Are you an Easter egg fan? Do you color your hard-boiled beauties using kits from the store or do you like to go a more natural route? Whatever your color strategy, the stunning results are well worth the effort, said area "Marthas."
Angela Butorac and her crafty friend, Susan Keels, recently tried their hands at a natural egg-dying process that involves using everything from coffee and tea to saffron powder and wine.
Going “kit-free,” Butorac and Keels turned out a basketful of inspiring, inventive eggs, many of which feature an antiquated, rustic appeal. Others pop with colors as vivid as a garden full of tulips and hyacinths.
“We love trying new things,” said Butorac of Sterling Heights. She runs Butorac Events and is an active member of the Greater Detroit National Association of Catering Executives (NACE).
“We like to share our entertaining inspirations,” Keels said. For her eggs, Keels first boils one bottle of merlot wine, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of sea salt. Then she removes that mixture from the stove and adds the eggs, immersing for about three hours.
Like a hand–painted look? You’ll need some acrylic paints, water and a couple of brush sizes (wide if you want to coat the whole egg one color first; thin, to add detail). Use acrylic gloss medium as a final step to coat the entire egg.
Tips for dyeing eggs
Start with clean, cool hard-boiled eggs.
To get a vintage look, wrap the eggs with cheesecloth before placing them in the dye. “That gives the eggs a marbleized texture,” Keels said.
Use brown eggs instead of white if you want more depth of color, Keels said. “And the longer the soak time, the more vibrant and intense the color, Butorac added.
With kits, consider creating color variations. For example, for pastel-colored eggs, add a tablet and three tablespoons of water to a one-cup container. Once the tablet has dissolved, add ½ cup of water.
A spoon works just as well as a kit’s wire egg dipper, said Butorac. “Just be really careful when turning the egg to get uniform colorization.”
For a long life for hand-painted eggs, poke a pinhole at both ends of the egg before painting and blow out the egg whites and yolk.
Consider embellishments not necessarily in a store-bought kit, once eggs are dry. Decorative additions include hand-stamped images, scrapbook stickers, jewels, ribbon, fabric flowers and more.
Display them well. “How you display them is as important as the eggs themselves,” said Keels. Butorac layers hers on a cupcake tree nestled in Easter grass-filled, flower-shaped cupcake liners, while Keels showcases her vintage-hued eggs in crystal candleholders. Port glasses, vintage teacups and votive candleholders also work well, they say. Or nest the eggs among store-bought moss trim and other natural elements.
Natural dye recipes
Dye eggs naturally with these combinations from Susan Keels and Angela Butorac:
(hard-boil eggs first; add 3 tablespoons vinegar to each mixture; all liquid at room temperature except where indicated)
Light-brown: ¾ cup black coffee
Yellow: ¾ cup water, pinch of saffron powder
Purple: ¾ cup purple grape juice
Caramel: ¾ cup boiling water, orange spice Lipton tea bag
Pink: juice from 1 can sliced beets