Silk-Dyed Eggs {aka TIE-Dyed!}

CATEGORIES: Easter, Holiday Crafts, Sara

I posted this tutorial a few years ago and it has become somewhat of a tradition to bring it back every year!  One of our family Easter traditions is dying eggs with pieces of silk. I saw a cute 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.

Here’s the 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 usually pretty cheap. 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, or whatever.  So if you’re rummaging through a thrift store, check out some other areas as well.

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 some of the ties I grabbed from my local thrift store:


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!  If it was a skirt, I would totally wear it.  I have gotten many angry comments about the fact that I destroyed a Christian Dior tie.  Honestly, for 50 cents I really don’t care who’s name is on it.  Get over it, people!)


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!)

Now, notice how I tied the eggs in the above photo- with the tie on the top of the long side of the egg.  If you do this, the opposite end of the egg will have the best pattern.  If you are going to be sitting the eggs upright in an egg cup, this is the best way to wrap them.

However, if you want the best part of the design on the wide side of the egg, you’ll want to wrap them horizontally, like this:

Just wrap them as smoothly and tightly as you can for the best transfer.

I wish eggs came like this at the grocery store.  I would probably buy a lot more eggs if they were dressed up in their silky best.



After the eggs are wrapped in silk, you’re going to wrap them again with a light colored light weight piece of fabric. An old pillowcase, sheet, or thin dish cloth 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!


Here are some older photos, but still fun to look at.  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!





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.  Or give them our website.  Your choice.

Here you can see the opposite sides of where I tied the silk, they get kind of a swirly watercolor look:

And here are the sides where the silk made the most contact:

If you want to add a little shine, just put a little vegetable oil on a paper down and give them a light rub.

Gorgeous.

Love it?  Pin it!

 

 

 

*Frequently Asked Questions*

Do I wrap uncooked or hardboiled eggs in silk?
Do not wrap up hard-boiled eggs.  Just regular un-cooked eggs from the fridge!

Can you eat the eggs?

Since you don’t know what kinds of dyes are used to color the fabrics, and chances are they aren’t food-safe, we don’t recommend eating the eggs. 

Can you make these with blown eggs so you can save them?
Yes!  Click here for a tutorial on how to blow out eggs, and also turn them into hanging ornaments.   Instructions on how to do silk-dyed eggs with blown out eggs are found in that post.

Will this process work with wooden or ceramic eggs?
Honestly, I did not know there was such a thing until everyone left comments asking about it on this post!  Readers who have tried this have reported it does not work very well with wooden eggs.

Do I have to wrap the eggs in the plain fabric after the silk?
I think it does help keep the colors in there next to the egg and therefore make them more vibrant, but if you want to try skipping that step- chances are it will still work just fine.

Does the silk have to be from a neck tie?
Nope!  Anything that’s 100% silk.  A tie, a scarf, a blouse, etc.

Can you re-use the pieces of silk once you use them to dye an egg?
You can, but the colors will fade a little more each time.

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302 comments

  1. Holly and Judy, I’m wondering if the shirt and dress had been washed several times and left less dye in the material. Ties aren’t usually washed so perhaps they still have lots of dye to transfer to the eggs. Terrific idea, Sara. Thanks.

  2. I’ve seen lots of posts on making the silk-dyed eggs and I’ve found your illustrations to be the best! I’m making these this morning and IF they turn out, I’ll be posting our our blog and will link back to you for your “how to” instructions.

  3. Goodwill was all out of ties so I am going to try this with a silk blouse. You can bet I will be buying ties all next year!!!

  4. Just tried to do this for the holiday. They turned out great! The color enhances as they cool after taking the silk off. The hardest part is cuting the tie and bearing the horrible smell of vinager throughout the house! Hahaha. Super easy to do. Each tie cost me $1.00 at Goodwill. Totally worth it:)

  5. I just tried it and it didn’t work. 🙁 I clearly did something wrong. I mean *some* dye transferred, but there is nothing even close to a pattern on my eggs. I made the silk very snug around the eggs.

    Do you boil/simmer for a full 20 minutes? Do you unwrap them when they are cool enough to handle or actually cool/cold to the touch? Maybe I didn’t leave them wrapped long enough. The ties are all 100% silk. So disappointed it didn’t work, but not surprised because I have the worst luck with crafts of any kind.

