Easter eggs should be dressed in holiday finery, just like the people at church that Sunday.
Think vibrant blue bubbled all over the shell, purple-pink batik, a whisper of green, multicolored tweed or an intricate repeating pattern.
Each of these is easier to create than you might think.
Ask Willow Bland of Council Bluffs. She'll turn 2 a few weeks after Easter, but this will be the second year she decorates eggs with mom Tracey Bland of Council Bluffs.
With Willow so young, Tracey Bland opts for warm-water dyeing or decorated eggs.
“Tissue paper eggs work really well,” Bland said.
She cuts tiny squares of brightly colored tissue paper, dips them in water and places them all over a hard-cooked egg, which she sets on an egg stand. Once the egg dries, she peels off the excess paper, which leaves its color on the egg.
Bland also makes Kool-Aid eggs.
Stir a package of unsweetened Kool-Aid into warm water in a coffee cup. Add a hard-cooked egg and let it sit in the Kool-Aid water until the desired color is reached.
Although the colors are brilliant, the color starts coming off if they get moist, Bland said.
Last year, Bland and her mother dyed deviled eggs.
“They are so awesome,” Bland said. “People loved them. Everybody just went nuts over those things.”
To make them, Bland cut hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise and placed the yolks in a separate container.
She mixed food coloring with water in coffee cups, added a cooked egg-white-half to each and let them sit just long enough to produce a bright color. She then stuffed them with her usual deviled egg filling.
Bland also has dyed whole eggs with natural products, including fruit, vegetables (including onion skins), juices, herbs and spices.
“You can dye way more (eggs) doing it this way than with kits,” she said.
Anita Savery of Omaha also has used onion skins to color eggs. Her technique is different, however.
“I used to save onion skins — yellow and red — and wrap onion skins around the eggs” before I boiled them in water with a little vinegar to set the color, Savery said.
“They really turned out quite pretty. Kind of golden for the yellow skins and a purplish pink for the red skins. They look like a batik dye process,” she said.
To keep the onion skins touching the egg shells, tie them on with string; slip them inside “tubes” cut from the legs of panty hose and secure the ends closed against the egg with twist ties, string or rubber bands; or wrap the eggs with the skin around them in pieces of light-colored scrap fabric and secure the end or ends.
My sister, Kathy Story of Memphis, Tenn., created beautiful Easter eggs last year using color transfer dyeing. This year, I tried it.
Wrap a raw egg in a piece of fabric that will bleed its color and pattern (silk is an excellent choice), wrap the egg again in a light-colored scrap of fabric, secure both fabrics tightly around the egg and boil it in water with a little vinegar to set the color.
Once the egg cools, unwrap and behold.
Patterned silk ties from a thrift store or your closet work perfectly. The ties must be 100 percent silk, so read the labels. Reds, blues and greens transfer the brightest colors. Pastels produce muted tones.
Look for patterns in the fabric that are small but bold. An egg isn't big enough to capture a single, large image.
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