Eggs have been colored and decorated for various spring and Easter rituals since pre-Christian times. The eggs represent the symbol of rebirth and fertility. These traditions survive to this day in many nations around the world. Famous are the elaborately decorated Eastern European eggs done by a master decorator. However, there are many easy decorating projects that can turn into fun for the whole family.

The above eggs are decorated using ground coffee, smashed blueberries, ground-up turmeric, onion skins, black tea, and chopped-up purple cabbage.


To wrap the eggs, use the wrapping instruction bellow.

Select your coloring material and place it in a small pot of boiling water together with the wrapped egg. Adjust water and the amount of the added coloring agent accordingly.  Be ready for a surprise! (There is always next year! Practice makes perfect!).

If you want to start with a simpler project, here are instruction for onion skins decorated eggs.

You will need:

  • ½ grocery bag full of onion skin (I start my skin collecting around Christmas time to make sure there are enough)
  • Old stockings or cheesecloth
  • Small leaves (like maple or ginkgo), parsley or carrot leaves, raffia, or other string that will make an interesting imprinted design.
  • Thread to tie
  • Pot with boiling water large enough to keep the eggs submerged
  • White eggs

Cover your eggs in your leaf of choice, making sure it will leave a nice imprinted design and tie the thread tightly.

Boil eggs for couple of hours and let sit is in the cooling liquid for the best color. Do not move eggs around while they are being boiled. Onion skins that get stuck to the eggshells can also create an interesting design.

After the eggs are fully saturated and covered in the desired hue of color, cut the thread off and gently unwrap the egg. Let it air dry.

To make the finished egg shiny, put a small piece of lard or butter in your hand, warm it up and rub it on the egg, leaving a light coating.

The colored eggs make a beautiful Easter table decoration

And since the eggs are colored using only non-toxic natural dyes, they are safe to eat so they are not wasted. You can follow an easy egg salad recipe at the bottom of the page here.

Library resources:

Easter Traditions Around the World by M.J. Cosson; illustrated by Elisa Chavarri.

Format: physical book and Hoopla ebook

Ostara: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Spring Equinox by Kerri Connor

Format: Hoopla audiobook

Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103