  6. I dyed my eggs today! They came out beautifully. The tie i used was darker and it seems the transfer is light. Maybe a bright, colorful tie would have a more dramatic effect? Much like your examples. Great idea! Thanks for the tutorial! I have a new easter tradition!

  7. Oh dear god that was not a cheap tie that was Dior!! That sells for over $100! And its likely vintage which makes it even more valuable! I want to cry.

  8. Can you believe this blog post is still alive and kick’n! Actually, it’s all over FB and Pinterest now more alive than evra!!

    Suggest using WHITE eggs for most-vibrant colorations. Happy Pâques!

  9. I’m about to try this with my daughters and can’t wait to see how they turn out. I wa laughing at the thrift store after reading your instructions because I ended up finding a Christian Dior tie as well! That and two Oscar De La Renta ones, all for $0.50 each! Ha!

  10. Can I just say thanks so much!!! We just did this for Easter and ours turned out fabulous! It was a wonderful project for my 11 year old daughter and I, and we couldn’t wait to unwrap them. They were beautiful and wowed everyone! We easily found ties at Goodwill and can’t wait to do this again…thanks so much for pinning. What a great idea 8).

  11. I/2 yd silk fabric will do a dozen eggs.
    The color of silk must be bold as the pattern comes off pale.
    After I wrap the egg in silk I wrap it in a white coffee filter that
    was soaked in white vinegar. I secure fabric & coffee filter at
    top of egg with a rubberband. Put the eggs in a big pot of water
    that has vinegar in it. Simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off fire.
    When water is cool take out the eggs, clip rubberband & gently
    remove coffee filter & fabric. You can use the fabric only once.
    Bring up shine on eggs with a bit of vegetable oil.
    Handle dyed eggs carefully as shell will be fragile.

  12. Amazing! I cannot wait to try this. I am not crafty at all but have been playing with blowing eggs. This seems so easy, I think it might work for even me!

  13. Am I the only person that is floored that you destroyed the Dior tie for that?? I mean.. the eggs are cool I guess. But really?!?!?!

  14. my aunt did these for us years ago. If you can stand the smell, allow the eggs to just sit after Easter. The insides dry up & you can reuse these beautiful eggs from year to year!

  15. Some very cool looking eggs there, Definitely going to give it a go this easter, i just hope mine end up looking as good as yours!

  16. Hi,
    I just came to your page since you were featured on Buzzfeed. I love this idea and now you at last gave me something to do with these paisley-ties I took out of my hubby’s wardrobe and put into my crafting-supply-box 🙂

    Thanks!

  17. I have never been so excited before!! i cant wait to try this i am going to my nearest charity shop on the weekend to look for as many ties as possible!!

  18. You don’t have to blow eggs to keep them! I have hard boiled eggs from 20 years ago and they are great. The white disintegrates and the yolk rolls around inside. (lord help us if it breaks though) 😉

  19. Talk about frustrating…out of a dozen jumbo eggs, I had five left due to breakage along the way. I used the “blow-out” idea and it was a challenge. I don’t know what they are feeding the hens these days but the shells were very thin. I had to use a larger pot to keep the then light eggs submerged with a smaller pot filled with water as they boiled which I did for a full 20 minutes. (my colander didn’t fit like the example) I unwrapped to find them barely colored at all. My vinegar was fresh, the hardest part is wrapping them tightly without breaking them with the twistie tie. I did not use an enamel pot like another site suggested, I have the WearEver type teflon lined pot if that made a difference. Very disappointing for an afternoon’s work! Will not try again I don’t think.

  20. I was wondering can you use brown eggs or other colored eggs instead of white?
    Just curious. We had a chicken who laid very light greenish blue eggs.
    your eggs are beautiful by the way. I looked at the different ways you decorated them just awesome. Thank you for sharing!

  21. My Nana was the lady who appeared on the Martha Stewart show to demonstrate this family tradition that she has done with our family members for over 50 years. Have a great time making them-none of them come out anything less than beautiful ! Happy Easter !

  22. 50 cents! OMG where do you live? I went to Goodwill today and they were the cheapest silk was $3 but most were $5

  23. These are gorgeous! I would have never dreamed this would work so well! Headed to our local thrift store to get ties tomorrow and hope I can wow my family next weekend!

