Silk-Dyed Eggs {aka TIE-Dyed!}

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.


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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Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Sara, just experimented with three, not so good. One didn't even transfer(pink tie), the other two barely. I wonder what I did wrong? Add the vinegar and boiled for 20 minutes. I will keep trying.

  2. Hmmm…wondering if this would work with ceramic eggs… I got some great plain white ceramic eggs to make "faux" easter eggs with and may just have to try this… If it works will let you know!

  3. Such a great idea! To do the blown out eggs I used wax from a melting candle and sealed the pin holes nad then dyed the eggs. Then when they are all done you can just melt the wax off the little holes and not have to worry about blowing water out of the egg. 🙂

    1. How in the world do you keep the wac you covered the pin hole with from melting when you have it in hot water for 20 min.???

  4. I tried these and they worked…sort of…not nearly as nice as sara’s though. Like others, I got the idea to use stocking material to keep the silk in contact with the egg. I got much better results doing that. Also, I found that if the egg is slightly damp the silk will adhere to it better until you get the stocking and pillowcase on to hold it in place. I found too that if you unwrap it too soon, you don’t as good a transfer as you do if you leave the silk and the stocking on till it is dry. Thanks for this great project!

  5. What a great idea – shame I read this too late for this year but I have saved the notes. Much more exciting than drawing with felt tips. Our tradition here is to have an egg-rolling competition after judging the decorated eggs, so no need to worry about not using food dyes (so long as it does not poison the animals who clear up the broken eggs).

  6. I was attracted to this intriguing idea the moment I saw the dyed eggs. So I tried this today. The eggs look awesome! We absolutely love them, even though I used a rather thin scarf, which I even did not find the label on and guessed it is probably made of silk. If interested, you are welcome to take a look at my results at Thanks a million for the great idea!

  7. Ohhh I just did mine with my 11 year old daughter and her friend, They turned out beautiful and even my 18 year old son loved em!
    Can’t wait to do them again next year, I love it!

  8. I saw this last year & thought it would be cool to try. I'm currently boiling my first batch! I hope at least one turns out as gorgeous as yours.

    Oh & I bought some 100% silk scarves at the thrift store to use. It gave me less variety, but 1 scarf goes a long way. I ended up using 2 ties and parts of 3 different scarves.

  9. Just in case someone might be making them tomorrow, I used zip ties to tie my silk and fabric on. It helps because you can use your hands and your teeth to get it tight.

  10. Made these today. WOW. I love how they turned out. I have 3 little girls and with each egg we unwrapped there was lots of oooh’ing and aaaah’ing and squeals and yes, even high fives. What a FUN project. My 6-year old put it best: I LOVE the person who thought of this. Me too! You have inspired a new tradition. A million thanks.

    (I came by way of Brenda a.k.a. Secret Agent Josephine)

  11. Bizzymama–I would use white eggs just because you never know how the colors are going to transfer; some of them are very bright and vibrant and others are more muted, so you might lose some of the details if you used brown eggs.

    Either way, let us see some pics when you’re done! 🙂

  12. Wow, I’m glad I came over here and read about not eating the eggs. I bought the kit and can’t wait to get started, but I might try the blown eggs instead to avoid any issues with them being eaten.

    Now to look up a refresher on blowing eggs!

    If it works for me, I’ll definitely be checking out the thrift stores for silk ties and scarves!

  13. ok…I am going to try making them tonight with blown eggs. I am starting out with a dozen. I cant wait to see if they turn out. I will email you pictures of what happens.

  14. Pam, the cooling makes no difference. But these eggs aren’t for eating, they’re just for looking pretty. If they were for eating I wouldn’t boil them for 20 minutes! You *can* eat them, I have before, but you really don’t know if the silk dye is food safe so you may want to stay away from that. If you do want to peel them, you can totally plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process, and even cut down the boiling time a few minutes so they aren’t over cooked. Hope that helps!

  15. I have a question. Is the slow cooling process part of the trick to getting beautiful eggs? I have always taken my hot eggs and run them under cold water. Not only does this speed up the cooling process- it makes the eggs much easier to peel. I just worry that doing this will ruin the effect. Any idea?

  16. Great idea for Easter eggs, I think they’re gorgeous. 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.

  17. Sarah-
    A stainless steel pot works just fine. I think the big thing is that you want to avoid aluminum which like, explodes or something when combined with vinegar, lol. But I use a stainless steel pot all the time for these and it works great.

  18. This is absoluate genuis! Pretty eggs and a humane way to dispose of ugly ties that could dehunkafy your loved ones.

  19. This is awesome! I let our readers know with a post today and put two links to your site. I am off to find some ties!

  20. Hi Jane,

    You know, I think the dye transfer depends on the fabric (both the tie and the plain fabric) that you use, but generally it doesn’t transfer too much. It’s more of splotchy color, like tie-dye, but not as much of the actual pattern from the silk. That’s just my experience with the fabrics I always use though. Try it and see what ya get!

  21. These are great does any of the dye transfer to the fabric? If so it would be great to use the tie dyed fabric for embroidering and embellishing other east projects.