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.


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*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.

Sara Wells
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.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  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. 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!!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. I did the silk dyed egg s yesterday. AMAZING!!!!!!!! My granddaughter was so surprised when she unwrapped the eggs. I also made a tree with branches and hung the eggs. I will display them on Easter Sunday. Tank you so much for sharing. I’m from Puerto Rico.

  9. I am trying this tomorrow night! But I am still a little confused.
    In one comment it says not to eat them and then in another comment
    it says it’s ok to eat them. Which is it? Thanks

  10. I just tried this and my eggs turned out wonderful!! My favorite is my pink one with little flowers. Thank you for the great tutorial!

  11. I had 4 different ties, nothing very Easter-y, though, in fact, all had a blue theme. 2 came out nice and dark, richly colored, 2 were more muted, more marble-y looking. Still, all were very cool, great for Easter decoration. Thanks for posting!

  12. That is amazing!! I might skip the thrift store and just raid my husband’s tie collection . . .. so much easier that way. Do you think he’d notice?? lol!
    Oh, Goodwill! Here we come!!! Great post!

  13. I LOVE this. We tried it last year and it worked great. It, also, works if you blow the eggs out and then tie the silk around them, etc. You can keep them for a long time afterwards, this way. I am agian doing it this year, LOVE IT

  14. These are by far the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen but I am a bit confused why you would waste time dying them if they cannot be eaten? 🙁

    1. You can certainly eat them, just remove the eggs before-hand and get cooking. It’s a fun and artistic project regardless of what you do with the eggs.

      1. So how long would you cook them for, and how long would you wait before you un-wrapped them. If we wanted to actually eat the eggs.

  15. I really didn’t expect this to be so easy! You know, you see things in blogs and think, “Oh, I can do that!”, then you try it, and it turns out terrible? SO NOT THE CASE! We were so excited to unwrap our little eggies to see how they turned out, and we were happily surprised with every single one! It was so easy and exciting we did it with the neighbor’s daughter today, just in time for Easter! We went to our local Goodwill and bought every silk tie they had, and only spent about $7 on the entire project! 🙂 You better believe I’ll be keeping my eye out for good silks for next year 😉

  16. I did it truned out. one suggestion, give yourself plenty of time. I did 6 eggs after 6:30 pm. was exhausted by 8, so earlier in the day would be the best. Glad i didn’t go for a doz!( of course after working I wnt to the trhift shop which took time, cooked supper, dyed the eggs, a typical mother’s day.

  17. What I would like to know is what happens to the pale fabric? Does it turn pretty too?

  18. Went to Salvation Army and got some ties for cheap. I’ve only tried out a couple of the patterns, but I found the darker the silk, the better result. It’s such a fun project, and I was so anxious to see how they turned out.

  19. Trying this with eggs your kids will eat may be toxic. This sounds like an awesome idea for a centerpiece, but please do not eat. I did a little research because I was going to try this myself.

    1. Christina, it’s clearly stated in the post that the eggs are purely for decoration and not for eating. Have fun with them!

  20. OMG, the kids and I just made these and they are by far are the coolest eggs I’ve ever dyed! Wow! And the ugliest ties made the prettiest eggs – hands down. I’m going to follow the suggestion to sew the remaining tie fabric together so I can do more. And I’m seriously considering blowing some eggs, buying more red and green ties and making eggs ornaments as gifts for Christmas. Heading to ebay now to price a “lot” of silk ties 🙂

    1. I really want to do these with my kids for Easter but your idea to make Christmas ornaments is awesome!! Would love to do that as well!! 🙂

  21. I wrapped mine like a tootsie roll. It worked really well… i guess because you’re gathering less fabric. Little to no white showing.

  22. Ever since you posted this the first time a few yrs ago, I have had silk-dyed eggs for Easter. I can’t imagine doing them any other way now. Thanks!!!