Updated: Apr 14, 2022
I'm a down-to-earth single tone egg-dyer myself, but there are plenty of fancy schmancy things you can do! Here are a few I made recently for my Easter TV appearances.
I was super excited about this orange one, clearly.
Pro tip: a great way to get dye off your fingers is with plain old Comet or another cleanser. Such cleanser is also the perfect thing to use to get dye stains off (most) counters, etc. Putting down a couple layers of newspaper to cover your work area helps prevent that type of accident from occurring as well!
Basic process: Boil eggs. You can blow the yolk and white out of them and keep them "forever" after you dye and decorate them but I tend to err on the side of simplicity and just boil 'em first.
How to boil eggs: Place eggs in bottom of large pot so they have room if possible (prevents cracking). Add cold water to at least one inch above eggs. Add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the pot to help 'em peel better later if you like (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, doesn't make a lot of difference in my experience.) Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. If eggs are jumbo, a minute or two longer. Plunge eggs in ice water bath and let 'em chill for about 10 minutes. Don't dump the stovetop water.
I buy some clear plastic cups (18 oz. SOLO cups are good for this), line 'em up based on how many colors I want to make. Put about a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar in each (essential for THIS part of the process, it's what makes the dye penetrate the shells). Meanwhile I've added some more water to the pot I boiled the eggs in and brought it back up to just a simmer. Grab a ladle and place it in this pot.
In each cup, to the vinegar I add the drops of food coloring. I like to improvise (the formulas on the top of the food coloring box tend not to work well for me, but that's just my personal preference). Generally you'll be controlling your shades by how many of which colored drops you put in the cups (it takes about 15 drops for a saturated shade) as well as how long you leave the eggs in the dye.
Next, put your drops of coloring in, then take a ladle of on-the-verge of boiling water and add it to each cup. Obviously don't hold the cup in your palm as you add the water, hold by the rim instead, or rest it on the counter to add the hot water, or you will scare the kids, pets and neighbors with your blood-curdling screams.
Drop in the eggs and get to dyeing! If it's a super saturated color like the orange one above I'll leave it in longer than a pale pink or a blue. The range is really anything from 30 seconds to 15 minutes, play with it till you get the hang of it. I use a regular slotted spoon to remove them then I let them dry on a cookie cooling rack. You can also make your own egg-drying rack from scratch by putting toothpicks in a flat piece of styrofoam to hold each egg. A bit more work but you'll feel like a real pro!
Below are some color charts from Martha Stewart that might give you some ideas. And more on the fancy schmancy ideas I mentioned right here! Good luck and Happy Easter!
Credit for the following: Emily Kate Roemer
To dye pretty pastel eggs, dip them in the colored water for shorter periods of time. Follow our handy color wheel chart using the formulas below. Use this as a guide: Color Desired = Drops Per Cup of Water + Minutes.
Yellow = 20 Yellow + 1/2
Yellow-Orange = 19 Yellow and 1 Red + 2
Orange = 17 Yellow and 3 Red + 2 1/2
Pink-Orange = 6 Red and 14 Yellow + 2
Pink = 20 Red + 1
Pink-Violet = 10 Blue and 10 Red + 1
Violet = 15 Blue and 5 Red + 1
Blue Violet = 18 Blue and 2 Red + 1
Blue = 20 Blue + 1/2
Blue-Green = 6 Blue and 14 Green + 1 1/2
Green = 20 Green + 1/2
Yellow-Green = 15 Yellow and 5 Green + 1/2
To dye richly hued eggs, leave your eggs in the water longer (in some cases, more than 10 minutes). Follow our handy color wheel chart using the formulas below, using this as a guide: Color Desired = Drops Per Cup of Water + Minutes.
Yellow = 20 Yellow + 15
Yellow-Orange = 19 Yellow and 1 Red + 12
Orange = 17 Yellow and 3 Red + 12
Red-Orange = 6 Red and 14 Yellow + 12
Red = 20 Red + 4
Red-Violet = 10 Blue and 10 Red + 5
Violet = 15 Blue and 5 Red + 7
Blue-Violet = 18 Blue and 2 Red + 5
Blue = 20 Blue + 5
Blue-Green = 6 Blue and 14 Green + 8
Green = 20 Green + 8
Yellow Green = 15 Yellow and 5 Green + 10