The many ways of decorating eggs (now until Easter)

April 9, 2009

Back in the day, there was one way to decorate eggs: You used the old hot water-vinegar-food coloring method. Well, a few families bought the kits from the store, but most of the moms agreed that was a big ol’ waste of money and refused to give in to our pleading. I’m now one of those “mean” moms, naturally! But the boys get a big kick out of the old-fashioned method (having no clue it’s been around since the dawn of time, aka my childhood), especially the magical way you can draw in white crayon on the eggs and the patterns show up after the dye soaks in.

But the fact that the box of food coloring doesn’t carry instructions for making the egg dye (1 tsp. vinegar, 1 tsp. food coloring, 1/2 cup boiling water) had me wondering if our method was dying out (ha ha), until we got to my sister-in-law’s house in D.C. She had planned to dye eggs too, and there was no question what method we’d be using. But the paper today had a big spread on the Martha Stewart method for gluing glitter to eggshells (she used blown-out eggs, ’cause she has staff to do the dirty work for her!) and M. pronounced that kind of gross — who wants to eat glitter? When I told him the egg insides were taken out first, he was like, “What’s the point then?”

Back in my kid-free days, I used to blow out eggs and decorate them, trying to emulate the exquisite European Easter eggs that surrounded us when we lived in Stuttgart, Germany. Those eggs have all long since broken, and last year I ordered a whole set of wooden painted eggs to hang on the flowering branches that we bring indoors to decorate our house for Easter. I also experimented with using natural products to dye eggs, which resulted in a lot of mottled shades of brown that didn’t look particularly festive. On the other hand, Martha’s glitter eggs seemed a little too festive!

There’s one method I’d like to try, though, that I think the kids would get into: chalkboard paint on the shells of hard-cooked eggs. The kids can draw patterns with chalk, then wash/wipe them off and draw new ones to their little hearts’ content.

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