Saturday, April 11, 2009

Onion Skin Dyed Easter Eggs

My fellow blogging friend, Sheasy, blogged about this natural egg dying project last year. I have been dying to do it ever since. The project came from Craftster.

I was supposed to do this on Tuesday with the seniors (see post below), but since we didn't have access to boiling water, and the skins need to be boiling with the eggs in the pot for several minutes, we scrapped the plan. Quin and I decided to give it a shot today during a leisurely day at the homestead. I learned enough to write a little tutorial, and to know what I will do differently next time, AKA helpful tips. I want to make a couple dozen eggs over time, using different plants, to keep and bring out each year to decorate. They are durable enough to do this. I have always wanted to work with natural dyes, mostly in a photography capacity, and this was a good way to get started.

Dying Eggs with Onion Skins Tutorial
By Tiffany Teske

You will need:
- Onion Skins
- Eggs
- Push pin
- Leaves, herbs, flowers, etc
- Nylons or cheesecloth
- Rubber bands
- Ribbon

1) Collect your onions skins. You can do this each time you use an onion, but you can also go to a local grocery store and ask for them. In our town, on Monday, the onions come in, and they peel them down to the last layer, so they have tons of skins. I mixed red, brown, and white.

2) Using a pin of any kind, I used a push pin, make a hole in the top and bottom of an egg. This was a bit tough at first, since I was afraid to hold the egg too tightly, or to push on the top of the egg too hard but they really are pretty resilient. Once you get the hang of the pressure you need, it is easy. I made a smaller hole in the bottom and a larger one in the top, based on how I wanted to egg to be hung.

3) Now, you need to blow the egg out of the shell. I think I put off this project because I really thought this would be difficult. Not so. If you make a good seal with your mouth, and blow into the small hole, allowing the egg to come out the larger hole, this is quite simple.

4) Once you have gotten all of the eggs out of their shells, you can suck water up into the egg, swish it around, then blow it out, to clean them.

5) Now, you can place your herbs, petals, leaves, whatever you wish to use on your egg. I want to make a set of botanical eggs, with fern, clover, etc, but since it is still pretty much winter here, I had to use flat leaf parsley and spring mix lettuce. I used a bit of water to make the leaves stick.

6) Ideally, I would have had nylons to use for this project, but I don't wear them. I put out a call on FreeCycle, at the last minute, and have gotten some offers since, but also had someone email to say that I could use cheesecloth, which I keep in my kitchen. With nylons, you cut them in tubes, insert an egg, and then use rubber bands on each end. The cheesecloth needed to be wrapped, and it proved kind of tricky to wrap and then rubber band, while holding the leaf in place. I think nylons would be easier and tighter, which is important. Before wrapping them, you can suck some water into the eggs to keep them from floating in the next step, but I did this, and they floated anyway. It didn't seem to matter. I also wrapped one egg with raffia, just to see the effect. The sky is the limit.

7) Put the onion skins, just dump a bunch, along with the eggs, in a pot of boiling water. On Craftster, it just said to boil for several minutes. I wanted good deep color, so mine were probably in for 10 minutes, which may have been too long. I am not sure if it was the materials, the cheesecloth instead of nylon, or the boiling time, that made some of my eggs completely brown, instead if leaving the imprint of the leaves. Others worked fine. I really just wanted to experiment, so even the totally brown ones I will do something with, maybe collage some images on them...

8) Take eggs out of water. Let them cool enough to take off the cheesecloth, and shake or blow the water out of them. They do not need to cool completely.

9) You are now pretty much done, unless you want to hang the eggs. To do this, cut a toothpick in at least half, knot one end of ribbon around it, and push it to the middle of the stick.

10) Insert the toothpick and knot into the top hole in the egg. Then, tie the other end in a loop. Ta Da! You now have beautiful egg ornaments. This really is a fun and simple project. If you want the eggs to shine, you can lacquer them. If you want to make a tree to hang your eggs on, you can put a pussy willow branch in a flower pot filled with rice, which will hold it in place.

What to do with all those eggs? I made crepes for breakfast using 4 of the eggs, then my mother in law had scrambled eggs with Quin for dinner, which used up 3 more. Good thing we love eggs around here. For our "famous" crepe recipe, see this post.


AG Ambroult said...

SUCH a great idea. I cannot wait to try it with my kids. Those eggs have such a unique to them.

AG Ambroult said...

errr... unique QUALITY to them, that is. ;)

Anonymous said...

Lovely tutorial! and really beautiful eggs :) you can also use an egg blowing tool (super affordable) to get those yolks out and make a very small hole in the egg. We make Pysanka with beeswax and natural dyes, its always a good time!

Tiffany Teske said...

Oooohhhh, I would love to see them, Serena! And to know how to make them. I should get an egg blowing tool, I think it would be great for eggs that I don't want to hang, but that I want to display on their own.

Hope you enjoy the project, AG, it really is fun with kids, and the quality is unique, LOL, I knew what you meant... Thanks for your comment.