  24. I did this years ago, and actually discovered that you can keep the eggs for years. As long as you don’t break the eggs, they don’t smell! I stored them in the top of a closet. I did break some after a number of years, and it smelled bad – but not awful – and I just cleaned it right up.

  25. Hi there, Thanks for this great idea. My daughter and I had a great time preparing. I was disappointed though, when our eggs came out really bleak – the colours were fade and hardly to be seen on some eggs. The ties were 100% silk. I let the wrapped eggs simmer for 20 mins with water and vinegar and then cool off. What went wrong?
    Best regards,
    Lisa

  26. I found this online and I LOVED it and had to try it. I’m sorry to say, however, that it did not work. I followed the instructions to the letter..and my first batch was a disaster. Each egg had maybe a small patch of pattern, the rest was white. So I went back to the drawing board and tried again. I wrapped the eggs like a tootsie roll to give more fabric exposed against the egg. I boiled, cooled them and let them sit. I unwrapped them…and the same result. I got white eggs with a splotch here and there of pattern. My ties were 100% silk, i used light weight white fabric over them…and nothing. I’m glad to see from the above posts it worked for others, but I’m sorry this is not something I would recommend or try again.

  27. I was very excited to make these eggs, I went to the DI and other thrift stores which were expensive in Ut. $4.00 a tie, came home read the whole thing on how to make them only to learn they can’t be eaten. Grand children and grandma disappointed. I still plan to make them tomorrow. Then will have to make more eggs the eatable ones and dye with eatable coloring. Kinda of a waste of eggs should not waste food. Oh well they sound to pretty to not try them.

    1. Dolly, When I use the blown eggs I freeze the contents in seperate containers. Tested them after thawing them out and scrambling the eggs and they were fine! Many uses!

  28. You DEFINITELY should put in the very beginning of your explanation that the dyed eggs are not edible!!! I just dyed 15 eggs to take to an Easter Sunday dinner and NOW I find out you can’t eat them. Very, very disappointing

  29. I made these yesterday and was disappointed mine did not come out as brillant as yours. However I wonder if it is because I did not let them cool the way you suggested, I cooled in an ice water bath as I normally do. ALso did you use a special pot for boiling the eggs, like ceramic? I used a non stick pot, maybe that was the problem. Anyway, like mine but have egg envy over yours!!

  30. I soaked the silk pieces in water and rung them out before tying them around the eggs. The wet fabric clung to the eggs better giving me fewer white spots on the finished shells.

  31. I’m ready to place my tie wrapped eggs into water w/vinegar… One question: Do I bring to a boil, and continue to boil the eggs for 20 minutes? Or bring to a boil, shut off the gas and let the eggs sit in the hot water with a lid on the pot?

    1. Sorry we didn’t get to this question in time! To answer your question a little late- yes you want to actually boil them for 20 minutes. This helps draw the colors from the fabric to the egg.

  32. PRECIOSOS, me encantan…es una idea muy original. Enhorabuena.Yo los hice forrado con servilletas y uno de ellos era un huevo de aveztruz. Pasa por mi blog si quieres verlo.
    Besos
    eltealastres.blogspot.com.es

  33. You may also cut the tie up into smaller pieces and get them wet and lay them right up against the egg, even using different color ties to do this. I use the inside of some of the ties, the white material that comes inside some ties to tie around the wet cloth. Then I wrap string around it all and tie off the material so it stays firm.. Yours are beautiful. I love the swirly look when you tie the eggs on the end like that..
    Susie

  34. I have also been dying eggs with silk ties from Martha for several years. I have been keeping my eggs from year to year. I keep them in cardboard eggs carton in a location with good air flow. After a year or so they dry out completely on the inside. Sometimes the yolk rattles on the inside, but not always. I have a large assortment of eggs that I use each year and add a few new ones.

  35. I have done the Marblized eggs and the Pysanky eggs but not for Easter. I consider them and yours to be Art. I display them in Crystal bowls year round. I am going to make your eggs for keepsake Christmas gifts. I lost my husband in April and he had LOTS of silk ties. He has many varieties, including Disney and Christmas. I am going to make the eggs for his children as gifts. So I am using hollow eggs and will spray them with shellac, etc. to make them shine and be more durable. Should last forever! Working on 7 dozen. Wish me luck!

