On The Subject Of Dyeing... Easter Eggs!
09 March 2016
I know, I know. Easter isn't for 2½ more weeks. But all the memes on Facebook and Pinterest get my craft bug itchin' to do something new, and after all, eggs were on sale!
I may have overbought? That's five dozen eggs, folks - minus the three I broke while hard-boiling them. Oh, don't worry. Those were still boiled and eaten, too!
Now you may say, and rightly so, that hard-boiling isn't necessary because the raw eggs will take dye better than boiled ones. While that may be true, I'm glad I did decide to boil every last egg. Sophia alone must have dropped a half-dozen eggs in the Egg-Dyeing Skirmish of 2016!
The first undertaking involved about a dozen eggs and a dozen bottles of nail polish. Rob and I ran to CVS, where the cheapest bottles of polish were 99¢ Wet 'n' Wild bottles, also on sale this week for Buy One, Get One Half-Off. Yes, I bought an odd number, which ruined my bottom line, but no signs were on the WNW stuff. Oh well. There were $1.49 bottles of another brand, Eternal, so I snagged up five of those to bring our total to an even twelve and have more color variation for the kids.
One thing I did not remember to buy was nailpolish remover. Make sure you get it, kids, because this project is messy.
Jack did not want to participate, as he doesn't like arts and crafts, and he doesn't like being messy. That left the girls and me. I let the lady-babies divvy up the bottles into three groups of four or four groups of three; they chose the latter. For instructional material, I recommend this post on the blog Hello Glow. Or this post, 'cause I'm gonna tell you how we did it. First up: neon green, glittery silver, and tangerine.
I didn't want to sully any of our good Fiesta dishes, or ruin our towels, so I had to go the dreaded disposable route for this project: paper towels and plastic Solo cups, along with Dixie plates and bowls. We ended up using six different cups for this project, as the girls ended up wanting to change their color combinations after the first go-round. You'll want to fill the cups pretty full with room temperature water. Too cold or too warm, and the nail polish drops right to the bottom and ruins a good time.
I drizzled the three different colors chosen in the top of the water, and Sophia decided to have the first crack at it. She held the egg at the poles and tried rolling it around in the water. That... semi worked, but it only covered half the egg. I needed to add more paint to the cup and let her dunk the other half.
Also, unlike us, maybe use breathing masks and do this outside or in a well-ventilated area, because the fumes were noxious. All three of us were complaining, but all three of us were too stubborn to have done anything about it. So take my advice with a grain of salt.
Chloë chose the next color combination of glittery violet, raspberry, and shimmery gold.
I also bought toothpicks for spider-webbing the colors together, but as you'll see later, that proved to be an unnecessary purchase. Also, the paint clings to the wooden stick, so it was doubly wasteful. And y'all know how much I truly hate waste!
Oh yeah, also wear aprons or art shirts if you do this, because drips and dribbles will inevitably happen. And don't do it on your good dinner table unless, like ours, it already needs refinishing. Newspaper is your friend.
See why the toothpicks are not necessary? For the third try of black, turquoise and purple, I just drizzled the nail colors in different swirly patterns. They pretty much stay put on the water's surface, so there is no worry that they will seep in and blend together.
However, Chloë liked using the toothpicks, so whatever. Maybe get some if you have multiple kids and want to let them each try doing things her own way.
Eggs starting to dry on the paper will stick. You could try spraying the paper plates, if you use them, with a little Pam or other cooking spray.
The fourth color combo of yellow, baby pink and baby blue seemed to go on the eggs the best. It also poured out of the bottles more easily. For 50¢ more per bottle, it might be worth it to spring for a slightly better product.
On the other hand, glitter did not go on the eggs well. And we emptied several of the twelve bottles of color I bought just for this product, so don't use your good manicure colors. Paws off my Jafra Nail Lacquers, ladies!
I found our eggs didn't quite have the beautiful marbling off the ones on Hello Glow, but they still looked cool nonetheless. And I liked trying a new technique with the kiddos.
This egg looked almost floral to me. Do you see it, too?
One positive attribute of our interestingly-colored eggs: major SHINE factor!
Sophia complained that her fingers were covered in polish, but she had a lot of fun just the same. Both girls agreed that this was definitely a repeatable process for future generations of eggs.
