Saturday, April 4, 2015

Last minute Easter Eggs that are stunning and colored naturally - how to dye eggs with red cabbage and a leaf pattern

Click here to download these instructions for printing

Dyeing easter eggs is an ancient tradition, and there are many methods of dying them. We all know the process of submerging eggs into synthetic easter egg dyes, but have you ever considered dyeing easter eggs naturally?

My family has fallen in love with a technique involving red cabbage, vinegar, pantyhose and leaves. This technique renders absolutely gorgeous, unique easter eggs that will have your family and friends swoon. 

Whenever I dye eggs this way and post pictures of them on social media, I get more likes and comments than any other things I share.

Although it involves a little more preparation than simply using synthetic dyes, it's quite easy. If you involve kids with it, you'll be the hit of the neighborhood!

What you need:

8-12 white eggs, uncooked

one gallon of water

one red cabbage

splash of distilled white vinegar

pantyhose or cheese cloth

rubber bands or string

small leaves like parsley, bleeding heart, sweet cicely


Get your hands on eggs. I realized it would have worked better with white eggs, but since my chickens only produce brown ones, we went with those.

Cut a red cabbage in pieces, core and all, and throw it in a pot with water. I used about a gallon of water.

Bring to a boil, put a lid on it, and let it simmer for one hour.

In the meantime prepare your eggs. This involves going outside and finding some cool leaves, small ones that fit over your egg. I used bleeding heart and sweet cicely, but you can use parsley and other cool looking leaves.

Get pantyhose or cheesecloth and cut it in small pieces to wrap the eggs in.

Put a leaf on the egg with the smooth side touching the surface of the egg, and then put the pantyhose tightly over it to make the leaf lie flat on the egg. Be careful with that! Don't squeeze the egg to much, otherwise it will break and drip all over you.

Then tie a knot to secure the pantyhose close to the egg, making sure the leaf is secured that way.
I had my five-year-old daughter help me with that. She dressed in a princess gown for the occasion. If you can find a little girl dressed as a princess, you will succeed in the endeavor of making these beautiful eggs.

Next, drain the cabbage pieces from your pot (feed those to your chickens or pigs, and if you don't have critters, put the cabbage in the compost).

Put a few tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into your now colorful cabbage water.

Gently lower the eggs wrapped in their pantyhoses into the water.  Remind your princess-helper to be careful with this so the eggs won't break or the princess won't burn herself.

Bring this to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer it for 15 minutes, meaning you are hard boiling your eggs.

At this point, you are supposed to leave this all sitting for at least an hour. I refrigerated everything overnight, because I didn't like the color yet.

Next day, cut the pantyhose away, take the leaf off, and admire your beautiful eggs.

Boast about them! Post pictures! People will freak out! If they just knew how easy this is!!!

If you like my blog and my tutorials, you can download my free e-book I wrote, with three more tutorials on homesteading skills:


  1. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

  2. These are so beautiful! I will be trying this for the upcoming season!!

  3. Replies
    1. Hmmmm, I don' t know, but don't think so... I think you really need the calcium of the egg shells to react with the vinegar and cabbage. Would be a fun experiment, though!

  4. I thik you could colour the eggs the old way (boiling with spinachs to make them green, or cabbages etc), then cover them with lace pantyhose, to make a lace-effect? :)

    1. If you color the eggs first without the pantyhose, you wouldn't get the lace effect from the leaves...

  5. I have just done this with my kitchen garden classes and we got stunning dark red/brown effect using brown onion skins, yellow using fresh turmeric and pinky purple with grated beetroot.

    1. That's what I'm going to do next year! I bet they will be gorgeous! Great idea!

  6. Instead of hard boiling you could blow out the insides and keep them forever.

    1. Wow, I've never tried this before. I wonder if they would crack when you boil them...

  7. That is my question; How can I make these last from year to year? How do you preserve these?

    1. Shawn, you cannot preserve these, because they are fresh eggs... You have to make new ones every year, but honestly, it's not a big deal because it's fun and cheap to make them!

  8. Thanks, this was so easy and my eggs turned out beautifully! Best part is we can eat the eggs afterwards.

  9. Wonderful I just tried it only instead of using cabbage as an agent used powdered rust and apple cider vinegar boiled it 10 mins simmered for half an hr then left cool for 2 hrs . Thank you for such a brilliant and easy way to dye eggs have a beautiful Ostara ♥️

  10. Wonderful easter eggs. Yes , we have to prepare for easter !!!. Thank you


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