Why not color your eggs without a kit this Easter, using time-honored, natural methods? Food-based dyes made without artificial chemicals require slow boiling and additional soaking time to achieve deep, vivid colors, but the results are beautiful.

  1. Choose your palette.
    Virtually anything colorful in your kitchen—from fruit peels to coffee grounds—produces a natural dye. Try fresh beets for pink; red cabbage or blueberries for blue; spinach leaves for green; red onion skins for red; yellow onion skins for orange; purple grape juice for lavender; orange or lemon peels for light yellow; or red wine for burgundy.
  2. Try design tricks.
    Wrap eggs with rubber bands for textured patterns, swirl with vegetable oil for a marbleized motif, or mark with wax crayons for creative style.
  3. Prepare the cooked eggs.
    Before dyeing, gently wash eggs to remove any wax or film. Place them in a pot in a single layer and cover with water. For deeper colors, add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar per quart. Next, add the dye ingredients. Start with a few tablespoons for lighter shades, or add a cup for richer hues. Go ahead and experiment!
  4. Bring out the color.
    Heat water, eggs, and dye ingredients to a boil. Reduce temperature and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the darker the color will be. Remove from heat and let cool. For more intense colors, refrigerate soaking eggs for another hour or so, but strain dye through a coffee filter first, unless you want speckled eggs.