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!
Silk Dyed Easter Eggs
Cut pieces of 100% silk large enough to cover an egg. Wrap as smoothy and tightly around egg as possible, with right side of fabric facing in, and secure with a twist-tie or piece of string. Repeat process, but wrap with a plain piece of lightweight fabric, like an old white pillowcase or sheet.
Place eggs in a large stock pot and cover with water at least 2 inches above eggs. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar. Bring pan to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and then use a pair of tongs to remove eggs and lay them (still wrapped) on layers of paper towels or an old dish towel. Let cool to room temperature and then remove the fabric wrappings. Store in the fridge until ready to display. If desired, rub with a small amount of vegetable oil for shine.
To complete this process with blown-out eggs, click here.
*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.
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!!
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
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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!
PS I’m in a suburb of Portland, Oregon
50 cents! OMG where do you live? I went to Goodwill today and they were the cheapest silk was $3 but most were $5
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 !
Oh my goodness, so cool! Your Nana is adorable!
WHAT?! I didn’t even knew this was possible!
Waaaay better than a Fabergé egg :p !
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!
I’m sure you could, you’ll have to experiment.
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.
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) 😉
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!!
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 🙂
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!
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!
That is absolutely fantastic! Brilliant! How do I not forget it until Easter?
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?!?!?!
As I explained in the post, it was a 50 cent tie from the thrift store, so no- I had no problem cutting it up!
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!
I just learned of this EGG ding technique, will it work on a ostrich EGG do you think?
I have no clue, lol, but you will need to find one giant tie 🙂
wow, can’t wait to try this next Easter!
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.
Is it safe to eat these eggs after they are dyed?
I absolutely love this tutorial! Well done and I cannot wait to try!!
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).
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!
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!