I honestly expected these all to be Pinterest fails. There are so many gorgeous Easter egg techniques out there — and so many Pinterest tricks that fall flat — that I was shocked these seven actually worked. (Can’t say the same for these natural dyes, though.) Six were foolproof and one, the nail polish marbling, gave mixed results — but when it worked, it was jaw-droppingly good.
These aren’t fussy procedures, either. They’re all easy and quick, and chances are you have most of the necessary ingredients on hand. See below for specifics, but you can do a lot with just food colouring (the kind that comes in little dropper bottles) and pantry staples. We also recommend a pair of gloves so you won’t have rainbow fingers all weekend.
Paper Towel Tie Dye Eggs
What you’ll need: Food colouring and paper towels.
All you have to do is wrap the egg in a paper towel, drop food colouring on it, and then dampen the paper towel so the colours run together. I found instructions that said to use a spray bottle of water, but since I didn’t have one, I just got a second paper towel wet, and used it to dab the water on. It worked beautifully.
That’s all! It will look like this:
Unwrap the egg carefully, so you don’t smear the pattern, and let it dry.
What you’ll need: Food colouring, vinegar, a cup of water, and a spoon.
First, wipe the eggs with a mixture of half vinegar, half water. Then hold an egg over a bowl and add a drop of food colouring. Spoon a little water over it, to dilute the dye and carry it around the egg. Make sure to turn the egg to get the colours all over.
Repeat with more colours, and more water, until you get the look you like.
You can leave some areas white, like I did, or make sure to get the water on every part of the egg for a smooth blended look.
What you’ll need: Food colouring, rice, and a baggie or small container for each colour.
Put about a quarter cup of rice in a baggie, and add food colouring. For the eggs shown here, I used 6 drops of blue and 6 drops of purple. Then just add an egg, and shake!
I got the darker egg first, and then when I did a second egg in the same bag of rice it turned out more of a subtle colour. Experiment with different amounts of dye and see what you like.
Oil Marbled Eggs
What you’ll need: Food colouring, cups of water, and vegetable oil.
Pour about an inch of water into a cup, add 6-8 drops of food colouring, and then put in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Put the egg in the dye and stir it around a little with the spoon; then leave the egg to soak for about 10 minutes.
The oil keeps the food colouring from reaching the egg, leaving it undyed in places. To be extra fancy, start with speckled eggs (from the recipe above) instead of plain ones.
Whipped Cream Tie-Dye Eggs
What you’ll need: Food colouring and whipped cream (or shaving cream).
Just dot some food colouring into a bowl or tray of whipped cream, and use a spoon or chopstick to swirl it around. Roll the eggs in the coloured whipped cream, and set them to dry while they’re still coated in it. (You can see them drying in the picture below.) After a few minutes — 10 should be plenty — just wipe off the cream, and the swirly colours will remain.
These are sometimes described as shaving cream eggs, but if you’re standing in your kitchen looking at something creamy that has been whipped into soft peaks, you’ll want to taste it. That goes double if you have kids. So just use whipped cream — I bought a tub of Cool Whip and it worked perfectly.
Nail Polish Marbled Eggs
What you’ll need: Nail polish in multiple colours, and water in a disposable cup.
Start with a cup of water, and then drop multiple colours of nail polish onto the surface, and swirl them around. You’ll have to work fast, since the nail polish can form a skin as it begins to dry. Dip the egg into the water, and the nail polish will stick.
This method was the most unpredictable. I found that some of the colours sat on the surface of the water like they were supposed to, but others just dissolved and disappeared. Supposedly they behave the best if you use room temperature water; the exact formulation of the polish probably makes a difference too. I don’t fully understand why the marbling sometimes failed, but I kept trying. I got two or three fails, and a half dozen gorgeous eggs:
You’ll notice from the video that these eggs only have the pattern on one side. If you do the marbling in a larger, shallow tray, it might be possible to roll the egg along the surface of the water and get the colours all around.
Silk Tie Patterned Eggs
What you’ll need: Silk ties, scrap fabric, and rubber bands or string.
Stop by the thrift store and look for ugly, out-of-fashion silk ties with garish patterns. (They’re more common than you’d think; check both ends of the tie for a label that says “100% silk.”) Ugly ties make pretty eggs, it turns out.
Open up the seams of the tie, and you can flatten the fabric out. Cut some generous squares and wrap them around your eggs, with the good side of the fabric next to the egg. Secure the resulting bundle with a rubber band.
I followed the instructions and wrapped a scrap of plain fabric around the whole bundle, although I’m not sure if it really matters. Boil the wrapped eggs for 20 minutes, and add a quarter cup of vinegar. Remove them from the water and let them dry.
If you wrapped the fabric tight enough, the eggs will precisely duplicate the pattern on the fabric. I didn’t do this quite well enough, but they still look kind of amazing, don’t they? Reds and blues seem to transfer the best, according to the examples I’ve seen; greens are more subtle.