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.

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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. 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.

  2. I love the beautiful effect on these eggs! I might have to try this myself at home.

  3. Let’s do a deal: you hunt me down Christian Dior ties, and I’ll pay you a lot more than 50 cents! 🙂 Otherwise, great thing to do if you have the time.

  4. 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?

  5. Wanted something different for coloring Easter eggs this year. Found it! They are beautiful!!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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 🙂

  15. These are the most beautiful dyed eggs I’ve ever seen. I’m definitely giving them a go this Easter. Thank you so much!

  16. 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

  17. 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. 🙂

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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..

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.