Even Chloë, who also does not appreciate getting dirty and who is my perfectionist child, enjoyed this activity. I was mostly there to guide and take pictures, so I liked not having to get dirty myself! In other words, parents of toddlers may want to hold off on this one for a few years.
After we had a little trouble with getting polish to stick to the eggs nicely, I reread the original Hello Glow blog post. I came back and told the girls to DUNK the eggs straight down and back up again, rather than roll the eggs in the top of the water/paint combination.
That was the trick; it worked beautifully.
It also led to even messier fingers!
Yet another color combo
Sophie lent a hand to her big sister in smoothing the polish around to the uncovered parts of her egg. Judging by the latter girls' expression, maybe this wasn't entirely appreciated help...!!
Sophia's finished nailpolish eggs
Chloë's decorated eggs
Next up, we tried the shaving cream method of dyeing eggs. You can read more about it here on Crafty Morning.
For this project, I bought the cheapest can of shaving cream - not gel - at CVS for a couple of bucks, and the old-fashioned McCormick food coloring dropper thingies at Publix. I originally thought we'd use my good Wilton gel food colorings, because I have a ton of those sitting unused, but Crafty Morning specified not to use the gel kind. So I had to sent Rob out for the drops.
Sophia used an old high-edged cookie sheet for this project, which was fine because I rarely use this one anymore anyway. I let her put drops of food coloring in however much and wherever she wanted it on the shaving cream.
Chloë used our glass casserole dish, which was also fine since it wasn't permeable and any dyes would just wash off. (The spoons we used to rescue eggs from the first experiment with nailpolish didn't fare so well. I think we had to throw them away?)
The girls didn't complain as much about their fingers getting dirty swirling around the dye in the shaving cream as they might have if the fingers weren't already covered in nail polish! You could use the toothpicks, or even straws, for this swirling, but it's not as fun!
Okay, so Chloë wasn't as thrilled with the "fun" of this mess, but she got into it later on, I promise! ;)
Don't swirl up your colors too much, or the color gets a little muddy, like greenish-brown. Which is not so pretty.
Also, instead of shaving cream, you could use Cool Whip. You might want to do this anyway if you're prone to licking your fingers mid-project! But since egg shells are permeable, I read that the eggs do pick up the taste of the shaving cream and render them inedible. I don't know, though; Chloë ate several of them today with zero complaints. I haven't tried, because I am allergic to all but the Vegetarian 4 Grain eggs. :\
So for this project, you just roll the egg around in the dyed shaving cream and then plop the eggs on a dish to dry for ten minutes. Easy-peasy.
Of course, the eggs are covered with fluffy cream while they're drying, but this will come off later in the process. I let the ladies color as many eggs this way as they desired, and there were still plenty of cream and dye left in their pans for more eggs after that.
The drying eggs set for ten minutes. I let the girls play Minecraft on their tablets to take a break, while I set the timer on the microwave. I had hope that the eggs would be this vibrant in the end, but...
Ten minutes later, I had the girls dry off their shaving-cream caked eggs to see the final results.
Sophia was a bit shocked at how pastel-y pale her egg turned out to be!
True, some eggs turned out more colorized than others. I'm not sure why this is.
I liked the cloudy nature of the eggs. Definitely an interesting method of egg-coloring.
We went through a lot of paper towels for this project, I will say. Maybe 2/3 of a roll?!
Sophia's finished shaving-cream eggs. Oops, looks like another cracked, dropped egg there on the bottom right. She had the dropsies!
Chloë's shaving cream eggs, with that purty blue-green one in the center.
We still had two dozen undyed eggs left over, and the girls wanted to try another method, so I decided to just go the McCormick food coloring route. We used the box and our own minds to make dusty pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Creative thinkin' there, I know...
Chloë's beautiful eggs - after only five minutes in the dye baths! White wine vinegar was what we used, instead of regular white vinegar. Maybe that's why they're so bright?
Sophia had a lot of fun with this project, as did her big sis. In the end, we all had a great time, and I'm glad we decided to forego the PAAS kits this year. Much more fun and creative this way! Have you ever done any of these methods? What's your favorite way to color eggs?