. I added spinach to the parsley pot, but I still did not get a lot of pigment in the solution. Not sure why. Maybe I needed more than two bunches of parsley! I added a drop of food coloring to the green to perk it up (yeah, I know, that's cheating! Hee hee.)

The yellow onion skins made a fabulous super rich orange color, and the cabbage made a gorgeous blue that got deeper if you extended the dye time. Those were my favorites.

Finished products look amazing!

This was a super fun project, and I will definitely try it again next year, maybe with different materials.


Love, Nina/Penny