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Tuesday, April 12, 2011



One of our family Easter traditions is to dye eggs with pieces of old silk. I saw a cute little old lady show Martha how to do it a few years ago and I ran upstairs right then to steal a tie! It’s way cooler than those cups of neon liquid that end up all over your clothes, your furniture and your hands plus it gives you an excuse to rid a man’s closet of ugly ties.
I’m going to be short on words today because I have a ton of pictures to post! Let’s get started.
For full, printable directions: Click here.
And to see tons of tie-dyed eggs submitted by OBB readers, Click here!
Here’s the quick run-down:
You need 100% silk for this to work. Make sure to check the labels to make sure you’re not buying polyester, which can look similar. I grab old ties at the thrift store where they’re all under a buck. And remember: when it comes to ties, you may not want ugly ones on your man, but ugly ties do make pretty eggs! You could also use silk from an old blouse, a scarf, whatever.
I try to find an assortment of colors and patterns. Usually dark blues, purples, and reds work the best, but it’s fun to experiment with all kinds of things. The interesting thing is that you never know how much of the color and pattern will transfer to the eggs. Sometimes ties I think will be awesome really disappoint, and ones I didn’t think much of make the most beautiful eggs. Here’s the ties I picked up this year:

Usually it will tell you if it’s 100% silk right on the main label of the tie, but a lot of them don’t, and if that’s the case, check that little tiny end, it’s usually hiding there.

The first step is to deconstruct the tie. Snip the seams and remove the lining so you are just left with the silk. (And yes, this old Christian Dior Tie, which I love, was only 50 cents at the thrift store!)

Next you cut a piece large enough to cover an egg. Wrap the egg with the right side of the fabric making contact with the egg. The right side is the printed side, or the side that would be on the outside of the tie. You want to try to wrap the fabric as tight as you can without breaking the egg of course. The more direct contact the silk has with the egg shell the clearer the imprint of the pattern. Where there are folds in the fabric you’ll get kind of a swirly water color effect. I love those parts- it adds to the charm. Once wrapped, tie with a piece of string or a twisty tie. (Do yourself a favor and go with the twisty tie!)
A little thought: You’re going to use the largest part of the tie, at the bottom, and be left with the rest of it which might not be large enough to use again. What I do is take all of those pieces and just stitch them together on my sewing machine. It’s really fast and then I’m left with a brand new piece of silk to cut squares from. You can get a lot more use out of them that way and it’s fun to combine fabrics. Also, you can use a piece of silk more than once, but it loses a large amount of it’s potency after the first dye, so I always just toss the used pieces.

Looking at the picture below makes me happy. It just does. How cute are those little guys? They have no idea what’s comin’…

After the eggs are wrapped, you’re going to wrap them again with a light colored light weight piece of fabric. An old pillowcase or sheet is perfect. If you go to the thrift store to get ties, you may want to grab a pillowcase too. Otherwise you might get impatient at home and just take one from your kid’s room. Don’t tell my husband I did that.

Put all those little guys in a pot and cover them with water. Add 1/4 C vinegar and bring it to a boil. After about 20 minutes you can remove the eggs and set them in a colander or on a towel to dry and cool. Once they’re cool enough to handle you can remove the fabric.

This is my favorite part. I get so antsy waiting for them to cool. It’s always a surprise to see what went on in that little package. Below are some of my results. I have to say that the first one is probably my favorite egg of all the ones I’ve ever done. I can’t believe how clearly those flowers transferred and how bold the colors turned out. Incredible!

I absolutely love the cool stripy, swirly thing going on in this one

This is one of the disappointments I talked about. I was so excited for a green tie and I thought the pattern was cool (ya know, for an egg) but it turned out super light and muted. Still pretty though, kind of like water colors.

I almost didn’t buy this blue tie because it looked boring, but I’m glad I did. Remember: bad ties make good eggs!

So that’s that. Try this out and let me know how it goes. Everyone will wonder how on earth you did it! Just tell them you’re a genius.
Rub the eggs with a bit of oil on a paper towel to make them glossy and beautiful!
And if you do try it out, make sure to take some pictures and put them on our facebook page so we can all admire them!
Safety Note: A few people have asked about the dye transferring to the actual egg. Know that it is not food safe dye. Who knows where the silk came from our how it was colored. That being said, I have indeed eaten the eggs in years past and I’m still here, but to be on the safe you probably shouldn’t.
Using Blown Eggs:  Thanks to the commenter who said the following:  I ran into the floating blown egg problem when I tried my first test batch today. I placed a metal colander on top to hold them down they turned out great, you’ll just have to blow the water out once they’re cooled and unwrapped. The eggs turned out so nice, I’m really excited to make them with my family this weekend.

Again, Here are the instructions:
Silk Dyed Easter Eggs
Tutorial by www.ourbestbites.com

Materials and Tools
-Raw Eggs
-Glass or enamel pot (but pretty much any non-aluminum pot will be fine)
-Silk ties, blouses, or boxers, cut into pieces large enough to cover an egg
-An old white sheet, or pillowcase, or tablecloth, or random fabric, cut into pieces to cover silk-wrapped eggs
-Twist ties or string
-4 tablespoons of white vinegar
-Warm water
-Vegetable oil
-Paper towels
-Tongs or spoon

1. Remove seaming from ties and any lining on the inside. You just want a piece of the silk. Cut silk into a square (or a piece) large enough to wrap around a raw egg.

2. Wrap an egg with a piece of silk, making sure the printed side of the material is facing the egg. Silk can still be used if it doesn't fit perfectly around egg. Just try to make as much smooth contact with the fabric to the egg as you can. The pattern will transfer better if it is right up against the egg. Any part that is folded or wrinkled will leave kind of a tie-dyed pattern (which is a good thing, it’s pretty that way) Secure with twist-tie or string.

3. Place the silk-wrapped egg in a piece of white sheet, pillowcase, or old tablecloth and secure tightly with another twist-tie or string. 
4. Place the egg(s) in the pot. Fill pot with water to cover eggs completely. Then, add the 1/4 C of white vinegar.

5. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

6. Remove eggs from water with tongs or spoon and let cool on a pile of paper towels or in a colander.

7. When eggs are cool enough to  handle, you can remove the fabric.

8. To add a little bit of lustre to your eggs, put a dab of vegetable oil on a paper towel and rub onto the egg.

***For another great egg dying project, Check out Dinosaur Eggs!

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