  36. Thank you. I have chickens and geese. A lady made 2 of my duck eggs for me back in the ’90’s. On one, she actually cut the front in an oval shape and placed moss and a mommy duck and baby duck inside. How would you cut the egg and decorate the inside??? Love your tie–dyed eggs. Thank you one again, Sara. 🙂

  37. Can I hollow out the eggs first bc I like to make scenes inside them. Buy awesome idea .wish I had that kind of mind

  38. Thanks for this fantastic idea. I am just wondering if there is anything else that can be dyed in this way other than eggs. I am a vegan and don’t celebrate Easter but I love the idea of recycling old silk ties and your examples look so beautiful. I see that other people have asked about wooden eggs but you mentioned they aren’t as effective in transferring the colours and patterns. If you know of any other media that can be used, can please let me know?
    Thanks again 🙂

  39. WOW! I really like how these eggs turned out! I will definitely be `dying my easter eggs this way, this year. thanks.

  40. What an awesome craft! I loved your tutorial. I love everything to do with neckties! After reading your tutorial, I dyed three eggs with silk tie scraps from a previous necktie project (I kept these scraps for five years. I knew they would come to something good.) They are beautiful.

  41. what did you mean by “down” in this sentence? just put a little vegetable oil on a paper down and give them a light rub.

  42. Do you have to boil the eggs in a certain type of pot or can I use my metal one? I know on the Martha Stewart tutorial they say not to use meta…

  43. The eggs are beautiful, but do you think you could use this technique to dye other materials (e.g. wood, clay)?

  44. This is amazing! Found some ties for 49 cents a piece at the Salvation Army! The kids had a blast picking them out. I blew out the eggs, and used a collapsible strainer – upside down on the eggs – with a full tea kettle set on top of it to weigh them down in the water. 🙂 Thanks for the awesome ideas!

  45. I tried dying eggs today with five different silk ties, hard boiling six and boiling three”blown”eggs. Only one tie transferred color and pattern,a second left a very faint pattern. I love the idea, but was disappointed in the percentage of success.
    The silk was turned to the correct side,double wrapped and and boiled together.
    Any suggestions?

  46. I was pretty disappointed with the results. We used 4 different silk ties and only one transferred the color well, the rest were very vague water-color like images, couldn’t really see the pattern of the tie at all. And they all ended up pinkish, probably because the only tie that worked was a red tie and it contaminated all the others which should have had a lot more blue and green. Perhaps the different ties have to be died separately.

  47. if you cook then fro 20 minutes I assume the eggs are to overdone to eat. If you do eat the egg, is it safe?

  48. I want to use my dad’s ties and make them for the family as a memory of Dad. I want to hang them on ornament stands for year round memorials.

  49. Fingers crossed mine come out as well as yours, I’m using a remnant of fabric I bought at Christmas.

    When I was born, on a Good Friday, my parents were given a painted hard boiled egg. They still have it (from the early ’70s). So in answer to ‘how long will they last?’ – a very long time, though I would imagine the smell if it were ever broken to be beyond belief.

  50. I have not tried this yet,but I am looking forward to doing this with my grandchildren tomorrow.

    I believe that you can keep the complete, hard boiled and decorated eggs indefinitely – the inside just dries up !

    Enjoy !

    1. Yep!

  51. Years ago I remember using dyes to color wool. One of the instructions said to never again use the pot with the dye for cooking food. Do you think this applies to the dyes in a silk tie as well? Only asking because I just used my All Clad pot to make these wonderful eggs.

    1. No, I think you should be just fine. Just wash your pot as normal, obviously!

  52. Can I reuse the pillow case pieces even though there is dye on them. I did wash and dry them.

    1. Absolutely!

  53. Tried this today. So much fun. A new tradition is to find the best tie for next Easter. Thinking silk scarves would work, too!!!

  54. Our thrift store has dollar bag day. Anything you can fit in a Wal Mart sack for a buck. I got a whole sack full of silk ties for a dollar. I thought I got a really good deal.

  55. I saw this done one the Martha Stewart show several years. I have done all of our eggs this
    Way every year since. It so easy to do and I too get my ties at Good Will.

  56. I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now. I prefer cheese cloth for the outside layer, it keeps the tie tight and let’s the vinegar better coverage to the egg. We also wet the tie to form the best part of the pattern on our egg. I share your link when I lot my pictures. Everyone asks how to do it, hope you don’t mind.

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