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A Tisket A Tasket

Thu, March 18, 2010

With Easter only a few weeks away, I am beginning to plan our annual Easter Egg Hunt. It is a family tradition that we love to celebrate every year. My daughters are all grown up now (our youngest is in high school), but I still get a kick out of decorating eggs and hiding them for the girls on Easter morning.

When I was a little girl, and a budding young artist, I always loved to dye and decorate eggs for our family’s hunt. I agonized over getting the dye colors perfect and creating works of art with each egg. As an adult I still love to create beautiful eggs, and this year the blogoshphere has provided me with ample inspiration.

To begin, you’ll need hard boiled eggs. Emily over at An Everyday Holiday reveals the secret to preparing perfectly hard boiled eggs. You may want to think about investing in a reliable ‘egg timer’ for this project. That way you can ensure that you don’t over or under cook your eggs. I came across the cutest pink polka-dot one here. It also comes in blue, green and red with white dots. When you’re done using it in the kitchen, you could use it to time your egg hunters and stir up some competition. Probably not a good idea with my crew, I’m just hoping my teenagers don’t start elbowing each other trying to get to the eggs first. (We always fill a few plastic eggs with money and that alone provokes all out war!!)

Now on to the fun and artistic step - dyeing and decorating the eggs! Leave it to Martha to teach a course on Egg Dyeing 101. She recommends making your own dyes by mixing 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 20 drops of food coloring for each color you want to make. You can also use the paste-type food coloring used for cake decorating, mixed with hot water and 1/4 cup of vinegar. FYI, our Easter Bunny Bowls are just the right size for your egg dye pots. Use them to create a cute dyeing station for your eggs! After the eggs have been dyed and dried, I suggest wiping them with a paper towel coated with vegetable oil to give them a beautiful glossy finish.

Martha also has a great tutorial on different decorating techniques. Her design team cut stencils out of adhesive vinyl and painted them with dye.  After letting your first color dry thouroughly, you can use the stencils to overlap with other colors creating a dramatic graphic effect. You can also apply the stencils before dipping the eggs which creates a relief effect like the flowers below.

I plan to use the stencil application this year to create monogrammed eggs for each of my family members. Who doesn’t love personalized gifts? I also like to embellish eggs with different elements like beads, feathers, ribbon and paper. Typically I don’t use hard boiled eggs for the ones I give as gifts, I usually use blown eggs (don’t worry, that technique is in the tutorial too.) You can package your delicate treasures in these clear egg cartons and create a precious Easter present that they won’t soon forget!

Are you starting to wonder what you will do with all of the boiled eggs after the hunt is over? How about using them to create this confetti-toned Easter Egg Salad. Since you used food dye on the eggs, they will be safe to eat and should taste just as delicious as non-colorful variety. It may look funny, but you can be sure it will please hungry egg hunters young and old!

I would love to hear about your family’s Egg Hunt traditions and where you get inspiration for your egg decoration… please leave a comment with your stories and ideas!!


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