Sophie and the sharpie eggs|

Alternatives to dyeing Easter eggs

Sophie offers some alternatives to the standard practice of dyeing Easter eggs.

When I was a kid, my Grammy Yocom always had my cousins and I over to dye Easter eggs. I loved it! My favorite part was measuring out the vinegar and hot water into her assorted tea cups and dropping in the little colored tablet. I would sit there completely engrossed as the aspirin-sized tablet dissolved, releasing swirls of magnificent color like smoke rising from a fire. The smell was a heady mixture of cooked eggs (there was always at least one that broke in the boiling water, forming a sort of Quasimodo mutant egg), vinegar, dye, and steam. I remember carefully popping out the little cardboard disks on the back of the box so that we’d have the perfect drying rack, and then pushing a toothpick through the pre-punched hole in the center of the disc to make a top. The people at Paas (the company that makes the dye packs) were brilliant, using every little bit of packaging to create the overall egg dyeing experience. I can still remember the little copper wire egg retriever (you had to bend it just right so you could scoop the eggs out of the cups), the wax crayon so that you could write a secret message on your egg, and the lick and stick stickers (that usually peeled off)! 

Nowadays the kits have gone high-tech and you can get everything from glitter to marbled egg kits -- there’s a veritable “egg”-splosion of kits out there on the market!

As an alternative to the traditional method of dying eggs, I thought I’d offer up some alternatives to egg decorating. Remember, you always want to use a hardboiled or blown-out eggs. Never decorate raw eggs, as they could break during the decorating process and cause quite a mess!

To blow out an egg so you can keep it for years, simply gather the following supplies:

    • A raw egg
    • A pushpin
    • A thin nail
    • A toothpick
    • A bowl to collect the blown-out egg yolk
    • A thin straw, the kind you stir coffee with
    • A little water (to rinse the egg after it is blown out)


Blown eggs are a good alternative|

First, take your pushpin and gently poke it into the top of your raw egg. Pull it out, flip the egg over and holding it gently, do the same to the opposite side. Use your nail to gently widen the hole on one end of the egg. Insert your toothpick into the widest hole and poke around till you puncture the yolk. The toothpick will start coming out yellow as you work it up and down and around inside the egg. Hold the egg over a bowl, with the widest hole facing down, and hold the straw in your mouth, against the smaller hole in the egg. Blow. The insides of the egg fall out of the larger hole. Make sure you blow all the yolk out. Rinse the egg with water then in the same way, blow out any water inside the egg. Let it dry and then it is ready to decorate!

To make a great stand for your eggs as they dry, simply use bottle tops from soda, juice, or half gallon milk containers. Turn them upside-down so that the flat part rests securely on the work surface.

Here are a few ideas to decorate blown-out eggs...

Lace eggs are an alternative|

Use lace or ribbon. Use a glue dot to secure the ends of your ribbon or lace to the top of your egg, then wrap the ribbon around until it meets the ribbon end, and secure with a second glue dot. You can do multiple wraps so that it takes on a sort of circus tent quality, or do one around the middle of the egg, like a belt.

Jeweled eggs make a god alternative|

Use jewels. Use tacky glue, hot glue, or glue dots to secure flat-backed jewels or sequins to your eggs. Get wacky and tacky! How many jewels can you glue to your egg?

Cover eggs with yarn for Easter|

Wrap in yarn. Place a glue dot on the top point of your egg. Coat the upper half of your egg with tacky glue. Secure the end of your yarn to the glue dot and begin wrapping your egg in a circular motion. When you get to the middle, set the egg aside to dry. When it’s dry, flip the egg over, and do the same thing. Place a glue dot on the end, and coat the remaining egg in tacky glue. Continue wrapping the egg where you left off, secure end at the glue dot and cut yarn. You can also employ this method on the side of the egg, as pictured.

Final decoupaged eggs|

Decoupage. Rip or cut tissue or thin wrapping paper into small squares. Make the binder by mixing water and white glue (1 part glue to 1 part warm water). Apply glue mixture to egg, and place paper on glue. Continue layering and gluing until the egg is covered. While the decoupage is still wet you can dip part of the egg in glitter for a nice effect.

Paint your eggs with nail polish|

Paint with nail polish. Got any old, about to be used-up nail polish? Well eggs are a great place to use it up. The glossy finish looks great on an egg. You can also add glitter and jewels while the nail polish is drying, and it will serve just as well as glue!

Here are a few ideas for decorating hard boiled eggs...

(Note: make sure that you remove them from the refrigerator ahead of time, let sit till they are room temperature, and wipe with a dry cloth to remove any moisture before decorating.)

Eggs decorated with a sharpie|

Color with Sharpie markers. Just remember not to draw on your clothes while doing so! Sharpies are awesome because they have a great point and come in amazing colors! Just doodle away on your eggs.

Eggs decorated with crayons|

Crayons. These are a great way to decorate eggs with young children. They perform on the eggs well and are not messy. Because crayons form a wax resist, after kids decorate their eggs you could always continue with the standard dyeing practice.

Eggs decorated with stickers|

Stickers. The one thing I have learned about using stickers is that the eggs need to be left unrefrigerated once they are decorated. The reason is that when the egg gets cold, moisture builds up behind the sticker and it simply pops off. Stickers are still great for very young kids though. The egg pictured is an example of one left in the refrigerator.

Decorate your eggs with paint|

Acrylic sponge painting. You can get a great effect with a sponge and a tiny bit of acrylic paint. You don’t need much, just a teaspoon on a plate and a slightly damp sponge. Dip the sponge into the paint and wipe against the plate edge so that there is only a thin layer of paint on the sponge. Then dab the sponge on the egg.

Personalize your eggs however you like|

Personalize it. Give your egg a personality by adding features such as googly eyes, yarn hair, puff ball ears and noses, etc. The wonderful thing about an egg is it makes a great base for any number of creatures, critters, and cuties. Turn it on its end to make a head or long body, turn it on its side to make the body of an animal, fish, car, or airplane. Eggs are versatile bases for artwork! When I work with kids, I actually like to use plastic eggs for this project because they take well with glue dots, hot glue, and can last getting left in backpacks or cars in case they get forgotten.

No matter what technique you choose, the best thing about decorating eggs is hanging out with your friends and family... and egg salad. That is a super yummy byproduct of egg art!