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.

woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

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.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. I've never seen anything like this and can hardly wait to try it! I'm headed to DI tomorrow. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  2. Lexy- I actually don't recommend eating them- so that being said they'll last for quite a while. In general a hard-boiled egg is good for about 4-5 days in the fridge max.

  3. Can anyone tell me how long these beauties will last. Hard boiled eggs, not blown out. In other words, how much before Easter can I make these gorgous things? Thanks.

    1. I have some I did over a year ago… not blown. I stored them in an open egg box in a drawer, not sealed. No odor or change to color, just don’t let anyone try to eat them????

  4. i followed your directions and did these as a group project with a middle-school special education class right before easter and it was a hit. the kids had so much fun unwrapping the eggs to see how they turned out… it was a noisy crowd, all shouting "WOW", "LOOK AT THIS!" "THIS IS THE BEST ONE!"… i'll be doing this again every year, thanks for the great step by step directions…

  5. And here I thought I was cool, with my wax crayon and my Paas dye!

    I can't wait to try this. I might not even wait until next year. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. I just discovered your blog today. So many cool recipes and ideas. The silk egg idea is really cool. I sure wish I could still celebrate holidays so I could do neat things like this.

  7. Just a thought…..
    I read an article on onion dyed eggs and you have to use blown eggs. The instructions say to suck some water into the blown eggs to weigh them down so they don't float during the dyeing process. For those of you that would like to try this with blown eggs this might work. Please post your results if you try this!

  8. I want to share my photo of my beautiful eggs but am not sure how to do that…any suggestions

  9. Wow, Judy, where do you live? It's so interesting that something like this has caught on so big locally!

  10. I bought a very light silk shirt and it didn't dye as vibrant as the ties. I use the rubber bands that are around our daily newspaper. they get it quite tight and then I just snip them off. Didn't realize how popular this was until I went to Goodwill to look for ties and they said they had been snapped up for weeks for this purpose. Will start now for next year.

  11. wow! these are so neat. I will add these to my list of ways to dye eggs tomorrow along with pysanky eggs… now I just have to find some ties since my hubby doesnt wear them.

  12. I just tried it with silk SHIRTS (same price as the ties at the thrift shop, and a lot more fabric) and it worked great (see here.) I just wrapped raw eggs and hardboiled them as we usually do but with the 1/4c of vinegar.

    thanks so much for the detailed instructions and the great photos that motivated me to actually try it!

  13. Nshep- honestly it's not an exact science. Once the water boils, leave them in for 20 minutes. They're probably done after 15 even, I just leave them in a little longer to make sure they're nice and dyed!

    holly- hmm..if you're having problems then maybe try regular vinegar and not apple cider. I don't know what else could be the problem unless the silk dress for some reason doesn't have as much dye in it? It should work just fine though- so try the vinegar and see if that helps!

  14. I went to goodwill and bought two 100% silk dresses in the old ladies dept. I've attempted to dye two batches of blown eggs with little success. I'm using a metal colander to keep the eggs submerged. I just noticed the tip to use nylons to keep the silk tightly pressed against the egg, and I believe that might help. However, I do have one question: What is the purpose of the vinegar? I'm using apple cider vinegar. Should I use white vinegar? Does it matter what kind is used?

    I'm going to try one more time in the morning. Any helpful hints would be great, as I'm hoping to use this craft with my scouts this week. We'll then turn around and bless a shut-in or nursing home with the beautiful basket full of eggs! (…hopefully!)

  15. I have a question… says to bring to a boil and leave for 20 minutes. Am I boiling for 20 minutes or bringing to a boil and then simmering for 20? Sorry, I need explicit directions.

  16. These are so cool! I can't wait to try them for my son's preschool party on Wednesday. thanks!

  17. Ok, my results… Does NOT work with ceramic eggs… just didn't transfer at all. But I did dye 9 eggs using this technique with mixed success. Of course the one egg that came out the best was the one of the 9 that broke while boiling 🙁 But you can see my results on Facebook here: Facebook Eggs
    Thanks so much for the technique!

  18. Amber
    Thanks for the zip tie suggestion.
    I just happen to have some in a tool box that my Ex left for me. LOL!

    And I am also going to try the stocking.
    Wish me luck.
    ON to try #4

  19. OMGSH,
    I am so EGG-cited to try these tonight when I get home.

    I am amazed!
    They are just beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  20. Becky- yes, you're wrapping uncooked eggs. I don't usually eat these ones because I'm not sure of the safety of the dyes so I boil them extra long to get the best color! You can also dye blown eggs if you want to save the insides 🙂

  21. I'm guessing you wrap uncooked eggs? This is longer than I usually hard boil eggs, so are they still eatable? I do think they are amazing looking and can't wait to try!

  22. Beautiful! I will have to try these this year. I haven't dyed eggs since I was a child 🙂