Prepare your dyes the day or morning beforehand. In general, the higher quantity of each dye material you have, the darker and more immediate the color will take to the eggs. Below are rough estimates of the amount of “dye material” to water. In general have enough water to cover the dye materials. If you have more dye material, you can always add more water. Natural dyeing is definitely more of an art than a science.
Bring dye material to a simmer, not a boil. Boiling the dye material can “zap” the color. Simmer the dye material and then let cool in the pot on the stove before straining.
Below are time estimates for simmering. You can always simmer a little longer if you have time. Strain the dye materials from the liquid. Stick dye bath in a mason jar, and place in the fridge. After straining, if you don't have enough dye bath to fill the jar, you can add water. The dye baths will last a few days.
If you are like me right now, you are using what you have, and I only have brown eggs. So the instructions below work well on brown or white eggs. I also noticed the cabbage dye rubs off until it dries, so it is best to let the eggs dyed with cabbage dry before handling.
Natural dyeing is slow. Be prepared to leave your eggs in the mason jars for eight hours or even overnight for good color. Place the eggs in the jar, put them in fridge and make it a surprise to unwrap them the next day.
The brown dye:
Yellow onion skin- 1 cup yellow skins to 4 cups water. Bring to simmer for 35 minutes. Add 1 tsp vinegar. Strain and store.
The blue dye:
Red Cabbage- 1/2 head of cabbage per 4 cups water. Bring to simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1 tsp vinegar. Strain and store.
*If you cook, it is easy to get enough onion skins to dye with if you plan ahead. I keep a bag in my freezer and collect the onion skins during the week as I cook.
Natural egg dyeing with plant resists
A Garden to Dye For by Chris McLaughlin