natural dyes…

Mr Magpie recently brought home two bags of onion skins and thus began a wonderful two day+ adventure eco dyeing eggs AND fabrics...

onions

last year I used onion skins, beets and turmeric to dye eggs but resorted to food coloring for some blue and green…

beets ready to be trimmed and cut

this year I went all natural using two kinds of onion skins, beets and red cabbage and could not be more pleased with the results and surprises all along the way…red cab

here is how I did our eggs starting with Martha Stewart’s fail proof method of hard boiling eggs so the yolks stay a pretty yellow with no green coloring at all…

Getting Started

using squares cut from nylons to help press the items I selected against the egg to act as a resist I tied the bundles securely with a twist tie to help hold everything in place (you can tell how excited I got about this by my run on wording trying to tell you about it all)

Yellow & Red Onion Skinsafter filling one pot with yellow onion skins (pulled from 10-12 onions at the supermarket thanks to my Mr Magpie!) and a second pot for red onion skins I added about 4 cups of water to each pot (not covering the skins completely) along with 3 Tablespoons of white vinegar …Tablespoon

bring the skins and water to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or longer straining liquid from the plant material (rubber gloves and paper to protect your work surface are a very good idea)…

onion dye egg bundles

soak bundled eggs in the dye liquid in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight…

onion dye  reveal

the eggs needed to be handled gently after removing  them from the nylon wrappers and dabbed dry to keep from smudging the dye giving them a chance to dry completely undisturbed…

Yellow Onion Skins

Love the golden glow the yellow onion skins gave the eggs…

Red Onion Skins

the resist pattern flopped on one of the red onion dyed eggs above on the left (I tried layering threads from ripping a second hand eyelet dust ruffle which made great fabric for dyeing) so I gently dabbed the egg with a paper towel leaving a wonderful mottled finish…

'Chocolate' Red Onion Dyewho would guess that red onion skins would turn eggs into rich chocolate colors…

egg bundles

 on day two I chopped up the beets for one pot and the red cabbage in a second pot following the same cooking directions as I did for the onion skins…Beet Eggs & Fabric

as vibrant as the beet dye turned out the eggs stayed a soft color…Beet Dye Collage

 interesting green colors emerged which is a bit mysterious because no greenery was used in the beet dye bath at all…

Red Cabbage & sampler

the red cabbage had the biggest WOW reaction for me leaving me to wonder HOW it could dye the eggs beautiful shades of blue while fabrics turned gorgeous shades of lavender using the same cabbage dye bath…

Red Cabbage Eggs and Fabric

the lighter colored blue eggs were soaked for several hours

Cabbage!and the darker blue were left in the cabbage dye overnight in the refrigerator …cabbage & beets egg carton

as you can tell I was more than delighted with this entire process…

Onion skin egg carton

only one egg cracked during cooking which was a good way to test the yolk which was done to perfection…

Beet Dyed Fabrics

I could do an entire post on the fun of using up the leftover dyes for fabric scraps, laces and doilies and such…

Onion skin dyed fabrics and lace

but I have gone on long enough here…

Red Cabbage Dyed Fabrics

if you are interested in learning more about the possibilities of dyeing with natural plant materials try searching the internet for “natural dyes” and prepare to be amazed

Mr Magpie

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” ~Bernard Meltzer

52 responses to “natural dyes…

  1. Oh my god ma chère Patty,
    j’ai cru que tu allais nous donner une recette de cuisine, quel ravissement tous ces oeufs colorés avec des produits naturel, merci infiniment. J’adore les bleus.
    Bizzzzz
    MAPY

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  2. JUST A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

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  3. OMG!!!!!!!!!! They all turned out Stunning. Love all the variations in color you got. I’m in love. Going to try this 4 sure.
    TFS
    Hugz Tonniece

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  4. These are beautiful and so unique! Thank you for sharing how you made these. Gorgeous!!
    Kate

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  5. how wonderful! they are beautiful…truly a chemistry lesson filled with amazement! i wonder what mineral (?) is making the beets bath turn out green bits and the differences in the cabbage bath? very, very, very cool….thanks so much for sharing the instructions and results! xo am excited to see what you do with your stunning dyed fabric bits!!

