Easter branches

This year, we experimented with dyeing our own blown eggs to create a homemade tree for Easter.

Having seen lots of lovely results on various blogs last year, we tried out three types of dye - two natural (red onion skins and red cabbage) and one with lilac food colouring.

Blowing the eggs was good fun. We made holes in either end of the eggs with a needle, then fashioned a wider hole in the top end big enough to push a matchstick tied with cotton to hang the eggs through later on. Trial and error allowed us to work out the optimal size for the holes. Too small and you’re blowing in vain for ages. Too large and the shells crack.

Then we started to prepare our natural dyes. Louis peeled the red onion skins and then we boiled for about 15 minutes until their liquid took on a hue slightly darker than we wanted for the final eggs.

Then once our dyes were strained and cooled, we added about 2 tablespoons of vinegar to each one (so much differing advice about when and how to add the vinegar and how much to add, so we just winged it) and decanted each one into a large kilner jar along with the eggs.

I’d like to say at this point that I was able to teach the boys an interesting science lesson about expelling air from an eggshell as bubbles in order for it to sink, but they pretty much gave up on the process when the pong of boiled red cabbage began to invade the kitchen so shortly after that, I was pretty much on my lonesome.

Anyway, ‘we’ left the blown eggs in their dye baths overnight, giving them the odd passing stir every now and then and hey presto, 24 hours later, two out of our three kilner jars revealed beautifully dyed eggs!

The natural dyes were a great success - although I was expecting the red cabbage ones to have been more blue, perhaps we added too much vinegar? But the food coloured ones didn’t take at all. I added the dye to cold water so perhaps this made the difference or perhaps food colour is just rubbish at dyeing eggs. Who knows?

And here is a (rather rubbish) picture of our finished Easter branches. I’m pretty pleased at how they turned out but have since endlessly rearranged the eggs’ positioning and have added some mini chicks to brighten them up a bit.

Happy Easter!