Natural Easter Egg Designs

Here's how to use onion skin dyes and foliage images to create attractive Easter egg designs.

| March/April 1980

  • 062 easter egg designs2
    TOP: These Easter egg designs were made with homemade vegetable dyes and a collection of leaves and flowers. BOTTOM LEFT: Design elements arranged on a cheesecloth. BOTTOM RIGHT: An egg wrapped in a design-bearing cheesecloth.

  • 062 easter egg designs2

There's a marvelous but surprisingly little-know way to imprint beautiful, frilly, natural Easter egg designs right on your eggs.

To do so, you'll need some homemade dyes (I get the best results using onion skins), cotton, cheesecloth, string, and a selection of green leaves and colorful flowers.

Pick Your Images

The most common foliage available around Easter time will—depending upon your location—probably be the leaves of roses, violets, columbine, parsley, wild carrots, clover, and ferns . . . but any attractive small leaves work well. (You can usually find leatherleaf fern scraps and chrysanthemum leaves among florist shop discards.)

I haven't experimented very much with flowers, but I have found that hyacinths, violets, bluebells, and lilacs will—when used in the manner described below—often leave some hint of their colors on the eggs.

Make Your Mark

Once your materials are together, put the onion skins (or other dye source) into a pot and cover them with water. (Both my mother and my grandmother swear a granite kettle is best for this purpose.) Bring the water to a boil and let the liquid cook a little until it turns brown. Then, clean off the eggs and cut the cheesecloth into pieces large enough to be wrapped about a single Easter treat, twisted, and tied with a string.

Lay one square of the material flat out on a table and arrange the leaves and/or flowers on the cloth . . . keeping in mind how the "decorations" will be positioned when the wrapper is folded about the egg.

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