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  6. Fantastic results. I could have gone on and on looking at the photos. Thanks for sharing the method. As soon as the weather warms up I’m definitely going to try this. Amazing colours from the red cabbage.

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  7. These are wonderful, the colours so amazing! Have you ever tried nettles? They give a very nice yellow/green finish.

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  8. Dearest Patty….your work always amazes me…you take natural items & make something truly beautiful. I so enjoyed the wool fabric that you dyed…sure wish I had some today. Most that you can buy isn’t natural dyed. Good job!!!!

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  9. STANDING OVATION! {mixed with loud clapping, high-pitched whistling, and all sorts of noises associated with adoration/applause}

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  10. Wow, Patty, you were so busy and have dyed beautiful Easter eggs. I wish you a lovely Easter week

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  11. Amazing! Just a vision of scrumptiousness from the eggs to the fabric and lace. And Wow! The blue is gorgeous!! Thank you for all the helpful tips. =)

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  12. Wow!!! These turned out great!!! Love how you did the resist with the leave and fabric. Fantastic!!! ~Sophia

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  13. what a great post..noticed them on fb but they look even better here..now I must get some red cabbage on the next big shop! I love that old tablespoon too..thanks for sharing

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  14. Oh, my! First, I wondered on your FB page what the eggs were doing tied up! Now I know — that’s pretty brilliant! And I love the colors, especially the cabbage and onion skins. I don’t know how I’m going to make time to fit this into my holiday schedule this year, but I may just have to try! Thanks Patty — these are stunning!

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  15. I can hardly believe these amazing results. What great colours and patterns. Thanks for that Patty…I’ve saved the instructions for future reference.

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  16. OMG!!!! These are THE most beautiful eggs I’ve EVER seen!!!! xxoo

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  17. Oh these are amazing Patty….the patterns and colours are wonderful…ADORE the blue ones!!… Sending early Easter Hugs right back at ya!! 🙂 Janx

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  18. Dear Patty, seing all you beautifully dyed eggs here and fabrics too, makes me want to go on, straight away 🙂 They are amazing colours, and the difference between fabric and eggs are fantastic, and so strange.
    About the green/ rosa coloured lovely eggs, I have experiensed that last summer, when dying some laces with some heavy coloured red/black flower petals…the laces also turned up mixed with green and rosa….don`t remember exatly, but think it was a very almost black violet I bought in a pot last year! It is truly so exiting to take time doing these experiences…thankyou dear friend so much for inspirering me .
    Hugs and love from Dorthe

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  19. I have had plans to dye eggs this way this year …. I am determined to resist the kid kits. I think we’ll have fun …. Your step by step makes it very do-able … Not to mention magical too!i love the blue!!

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  20. Wow! Such an amazing array of colours! A very inspiring post Patty! xxx

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  21. These eggs are so beautiful! I remember dyeing eggs with onion skins and leaves with my mother when I was a teenager …

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  22. This is a magical post…the soft ethereal colors seem so perfect for the celebration of the Easter season. May your days blossom like the beautiful colors! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

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  23. Patty, this post is lovely and magical. Your pictures are perfect and so are the detailed instructions. I’m inspired by all the amazing patterns and color you got from your onions and cabbage. Truly beautiful 🙂

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  24. oh my patty thank you for the tutorial, the results are just stunning…I am going to have get my hands on some red cabbage , those blues and lavenders were stunning…. when I did brown onion eggs years ago I wrappe dteh skin around the egg and then used a stocking to hold it together for a mottled effect ….then I rubbed olive oil into it for a lovely sheen….lovely results and you have put me in the mood for Easter..:)

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  25. rcscreations

    Such a wonderful post, Patty! Now I want to dye every bit of lace I have around here!!! 🙂

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  26. Hi Patty Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiments – What fantastic results – I personally was a bit more interested in the fabric results and the gorgeous colours you received. Many years ago when I was spinning and weaving more I did lots of dyeing outdoors over little fires we created on the ground and got some incredible results using onion skins and gum leaves.. More recently I have tried some of India Flint’s technique with lovely results on silk and velvet with rose petals and geranium flowers from our garden. I just love the whole process and now I can’t wait to try the beetroots (which we have growing) and the red cabbage.
    Oh lots of fun!
    Have a special, happy and blessed Easter my dear friend.
    Love and hugs to you,
    Suzy

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  27. beautiful. miss patty! the colors are so much nicer than the harsh ones in commercial dyes!

