Wholesome Cook
5 Ingredients or less

Easter Egg Colouring Tips and Edible Table Decoration Ideas

With Easter only a week away, it’s high time to decorate the house with some beautifully coloured eggs and prepare (edible!) table decorations for the Easter weekend celebrations.

My favourite way of decorating eggs is by using food colouring or special powdered dyes. While I’m normally against food colouring in foods, this way is a lot less-time consuming and “boring” for the kids and the eggs are generally unaffected by the food colouring apart from on the shell. The colours are rich and vibrant and you can achieve some amazing patterns and color combinations by using these simple dyes together with a few household items or just your imagination.

It’s a whole lot of fun for everyone! And it’s a lot less work than it looks from the below, as prep should only take 10 minutes and can be done while the eggs are cooking. Click here for an egg rissole recipe if you would like to turn your creations into a fancy starter or a main meal.  Or here for my most up to date list of 77 Easter egg deocarting tips list!

The history

The custom of decorating eggs, a symbol of new life, goes back many centuries – coloured egg shells dating from 10th Century AD have been found at various archeological sites across Europe. In the middle ages, it was customary to present acquaintances with elaborately decorated and sometimes gilded eggs at Easter to remind them of Jesus’s resurrection. In Italy, kids dyed eggs using onion skins, while in Eastern Europe it is still common to dye eggs the same way then scratch spring-themed motifs onto the shell using sharp quills.

Egg types and preparation

You may need to look around for white or light shell eggs as they are not a very popular type in Australia, but the colours look much more vibrant on lighter shells. I raided a non-local Woolies for my eggs, swapping out the lighter ones out of a bunch of cartons. Hey, judge me all you want, at least I made sure they all had the same expiry date, thank you very much.

Certain independent grocers carry white-shelled eggs leading up to Easter, but I am yet to find any this year… Quail eggs are also great for this and look very cute as a table decoration, but again, they seem to have disappeared off the shelves about a week ago and not yet re-appeared.

What you will need:

  • 6-12 eggs (quail or chicken)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • enough cold water to cover eggs in a saucepan

Place eggs in cold water, add vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer for 9 minutes for chicken eggs, 3 minutes for quail eggs. Drain water away.

Workspace preparation

It might get messy, especially when working with kids, so if you like, line your workspace with old newspapers.

What you will need:

  • old newspapers
  • small tray or platter
  • 6-8 paper towels
  • 4-5 heatproof glasses
  • 1 tablespoon
  • (plastic gloves)

Line tray or platter with paper towels – this is where you will pop the eggs out of the dye. Reserve a couple for wiping eggs clean and dry. If you’re keen to dip the eggs to achieve patterns, I recommend having plastic gloves handy, the colour likes the porous nature of nails… NOT a pretty look.


Whether you’re using powdered dyes or food colouring, preparation is similar. Although for powdered dyes always follow instructions specific to the brand and included on packaging. Generally this means dissolving  the powder in 1/2 cup of boiling water and add 1 tbsp white vinegar.

What you will need:

  • 4 vials of Rainbow food colouring (yellow, red, blue, green)
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Empty vials into 4 separate heat-proof glasses. Top with 1/2 cup of boiling water and add vinegar. Mix. You’re ready for dyeing.

Dying and creating patterns

Single colour

From pastels to rich hues, dazzle your family and guests with beautiful eggs in all the colours of the rainbow and more. Mix and match colours. Double dip. Have fun with it! To achieve a glossy finish, rub in some vegetable oil into the shells after they’ve been coloured and dried.

Lower each egg into the desired glass and let it steep for about 10 seconds. Lift egg with a spoon to check how strong the colour has gotten. White eggs and darker colours will become richer quicker, but the shades depend on how long you leave the egg in. For dark, rich hues leave the eggs in for a couple of minutes, checking progress from time to time.

Dipping – rainbow stripes, half-half and check

Be creative with your dipping and colour combinations. Half half eggs look great, but have you thought about dipping them on an angle?

Start with the lightest colour first, for a rainbow effect use yellow first. Dry egg with paper towel and dip in red to just under half way until it turns red. Wipe and dip blue, but not as deep to create a purple band. Dry. On the other side of the egg, dip yellow part red but hold it for only half the time you did on the side and you’ll get orange. Then dip into green to create light green.

For half and half follow a similar process but only dip in two colours, and for check tip the egg on its side for the dip in the third colour.

Rubber band multi-stripes

These are my new favourites I think, the rubber band mutli-stripes. Mainly because people always wonder how I achieved the pattern.

What you will need:

  • 2-5 rubber bands or different sizes and thicknesses

Wrap rubber bands around and across the egg. Dip into a lighter of your two choices of colours. Dry with a paper towel and remove bands, wipe dry. Re-apply bands again over different areas and dip the egg into a different, complimentary colour (yellow / green, red / blue, red / green). Dry with a paper towel and remove bands, wipe dry.

Edible table decorations

While your gorgeous creations will look pretty on their own, if you happen to practice dying eggs in the coming week, save a couple of the shells to make tiny little flower or herb pots for the table…

Eggs are great for brekky and what better way to enjoy them that sprinkle with some freshly cut herbs straight from in front of you. And they will be fun for the kids to maintain as well.

