28 Mar

Recycled Easter Egg Dye

recycled egg dye

Typically, we celebrate Easter with after-church reservations at our favorite local restaurant. They serve up a wonderfully elaborate buffet complete with all sorts of farm animals fit for sacrificial offerings. Plus, they have my favorite beer on tap.

recycled egg dye

Recycled Egg Dye

Now, when the kid was younger we did the whole basket, fake grass and chocolate bunny thing. I have photos of him holding hands with a neighbor-girl scouting plastic treasures in the yard. Another year, we hunted hidden eggs throughout an old folk’s home. And I vaguely recall stopping along the side of the road to pose the boy on a fuzzy pink bunny’s lap outside a carpet store.  But coloring eggs? Nope, can’t say I remember doing much of that.


That doesn’t mean we didn’t, it just means there were no epic failures or fiery mishaps to register the event in my long-term memory vault. So, it’s actually a good thing. But for the sake of argument let’s assume that when we did, we went the standard colored-tablet-in-vinegar dip method. Because, that’s just how you do Easter eggs right?

Apparently not, according to Pinterest.

Have you seen all the crazy patterns and paintings choking the homepage of that site? Seriously, some people have entirely too much time on their hands. And today, I joined their ranks.

We’ve had a half carton of eggs in the fridge for a while now (expiration date: Nov 2012) and I figured it was time to throw them out. But I decided to test a theory I had first. In my last post, I shared a pocket guide for recycling coffee grounds and alluded to having another tip up my sleeve.

boil eggs in grounds

Yeppers, I boiled my leftover espresso grounds in a pan of water and added a few eggs. The water quickly turned a murky brown and I let the eggs steep for a good 30 minutes before removing the pan to cool.

Of course, I got creative during the wait time and started eyeballing everything in the pantry. Since spaghetti sauce seems to stain everything it in it’s path, I thought it would make a great component in my experiment. I watered down a can of tomato paste, popped in a couple eggs (adorned with vinyl stickers and tied up in mesh) and set the pot on the burner for another half hour.


I’m culinarily-challenged so I can’t tell you why the tomato concoction kept boiling over. I had to continually reduce the heat and could not cover the pan like I did the espresso soup. It made a complete mess of the stovetop and I don’t recommend it for an air freshener fragrance either.

When I removed the eggs from the sauce I was disappointed to see the shells only had a slight peach tinge to them.


I removed the mesh, rinsed and dried off each egg and considered ringing up Tupperware’s corporate office in Florida to pitch a new product idea.

Look. The damn things didn’t stain! (but the paper on the back of the stickers did – go figure)

tomato eggs

By now, the espresso water had cooled so those eggs went in a bowl to chill in the fridge. Since I couldn’t get the stickers peeled off without residual goo, only one of these eggs survived. I soaked it in the java sludge.

At this point, I was feeling a tad bit defeated.

I really wanted to have something pretty to practice taking pictures of. Especially since I found a few great ‘props’ at the thrift store and already prepped them for the grand finale. So I grabbed a yellow onion, peeled the outer skin off and boiled it up with the last three expired eggs. Two of them went in naked but the third I wrapped up in a larger piece of skin then tied it up in some mesh.

recycled_egg_dye And finally, I struck gold. The veins of the onion skin transferred on to the shell which turned a much lighter orange than the other two. The darker brown eggs are from the boiled-in-espresso and the dinosaur egg looking one was the tomato-fail-espresso-rescue victim.

Now, I have another memory to add to the vault. Easter 2013 – the year I spent an entire day crafting beautiful eggs that no one can eat.

Thank you Easter Bunny – bawk bawk!

6 thoughts on “Recycled Easter Egg Dye

  1. We all must venture into this crafty mess at least once in a life time, however, if next year your feeling your inner Bunny again- try boiling eggs in beet juice- after having swirled patterns with a crayon on the outside. The wax will prevent the color from taking but slowly melt away. Obviously I've had too much time on my hands.

    • ..or just enough wine in your cup. I find that the higher my blood alcohol level is the more creative my juices flow. Therefore, fill 'er up!

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