How to Dye Easter Eggs
This Easter why not try something a little different? Make Easter eggs using a traditional textile dyeing method called batik that uses wax to create patterns on a dyed surface. In this activity, you'll use melted candle wax and crepe paper dye to create unique, beautifully patterned eggs. This is also a good opportunity to talk to your child about nature, spring, and why eggs are a symbol of the season.
You can also use fresh eggs in this activity. Empty them by poking holes through both ends of the egg with a pin and blowing out the contents. The raw egg contents can be used for cooking. This method leaves a fragile but light egg shell that will keep indefinitely.
What You Need:
- Crepe paper, several colors
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Hot water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Paper towels
- Egg carton or wrinkled aluminum foil (for egg drying rack)
- Covered table
What You Do:
- Light the candle and set it aside while you prepare the crepe paper dye.
- Cut strips of crepe paper about 1/2" wide. Place them in a bowl. Do the same for additional colors of crepe paper (use a new bowl for each color).
- Pour hot water on the crepe paper to release the dye. Remove the paper with tweezers or your fingers if the water is not too hot.
- Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to set the dye. Let cool.
- Drip candle wax onto the egg. The candle wax will create a pattern when the eggs are dipped in dye; the parts of the egg covered by candle wax will remain the egg's natural color. Keep this in mind when applying the wax.
- Help your child dip the egg in the lightest color dye first. Dry the egg with a paper towel.
- Drip more candle wax onto the egg where you want the lighter color to stay. Then have your child dip the egg into the next darker dye and dry with a paper towel. (The egg may need to sit in the dye for a few minutes to become the desired shade.)
- Continue repeating step 6 until you have used all the dyes or you are satisfied with the design.
- To remove the wax from the egg, place the egg on a tray covered with paper towels in a very warm oven. After the wax has melted (about two minutes), wipe the egg with another paper towel. Let cool in an egg carton or on a wrinkled sheet of aluminum foil.
Because this activity requires steps that are dangerous for children (like handling hot water and candle wax), an adult will need to do most of the work. But don't worry—there are still plenty of ways your child can help out. Let her pick out the colors, dip the eggs into the dyes, and decide on the overall design. Your child will enjoy watching the process as much as she enjoys participating in it. This is a one-on-one project for you and your child: use this time to talk to your child about why hot water is dangerous and how to stay safe in the kitchen.