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  28. I wished this post never ended! I looked at every picture with amazament, Patty. Love love your eggs and all the process behind it.
    Thanks for sharing it with us ,and I wish you a lovely, colourful Easter!

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  29. So much fun! I haven’t dyed eggs this year but this has me wanting to do it. I might have to save it for an after Easter project. Too much going on before. As you did I put scraps of fabric in my onion and cabbage dye baths with same same interesting result of lavender from the cabbage.

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  30. Oh look at all the response , well deserved Miss magpie, this post is the BOMB, I love that Mr Magpie he is such a SWEETY,):).. This whole post which I read 3 times is so exciting, I looooooooooove it. I will have to try this thanks a million for sharing this fabulous technique. Have a fabulous Easter weekend. P.S.Those hands look like Angels hands…. I’m so excited, did I say that. big hugs to you both…

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  31. Your such a good egg!!!! I’m the ONLY one in my family that will eat boiled eggs………

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  32. thanks for sharing all those wonderful results with us! i can feel how excited you must be, so awesome! the look of the herbs is totally beautiful.
    have a happy easter, dear patty!
    xox, johanna

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  33. I have used the red onion skins but not the red cabbage, beets or yellow onion skins. I will have to try those. I LOVE the blue you got!

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  34. the different colours from one dye [onto egg or silk etc] will result from the substance being dyed [ie silk is protein, egg has calcium and whatever else] AS WELL AS the quality of the water being used. and a bit of magic.

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  35. I have to admit, you put my fabric dyeing efforts using natural materials to shame. I love, love, love the results you got with the red cabbage. It will go on my grocery list soon!

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  36. Wow! I was impressed as I read and scrolled down through the pictures – and then (THEN!!) I saw the magnificent blue ones. I think my heart went pitter-pat. Gorgeous!!!!!!!

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  37. I’m so glad I came over to your blog today… and see all the results of your natural dying. And aren’t they breathtaking results indeed! OHMYGOODNESS…. blue eggs from cabbage? When we were students, my friend and I dyed fabrics with natural stuff (I remember curry) and those afternoons were so much fun! I wish you lived near, my friend… I would have loved to cook the fabric together!

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  38. WOW! How cool!!!! Drooling over the beautiful colors of lace and fabric! I’m definitely going to have to give this a try! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve popped by. My muse paid a visit last night and I got some painting done… 🙂

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  39. Carmen Dyson

    These eggs are beautiful! Makes me want to try.

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  40. A very charming and lovely idea with this easter eggs, dear Patty! Your imagination is endless!
    I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Easter.
    Hugs and smile
    MARTINA

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  41. Amazing! I love the blues and the browns/oranges. So organic and lovely.
    Rinda

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  42. Oh wow Patty!!! Your dyed eggs are breathtaking!!! I love how all of them turned out along with your process for the designs on them-really fantastic!! And those fabrics-oh so gorgeous too!
    lvoe your egg quote :):) Happy Easter!

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  43. Patty, these are wonderful, I love reading about your whole process and seeing such surprising results! Especially beautiful for me are the blues and the lavenders, both the eggs and the fabric! Happy Easter to you.
    roxanne

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  44. Wonderful project your marvellous collection of unique colored easter eggs, love the smooth look.and the white patterns.
    Dear Patty I wish you and yours happy blessed easterdays,
    hugs Anja

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  45. More than wonderful eggs and results and a beautiful start for me into Easter Sunday. Thank you from Gjermany and happy Easter.

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  46. what a marvelous adventure into egg dying! the imprints of leaves left behind are just amazing…love those colors, especially that blue!

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  47. You are brilliant, and eco-super and your eggs are beautiful!!

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  48. Pingback: April Tea … | Magpie's Nest ~*~ Patty Szymkowicz

  49. I loved seeing what you did here. Amazingly beautiful! Impossible to pick a favorite color. Love them all.

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  50. What gorgeous eggs! I will have to try some of this next year!

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