What you will need:

  • 3-6 egg shells
  • cotton wool
  • 1 packet of alfalfa seeds
  • 1 packet of watercress seeds
  • 1 packet of chives seeds

Ensure all of the egg and membrane has been scooped out of the shell. Place cotton wool (or balls) into the shell up to half-way. Moisten with 2 tbsp of water and sprinkle over 1/2 tsp of seeds into each shell. Stand in shot glasses or egg cups on a window sill for a  few days, watering regularly. Your miniature herbs should be ready to eat within a week.

Cut with food scissors at the table and sprinkle over hard-boiled eggs with mayo.

Have a Happy Easter !


Laura (starloz) April 15, 2011 at 10:55 am

oh my gosh. these are incredible. i wish i had the patience. i love your photographs so much btw

Wholesome Cook April 15, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Thanks Laura! It’s much easier than painting them by hand.. You just plonk them in and the rest happens on its own. :-)

Phuoc'n Delicious April 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

That’s so cool! Such a fun activity for the kiddies no doubt! I love the rubber band strip eggs the most! So creative!

Mez April 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Oh my god I’m about to paint my egss this weekend.. it was HELL blowing them.. I got giddy and burst a couple. I should have just boiled them :( :( :( but I’m scared that they could possibly stink :/ :/ :/

Wholesome Cook April 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

They may smell, but after a while they just dry up inside. Oh, and rather than blow them you could use a syringe to draw the contents out :-) much much easier!

Lauren April 16, 2011 at 2:26 am

They are so beautiful!!! I used to dye boiled eggs with my parents every year as a kid but I haven’t done it in a long time.

muppy April 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

These look really fantastic, my daughter would love it! and i love even more your sprouts in the egg :)

sanyaliving April 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I grew up dying Easter eggs every year! My kids really enjoy it and are happy to eat eggs that come in brightly coloured packaging, even if the eggs are real! Thanks for inspiring me to experiment and try different techniques this year!

Wholesome Cook April 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

You’re welcome! I also have a recipe coming up for stuffed eggs that uses dyed egg shells. This makes the fussiest eaters try eggs!

Minced egg rissoles served in egg shells for Easter « Wholesome Cook April 19, 2011 at 7:40 am

[…] you have followed my suggestion and taken to painting hard-boiled eggs for Easter this year,  you might find this recipe useful. […]

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed April 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

How beautiful, you’re inspiring me to get my Easter act together! They look just gorgeous. Loved reading the history of it all. Happy Easter to you too :)
Heidi xo

Maliakal March 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Beautiful Easter Decoration. I can use them for my Easter party. Thanks for sharing.

Annette Boschma March 22, 2012 at 6:55 am

I have great memories of dying Easter eggs each year for the Easter Bunny to hide and for me to search out. If you want some really beautiful effects, after you have dyed all the eggs that you want to be solid colours add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to your bowls of dye(I say after you have dyed all the solid colours because the oil will now prevent the dye from sticking all over the egg), stir vigorously, and put your white egg in and take it out quickly (careful, it will be slippery). The oil prevents the dye sticking everywhere and you get some really interesting patterns. Also you can take a white crayon or an old candle stick and write children’s names on the egg before you put it in the dye; the wax prevents the dye from sticking where you have written the name so it shows up after the egg is dyed. Have fun!

Wholesome Cook March 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

Thanks Annette – that’s some great tips! I recall making wax crayon paintings in primary school but haven’t thought of applying that to Easter eggs! Thanks for sharing.

77 Easter egg decorating ideas! « Wholesome Cook March 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

[…] from the beautiful Easter eggs at Martha’s and elsewhere, but if you’d like more, in this post you’ll find a simple guide to egg dyeing with a couple of basic ingredinets and some […]

117 muligheder….. « anette lyskjær March 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

[…] samme får du også på Wholesome Cook. Her får du serveret en rigtig dejlig […]

15 Easter crafts, foods and activities April 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

[…] Source: wholesomecook.wordpress.com […]

Egg-tastic « thedressingroommelbourne April 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

[…] Easter around the corner, we sussed out a great way to get a little messy with “Wholesome Cook‘s” step by step egg […]

Easter egg colouring tips and edible table decoration ideas « inkblotdesigns April 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

[…] Easter egg colouring tips and edible table decoration ideas « Wholesome Cook. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

22 Healthy Sandwich and Wrap Filling Ideas | Wholesome Cook March 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

[…] the bread from going soggy! Also, sprouts are so in at the moment, and frankly quite delicious. Try growing alfalfa yourself, it’s super easy and great fun for the kids around […]

60 Easy Easter Decoration Diy | Rilane - We Aspire to Inspire April 1, 2014 at 7:58 am

[…] + Spring Party | 26.DIY – DECOUPAGE EASTER EGGS 27.Ostereier #1 {StempelEi} ::: easter eggs | 28.Easter Egg Colouring Tips and Edible Table Decoration Ideas 29.DIY : Chalkboard Easter Eggs | 30.Polka Dot & String Easter Egg Fun {DIY} 31.Three felt […]


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.