Saturday, April 30, 2011

What to do with all that leftover Easter egg dye

Egg Dying is one tradition our whole family enjoys, and will probably never be given up no matter how old we get. This year, since it was just my daughter and me, we decided against buying the kits. Instead, we just made our own using ordinary food coloring, vinegar and water. It's very easy. The mix we used was:
  • 10-20 drops food color
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • about 1/4-1/2 cup of water

I put the dye into individual plastic ice cream sundae cups. If you try this, you'll want to put your dunking cups in a larger container or baking sheet to catch any overflow and drips. You'll really only need to make the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Redipping will produce other colors. We used the "magic" crayon from one of our previous years egg kits to add some designs. It's just a clear wax crayon. A candle should work just as well. The eggs in the pic were refrigerated after dying, which mottles the colors some (I kinda like the effect, myself). The condensation will make the dye stain your hands, so be sure you let the sit for a bit to warm and dry off. Wipe excess moisture away with a paper towel.

After we dyed our eggs, we still had quite a bit of dye leftover. We wanted to use it up on something else. There are many things you can dye with this stuff. We went ahead and poured some of the dye from each of the three primaries into three more cups to make the secondary colors of purple, orange and green to dye some pistachio nut shells. This was a great way to use us the rest of the dye. We also tried dying some cotton crochet yarn, but cotton doesn't take dye as readily and we're letting it sit longer in hopes it will eventually set.

After soaking overnight, the shells are very brightly colored, fairly permanent and ready to use in some crafty projects. Stay tuned for what we make! :)

And, to add even more resourcefulness to this day, the paper we used to dry the shells on will also most likely wind up as end sheets in a hand-bound journal. With a little forethought, they made a very nice pattern. Another sheet (not pictured) turned out even more unusual when we blew the dye around with a straw (as I'd learned to do in grade school).

Hope your Easter was a good one!


Missouri's Lilac said...

That is awesome use of left over dye. We have been making our own egg dye since I was about 5 and I have continued with my son. It is far more economical and so much FUN! I never thought about how much we wasted. Next year I will definately be using our left over dye. BTW, CUTE shells!!!

The Cardboard Crafter said...

Love it! Especially the idea of using the paper in a journal. I love little scraps of paper and cardboard, and hate to throw anything away that can be used. Sounds like a fun day :)

mieljolie said...

Lilac, I'm so glad we could inspire you for next year. :)

TCC, I agree. Hate to throw away anything that might have any possible use, no matter the size. Family is annoyed by this, sometimes. ;) But, I have my own room for such things. Once it's full, I'm sure I'll be cut off from my hoarding. :)